Paradigm shifts in learning


Rajeshwari Sawant
Principal, Gwalior Glory High School, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh

What does a learner seeks? What makes a classroom interactive? What are new methods of teaching or learning? What is the interdisciplinary approach to learning? Here are the answers to all these and more.

There is a paradigm shift in the domains of knowledge, thereby laying the thrust on the students to develop skill based knowledge. Theoretical knowledge without practical application is obsolete in the current times. A learner will always have this question in his mind when the teacher is facilitating learning, ‘What is there in it for me?’ Technology has expanded the knowledge spectrum, thereby challenging the teacher to transfer thoughts beyond the text, leading to exploration of lateral thinking among students.

Innovative and interactive learning methods: need of the day!

Nowadays, as the students progress to middle school, they are quite aware of the competitiveness and the challenges they have to face in the forthcoming years. Moreover, we have learned parents in today’s society, who goad their children to be very career oriented. The average performance of a learner has a newer high due to goal-oriented achievement levels. In such a scenario, the outdated chalk and talk method has become redundant. Students crave for an interactive classroom as they have substantial knowledge on a given topic. By, interactive, I do not mean smart classes which are digitally enabled. They expect discussion, brainstorming, field visits, experimental learning that foster their core thinking skills. As we move on to higher classes, flipped classrooms are very fruitful where students have scope to explore beyond the classroom and the teacher plays the role of merely a facilitator. The teacher acts as a change agent and the learner brings in change through innovative thought processes.

What a teacher can do?

The teacher has to understand that identifying multiple intelligences in students has a great role to play in addressing the class of variable learners. The use of both convergent and divergent thinking comes into play in such a learning environment. The competencies of teachers have to be enhanced to create an impact on each learner. The teacher needs to identify a learner’s strengths and accordingly address the lesson so as to cater to differently endowed students simultaneously in a time frame.If need be, video recordings of the class activities can be uploaded on the user IDs of students so that they can revise or catch up on what they have missed. The four walls of the classroom are no more the confined areas for learning to take place.

Interdisciplinary approach to teaching

Learning will be more fruitful in the present context as every student is not inclined towards the Sciences or Mathematics. Besides, skill based learning is soon taking precedence over conceptual learning. Statistics reveal that if skills are not taught from school level, then by 2020, India will have to import skilled personnel from other countries. Hence, emphasis should be laid more on feeding the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of a student to perform tasks that are relevant and useful to society. Ivy league universities have a curriculum which integrates liberal arts. A student can choose from an array of subjects irrespective of the streams it comes under. This enhances the learner to develop skills that lead to holistic development of personality.

What a learner seeks?

As a learner of the 21st century, I would definitely vouch for technology integrated learning. The classroom would never be a place you could find me in. I would seek the library as the resource centre where I could access E-resources. My teachers would only be my mentors and will facilitate me accessing or researching on a given topic or subject. Virtual classrooms could be seen in the future. Qualifying a grade could depend on the number of hours of work put in by me with the help of my mentors in submitting assignments, researching, participating in seminars and symposiums, etc. The future is for us as educators to create by breaking the shackles of redundant teaching-learning.

Rajeshwari Sawant is an accomplished Principal of Gwalior Glory High school, a Senior Secondary School. She is a dynamic leader, an able administrator, & a team builder, having strong interpersonal and managerial skills, a high sense of motivation, resilience, drive & multi-tasking capability, and excellent communication & presentation skills, and computer literate.

She is a Master trainer for CBSE’s CCE and Examination reforms; Advocate of Adolescent Education Programme of CBSE and IAP; Master Trainer for Peer Educator’s Programme of CBSE; Resource Person for ZIET, KVS; and Resource person for Pearson, Madhuban and New Saraswati Publication.

She is the recipient of many prestigious awards like Adarsh Shikshak Samman, CBSE National Award for Teachers, Best Zonal Principal Award by Science Olympiad Foundation to name a few.