I studied in a school, where my teacher dictated the answer from a book of notes he carried everyday. Well, 13 years later I do remember the teacher with his nerdy looks, not for what he taught but how he taught.
Fortunately, life was merciful to me. I became a teacher at a time where 21st century education was the norm. The teacher was not required to teach only; she was to act like a catalyst, an entrepreneur, a civic manager, a story-teller, a crisis-manager, a revolutionary and a peace-maker. Well, the list is profound and will continue to evolve as the role becomes more dynamic.
For me, my class of students are smarter than what I was , more prepared to face the challenges than I would be able to face. The task on me now is mamoth, I can’t be a traditionalist and let the class follow me blindly.
I have to help them ‘seek’, ‘strive’ and not ‘yield’ to failures and how do I do it? Well, that is the real task for every teacher . The interrogative ‘how’ comes more often than ‘why’ in today’s times.
Critical thinking and creative thinking are the magical words, that can do wonders to a child’s ability to learn, unlearn and relearn.
The learning graph would not be inconsistent or static, if we kindle in a child, an ever growing curiosity to seek easier and interesting options. Trust me, such children never settle down for the mediocre.
My ex student, Rivaan , a grade 2 child, had left me in surprise when he asked me questions about ‘ the black hole’ and answered before I could even explain. Such talents, who go beyond the course books to quench their thirst for knowledge, need to be not only encouraged but guided. The hands-on activity, brain-teaser games and experiential learning programmes are meant for them and not only them but for the students who crave for more.
The power of critical thinking is extraordinary, it helps you unleash the poential in you. You become the creator, the game-changer, the planner, the executer and the revolutionary figure, that the world needs.
And, how do we promote critical thinking?
The teacher herself should be the matter expert, as that will only ease things for her students, helping them to delve deep into its content.
They should encourage students to study the bigger picture by engaging them in critical-thinking processes that has its connect beyond the classroom scenario. Guide them to transfer knowledge from one context to another. This will just add to their preparedness to face future challenges.
A crucial role that a teacher has to play is to be a good listener, and allow children to ask all sorts of questions. Remember, they are a curious bunch and it is this curiosity that will help them to find solutions.
Sensitize your scholars to the feelings of others. You intend to create contributing citizens not complaining citizens. Help to develop a team spirit and common goal approach. You are a peace-maker after all!
To be a good teacher requires being a whole lot of everything else, it requires a little bit of everything and yet you have to be different.
Shalom Presidency School