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Transcending Traditional Teaching

Transcending Traditional Teaching

“And teaching, my dear educators, is no more the same now. Thank you.”, said the conference leader and another high profile education conference came to an end. In fact, if you are a teacher you have heard this sentence hundreds of times over the past many years. This change that everyone is talking about carries a lot of uncertainty & insecurity and brings many questions to one’s mind. What has it changed to, what was it before and what will it be in future? Let’s explore and find out.

Around two decades ago, teaching was majorly dependent on teacher’s knowledge of that subject. Whatever the teacher knew and learnt was transmitted and transferred to the students. Teacher was the sole source of information and some time knowledge. But, what was teacher’s continuous source of learning? Books, libraries & other resources that teacher explored to accumulate knowledge that might be needed by the students. Teacher burnt the midnight oil to not just prepare the course topics but also, to identify relevant material out of all the material that was available in the library on that topic. Curriculum used to be a guideline and syllabus was defined internally. But, if all this knowledge was available in libraries, why did students not go to libraries and study on their own? Well, maybe there were not many libraries around and there was a lack of intrinsic motivation to go study by oneself. And even if one would reach a library full of ten thousand books, how would one identify his learning needs, how would one pick up the right books and material to initiate the learning process and last but not the least how would one keep the spirits towards learning the subject and not lose interest.

The problem of not having libraries and access to the books has been, more or less, taken care of today. An Internet enabled mobile phone has content equivalent to a million libraries with a million books each. The access to internet is increasing by the day and so is the access to the content on the internet. This should have actually led to a revolution of everyone learning something new everyday. However, that did not happen. Imagine a confused learner standing in a silent library with ten thousand books and then imagine a learner standing in a library with a billion books and a million people around him reading out content from different books, loud enough to disturb someone. Who do you think is in a better situation of learning? The technology has come with newer problems and the need of good teachers is more than ever. A good teacher has not just to study content and transmit it, but also train the learner on how to avoid distractions. An ideal teacher today should be enabling the student on what to learn and how to learn, both online and offline. A good measure to check one’s current readiness would be to verify one’s fluency with various pedagogical frameworks.

But, the point of maximum importance lies towards the future. It is being said that in another five years internet will become an invisible part of our lives, just like electricity. We would be using internet for almost everything. And every time we will use internet, we will generate data. Think of a world where a teacher might have an access to data on what the learner searched on the internet, what all did one read, how much time was spent on reading what, and which learning outcome is still not clear. A teacher might get insights and solutions based on data and might be able to change the course of a learner’s journey using technology. This teacher will have to manage what to learn oneself, what to channel to the student, how to send it to the student and how to utilize technological tools to create personalized learning paths for learners. Reading about concepts like big data, artificial intelligence, chat bots and meta cognition might be a good start point for any one looking to be ready for the future.

This is the change that everyone’s been talking about. And transcend from traditional teaching must now begin.

Rishabh is a Cognitive Scientist working on identifying teaching patterns in offline and online classrooms and creating learning paths for teachers to be ready for the future. To know more about how can teachers be ready for the future, go to or download Suraasa app from Google Play Store.

Team Suraasa has created a free tool for schools to identify their readiness on pedagogical skills. To get a copy of report for your school, kindly visit the following link and leave your interest for the same.

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