Education Pedagogy of the Modern Time and Our Position

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Uttam Devkota

Uttam Devkota

Mr Uttam Devkota is a young educationist who is active in teaching, managing academic institutions and researching on education and society. His one and half decade of engagement in education sector and his study have given him the feeling that our education system is in dilemma. He says, “We are neither able to transmit our aboriginal Social, Culture Values, Morale and Ethics to newer generation through education, nor we are transforming our education aligned to the global trends and opines that their needs a revolutionary transformation in education and even in pedagogy in action if we want to catch the global pace”. The excerpt from the conversation with him on issues of Education, Pedagogy and related issues is presented below.

Pedagogy of the twentieth century differs from the pedagogy of the twenty-first century. The subject of the twentieth century pedagogy was “upbringing”. Upbringing in the broad pedagogical sense is a purposeful influence of the society to prepare the younger generation for life. Upbringing in the narrow pedagogical sense is a purposeful influence on the development of specific personal qualities…

The subject of the twenty-first century pedagogy has expanded the scope of meaning and understanding. Scientific direction in pedagogy connected with the social environment and the socialization of the individual has resulted in a new disciplinary science—social pedagogy. The educational space is expanding beyond the classroom”

Previously, education was understood as a “learning outcome”. Now, education is understood as a process and result of learning. Obtaining an education had an expression in obtaining a certificate of education or a university diploma until the end of 20th Century.

In modern classroom teaching, during the lesson, there is a dynamic exchange of information, knowledge, and energy between the teacher and the student. The basis of the synergetic approach in pedagogy is manifested in the classroom.  Positive attitudes in study and occupation, the positive energy generated by the teacher, set a special positive spiritual atmosphere. As you know, the word “platonic love” comes from “spiritual communication between teacher and student.  Therefore, it is better to use more developing, positively motivating methods and technologies of education, which will create a development environment that is positive for development of a student. The teacher becomes the facilitator of the child development in modern pedagogical dialogue.

Modern scientists—teachers, sociologists, futurists also speak about a new generation of students, that is, student of the twenty-first century. This generation is “Next”, Generation Z or Digital generation. Our principle should be based on the principle of ambivalence, the continuity of “tradition to innovation”, The need is for active research on multiple phenomena that have direct or indirect impacts on the personal, social, technological, environmental aspects of education.

The focus should be on “Deep Learning” against “Superficial Learning”. “Superficial learning is a superficial approach; it is the reproduction of knowledge, the teacher-regulated training, passive epistemology, dual vision, and the consumption of knowledge. Deep Learning is Deep approach which means knowledge transformation, self-regulatory learning, active epistemology, relativistic views, and knowledge building aiming to lead to deeper levels of learning” 

In the given context, what are we doing in our education? Are our understanding on the content, process and purpose of education aligned with the modern principles in Pedagogy? Have we ever thought of transforming our education process? Are we training our teachers to create platonic love with students that promote development environment? Are we telling our students and society at large that obtaining University Certificate or Diploma should not be the core objective of enrolling in education program? Have we inculcated the value in students that that education is not learning outcome but the result of learning? A common answer to all these questions is “NO”.

In our education, we are simply carrying the tradition with some superficial beautification. It is similar to the same “snacks” wrapped in a beautiful decorative “Lunch Box”. Our focus is not in transforming the education and pedagogy as is the urgency of the time. Obtaining University Certificate has still been the core objective of students, parents/society and unfortunately the academic institutions. The academic institutions are glorifying the grades that students achieve in the final exams, and are using for marketing stunt for the institutional growth in terms of alluring students. The teachers are proud of their teaching when their students achieve good grade point in the final examinations. How have the students performed in personal, social and professional life after they have been educated? Has not been explored, or we are not realizing the need for its exploration.

Role of Academic Institutions in Education Development

Academic Institutions are the carrier of academic courses to the students. The role of academic institutions in realizing the educational goals is significant. The universities set principles of education and pedagogy where as the academic institutions like schools and colleges should put them in practice. When the principles are not practiced in ground, the principles go in vein. This is what exactly happening in our context in Nepal. Out academic institutions, both private and government are not prepared to transform the education and education pedagogy. Still, our institutions are facilitating the superficial learning and promoting poor performance of students. Teachers’ training is considerably limited in government schools and Faculty of Education. The academic institutions never deem it necessary to train their teachers for adopting modern philosophy in education pedagogy. The private academic institutions rather prefer to create events and occasions that can contribute for publicity and business promotion where as government institutions are very silent and passive.

Are our colleges promoting quality education in the country is a big question today. The regulation of colleges is very weak. The regulatory body lacks confidence and competences in proper monitoring of the colleges. The government seems to be very unclear on defining whether the education is a commodity or service. Private colleges are selling education in attractive price as a commodity whereas government colleges are neither selling in attractive price nor providing as a service sincerely and professionally. The selling of education as a commodity has created the scene that education is for only “Have Class” of people, depriving the poor from the opportunity. The colleges are rarely marketing its colleges from the perspective of modern socio-pedagogical application in education, teachers’ training and result of learning that they want to promote. But, private colleges portray the picture of physical infrastructure, grade points of the past students and big figures’ involvement in their institutions as quality indicators, which is based on false or phony philosophical foundation.

Teachers and Modern Pedagogy

 Teachers remain in the driving seats in any educational activities. They are the ones who design and deliver the teaching lessons. Their competencies in defining the right pedagogical approaches determine the success of the educational program/courses. This requires trained and competent teachers who know the philosophical foundations of education and pedagogy. However, teachers teaching in higher education and private educational institutions (enterprises) are not certified professionals in our context. They are Masters in their respective subject, but not a teacher. However, they are pretending to be a teacher. Actually, they are not teachers by choice; but by chance! Since, they are not professional trained teachers, they can simply facilitate superficial learning; they can reproduce knowledge, conduct teacher-regulated training, follow passive epistemology, hold dual vision, and encourage students for consumption of knowledge. Their skills in promoting Deep Learning require training on modern pedagogical approaches that can transform the whole picture of teaching and learning.

The private colleges are hiring teachers on the principle of convenience and market publicity where as government colleges are being unable to engage teachers in professional teaching, research and knowledge production. Regular learning, research and publications should be the focus of any teacher besides supporting students in “Deep Learning”, which is the much neglected aspect of education system in the present day Nepal. Even the professors of university are not producing single academic research and article which signifies their passivity in profession. In worst of the worse scene, some private colleges are even found to be engaging teachers who do not meet the qualifications as an opportunity regard for his/her contribution in promoting the business  by alluring students in that particular college. The paradox is the government teacher’s glorified involvement in private college opposite to the poor performance of the government college. If the same government teachers are good performers in private colleges, why they are not performing in the government colleges where they are paid by the government shall be the starting point of debate.

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