21ST Century Education.....
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said "LEARN HOW TO DO THINGS BY DOING THEM AND NOT BY JUST LEARNING ABOUT THEM".
Times have changed and we stand today on the edge of a new frontier. Rapid advances in technology have led to profound shifts in how we live, communicate and work. To prepare our students for the world they will soon enter and for a future we cannot yet imagine, education must not only adapt to these changes, but innovate.
Today’s children are educated with Knowledge by virtue of the influence of access to the internet, electronic media and innumerable books. Students are turned into “Good Little Consumers”. The extremely competitive atmosphere to get into the premier institutions, puts them through gruelling hours of practices and unending classes and study hours. But, is it needed, How prepared are our children to face the challenges which the new millennium poses? What makes our children stand out and flourish among the cut-throat competitive world ?
Albert Einstein rightly said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, Imagination encircles the world”.
21ST century learning requires students to think, solve problems, nurture curiosity and ask questions – skills that will meet the demands of future economies, skills they will need to be successful in college, career and life. Students need to build on past achievements and move forward with ambitious goals.
As students strive to develop within the global community they need to know how education can make life awesome. Exams should be seen as challenges rather than problems. Learning should be made ideally fun and not stressful.
In the last decade numerous reports have been published calling for reforms in education. Each report has highlighted the importance of early experiences in science so that students develop problem solving skills that empower them to participate in an increasingly scientific and technological world.
Understanding the limitations of the present educational system and the ever-increasing needs of the modern day, we at MARS have evolved a model to help a student to, not just cope up but, excel in academics and always stay ahead of the peers. This would be achieved through an exciting, hands-on and experiential approach for the students without burdening them.
Research has shown that hands-on approach deepens our understanding and help us go beyond simple factual information. It is this deeper understanding that sharpens the problem solving skills of the students in a real-life situation.
Let us consider an example :
A secondary school student is introduced to the terms current and voltage in physics, along with resistance, charge, power and capacitance among several others. In our colloquial terms, current and voltage are used as synonyms, however, in reality they are very different. A physics textbook would define them as follows – Current is the rate of flow of charge in a conductor while Voltage is the difference in electric potential energy between two points per unit electric charge.
Going by these definitions, most students would never be able to find out the difference between current and voltage and being able to solve numerical problems is a distant thought. Most teachers are also unsuccessful in drawing simple yet correct analogies to explain these ‘complex’ definitions.
A student at MARS would learn about these concepts in 2 stages :
By the end of these 2 activities, every student would be able to observe a similarity between – how fast the bucket gets filled and how much current flows; the height of the tank or the water in the tank and the voltage. So current is a measure of how fast the charges flow while voltage is a measure of how much the charges get pushed. More the push, higher the speed! So higher voltage means higher current.
Generally, it is believed that such sessions would take more time. It is a myth! This session would take almost the same time as a regular teacher would take to teach in a class through a lecture (it does require better preparedness from the teachers). However, this experience would be remembered by the students for a lifetime and is worth all the effort. Every session at MARS would be an experience! (not a class)
We at MARS believe that sky is the limit for human potential. Starting from the school curriculum, we create a roadmap for the students to explore, understand and apply the knowledge to reach great heights. The content for each age group (13 – 18 years) is designed to strike a balance between the students’ potential, school curriculum and the demands of the competitive examinations. Over 5 years, each student learns Mathematics (including Mental Ability) and Science as necessary skills and not as subjects with no-connection to each other. The curriculum is divided into 12 themes for the age group of 13 – 16 years and 15 themes for the age group of 16 – 18 years.
Each theme is designed so as to connect the class 8 to class 12 CBSE textbook to the IIT / PMT exam syllabus over the 5 years.
It is important to note that the theme of light in 8th standard would lay the foundation to the understanding of several other areas of the curriculum like electromagnetic waves, dual nature of matter and radiation, atoms and nuclei and communication systems. Learning through the thematic approach, a student would be able to relate each of these chapters of the syllabus instead of seeing them as water-tight compartments.
Speed of light, for example, is introduced in 8th standard to explain refraction and dispersion of light (and later refractive index in 10th standard). The same concept is used in explaining each of the concepts not just in Light / Optics but also in electromagnetic waves, dual nature of matter and radiation, atoms and nuclei, communication systems and relativity.
IIT JEE has no practical examination component. However, the syllabus does have a section dedicated to the Experimental skills. The questions asked in the examination can only be answered accurately if the students have an experience in handling the equipment and conducting the experiments.
The thematic approach enables the student to understand and appreciate science and mathematics as one and not as 20 or 30 independent chapters. The content and the teaching methodologies for the 5 years are carefully designed so as to :
Kindle interest through introductory sessions and interactions with experts in the respective fields.
Explore newer areas through the hands-on sessions and take home activities.
Deepen understanding through the discussions & problem-solving sessions under the guidance of trained facilitators.
Monitor the students’ progress and provide necessary additional inputs regularly.
Results in Board Exams and Competitive Examinations like NTSE, KVPY, IIT, PMT etc. will follow.
All of these can be achieved without overburdening the student.
Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “We cannot build the future for our youth—but we can build our youth for the future”.
It is our duty to do whatever we can to help our students connect learning with real life and to provide them with the necessary skills to prepare them for success.