How to transcend beyond mere marks?

Education for the curious mind, not devious life.A few thought snippets on Education for today’s world.

When the teacher explores a concept in depth, instead of appreciating the intricacies many a times our mind goes to the question—

Is that coming for exam??

How did we reach here? When did we loose the spark in the pursuit of better grades? How can we encourage students to make mistakes without making them accountable for it life long? How to take a boring topic and convert it into something absolutely WOW?

Finding the problem

I have carried out numerous surveys to understand the problem. At the end of each semester, I would carry out these analysis via Google forms and see what my peers felt about a particular subject.

A few sections of the Google Form I shared to analyze college experience

All these had a few common features — it indicated dissatisfaction in oneself, and how circumstances did not enable them to excel.

I thought at first, bringing solutions at their finger tips would speed up the entire process. I started working on starting daily reminders messages and later stages on making a ChatBot to automate the same. It helped keep facts organized to better enable the individual to focus time on important details. So problem solved right?

The curse of spoon feeding

Yet it was all in vain — here we were, lazy and inattentive because everything is on a platter. We tend to forget the effort involved in attaining it and when we live at that level of abstraction, it becomes easy to not give much thought of the trivial tasks.

And when that is taken away for our good, we immediately complain. When I started organizing things for others, it indirectly resulted them in being less attentive because Joel is going to update us anyway. This surmounted in further dip in performance of many — clearly my solution was way too helpful to be of any help in the long run.

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Don’t leave me to struggle!

We are afraid to fail yet complain of not introduced into the outside world.

Maybe we need to talk. Not as a ruthless oppressor but rather as a patient listener eager to understand how to become a better communicator. After all, teaching is all about communicating ideas that make the minds explore deeper.

We need some way to update our system. The industry that awaits us is highly competitive but for schools there is not much incentive to explore beyond curriculum.

But that is thankfully slowly changing. With resources such as Khan Academy and YouTube, life long learners can get to mastering just about any skill out there. Our minds are worth millions so better invest it wisely and discover one’s potential.

In the age of technology we need to teach the right values and empower students to use these tools to up skill themselves. But how can students find their inner potential? It takes a teacher to churn that out.

The guide we need

The best teachers I have had were stern when required yet kind to our needs. This model has helped improve the lives of several students for the better. A good teacher is not vulnerable to student responses as he/she has a strong skin to endure and resolute mind to understand.

There is an invisible law that exists in every relationship between teacher and student:

Teacher encourages the student.

Student respects the teacher.

A good teacher can take the hardest concept out there and explain in the most simplest way. Professor Walter Lewin is an excellent example.

A judgement free teacher creates a safe space for the student to express his/her thoughts and ideas without the fear of being critically evaluated upon. It helps if the teacher invest the first impression moment to set the rules on how to behave and interact.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Issues in those hard times

Also solutions to combat depression and anxiety is essential. In the age of digital media, falling into the peer pressure of doing the trending stuff can indeed be a pit fall in ones career. While having fun is good, it should not lead to regret and sorrow later.

Many a times, the happy people are the quite sad ones — they hide all their sorrow within. No one will ever truly appreciate the struggle one has faced, be it the seemingly simple task of boarding a train or a battle during world one. The best we can have is the description — for the memories are unique to the individual.

We need to find the balance between spoon feeding and solitude to forge a good personality in the student. When we say someone is useless, we are indirectly admitting our failure to understand his potential.

Our parameters of judgement are also quite biased. I have friends who are excellent inventors but pen and paper does not do well to measure the same.

Like I mentioned previously in other posts, all students initially face these three problems:

Impostor Syndrome

Procrastination

Fear of Judgment

Sometimes students do not come out of their shell and share their ideas because they fear of being ridiculed at by others, and this shuns away many. They doubt their personal worth and when things don’t work out they choose to push it for later.

Speaking personally, I have always been quite studious because that was how I was brought up. Only recently I started exploring beyond academics and discover the unspoken world of cross dimensional creativity that is there.

Unexpected disappointments at institutes

At college, it is sad to see many people lining up at HR. Not to say it is bad but clearly no one does engineering with the mindset to go for HR. Circumstances and their failure to understand prospects in the domain they opted for (which later turned into regret) is actually a collateral loss of time and work. Honest career guidance says that every field is amazing as long as you are happy and suitable for it.

Imagine how the world would be if Mozart was told that music is boring?

Somehow in the pursuit of a better livelihood, we stopped taking risk and followed the path most take. Up to an extend I agree that following the one in a million path is indeed risky but then following the crowd is not helping either.

Education must ideally help one to better understand ones potential and decide how to better radiate it. Shunning away your skills is not good.

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Learning as a collective

We need to encourage peer to peer learning. Let the children explore on their own with just our encouragement. These are some values I learned Make A Difference, the non-profit dedicated to empowerment of underprivileged children.

The wonderful study carried out by this gentleman (school in the cloud) has tremendous implications for the future of education. If given a chance, I would love to collaborate and see how this could go forward.

Rethink foundation by Sijo Kuruvilla George has an innovative style in empowering the youth. They find opportunities for students, connect them with mentors from the industry and show how to better up skill themselves. In the end, all they did is create the eco — system; rest was the result of the individuals effort.

Be your teacher, your own explorer.

Do not value only because you paid. Take time to think why this is valuable.

What should education be for tomorrow?

While there are several problems associated with education currently. From my experience trying to tackle student problems, I forgot an essential ingredient:

No Pain, No Gain

It takes persistence and optimism to reach greater frontiers in life. And this should essentially be the values that teachers ought to teach the youth of today.

There are a plethora of options out there today to choose from regarding what to invest your time in, but sticking to it until the very end is essential. And to do so, a peer to peer learning model is essential.

Let us join hands in solving the problem of finding a good education model of today’s world. I have learned that the key lies in finding the sweet spot between solitude and mentor guidance with opportunities to strike for.

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