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Education General Learning

Learning Through Questions- The ‘Ws and H’ That Assist you in Learning

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What, Why, When, Which, and How—these words shape questions that foster thinking in our minds. The students need questions to indulge their brains in high-order thinking and enforce evaluation of the curriculum through their own skills. The age-old pattern of classroom learning has, since then, seen modifications in a lot of ways, though the practice of questions has maintained its consistency.

Asking questions is most efficient if it’s a two-way process. As such students should cater to their curiosity through questions and teachers must inculcate asking questions in their method of teaching and communicating with students. This enables better engagement in classrooms and helps understand the level of understanding each student has gained in what is being taught.

Want to know more about why asking questions in a classroom is important? Read Here

It is important to know what to ask and when to ask it. This assists the entire process of learning and aids a better understanding in the long run. We can classify questions into types based on characteristics and the kind of answers they receive. Analyzing these categories of questions is extremely important. It promotes reasoning, problem-solving, evaluation, and the formulation of hypotheses.

 Asking Open-Ended and Closed-Ended Questions

These two kinds of questions are the most basic types of questioning that follow a classroom session. close-ended questions are extremely objective in nature, while a direct question is asked with the purpose of gaining a direct answer. This questioning is done by both students and teachers, with the goal of evaluating the level of understanding on both ends. These are fairly easy to tackle. Although they do not compel students to think hard and provide opinions or analyse a topic, they are extremely useful.

On the other hand, open-ended ones are extremely subjective. They require thinking, processing, evaluating, and analyzing. They majorly assist the teachers to inculcate deeper learning in students by helping them create their own perspectives.

Students use open-ended questions to their teachers, which not only fosters their ability to compartmentalize what is being taught to them but also shows fruitful and active involvement. ‘Why do you think this happened?’ or ‘What are your opinions on this issue?’ or ‘How would this issue have affected the other?’. These kinds of questions usually have more than one correct answer and therefore, foster creative thinking—a major factor of growth in young minds.

Metacognitive Questions by Teachers

 Metacognition in simple words is thinking about one’s own thinking. For students, metacognition is a practice that fosters them to evaluate their own perceptions, answers, and opinions. A teacher can enforce Meta Thinking in the classroom.

Simple questions, placed strategically within the lecture duration, can enforce excellent metacognition in students and stay with them for their life. These questions can hinder or enhance creative thinking, given the context a teacher uses them.

Consider these two questions: ‘Which of these makes more sense?’ versus ‘which of these makes more sense according to you?’ The structuring of the question is similar in both. But, the first question suggests a cognition in students that implies that the teacher has already chalked out the correct answer. If you can point out the correct one, you’re smart, and if you fail to do so, you’re not.

The second question, however, centers around fostering creative thinking in students. It compels students to internalize all possible answers and evaluate them on their own. Metacognitive questioning doesn’t pressurize the students into thinking there’s a right answer they need to figure out. It simply evokes curiosity so that they grind their minds using all the opinions and perceptions that they build while retaining.

If a student has difficulty answering metacognitive questions, it is a clear indication that the problem doesn’t lie in their inability to retain knowledge. It is confidence and self-efficacy that they lack. The teacher then focuses on these problems instead of casting off the child as slow learners.

Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy

Low and high-order division of questions influences the Taxonomy theory heavily. However, this classification brings only cognition into focus. These two cognitive categories include lower order ( for memory, rote, and simple recall) and higher-order ( for more demanding and exacting thinking).

Taxonomy, however, expanded itself into not one but three domains, one of them being cognition. The other two domains are psychomotor and affective, all three of which overlap with each other. These three domains are co-dependent on each other, with the most basic level being cognition.

Taxonomy assists teachers in dividing the difficulty level of questions to ask the students. It is a method for students to not only self-evaluate but also develop understanding from a basic level before moving higher up.

Taxonomy states six steps for clearing concepts, each step having its own sets of questions. Once students resolve these questions, they can move forward to the next. Each step assists in answering the next one. Hence, by the end, students are able to fully grasp the topic.

