Learning outcomes in school education — at the core of building a knowledge economy

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The study recognises some crucial practices for teaching that have positive impact in the
classroom. Excerpts.


The learning ecosystem needs to constantly evolve to gratify both active and passive learning needs. Careful attention needs to be placed on understanding the learning levels of a student and accordingly building up concepts in a directly purposeful, active learning method to enhance learning outcomes. The CII-KPMG in India study ‘Learning outcomes in school education

— at the core of building a knowledge economy’ feels that it is important to reinforce a teacher’s self-perception as agents of change by empowering them systematically as well as professionally.

The tone for a favorable change in the classroom can be set by bringing in a few systemic changes and efforts by schools and communities. Change agents like governments and nodal agencies, schools, teachers, parents and education communities would need to participate effectively.

The paper also highlights the need to focus on long-term learning gains and flexibility to teachers that will encourage risk taking in the classroom and advance learning gains. Also, uniform and continuous data collection for informed decision-making and evidence-based practice involving longitudinal action research are important to up the ante.

The study recognised some crucial practices for teaching that have positive impact in the classroom. Coupled with a few systemic changes and efforts by schools and communities, these could set the tone for favourable changes in the classroom.

For the change to take place a callout for action would involve participation from change agents like governments and nodal agencies, schools, teachers, parents and the education communities:

1. Stakeholders should encourage cross-pollination of best practices in government and private schools across subjects and grades so that changes are better adapted to and universalized.

2. The teaching-learning process needs to support the learning outcome framework in a holistic manner, so that students are tested on concepts and competencies that they have continuously been engaged in. To strengthen the implementation and use of adaptive learning platforms. Analysis of assessments needs to be mandated, so as to feedback into classroom processes. Assessments should be looked at as a diagnostic of what needs to be focused on or what needs to change. Tracking and analyzing data based on the different aspects of a concept taught (application, knowledge, understanding and so on) and taking remedial actions based on it will help teachers as well as students.

3. There has to be a comprehensive curriculum transition between state board and central boards and from one class to another (especially at the upper secondary level).

4. Language proficiency to be enhanced to support academic proficiency in other subjects. Moreover, transition to English medium of instruction at upper primary level under state boards to be supported with enhanced English proficiency levels.

5. Accountability of schools should include use of financial resources but majorly focus on learning outcomes and student performance. This should trickle down from the CRCs/BRCs to the school management and ultimately to the teachers in the classroom.

6. Training needs analysis needs to be conducted and professional development programmes to be aligned to the context and needs.

7. Practices such as co-teaching, teacher mentoring, teacher reflection, research and collaboration need to be encouraged. Create a teacher educators mentorship network, which will cause a ripple effect in enhancing professional competencies of other teachers. Schools should allow teachers flexibility in choosing pedagogy and create an environment where teachers can take some risks.

8. Build sharper lesson plans and use assessments as a tool for reflection and remediation.

9. Generate awareness of service expectations, service information and rights among communities. Also generate awareness among various stakeholders such as SMCs, CRCs/BRCs and management for clear roles and responsibilities and accountability metrics.

10. Concepts should be built up in alignment with the environment, geography and context, by understanding the psychology of a student and creating experiences that they can relate to.

11. Ensure tracking of students not only through the curriculum but also through values, mindset, attitude, knowledge and skills and aspirations.

12. Students should be given agency in the classroom – the ability to frame questions and not simply answer questions mustbe encouraged in an inquiry-oriented approach. This would help build a ‘thinking classroom community’. Communication- and dialogue-based teaching is critical in ensuring build up to the six levels of learning in Bloom’s taxonomy.

13. An environment of support needs to be created for the teacher where continuous feedback is taken from them and on a regular basis, and a corrective action plan is devised to help the teacher in the classroom.

The conclusion…

Today’s learners are digital natives who have short attention spans, multitask, are connected, game- oriented, like visuals, and need instant gratification. “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach” —Marc Prensky, educationist and writer. In the age of ‘screenagers’, the learning ecosystem needs to constantly evolve to gratify both active and passive learning needs. Evolved practice must foster twenty-first century skills such as visualisation, visual ability, critical thinking, innovation, design thinking, inquiry, collaboration, debate, system thinking, research, content writing and prudent risk taking. Careful attention needs to be placed on understanding the learning levels of a student and accordingly building up concepts in a directly purposeful, active learning method to enhance learning outcomes.

It is important to reinforce a teacher’s self-perception as agents of change by empowering them systemically as well as professionally. The design and delivery of curriculum, policies and programmes need to have a bottom-up approach and ensure building up in a student-centric manner, with an emphasis on the ‘whole language approach.” Integration of adaptive learning platforms is necessary to curate personalised learning paths. Most importantly, contextualised solutions and community building efforts are critical in ensuring learning gains and improving accountability. Sensitisation of parents and the community, as an extended support to the education system by schools and the government, is necessary to fix accountability.

Policy makers and administrators need to ensure empowering of a cadre of teachers and educators competent in technology and other pedagogies, in collaboration with technology-driven and training organisations. Constant upgrade of their skills with the evolving needs and changes is imperative to ensure relevant teaching in the classroom. Building language skills for communication and academic proficiency in a whole language approach is crucial to improve the level of understanding among students. A focus on long-term learning gains and flexibility to teachers will encourage risk taking in the classroom and advance learning gains. These can be assessed through pilot programmes and gradually scaled up by providing handholding support to the states.

Finally, uniform and continuous data collection for informed decision-making and evidence-based practice involving longitudinal action research are important to up the ante. Conscientious efforts to raise awareness and implementation of innovative ideas are required by relevant departments.