The world is back to being a global village for students andaspiring educators are trying to bring back the human element relevant for education of young learners to set apart teaching in an era of digitization. International courses for education, global exposure and adaptive learningarewhat seems to be helping.
What is the one conversation today that you are sure to overhear across professionals from most industries? Where have the jobs gone? Where and how is the relevance to be achieved after all? The situation is very real in a world that’s very local for the generation today and availability of information and knowledge is at the touch of the fingers. As knowledge providers and media of instruction for tech-savvy young learners, teachers find themselves at the cusp of improvising their ‘avatars’ or facing the threat of redundancy.
In other words, an entire generation of teachers, instructors, guides and counsellors find themselves at an adapt-to-survive juncture while students are smarter, more dynamic, self-sufficient, tech-savvy and come with an attitude to boot.
Quoting Ms. Veena Nair, Australian PM Awardee for Teaching and Deakin University, Australia Alumna on the matter – “Teacher education programs need to include use of emerging technologies for all subjects, so teachers develop understanding of these right from the beginning.”
Coming from someone with 20 years of trans-national teaching experience across India, U.A.E and Australia this is sage advice.
The generation gap today is beyond values, actions, and lifestyles now. It is a contrast between a generation that has been born into technology and lives in a glo-cal world and one that has adapted to technology. The surge in technology innovation that is changing the work environment in most industries is no different for the education industry in India as well as the world.If one considers what aspiring teachers are doing today to be education industry-relevant tomorrow, this is what seems to be working.
Post-pandemic wake-up call – Tech Boot-camp
The pandemic necessitated an entire industry of teachers to wake up to the need of being tech-savvy.
It became a mandate to upgrade and acquaint oneself to a mode of teaching that wasn’t as prevalent before as it is today. Now hybrid classes, add-on classes, counselling sessions etc happen online and what was new and revolutionary once upon a time is now the norm.
Teaching courses globally are incorporating practical experience in cutting edge digital teaching tools and aids as part of the curriculum. Working with multi-media digital delivery mode is enabling seamless teacher-student networking and reducing overhead work turn-around. Teachers of tomorrow are training to reduce man-hours spent on administrative work using technology and focusing on more streamlined lesson plans.
International universities offer global teaching exposure
Education courses globally are educating the educators on more than just the means and the how’s of teaching. They are providing an international perspective tostudies and upgrading teaching methods. Studying globally imparts a multi-cultural nuance to teaching which sets you apart. In a competitive and changing market, it equips you with a broad outlook in your teaching methods, delivery and effectiveness.
“I trained with a primary class of mixed nationalities while studying to be a teacher abroad. Such lovely kids and such a world of difference between them. Working with them helped me adapt my method to teach inclusively,” this comes from Aarti who decided to study outside and come back to India and teach in the capital city. By her own admission, she a much better teacher for that and loved by her students too.
With the internet bringing the world closer than ever before, children and young adults are global citizens today and there is no information out of reach for them, no place far enough and nothing that is impossible. Dealing with young learners today comes with the challenge of being up to date in terms of global technology, information, and opportunities. Children are looking for changed formats of guidance and the perspective is beyond local. A teacher with international exposure, conversant with attitudes and perspectives which are international and speaking a global language like his students will always be more relevant.
Age of super-specialization
Universities around the world are now offering structured and streamlined courses for education such that one aspiring to specialize in a particular domain of teaching can be thorough in it. Specializing is imparting the teaching aptitude for a target group of recipients who shall benefit more from you and gives your skills a better market relevance. So, if you want to be a teacher for Arts and Education, then taking a teaching course with specialization for teaching Arts will increase your employee skill relevance.
A huge dearth of educators is felt for focused learning of target groups of students that need more than just human touch. Teaching students with special education needs, teaching in the field of sports and physical education, teaching differently abled children require specific human skills that cannot be replaced with digitization. Teaching them requires specialized teachers. Opting to specialize with a globally relevant course helps bridge a need-gap.
Deakin University, Australia which ranks 5th among world institutions for Education has pioneered many specialized teaching courses (at both undergraduate and postgraduate level) such as Early Childhood Education, Physical Education, Leadership etc to facilitate its students to gather in-depth knowledge. A huge number of students study here to specialize and focus on their domain of choice and are building potential for becoming learning resources for tomorrow.
Industry-ready skilling for maximum relevance
There are growth trends observed in requirements for teachers in specific subjects that are targeted to prepare students for the changing industrial landscape too. The demand for teachers of mathematics has sky-rocketed because of the broad applicability everywhere. So is the case for teaching resources for life sciences, computer science, information technology as well as core applied arts that are showing an upward demand curve. But everyone knows thatdoing well on just another education course doesn’t translate into work output and it is the relevance of workforce that delivers results whichis in demand.
