Rising Above the Curriculum: An Educator’s Prerogative

As an educator, you have taken on the mammoth task of shaping the future of our country.

However, are you fully equipped to do justice to your role? Are you truly preparing your students to face the challenges of adulthood? Or is our current education system continuing the age-old practice of information dissemination, and leaving it up to students to figure out how to apply that information in real life?

Let’s evaluate the state of two of our most popular educational streams - engineering and management. A student faces tough competition to enter into both fields, only to receive low-quality education and, consequently, poor job prospects. A recent survey by Aspiring Minds revealed that 95% software engineering graduates didn’t know how to code. An ASSOCHAM study highlighted how only 7% of MBA students from Indian business schools (barring the top 20 colleges) landed jobs upon completing their degree. Are we truly giving students every opportunity to succeed? Or are we merely disseminating information and letting them figure out what to do with it?

Technological advancements are changing the way we approach work today; automation could wipe out at least 800 million jobs by 2025. Of course, we would have newer job opportunities that require critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. Up until a few years ago, young adults could develop such skills on the job. But cutthroat competition has now made it extremely difficult to even ‘enter’ the workforce without these skills. How, then, are we preparing our youth for their adulthood?

Going Beyond the Curriculum

Even if the curriculum is updated on a weekly basis, it would be almost impossible to provide relevant, up-to-date knowledge on a particular topic - that’s how trends change in careers today. Remember that you’re disseminating information to the ‘smartphone’ generation. If they need information on a topic or concept, they simply ‘google’ it, and get millions of results in different formats. So how do you ensure that the education they are receiving is wholesome, relevant and likely to help them in the future?

Do Your Homework

Before you introduce students to a topic, do quite a bit of homework yourself. Begin by finding out how the concept has evolved. Teach them how to apply it. Even a history lesson requires a critical thinking session to help students learn from the lessons of the past; simply learning dates and events won’t help in the long run.

Experiment with Formats

Move away from the blackboard and teach students in a format they understand - through videos, podcasts, slides and infographics. Teaching a new history topic? Try getting them to enact it in class. Introducing them to a science concept? Look up a YouTube video that explains it in a fun way. The more you experiment with mediums, the more you’ll keep them hooked through the lecture!

Put Their Skills to Use

Our country works long hours to meet tight deadlines. Not every organisation has the time or resources to invest in soft-skill training. At a school or college level, students have the time to work on developing such skills. Devote a sufficient chunk of your lectures to skill-building. Help students develop skills like critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, and other skills essential for survival in the 21st-century workforce. If you need ideas, all you have to do is turn to the internet. Group activity ideas, sample projects and assignments focused exclusively on skill building are all just one Google search away.

Guide Them Towards Their Future

Your students have over 12,000 career options to choose from. No matter how internet-savvy they are, it’s impossible for them to know about all these options, let alone pick one. This results in them making hurried and inaccurate decisions, resulting in a lifetime of misery, underperformance and frustration. A recent TimesJobs survey revealed that 8 in 10 employees are dissatisfied with their current jobs.

You can help them understand their options and explore opportunities in your capacity as an educator or enrol for a career counsellor training workshop and equip yourself with the knowledge and skills required to help them make the right choice. Alternatively, your institution could partner with professional career guidance entities like Mentoria and work collaboratively to guide your students towards a happy, productive and successful life.

The world is changing dynamically, and the only way to survive - and thrive - is to keep learning, adapting and evolving. While you do so in your capacity as an educator, you can guide your students to adopt this approach early on in life in order to survive the challenges of the 21st century.

About the Author
Author: Juie Divecha

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