Every child is unique. We are all born with innate skills and aptitude and if nurtured, these become our biggest strengths and differentiators in life. Research shows that a child’s formative years are most crucial for nurturing her innate talent. The time spent in school, thus, becomes important to identify and hone these talents, to enable students to shine in their lives and careers.
If one considers the career landscape today, many new options exist which were nowhere near the horizon till a few years back. Jobs are evolving, alternative career avenues are raising their heads and businesses are changing the existing paradigm with each passing day. Our students are poised to enter a world where they face career and lifestyle choices vastly different from the previous generations.
It is imperative, then, that the schools identify new skills and prepare students to be ready for this kind of future. How can the schools do that?
Make Learning Contextual
Learning cannot stay confined within the pages of the text book. It needs to be made relevant, and real. Students need to be challenged to think out-of-the-box and this can be done by relating their academic themes to real world issues, while building greater exposure of the world. For example, while studying ‘water’, students can be taken outside to study actual water-bodies, and be sensitized to issues such as pollution etc.
Make Learning Experiential
Students learn better by doing. In case of project-based learning, students are encouraged to explore academic themes by constructing projects which are inter-disciplinary in nature. Arts can be combined with science, theatre with language to create learning experiences which have greater impact. Mathematics can be understood through dance patterns, anatomy can be explored by making sculptures – all are experiences which stay etched in a child’s mind for posterity.
We know technology is the way forward and digital learning has been a buzzword for a long time. Future-ready schools don’t just use regular digital platforms as teaching aids, but also leverage these to create a personalized learning experience for students. Such an approach would offer students the tools to track progress, targeted support to tackle weak areas, opportunities to connect and interact with mentors outside school, enhanced research capabilities and more.
Power up the Grey Cells
Any subject can become exciting and invigorating with the right approach. As long as the brain is challenged to think creatively, it continues learning. This is why many schools today use an approach that puts students in problem-solving situations. Rather than feeding them the answers, this approach incites kids to think out of the box to reach conclusions on their own merit. Such as, holding court sessions in class where children have to build arguments for opposing sides.
If we want to cultivate conscientious adults, they must grow up on the right values and beliefs. This is an often overlooked but critical part of schooling. We spend a considerable portion of our most impressionable years in school. Hence, we pick up many of our habits and core ideologies here. Schools must ensure that children are being provided the right environment to develop a sound moral compass. Such an environment should bring alive values like integrity, respect and compassion, openness and transparency, amongst others.
These are just some of the techniques schools can apply to be future ready. Schools where learning is fun and engaging will produce adults that are life-long learners and are ready to blossom in a dynamic future.
To sum it up, a future-ready school is one with an environment where students can flourish to the best of their potential, where the act of learning takes on a whole new meaning. It is where one is ingrained with curiosity, creativity and a hunger to learn, and where every child is provided the opportunity to grow and shine, in ways that are best suited to their individuality.