Adolescents are growing up in a changing world. Technology, migration, climate change and conflict are reshaping society, forcing people around the world to adapt to unexpected changes in their lives and work. To keep pace, adolescents need education and skills to become lifelong learners, get productive work, make informed decisions and positively engage in their communities. To support lifelong learning and employment, it is important that children develop basic skills at secondary level, such as transferable, digital and job-specific skills from an early age. It is imperative that skills and education are integrated into the school curriculum so that children understand their meaning from an early age. K Mamatha, Principal of Narayana e-Techno School, Hyderabad, gives an overview of what can be done in this situation.
Provide basic tools
Life skills are important for all ages of children, whether in school or college. Life skills are psychological skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving, critical thinking and effective communication. They will help children make informed decisions, build healthy relationships, empathize with others, cope and manage their lives in a healthy and productive way. It will guide them towards personal actions or actions towards others, as well as actions to change the environment around them. The Basic Skills Learning Program equips young people with the emotional, social and intellectual tools necessary to be successful in life on a personal, interpersonal level, within their community and in the workplace.
There are a lot of technological upheavals in the world today. In an uncertain job market, the most essential skills are the ability to learn effectively and adaptability. These skills as well as collaboration, communication, openness to comments, organization and time management should be developed in school. Any student who masters these skills can be successful in any scenario. Exposure to basic technologies common to most industries can also help students better prepare for their future careers. High school students are expected to learn the fundamentals of AI, robotics, programming, and data analysis as part of the curriculum.
Change the system
It is necessary to reform the current structure at the level of subjects and programs. There is a large amount of information in the public domain, so there is a need to improve the retention of content taught in classrooms. At the subject level, we need to focus on the first principles that give students the tools to build subsequent knowledge on their own beyond the classroom. Our tests must evolve to consolidate these
At the program level, we need to connect different study disciplines and help students understand that there are structural similarities between the subjects. This is important because in the real world there are cross-functional / interdisciplinary applications. When subjects are taught in silos, students graduate with a very fixed mindset and are unable to borrow useful concepts from other disciplines. This in turn stifles innovation.
Inviting professionals from various industries and organizing regular field trips to offices can help students streamline career options for their graduate studies. This exposure is lacking in the current system. There is a need to rethink the skills taught in school and they need to be aligned more closely with industry so that students have a smooth transition from school to college and industry.
We also need to use a combination of techniques to assess the student’s skills and clearly define the objective and expected outcome of the assessment. A brief example would be: subjective exams are useful for assessing depth of knowledge, critical thinking, clarity of thinking, and problem-solving approaches, while multiple-choice questions are useful for assessing breadth of knowledge , application, intuition and creativity.
While there is some form of the above test methods in our current system, the feedback mechanisms are not in place. This huge gap must be closed. Without precise feedback, there is no opportunity to learn and correct yourself. We need to define clear outcomes in each case and have strong feedback mechanisms to ensure that students benefit.
Changing the system to a fully technological system is not the solution when it comes to learning / teaching mode. It is necessary to find the right balance between gadgets and books. There are concerns about the use of the gadget and its affordability. Explore the possibility of moving some of the content online to significantly reduce the use of paper and other materials. Tests and assessments can gradually move online as technology improves and becomes scalable. Books are conducive to learning in some essential ways. Using books can increase focus and attention (attention span decreases due to excessive use of gadgets). Writing also allows a better retention of knowledge as well as an improvement of the fine motor skills of the students. Once the technology becomes more scalable and can incorporate these features, the idea of completely migrating to electronic media can be explored.
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