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Education General Learning

Educational Freedom – Myth or Reality?

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Say, you want to be a musician. Would you rather spend your time learning calculus or mastering your instrument? Learners often don’t have an option between the two and have to balance between the two. Educational freedom changes the ball game by giving you options.

Understanding Educational Freedom

Educational freedom is the right to make educational choices without the State’s interference. It involves parents and children being able to choose their education based on their views as well as perceptions. With 155 of 195 countries recognizing the right to basic education legally, it is becoming something of a globally accepted concept.

However, educational freedom involves a little more than just access to education. Educational freedom means that faculty have more accountability, and students get to explore their views without being influenced by the perspective of the faculty or institution. It also means that there isn’t much direct interference from the government or any other external facilities.

Educational Freedom vs Right to Education

Although easy to confuse, there is quite a difference between ‘Right to Education’ and ‘Educational Freedom’. While the former is more of recognizing education as a necessary service, the latter focuses more on what the term education constitutes.

Most education systems take on a one-size-fits-all approach. The issue with this is there are different types of learners and learning styles. Having a standardized approach, therefore, can be a hassle than it is useful. These systems don’t necessarily encourage questioning in classrooms. Instead, they try to motivate students towards increasing academic scores.

The assumption that all children must be interested to learn all courses offered is another issue with mandatory imposition of specific syllabi. It is important for younger minds to be exposed to wider subjects to explore their interests. Moreover, this approach may not be productive for slightly older learners. Imposing subjects that learners are not keen towards could potentially undermine their actual interests and bore them.

Therefore, it is safe to say that education is in dire need of liberation.

Benefits and Components

Freedom of education involves classes that aren’t mandatory. There are no compulsions on mandatory subjects or levels of attendance. Instead, parents understand their natural inclination and support them. Education has more impact when children aren’t learning something specific out of parental pressure.

The benefits of academic freedom extend beyond just for the professors, students, and institutions. The society also benefits from broader perspectives and improved innovations. It cultivates creative thinking and helps students to express views that they may disagree with. Faculty get to pick which teaching methods they find most effective. In turn, students are able to understand in order to draw their own conclusions 

Current Scenario of Educational Freedom

Global Public Policy Institute index on educational freedom
Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi)

This Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) index shows countries in North America, Armenia, and so on, seeing a higher educational freedom index. On the other hand, China and the UAE rank lower in the educational freedom index. The index clearly shows the need for more freedom in education across the world.

Conclusion

Human beings are quite similar anatomically. However, when it comes to learning capabilities, the differences are apparent. As such, we need an education system that can cater to different learners and learning styles. Educational freedom plays an important role here. The more freedom of choice learners have, the better they can design their future. So, a musician need not learn string theory and can focus on music theory.

Additional resources: 

https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2010/12/21/defining-academic-freedom

https://www.google.co.in/books/edition/Educational_Freedom_in_Eastern_Europe/hj2SNOyH9QIC?hl=en&gbpv=0

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Education

Can Education Change Society? Let’s Find Out.

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What do you think? Can education change society?

Education is the cornerstone of the success of any society. It plays a very important role in all stages of society, no matter which country or region you belong to. The skills and understanding of life and all areas required to successfully govern and manage society.

Lack of education has plunged society into poverty, weakness, dependence, and low living standards. Therefore, the real purpose of education is to create an educated and well-informed society. So, can education change society? The short answer is yes.

How can education change society?

Education is the most powerful weapon which can use to change the world

– Nelson Mandela

Education plays a vital role in changing people’s way of thinking and actively transforming society. Through education, people are more aware of the necessary steps to achieve change. People become more informed and push inventions through. Society changes as a result.

Without education, people will be stuck in a certain way of thinking or a certain path. This mentality is passed down from previous generations. People whose parents are farmers are more likely to become farmers. When the majority of the population has no education, they tend to stay in their circle or class. Education is the transmission of knowledge from generation to generation.

