Home > Leadership and Management > Should the teacher education curriculum to be made more inclusive as learning science?

Should the teacher education curriculum to be made more inclusive as learning science?

By G. Balasubramanian

There has been enough of debate time and again and in several fora about the design and content of the teacher education curriculum in the country. Without doing any forensics on what has been on the structure and purpose of the same over the years, it is time to acknowledge that unless we move on to a design that meets the needs of the futuristic learning needs, the enlarging universe of knowledge compelling learners to engage with newer learning methods, styles and the tools. It must be understood that the integration of technology is not the singular tipping point for any new advocacy or a redefined goal. It could be just one of the several components for the teacher education curriculum.

The first principle of teaching advocated by Sri Aurobindo “The first true principle of teaching is that nothing can be taught” had raised several eyebrows who quarreled with their own selves while trying to understand the implication and depth of such a powerful statement. As the research in neuro-cognitive sciences advanced, the above statement stands vindicated.. Essentially, the focus in the classroom turns to learning and enabling it through an appropriate environment that nurtures and facilitates learning. That calls for a different role for the teacher in the classroom as a human resource developer.

The core of the current curriculum in teacher education still appears to be based on the needs defined in the industrial model of large scale reproduction of the products and services. It fails to address the life-spirit of the learner that is seeking, curious, communicative, researching, growth-oriented and liberating. The approach to standardization of learning as a common norm denies the learner the basic freedom to learn, grow and seek the unfathomed oceans of knowledge and experiences in the journey of life. Further, the current teacher education curriculum prepares the teachers to create a pre-defined learning environment that is compelling, competitive and curtailing any extended learning even within the designed corridors of learning environment. Hence the fundamental vision of the teacher education curriculum might call for a fresh thinking which is inclusive, imaginative and contextual to a community notwithstanding its relevance to a universal expansion and advancement of the human spirit and knowledge.

It is, therefore, time to relate teaching to the core findings of brains sciences embracing the understanding from the fields of neurobiology, neuro-cognition, neuropsychology and neuro-plasticity. That would indeed mean a cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approach to our understanding of the process of learning. The fact that learning is impacted by hormones, emotions and other socio-cultural needs warrants re-calibrating the curriculum beyond the data-driven approach. Preparing the teachers to the essentials of this holistic understanding of the process of learning beyond textual materials, support systems and assessment needs, appears important without any further delay. The emergence of the “Learning sciences” as a research area to understand the inter-disciplinary impacts on learning comprising several facets of inter-linked knowledge systems appears to be profound. Its inclusive approach with cognitive sciences, neurosciences, technology, design thinking, psychology and pedagogy with allied learning systems might give a deeper understanding of the process and dynamics of learning. It may be a gateway to understand the vistas of personalized learning of a learner so ‘no one size-fits all.”

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”―Sydney J. Harris