Why nations prosper

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Students are capable of constructing their own reality

 

Teaching profession is sacred and of paramount importance for individual, social and national uplifting. Teachers around the globe, especially in the western side, are well-trained, motivated and are extended just value against the services they offer. Developed countries spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on teachers and teacher’s development programmes, holding PD seminars, workshops and educational activities. The idea is to sharpen the saw and to keep teachers abreast of modern day teaching practices. It also provides them with an avenue for sharing their experiences with their peers to foster effective and productive teaching methodologies. Teaching is taken as a challenging profession rather than being taken just a job. No stone is left unturned in making classroom exposure as a fulfilling and a wonderful experience. The plethora of articles and research papers being published in international papers and journals testify the importance attributed to education and teaching dynamics.

My interaction with international educationalists during the past few years has enlightened me about the true spirit of teaching, its drive and the end objectives. I have found international teachers not only motivated but also well trained. They work with zeal driven by love of their profession. The teaching methodology employed by them aims at empowering students with confidence, decision making power, and analytical skills. Students are encouraged to be creative, to challenge the text and teachers and to come up with their own ways for learning.

The international teaching style encompasses a broad range of dynamics like planning, building classroom atmosphere, catering to individual student’s needs and creating content for overall student development.

In line with international standards, planning takes into its preview originality in lesson development, accommodating varying student needs, selection of instructional activities to develop motivation, plans linked to student needs and creative and appropriate use of technology.

In line with international standards, planning takes into its preview originality in lesson development, accommodating varying student needs, selection of instructional activities to develop motivation, plans linked to student needs and creative and appropriate use of technology.

Same is the case with building positive classroom culture. It aims at promoting a positive learning environment, establishing rapport with support, climate of openness, mutual respect, support and inquiry, consequently supporting individual and group effort and self-directed learning.

The methodology of instructions looks forward to managing learning experiences effectively, Teachers use variety of instruction delivery methods like project based, inquiry based, and centre based learning, etc. Student involvement in learning is given great importance and space. Relating content and instruction to real life problems becomes the ultimate goal. Teachers use appropriate content and present lessons that suit students’ cognitive development. They facilitate student thinking by activities that challenge, motivate and engage students. Most importantly teachers reinforce dignity, build on student responses and provide opportunity for independent and divergent thinking, inquiry and discovery.

On viewing modern teaching practices from the prism of management science, an interesting fact meets my eyes. I find modern teaching practices extracting impetus from the students, making them the centre of focus like modern day’s customers, around whom all activities revolve. Gone are the days when organisations used to tilt towards push strategies. Now is the era of the customer as the one who defines the ways and means. The pull strategies look toward customers as the centre of attention. The customisation aims at catering to needs and demands of even individual customers. Same is the case with service sector like education in international arena. Students are becoming the centre point of all educational activities. The idol of teacher cantered approach is breaking. The western world has already started breaking free from this antiquated approach and has started adhering to the constructionist view of teaching, believing that students are capable of constructing their own reality and teacher is a supporting hand who shows the ways and trek to learning. The indirect teaching methods upheld by international teachers encompass role based, inquiry based, centre based and JIT learning teaching methodologies. Students are facilitated in developing their own learning goals and monitor their progress towards meeting them. Interestingly they even decide the ways according to their interest and their core competencies to meet learning objectives outlined by teachers in lesson plans of each subject and session.

It is worth noting that American success in various fields like entrepreneurship, service, and industrial and educational sectors tell of the effectiveness of the empathetic, collaborative, technology backed and consolidated teaching methods that sow the seeds of creativity, self-confidence, initiative, teamwork, leadership, self-evaluation and love of research work. Particularly American lead in entrepreneurship says a lot about American attitude built at the early stages of development at school level. Americans do hit the nail right on the head in terms of individual development through indirect teaching methods employed at early school level. America remains a beacon of entrepreneurship for the world. Between 1996 and 2009, it created an average of 550,000 small businesses every month. If we link it with the training and inculcation of individualistic attitude, we would find its roots in the indirect teaching methods used in schools empowering students with the persona and approach to excel. Even a high school dropout becomes Steve Jobs, backed by the very early training. The fruits of student oriented teaching methods are being reaped at other levels as well. America is also in lead with respect to research work. Pakistan has only 162 recognised researchers and scientists. Turkey 562, china 926, South Korea 4,162 and USA 4,651 are way ahead us.

The antiquated teaching style and demotivated teachers fail to deliver and embrace the true spirit of education. Dictation rules in our class rooms and inquiry, curiosity, and questioning are bluntly overlooked, creating atmosphere of domination and suppression In Pakistani schools.

Nations excel through attitude that is inoculated from the inception and early days of development. International education and teaching methods are catering to their national demand. Unfortunately, Pakistani education scene represents a dismal side. Pakistan is cutting a sorry figure in terms of literacy rate, GDP growth, research work, service sector and industrial growth and entrepreneurship, etc. Most importantly, we seem to be bereft of team work, collaboration and work ethics, let alone the moral principles and values. It’s a pity that despite being bestowed with power of extensive human resource, we lag behind in terms of development. Our nation and minds seem to be bereft of the attitude and motivation that pave way for collective growth and success. This problem starts from the stage of education where subjects are taught not the students, and where traditional ways of teaching fail in building up an individual who has the skills and attitude to excel for himself, his country and world at large. Teachers here are ill equipped in term of motivation and skills. Pakistani teachers predominantly focus teaching instead of enabling a culture of learning.

The antiquated teaching style and de-motivated teachers fail to deliver and embrace the true spirit of education. Dictation rules in our class rooms and inquiry, curiosity, and questioning are bluntly overlooked, creating atmosphere of domination and suppression In Pakistani schools. Students are taught to cram; blindly follow teachers, books and mere words. No independence and decision making power is extended to them. The dull and dreary mode of transmission of knowledge hampers building up students’ interest and drive towards learning. Attending classroom becomes a ritual rather than becoming a source of collective wisdom and greater development. The working personals ended up as teachers seem falling short of interest and motivation with respect to their profession, and most importantly are ignorant of modern day teaching dynamics.

Adding fuel to fire have been the successive apathetic governments who seem oblivious to the imperative need of upgrading and revitalising teachers through PD programs and an attractive pay structure. Moreover, our society has also fallen short of giving recognition to teaching as a respectable profession. The need of the hour is to give proper attention to teaching as a profession of strategic importance. The ministry of education in collaboration with all education departments has to come up with a comprehensive teacher cantered policy aiming at motivating teachers through incentives and a promising career path, and empowering them through professional development programs. Teachers also need to be proactive to develop continuous development and learning considering that a rich sea teeming with knowledge is just at a click away in the form of the internet. Motivated and well trained teachers can set the tone and pace for national development. It is just a matter of realising and prioritising at both ends.