Education is deemed to be the most powerful weapon on earth, a source of endless discoveries and possibilities to create personal and social dynamic revolutions beyond our planets. But is our Education system really serving the purpose of individual growth for our students? Is it helping students understand the global issues and the current affairs that are present today or the cliché courses of sciences that are often too lengthy and require only memorization skills? Does it help make students learn about their mental strengths and problem solving skills?
On my frequent visits to small villages, I would conduct small projects at those schools. Before I even start my sessions, I attend one of the classes and see the teacher’s class skills and the students’ response. I would arrange some activities for these students and would have an opportunity to talk with them about their interests, career choices and the class curriculum. I would then do sessions using multimedia to students nearly my age or even older than me, about career counseling, leadership skills and the global problems. Of course, these were very little resourced schools as compared to small percentage of schools nationwide that provide quality education to students but, the students in these villages had a strong passion and willingness to learn new things, rather than cliché lengthy courses. What I came to know from them was that the courses usually require only memorization skills and it drains out so much of our energy. Every time I would visit their class, I would make sure that the session would be very interactive even if it’s a science topic; it should have sound, pictures, video and some activity to involve students in a real life, practical approach.
I saw a very positive response from the students and they seemed motivated and happy while learning through multimedia and technology. When I spoke with the students about their careers during my sessions, all of them had very big dreams but most of them told me that they would continue the family business which they complained, earns just enough money to live with limited means, may it be working on fruit stands or working at small hotels or running a small tailor shop, they did not have much understanding to think beyond their small villages. When I would show them various clips and pictures, they would express on achieving their dreams but most of the courses required mathematical and science skills in which majority of the students did not show interest to.
The reply I got from the students when I asked them again about these subjects was that the courses are outlandish and we don’t feel the sense of purpose of learning these things; they were saying that they were taught a particular curriculum and that they have to write exactly what the book says. Their minds were jammed and they had poor creative writing skills and idea building techniques.Though, the schools did not have the labs or other necessary equipment to fulfill students’ potential to learn things practically. Memorizing facts from some books does not promote the idea of development or thought process, therefore my short visits and sessions would always make them happy and confident in class participation.
The traditional educational way has bound students to focus only on memorization and not understanding or creativity, just for the sake of being graded well on the test. The teachers do need to be trained to improve effective teaching methods such as using technology efficient resources that would enable students to work and learn according to the 21st century development and be good mentors to students to help them choose their career choices and evaluate students on the style of their learning.
Written by: Shahzor Memon
Featured image via TeachTought.