Empowering the 21st century learner
THERE was a time when the teacher was the prime, if not the only, source of knowledge for students. The same cannot be said about the 21st century learner who has many alternative sources. For those with Internet connectivity, knowledge can be obtained through the multiple search networks.
This is where the challenge lies for teachers. The 21st century learner lives in a borderless, timeless and effortless world. Learning can take place anywhere and anytime, with minimal effort. It is only the learning will that is required.
For example, students need not open a dictionary to look up the meaning of words or wait for the library to open to find books on global warming. One could simply use the online dictionary or Google to obtain information.
This raises the pertinent question: Are teachers today relevant to the 21st century learner?
Yes, and even more than before. Teachers play an integral part in the development of their students but their roles are more complex today. They are faced with clients who expect more from them. They are now facilitators. They are not input providers but guides to knowledge input. Teachers need to work in advance and tell students where knowledge can be resourced, for example by giving website links. Teachers must be technology-savvy. Lessons can be made interesting if technology is brought into the classrooms and used aptly.
Most importantly, teachers need to introduce a new learning culture in the classroom where students are empowered and learning is self-paced, self-accessed and self-directed. As facilitators, teachers should allow students to take charge of their learning through collaborative and cooperative learning practices.
In the 21st century, teaching is no longer confined to the classroom. It can extend beyond the classroom and school hours. Teachers need to increase online learning through the resources available, promote creativity and innovation and forge smart partnerships, both locally and globally.
In order for students and teachers to deliver, technology must be brought into the classroom. Initiatives by the Education Ministry to provide Internet connection to schools, software such as Frog VLE to teachers and notebooks to students deserve praise, but more needs to be done. Interruptions and slow Internet service are often cited by teachers as obstacles to the effective use of digital technology.
Simply put, if we are to progress as a nation, we must ensure that our 21st century students are well equipped with the necessary skills and expertise to face the global challenges that lie ahead. Jaginder Singh Batu Gajah The STAR Home News Opinion Letters December 4, 2015
Many ways to chronicle history
I TOTALLY agree with June H. L. Wong’s view, “This calls for DIY history” (The Star, Dec 2).
It is like sitting in a rocking chair. There’s a lot of movement but nothing happens. History is being distorted by many people whether by intention or because of sheer ignorance.
If we are so concerned then we should sit down and get experts to chronicle the actual facts and compile them in a book or publish them on the Internet for all to see.
In today’s world, it is no longer easy to lie and hide facts. People are more intelligent now and are able to access and evaluate the information for themselves. If you go to bookshops or surf the Internet, you will see that there are many books written of people who have contributed to the progress of our nation.
The various NGOs, Chinese clan associations and other organisations should take it as their duty to publish their past activities and let others know our rich history.
We should be proud of our history as some parts of our country have relics and remains of past civilizations that are even older than Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Other Asean countries like Indonesia are very proud of their heritage and promote it as tourist attractions.
This is our country. We live here, we cari makan here and we will die here. Let us not be distracted by others. Instead, look at ourselves and do our part to educate our future generations in whatever way we can. Tan Weng Hwa The STAR Home News Opinion Letters December 4, 2015