So, let’s understand the subject through the following points that characterize the role of education in society.

Aid to Progress

Better education opens up endless possibilities, especially in an era when technology and education ensure that opportunities are not restricted by geographical areas. Innovation and creativity can only occur when people are skilled enough to know how to operate with different technologies. Educated people always use better methods to find solutions to problems.

Education helps to eradicate poverty because educated people can find good jobs and meet all the basic requirements of their families.

It helps us improve our work efficiency

As we all know, the more degrees you have, the better your economic performance. There is a deep connection between education and productivity. In an era of constant competition, education makes industry prosper and, by extension, a nation flourish.

So, a good education is not just about going to school or getting a degree. The country’s trade will also flourish easily if its citizens are well educated. It helps them to become self–reliant and build trust among them to accomplish difficult tasks. Education also improves living standards.

Education provides strength to society

Education helps transform weakness into strength. Moreover, education makes us believe that we can stand up for ourselves, improve our decision-making capabilities, allow us to move, and give us access to social media.

Many studies have shown that in countries where women face gender prejudice, education helped them cope against marital violence, improved their decision-making capabilities, and helped them take control of their lives. This will bring about tremendous development in society and the country.

Due to lack of education, many suffer from hardships of discrimination, untouchability, and prevailing injustices in society. If the majority of the population will get an education, this will ultimately lead to the uplifting of the economically weaker social classes.

Education helps build a better society

Educated people are more likely to develop higher moral and ethical values ​​than uneducated people. Lack of education can lead to problems such as superstition, domestic violence, poor health, and low living standards.

Education provides equal opportunities for men and women, and educated people can build a better society. Furthermore, it gives one exposure to global perspectives and news, reducing misinformation and misconception. So, without a good education, there can be no better society.

Education enables reading and writing

“A man without education is like a building without foundation.”

Education helps a person read and write. Most of the information is provided in writing. A person with this reading ability is said to be educated—you can read books, newspapers, and symbols.

Education also helps to read signs on the street, in stores, at the bus, train, and flight stations. It also helps them in their daily activities such as banking, shopping, money transactions, and many more. When the majority of the society has such individuals, there is an improvement of living standards and quality of improvement.

In Conclusion

There are many reasons why education plays such an important role in society. Education allows people to lead a better lifestyle and make appropriate political decisions. It also promotes democracy and opposes dictatorial movements. Education also helps, directly and indirectly, in the prevention of disease and epidemics. Thus, education creates better communications and promotes dialogues between various peoples of the world.

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Develpoment Education

What is Sustainable Education and Why is it Important?

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We live in the era of Information and Technology. Today, we are surrounded by knowledge and have answers that were once even beyond imagination.

What is the Earth made of? How does the moon taste? What are stars? How do Robots work? We know all this today but at the cost of our natural resources. For centuries, we have been burning through our resources in order to satiate our undying curiosity. Now, just like Robert Frost, we have reached a fork in our path and must choose which road we must take.

Sustainable Education or Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) promotes the development of skills and values required to create a sustainable future.

Sustainable Future

Sustainable education for the future
Source

So, what exactly is a Sustainable Future? Well, it refers to creating a future in which we are no longer threatened. A future that ensures environmental protection and conservation, promotes social equity, and encourages economic sustainability.

[Economic Sustainability promotes using, safeguarding, and sustaining resources (human and material) to create long-term sustainable values by optimal use, recovery, and recycling.]

In many ways, Sustainable Future does seem like a utopian society, and hence, a pipedream. However, sustainable education is something that will help us close this gap.

A Sustainable Future is a necessity to ensure the survival of Earth and its denizens. We are bound to run out of resources. Therefore, it is important to put our future needs ahead of our current needs.

~Here is an article from UNESCO on the importance of Sustainable Education.~

Tips for Teaching Sustainability

Teaching sustainability
Source

All the tips that I’m about to mention are from an excellent research article you can find here. I will be shortening the points in order to try to get them across easily.

