We need to Upgrade Students’ Dormant Skills to an Optimum Level

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Shikhar School is one of the leading schools adopting progressive approach in teaching-learning activities.  It has been established with the intention to change the way children learn.

Anjila Bista, the Principal of Shikhar School, opines that education should be fun and an engaging experience. It should spread as much giggles and joy as it spreads knowledge. She has expressed her views on progressive education and its trend in Nepal with College Readers. Excerpts:

You are advocating progressive education in its true spirit. How would you love to define progressive education?

In general, progressive learning is the modern technique of teaching and learning where we focus more on experiential learning rather than on rote learning. There is a huge difference in the old education system and the one children are getting now. Before, there was no accessibility of the Internet and advanced technologies. The real essence of teaching and learning is the mindset that we should not only teach our students but also impart every piece of knowledge we have and make them understand. In a classroom, there are at least 25 students and each of them has his or her own mode of understanding. In this approach, we need to teach students according to their concentration span. They must understand according to their own views and opinions towards the topic. This pedagogy basically includes stepwise layering process of concentration span, the students’ understanding and upcoming resolution. If this pedagogy is closely monitored by teachers, this approach will definitely give a better output. Progressive education helps in using knowledge in real-life situations.

You have experiences in both traditional education and progressive education. How can we implement the nuances of traditional education in this generation?

Traditional approach actually defines strictness. For instance, the teachers used to shout to make a class silent in the past. But, the progressive education, instead of being strict, teaches the students the benefits of staying silent. This is how we upgrade traditional education to a better level. We need to draw a limitation line. One important aspect we must adopt from traditional education is that every student should learn to write. Traditional education helps in legitimizing handwriting among children. Likewise, respect is also very significant. The attitude between teacher and student should be positive. There is a saying that it’s better to study abroad than to study in our own country. It’s because of the progressive education out there overseas. If we adopt similar approaches at home, we will be able to stop students flying abroad for education.

 It is heard that the students, who are products of progressive education, are not that respectful towards elders. How would you respond to this?

Progressive education is an experiential learning followed by experience. It teaches us that respect is a two-way thing. The one who deserves it would never demand it. We provide value-based education where the students can distinguish between what is wrong and what is right. Proper guidance is very important in this approach.

 How does a parents’ workshop help in the holistic development of the students?
Parents’ workshop is a cooperative activity between students, parents and teachers. Some parents have negative attitudes towards such workshops. So, we better term it a casual conversation with parents regarding their children’s personal development. We will have to ask them whether they agree with my positive concept towards their
children. Young parents are a bit easy to convince but the older ones still have old concepts of learning.

 Education used to be thought of as the primary means of acquiring and passing on knowledge. But today’s education is also expected to include knowledge of technique, attitude, innovation, and application. To what extent have you implemented these attributes at your institute?

There are children with different intelligence levels. Some have good visualization and some are good listeners. Progressive learning helps to identify the ways and intelligence levels of a child. So, to meet every intelligence level of a child, we need to make the lesson plans accordingly. Progressive education includes dealing with teachers’, confidence level, presentation skills and attentive span. All this process should be learnt slowly but effectively. The teachers need to learn how to enhance their intelligence level and how to upgrade their dormant skills to an optimum level so that the child can fit into in a global village.

In the classroom, we have multiple aspects such as a continuous assessment system. We, the teachers, address the students’ capacity to remember, understand, analyze, apply and evaluate and concept, and create things on their own.  We incorporate multiple intelligence by RBT, audio visuals and group work. Children should have knowledge with skills. We focus on developing social skills too so that they can give reasonable opinions in conversation.

Lastly, what message would you like to convey to the parents and students?
To the parents, I would like to say that with the help of progressive education, we will always support your children as much as we can and prepare them as a global citizens. We also request them not to get violent with their children even if the latter acquire lower grades.






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