What if you forgot A for Apple after the 1st standard?
Most of our school and college days go in preparing for exams. Is that bad? Is that wrong? It’s not, but it definitely is boring! How about if most of these days were spent in learning, and not just the syllabus?
Our education system is much derided for its focus on rote learning, and rightly so. We care more about marks and less about actual learning. We don’t care if students have understood the concepts or not, as far as they are able to put them on paper howsoever.
Talking about rote learning in this Times Of India post, columnist Meeta Sengupta says,
Every trained teacher knows that at the very least the learning they impart must include these four components – Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes and Behaviours (KSAB). Memory merely speaks to the first part. It is a tool that supports a part of Knowledge absorption and dissemination, not even contributing to building the body of knowledge. Such learning does not support the ability to create, build and sustain; it ignores the need to encourage a child’s curiosity and talent; and worse, rote learning restricts learning to past knowledge.
Focus on rote learning is more dangerous than we may imagine, as the evidence is there for all of us to see. If only we would pay close attention to this malice, we would not be shocked by the surveys which declare 80 per cent of our new graduates unemployable. Yes, all these years of yours in school and college have been mostly wasted.
The problem lies in our thinking, or the lack of it. We don’t allow critical thinking in our education system or even outside. Students don’t know why they are studying what they are studying. They are not allowed to explore. They are not encouraged to go beyond books and learn on their own. It is imbibed in their minds that marks are paramount and they will guarantee them a successful life ahead. This lie is further entrenched by the rewards and praise heaped on top scorers at home, schools and in society. As a side-effect, it takes the fun out of studying and students become mere competitors in an unknown and meaningless race.
As a system, our pedagogy focuses on very narrow objectives. Marks become more important than holistic learning. How do we change this? Giving grades instead of marks is a step in the right direction. It should be followed with introducing projects in the curriculum. We should also encourage group learning in schools. This can be achieved by giving group projects. Classes need to be made more interactive. Teachers also need to be told that their job is not to create toppers, but learners.
What do you think? Can this be achieved? If yes, how?