EXCLUSIVE: Byju’s co-founder Divya Gokulnath’s take on how the art of teaching must change on National Education Day

EXCLUSIVE: Byju’s co-founder Divya Gokulnath’s take on how the art of teaching must change on National Education Day
BYJU'S
  • Divya Gokulnath of BYJU’S writes for Business Insider on National Educational Day and how the pandemic has changed the future of teaching.
  • Due to the pandemic, almost overnight teachers across the globe successfully transitioned to online, tech-enabled classrooms.
  • In an online set-up, while the essence of teaching remains intact, the teacher is empowered to create more engaging and interactive learning experiences for students, writes Gokulnath.
If you think about it, the biggest contributors to our future don’t only sit in boardrooms or strategy meets. They happen to sit in classrooms and on the swings in the playground. It’s our children who decide what our future will be like and this makes people who impart their learning, their teachers, absolutely “essential and critical”. While the world had its lens focussed on the pandemic, the last few months have been challenging for education as well. According to UNESCO, the routines of roughly a billion learners were disrupted due to pandemic closures.

With the virus spreading at unprecedented rates, the future of learning stood at a crossroads. However, human ingenuity came quickly to the rescue; and we collectively realised that to prevent negative long-term effects of this disruption in education, we had to implement technology.

And implement technology we did! Almost overnight teachers across the globe successfully transitioned to online, tech-enabled classrooms. What might have otherwise been a herculean task was executed to perfection by dedicated, driven teachers. The satisfaction of teaching students and seeing them achieve success is like none other, and with online learning, teachers are now positively impacting a much larger set of students.

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With the impact of teaching finally getting its due, India is poised to make teachers for the world in what I believe will be a return to the Golden Age of Teaching. As a country with a large, aspirational youth now is the time we can create high quality and high paying jobs in a profession that has remained under appreciated for far too long.

The pandemic teaching report card

Learning to teach using technology is not a simple task. Doing it overnight is even more commendable. Traditionally teachers have always been comfortable with direct classroom interaction. But to be able to teach comprehensively without the student in front of you is a whole new ball game. Teachers have picked this up beautifully with little to no formal training and are doing some incredible work out there. Despite their own hurdles and challenges, they are relentlessly helping students everywhere learn better to the best of their capabilities.

In addition, over the last few months teachers have also adapted to their changing role as mentors and communicators as they help their students navigate this pandemic through a virtual medium. With rapid up-skilling teachers have proven once again that their grit and dedication for work is unparalleled.
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Technology as an enabler for teachers

A teacher will always be crucial to the effective learning process of any student, whether it is in a physical classroom or an online learning environment. In fact, in an online set-up, while the essence of teaching remains intact, the teacher is empowered to create more engaging and interactive learning experiences for students.

I strongly believe that using visuals, animated videos and game-based quizzes, has made me a better teacher. By giving students a front-row seat to their own learning in the online format, teachers can fulfil their roles of mentors and guides much more effectively.

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However, to make this incorporation of technology truly successful, skill development for teachers in the use of technology is a primary and immediate need. Online learning rides on the troika of world-class content, engagement and personalization.

To stay in sync, teachers will need the necessary training to leverage technology to its full potential. I believe strong leadership in school systems that can help identify and fast-track this upskilling will play a crucial role too. Implementing technology doesn’t only help the teaching community educate effectively, but it also gives them the opportunity to be better mentors to their students. Teachers have already proved that nothing can stop them from imparting knowledge, let’s give them the right tools through technology and help them do their jobs even better!

The future of teaching

Over the past few months, there has been a significant mindset shift with parents and students whole-heartedly embracing online learning. According to our own research, 75% of parents want their children to continue learning online even after school closures end. However, post the pandemic it is most likely that a blended learning approach, with both offline and online methods, will emerge as the winner. To meet the demands of this evolving format, the role of the teacher will go much beyond textbook “teaching”.
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Teachers build the citizens of tomorrow in the classrooms of today. To help them equip their students for a digital world we need to first equip our teachers with the right technology. With the right support, a spirit to experiment and an open mind, I believe we can help teachers step into the Golden Age of Teaching with their best foot forward.

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