Conclusion

These methodologies, at their core, inculcate intelligent questioning in classrooms. Questions tend to boost the level of retention in a class. It also increases student engagement and is the best way to facilitate understanding and grasping the nuances of a topic. Asking questions has been proven to be profoundly fruitful by generations of theorists and educational psychologists. It will continue being essential till classrooms are facilitated by the two-way interaction system, amongst the teacher and students.

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Education General Learning

Education’s need for Liberation

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Education has been the basis of setting standards for gaining a position in society for centuries. Periods and eras passed, and the methods and purpose of providing education transformed. Different regions of the world used different approaches to impart education. But throughout the world, the purpose of providing education remains the same—to liberate a child from the binding shackles of illiteracy.

Education has shown a consistency of being enlightening, assisting students to grow, develop, and enhance their skills alongside. But somewhere along the way, the ultimate goal of enrichment of a student through education has somehow shifted to this grubby race of scores and marks, following an objectively repetitive pattern of learning.

There can be a litany of complaints that one can put forward if asked what is wrong with today’s education. Students growing out of the system of authority, burned out and overworked teachers, inadequate methods of assessment of intellect, and unaffected students are some of them.

Added to the list are a slow adaptation to the fast-growing technology, inconsistent and unequal school funding, and a general lack of relevancy that has been caused by years of repetitive teaching methods and course work. However, perhaps the greatest drawbacks of the education system currently have been the conventional pedagogy of depending on books to hone skills.

Therefore, the liberation that one expects after receiving formal education does not do much in carving a competent person and ready to face the world. What exactly are these limitations that need an alteration or at least require renewing to keep up with contemporary times and the fast-evolving species of humans?

The Limitations of a Four-Walled Classroom Education

It has been around a year and a half into the pandemic now. The location of receiving education might have changed from a formal classroom to a digital screen, but the confines of learning remain the same.

Online learning did prove to be a revolution of its own. But with it came the realization that the system of education was majorly lacking. Students had grown extremely used to confining within the four walls to receive an education. So much so that adapting to learning from home became a huge challenge. Around 70% of the teachers had to design their courses anew, with assignments designed for a more holistic evaluation.

What’s upsetting is that students have never been led out of the classroom walls into the world to learn. Being in this restrictive schooling environment had inhibited their development, and it took the pandemic for us to realize that. The inflexibility in teaching is the reason why students are finding it so hard to adapt themselves to studying online. Many theorists have argued for the notion of schools killing students’ creativity—a fact that has been proved by compelling life examples of geniuses like Albert Einstein and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Restrictive System of Evaluation

Students are taught certain topics in certain periods of time, after which they have to answer questions that test their subjective and objective understating of it. Learning and cramming for the sake of scoring well in the exams, instead of committing it to the long-term memory has sadly become a very common practice.

Researchers and education reformists have brought this practice to the attention of education institutions several times. What education really needs today is a better motivator to enhance the skills of the students. Scoring well in exams can be that motivator. However, in today’s education system, good scores only mean cramming and purging on the answer paper. Then, completely wiping it out of the memory and moving on to the next course.

Standardized Tests

It might not be an easy feat to achieve, but it is high time the way of evaluation changes in the education system. The comprehensive learning of students requires a challenge—in a way that will compel them to truly submerge their minds in the concepts educators try to teach them. They need to be able to know everything that they’ve been learning, ten years from now. Only then is education actually fulfilling its purpose.

The present evaluation methods have inhibited a lot of students who face examination anxiety from performing to their full potential. We need a major change in the way knowledge is evaluated.

Need for change in Education Policies

Reforms worldwide keep education on a huge pedestal to evaluate the prosperity and intellect of the entire country. Evaluating scholars through their IQs, and comparing their marks and scores has become a norm. Each country has ranked on the basis of the students who are able to ace these standardized tests.

It is perhaps time to realize the flaw in this system. There is a need to acknowledge the unfairness of grouping multiple kinds of intelligence, aptitudes, and skills and grade them under one. Furthermore, it is time to realize that not every student learns in the same way. Thus, they require customized evaluation methods.

The policymakers need to leave the age-old methods that they were raised into. Instead, they should revolutionize education on a global level. The stagnation in this structure has stopped benefiting the evolving society and the new-age students. So an in-depth change is the need of the hour.