“I would tell you not to go directly from a high school to a degree in education. I would suggest that one gets some life experience first and work for a while before they apply. This enables one to convert this back to your students when you start teaching.”
This one is Ms.Veena’s suggestion for all aspiring teachers of tomorrow.
A major reason for which international education courses are being so designed is that it converges internships and other work opportunities while studying so that trained teachers are created who have tested their methods and skills. Improving with actual industry interface gives you the edge over a digitized educational content. It helps your students benefit from your insights.
Interactive teaching labs, practical work, internships and more – Learning hands-on
How good a teacher you will be and how much you can benefit your students with your skills in a tech-age depends upon your training while you are preparing to teach. A global trend which has been observed looking at the structure of education courses in renowned institutions world-wide is the huge stress being put upon practical experience incorporated into the course. Unless one applies what, they have learned, they will never come to know how they will perform live. To be able to help create human value that imparts what computers cannot, a necessity of practical learning experience is being felt globally.
In all the better schools around the country, one can see that while the school management is upgrading their systems to create modern age education facilities, they are also hiring teaching talent that works for student’s current needs.
A huge advantage which one accrues while studying abroad is the opportunity to intern while learning or working while learning which has no substitute. It builds your resume and increases your teaching relevance.
Teachers as constant learners
More than a medium of instruction and discipline, the teacher of the future is a global leader, mentor and educator all rolled into one. There is a shift that is being observed in teaching role becoming a dynamic, evolving role that one needs to be able to execute to make it possible for education to be tailor-made, relevant, and appropriate for creating future world leaders and citizens.
More than instruction students are desirous of a flexible learning pattern that lets them generate ideas and the teacher to moderate and mentor. A student-centric teaching pattern needs teachers to be adept at improvising their methodology. It’s a learning curve for them too. Ms. Veena makes a relevant remark upon this fact for educators –
“You need to question whether you can change your practice and adapt. There are a lot of people who say that they have taught for 20/30 years and if it has worked so far then it will also work going forward. This isn’t going to work. One needs to capable of quick change and adapting(today).”
Teachers in the first world countries are more mentors than clinical disseminators of information. The benchmarks of education have changed and learning and adapting requires teachers to be a step ahead of a well programmed AI platform. In a clutter of information, teachers are helping students navigate the necessary information from the redundant. The roles for teachers are fluid and learning is constant.
Taking teaching out-of-the-box for real world learning
Students today want a chance to be heard. Students today are smarter than ever and are more inclined towards creative teaching and practical knowledge than bookish subjective knowledge. Being born in an age of technology gives them a different personality, knowledge base and a whole new set of values and ambitions. They speak the ‘global speak’ and respond to those who can. A teacher who is encouraging and facilitating will be more popular and in-demand today for his ability to make the students respond. Not everything can have a technological bottom-line as there is no replacement for human handholding and guidance.
A teacher in 2030 and beyond will not aim to create just a good student but a globally responsible, performing citizen. The roles that educators will play doesn’t decrease in scope but transforms into roles of facilitators/enablers, navigators of the ocean of information, a participant learner along with the students, more a mentor than an instructor and a guide always approachable in a time of need.
The digital revolution termed the Third Industrial Revolution by many is bringing about a paradigm shift in industry perspective. The motivation for many is not just the self but achieving a synergy between goals of self and the larger, world community. The scale of thought has become wider and the reach easier. There needn’t be a sense of foreboding regarding digitization of the educational landscape but a looking forward to ease of use achieved with technology.
With the pandemic over and the world opening, countries are welcoming international students, and one must make good on an opportunity. In addition to this there is a huge impetus being given to partnering between Indian and international educational institutions by the present Government’s Ministry of Education.
A case in point here is the deepening and strengthening of India Australia ties with the ECTA that in recent times is going from strength to strength. There is a huge scope for academic and educational resource exchange between the countries. The outlook to achieve global teaching standards looks better and easier than ever before.
Teaching is evolving and new methods are being tried the world over. Making a sense of this evolution on an international scale and gearing up with a sound practical experience will empower students of education. So, make the best of this working idea to take your learning international. Make your choice of where to apply depending on what you want to specialize in and start a fantastic career.
Wishing you luck for your future endeavours.
Meet Ms. Veena Nair
Ms. Veena Nair has been felicitated with the 2022 Australian Prime Minister’s Prize in Excellence in Science Teaching and has been awarded Teacher of the year by DATTA Australia in 2017. She is presently the Head of Technology, Viewbank College in Melbourne, Australia. She has over 20 years of trans-national teaching experience and has started her teaching journey from working with under-privileged children in Mumbai, teaching them how to code.
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