Perspective Education

Educating the educator

When teachers also become students   | Photo Credit: Freepik

Like the queen on a chessboard, the teacher with the most moves has the most options and the greatest degree of influence.

Robert J. Gramston and Bruce Wellman, American Educators and Authors

Unlearn, re-learn, and upskill at the speed of thought. This is what the pandemic has taught, as millions of students and teachers grappled with the realities of virtual learning. Pedagogies and curricula are being juggled and innovated to meet new learning needs. But one thing is certain: the future belongs to those who can adapt quickly to the virtual landscape and its related learnings. But the human element remains a driving force for all teaching and learning practices.

Why teachers must upskill

Going tech: The pandemic has accelerated the need to be virtual and set the tone for ‘hybrid’ learning models. Therefore, Internet accessibility, technical skills, access to online teaching and learning methodologies are going to be crucial.

Cross-and multi-disciplinary learning: Whether it is skills, workplaces, organisations or economies, everything is changing quickly. Therefore, siloed approaches are out and multi-functional roles and learning are in. Teaching and learning practices must fuse the knowledge from various disciplines, and teachers are the critical elements in this process.

Valuing experiences outside the classroom: Learning and teaching is no longer restricted to the four walls of the classroom. It is also virtual and real world. Understanding the importance of experiences outside the classroom is critical to develop life skills and be a life-long learner. Teachers are the trailblazers of this change.

Attitude matters

Teachers need to develop the attitude, mindset and the passion of an explorer along with other skills like emotional intelligence, work-time-management, collaboration, leadership, critical thinking, and communication expertise. Teachers are breaking the traditional mould of imparting knowledge/wisdom and slipping into the roles of a coach and mentor wherein they nurture talent, challenge students, fan their curiosity and empower them with varied technical and life-skills. They are the new-age role models who inspire students to learn from failures and find opportunity, learn constantly and succeed in unpredictable times.

Going ahead, the larger question is, what are the requirements for the future teacher?

Teaching to teach: Research and support workshops and teaching-learning and assessment peer processes are necessary to upskill and upgrade.

Collaborative and digital learning: With MOOCS, digital upskilling and implementing globally relevant teaching and learning practices are necessary.

Hone key life skills: Self-evaluation, time management, mentor-coach facilitator, critical thinking, adaptability and empathy are critical.

Incentivising upskilling: It is estimated that there will be a shortage of 69 million teachers by the end of the 2030. The pandemic has catalysed the globalisation of teaching and learning, enabled by technology levelling the playing field. So, it is time to inspire, acknowledge and reward our teachers.

Hone teaching practices and student engagement: This should be for faculty inclined to thinking beyond conventional education by learning more about pedagogy and making student experience, meaningful.

The writer is the CEO, Asia Pacific Region, Global University Systems (GUS)

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 3:22:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/educating-the-educator/article33258016.ece

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