School Of Thought
INTERNATIONAL education trainers, Sylvia McNamara, Andrew Blow and Christine Olley visited India to discuss learning practices, managing change within the school system and effective self-evaluation with schools administrators.
During her interaction with school leaders, Sylvia McNamara put a saying by Eric Hoffer on the board:"In an age of great change, the learners inherit the earth while the learned are beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
CHANGE IS THE KEY
The trainers have been working on bringing together teachers from both Birmingham and India to discuss their common issues.The need for improving the quality of teaching was discussed as the UK has recently become attuned to that. She says."We can share what we learn, to avoid the same mistakes and to leapfrog to solutions faster." However, she feels that change cannot be imposed if it has to be sustainable ."
LEARNING SOFT SKILLS
Another big discovery is that communication skills are not being sufficiently delivered through the education system."The trick is to raise standards so children develop communication skills that will make them employable .The most important learning for the 21st century is the necessity for soft skills. Knowledge is accessible, but soft skills need to be learnt. "Soft skills development is the need of the hour. Every night, we get calls from call centres in India.Whether you hang up or do business depends entirely on the skills of the call centre worker, their sensitivity, listening skills and initiative ," says McNamara. Developing listening and comprehension skills in schools isn't too difficult, says Blow. "Get two students to question what the other has learnt in the class. It's a simple way of developing questioning skills, their thinking and confirming what they have learnt in class. It worked better than telling a student - this way draws the information out of self, so the quality of learning is so much better," he adds.
NEW ROLE FOR TEACHERS
Another significant learning is that"Teachers are not the only knowledge givers in the age of the Internet. Teachers can help young people access what they need from the vast array of information, and help them achieve better academic standards. Students need to synthesise this to use this knowledge successfully," says Mc-Namara . Adds Blow,"India is a country where use of information technology has become part of its culture.Youngsters automatically turn to technology as a cultural norm.Which is why it's such an exciting place to be in today." 1. India is a knowledge-rich country 2. Knowledge is so widely available, the role of the teacher has changed from giver of knowledge to a person who helps children use knowledge effectively 3. The ability to use knowledge enhances the use of soft skills 4. For this transition to happen within schools, it has to filter down from the school leadership 5. Change can happen if you implement it News Economy Emerging Markets CNN FOX BBC GOOGLE BBC
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