16 Jul 2021 11:52 IST

Educators need to make learning a lifelong habit

Students no longer rely solely on textbooks which necessitates teachers to constantly upskill and reskill

Everything around us is constantly getting reinvented. The last year has forced everyone to think out of the box. The five-star hotels are sending home gourmet food, schools moved online, and even the baniya around the corner has an app and an online payment facility. The teachers have been thrown in at the deep end. How can they cope? Online or offline school, there are three things that educators can do to stay relevant.

Life-long learners

No longer can a teacher do a BEd course and then expect to stay relevant forever. Like everything else, teaching is also something you learn on the job. But things don’t always get better with time, but they get better with change! There is constant research taking place around the world and new pedagogy is being developed. For example, the focus has shifted from content and textbooks as this is the era of information overload at the click of a button. Students no longer rely solely on textbook information for their learning and they are far more aware about the latest developments.

It is the prerogative of the teachers to constantly unlearn and relearn new methodologies and techniques. The NEP (National Education Policy) has also prescribed mandatory continuous training of 50 hours for each in-service teacher. This is an extremely relevant recommendation and one that I hope all school leaders would endeavour to fulfil at their schools and ensure continuous learning of the educators.

Knowledge sharing

Teachers need to learn to share and share to learn. There is a need to build a strong and well connected community of teachers. There need to more avenues of sharing. In order to develop the 21stCE skills such as critical thinking in students — it is important for educators to develop skills such as analysis and evaluation skills. Students have to be equipped to discriminate available knowledge by comparing and contrasting information. But before the students can do this, it is the teachers who have to be taught the same skills.

The last year has helped connect world-class facilitators with teachers across the globe. We need school leaders, seniors as well as experienced teachers, to generously give their time and share their experiences with the newer generation of teachers. This will empower them to enable transformation in the classroom. It will also build a sense of pride in the teaching profession.

Making teachers more accountable

Teaching has always been considered a noble profession. While this is true, sometimes there is a complacency that sets in because the teacher may think that they are doing others a favour.

Just like any well-run organisation, school leaders need to identify the learning gaps among teachers, track their performance, and make the teachers accountable not just for the marks but also for the learning outcomes of students. This way the educators would be compelled to keep reinventing themselves. Rethink, reinvent, and reimagine, educators. Today and every day.

(The writer is CEO, Aditya Birla Education Academy.)