Rethinking Classroom and Pedagogy
Who is a good Teacher?
What does it mean to teach?
These are questions I have asked myself constantly and continue to ask as I enter my fourth decade of teaching. Teaching for me has been about striking a balance i.e., balancing pedagogy with lived experience inside and outside the classroom. Pedagogy to me is a method and a practice of teaching that is like a science or an art and somewhere I feel we have indeed forgotten both as we compete with larger forces beyond our control both in the classroom and outside it.
The aim of any pedagogy is the full development of the individual or the human being. There is no doubt in today’s evolving times we need a holistic pedagogic practice. But what does this entail? Does this mean a practice that changes the education/educating process/and questions our roles as teachers or educators? Does it mean that we need to raise questions about whether we as teachers are free thinkers in how we perceive our role as transmitters of knowledge, values and ideas. Or does it mean that we raise important questions about how we practice the art of teaching and aim to provide a holistic environment for our students and their growth as individuals.
Let us right at the beginning ask ourselves whether we are truly engaged in the process of educating or have we abrogated our responsibilities as teachers. One way of addressing this question, I believe, is by asking ourselves whether we are true enablers of knowledge or merely mediators of a curriculum. That is, have we become mere “masters of regurgitation” and relics of the lost art of dialogic conversation. Indeed, we live in a time and age where we have to try and find a balance between curriculum, knowledge and the market. The education system is facing an increasing need to respond to the new skills and demands generated by a rapidly changing and globalizing world. The teaching fraternity has become like a middle man between industry and society as educational institutions today are focused on churning out skilled and qualified manpower resource that can also be efficient work force in the future.