These three elements play key role in learning process. Unfortunately, our education system in vague has, so far, failed to synchronise these three basic elements with capacities, capabilities of the children coming from various socio-economic backgrounds entering in our school system.
No doubt Learning is hard work for the children at entry level and needs a lot of effort for both teachers and students when they face with ambiguity of content, concepts and language. It does not need to be a process that breaks the spirit of our children or puts unhealthy levels of pressure on them during the learning process in class rooms.Ambiguities in content, concept and language has resulted in learning poverty’: a child is ‘learning poor’ whether he or she is in school or out of school, and is not reaching a particular level of learning/ skill that is expected from them. Learning poverty, in Pakistan, even for basic literacy and numeracy skills that are expected to be acquired in the early grades, is quite high.
three points must be focused upon to make learning process a children’s friendly and reimagine school education without further loss of time and resources.First, about content. In this regard, author Kay Bentley set out to answer some key questions about teaching content to young learners: what do we actually mean by ‘content’, how can we motivate students to learn it, and why is it important to teach it to young learners?What do we mean by content?Kay answered the first of these questions by explaining that ‘content’ is the subject-specific language required to think about the concepts involved in school subjects. To find out what this language is, we need to look at the subjects students are learning in their first language, and specifically the learning outcomes. These outcomes will show us the language that students need to learn.Successfully motivating students to learn about subject content begins by activating their prior knowledge of the subject topic. Photos can be a great way of doing this, stimulating learners’ curiosity and getting them talking.With regard to concepts, there is a need to move away from rote learning as the child must understand the concepts.Second, schools should strengthen the child’s cognitive, spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects.Third, better pedagogical approaches must be applied in classroom management.teachers are responsible to educate the children for the future. The future is unpredictable as most of the jobs we have today will become obsolete in the years to come and most of the jobs of the future do not exist today.At the national level, the rote learning method should be changed to a concept-based learning approach.that a child must be able to explain a certain idea to anyone, without the need to memorize the definitions in the first place.At the international level, we must forge age-old grade-based learning and replace it with concept-based learning.four parts of the curriculum that must be worked upon and streamlined. They are standards, textbooks, teachers, and assessments.The last but not the least is medium of instruction in the class. Language is the biggest bearer in learning process particularly for those children who come from poor socio-economic backgrounds.Imagine sitting in a classroom where students who know only Pashtoo or Urdu cannot understand the learning material – suppose that the lecture is in Chinese or Japanese. This is what is happening in our schools and now even colleges.Young children beginning primary school are taught in English at various English-medium schools set up in the private sector and are also expected to learn in English.Many Urdu-medium government schools are also offering lessons in English which are so poorly taught that the graduates of these schools – even at the university level where English is the medium of instruction – are not able to understand the language as compared with students in lower classes in private schools.According to teachers and academics, in Pakistan, it takes a university student around seven to eight hours to read the same text that a native English speaker would read in one hour.This is true for primary school children who struggle for over two or three hours to read a lesson, which, in an elite private school where English is the medium of instruction, would be read in under 30 minutes by a student.This is a major problem and means that children simply cannot comprehend what they are learning and are therefore forced to adopt rote learning as the only method of passing examinations – writing down sentences and phrases they do not understand but have memorised.The current situation should be compared with that in the rest of the world.
The policy makers at government level and educationists must understand the dent done to our education system due to flawed approach to all three, content, concept and language. They must take the cognisance of the matter and must overhaul/reform the education system, making it children friendly and result oriented.
Sher Khan Bazai is a former Secretary of Education in Balochistan, Pakistan