Each country might have different needs, based on the culture, diversity, and upbringing of the youth. Yet no one can deny that education has been in a rut for far too long now across the globe. Change, therefore, is necessary and should ideally start from the policymakers. Then, institutions need to implement those changes to see a positive transformation in students.     

Limitation of Education

Conclusion

The picture that today’s education system portrays, with high IQ people gaining relative success, is certainly pretty. But what gets blurry are students who have been a victim of this one-track train wreck side of education. Those students were never able to reach their full potential because the current education system could give them a platform. The cliché of a student being good in either sports or studies to reach somewhere in life needs to break from the school level itself. And a revamp of the entire system is just what the doctor recommends!

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Develpoment Education General

Education Systems That Lead The World

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Education systems across the globe have had different outlooks on imparting knowledge. The world has been a global hub for learning, with educational institutions being the bridge. Education systems vary depending on the culture and values of the people of the country. The policies and structures that the government of the country enforces play a strong role as well.

In global rankings, countries like UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Denmark, among others, have the highest rankings. However, Finland’s education system has consistently topped the charts over the years. This analysis is based on the country’s average student test scores in subjects like mathematics, science, and reading. Apart from that, matters like literacy rate, high school, and college enrollment rates, and international student ratios are also considered.

Education Policies of Finland

Education in Finland

Finland has managed to outrank UK and USA education systems in the above criterion. This is because the country follows a dedicated and systematic approach to learning. Finland adopts a very systematic and comprehensive curriculum with a design to ensure that root-level learning is elevated.

Finnish schools focus on high-quality infrastructure and other facilities. Tuition is free for students from the EU, European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland. Additionally, it is mandatory for most teachers and educators to have a master’s degree.

Finnish schools empower some core principles from the first stage of education. A child does not require to enroll in a school until they turn six. Though if a parent wishes, facilities like expansive early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs are available.

The Finnish government keeps reforming its education system to work with the latest trends. Its most recent reform shifts the attention of a learner from the classic ‘what to learn.’ Instead, it aims to inculcate a ‘how to learn’ mindset. Finnish education focuses well on helping a student get employed by training them to avoid-dead ends from an early stage.

UK’s Evolved Education

UK’s education emphasizes on analytical and practical thinking, dividing studies into different levels. The four levels include primary, secondary, further, and higher education. Students can choose if they wish to study further after each of these levels.

The most revolutionary system of evaluation in UK is perhaps its quality assurance system. The Quality Assurance Agency is an independent auditing agency. It is responsible for reviewing and comparing government controlled universities and colleges of the country regularly. They post their results on their website online

UK’s education ranks high on international students’ desirability index. Their teaching methodology breaks the barriers of classroom walls and implores students to venture out. Furthermore, scholarships, bursaries, grants, fellowships, and all sorts of financial aid are available for students with real potential and caliber.

UK is also the proud establisher of one of the highest globally accepted tests of the world the IELTS. Today, all major global universities have accepted IELTS as an assessment of English Language for non-native English speaking students. This includes most institutions of Australia, UK, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and more than 3,000 colleges, universities, and other institutions in the USA.

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USA’s Progressive Learning Systems

While the UK enforces the choice of choosing specializations quite early in the students, the USA’s Education System believes in teaching all major subjects till they earn their High School Diploma. USA’s education system focuses majorly on examinations and grades, which becomes an important deciding factor for students for enrolling in major universities of the country.

US academic system has three stages, i.e. Elementary school, Middle school, and High School, where importance is given to building foundations in English language and Mathematics.

The biggest difference in the US education system from its counterparts is that here there is an option of studying major subjects like Mathematics and Science sequentially rather than simultaneously like others. There is a choice for the student to complete Physics in one grade and Mathematics or Chemistry in another. The only end goal is to finish off with everything to earn a diploma after the 12th or the senior year.

Education in USA

Global Education Systems have managed to connect continents for centuries. With each country looking to outshine the others in matters of education, competition is tough. The responsibility of curating a top-notch education system, that caters to a global audience is what separates these countries from others in the field.

In the coming decades though, new players will be emerging with progressive policies for education. Gradually it seems, no education system shall be out of reach for those who really wish to advance in fields of their choice.