1. Student OverLoad

Firstly, teachers should see to it that students don’t get overwhelmed or depressed by the global environmental crises. Emotional overload can make the student feel powerless or even resentful, which can disrupt the learning process.

Instead, teachers should discuss environmental success stories. This may include discussion of environmental policies or movements that have succeeded in mitigating pollution, conserving resources, or promoting ecological resiliency.

2. Quality of Life Issues

Students learning about environmental issues for the first time can easily feel that their entire lifestyle is threatened by resource limits and the environmentalists who champion living simply.

Furthermore, educators can sometimes add to this sense of threat by taking a moralizing prescriptive and unyielding approach to more sustainable lifestyles. 

Therefore, a better way to approach the issues is defining happiness and quality of life.

3. Things to Teach

Firstly, teachers must engage the students with group discussions. Doing so will allow cross-communication among them. This can also lead to problem-solving sessions and debates; teachers can also assign group projects for this.

Teachers must also teach students to analyze data for themselves. Rather than just reading about data, they should have the ability to decode data and analyze it for themselves. This will not only give them insight but also empower them.

Spend time investigating the historical origins and conflicting uses of environmental terminology such as “sustainability,” “environmentalism,” “stewardship,” and “nature”.

Some of the topics that are important here are:

* Precautionary Principle

The precautionary principle states that, if an action risks causing harm to the public or the environment, and there is no scientific consensus that it is indeed harmful, the burden of proof that it is NOT harmful falls on those taking the action.

* Interdisciplinarity

A critical and thorough understanding of issues related to environmental sustainability necessarily involves contributions from a wide variety of disciplines. Therefore, learning about the interdisciplinary nature of sustainable actions is necessary.

* #Envision2030

Finally, let’s talk about Envision 2030. In September 2015, the General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The new Agenda emphasizes a holistic approach to achieving sustainable development for all.

Of course, Sustainable Education is necessary for us to achieve these goals, everyone should be educated about them and actively work towards them.

Sustainable development goals
Source

The Sustainable Development Goals are:

  1. No Poverty
  2. Zero Hunger
  3. Good Health and Well-being
  4. Quality Education
  5. Gender Equality
  6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  10. Reduced Inequality
  11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  13. Climate Action
  14. Life Below Water
  15. Life on Land
  16. Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
  17. Partnerships to achieve the Goal

Conclusion

I hope you understand the dire need for Sustainable Education. The good news is that we are close to our goals. The more people who support sustainable Education, the closer we get to saving our planet. So, let us take the pledge to promote Sustainable Education and be sustainable in our daily lives.

Categories
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 Learning

Different Types of Learners and How to Teach them Effectively

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Learning is an important experience for people of all ages, but is effective only when done right. There are different types of learners; each with a specific way of learning. Research shows that there are many ways to remember and process information. We all experience the world in our own way, and this is how we learn better.

Students with disabilities are taught in a different way. We follow this to ensure they learn effective. A similar approach is needed for each student out there, as their learning style may not be the same as another student. Understanding these different types of learning will have a huge impact on how teachers manage students, create group projects, and personalize one-on-one courses.

Without understanding and recognizing these different learning styles, teachers could end up leaving a handful of students lagging behind their classmates, partly because their unique learning styles are not involved. Learning styles and preferences come in different forms, and not everyone belongs to the same category.

In a previous article, we covered different learning styles. Continuing the discussion forward, in this article, we will discuss different types of learners and how to teach them effectively.

Visual (Spatial) Learner

Visual learners retain information more effectively by using visual aids such as pictures, movie clips, colors, charts, and diagrams. They also have a good understanding of visual data presented in maps, charts, and graphs. Students who learn by sight understand information better when it is presented visually. These are your doodling students, list makers, and note-takers.

Visual teaching methods for learners

  • Get students to visualize using phrases, such as, “Imagine,” “Let’s see what you would do.”
  • Avoid large blocks of text.
  • Use storytelling for visualization
  • Color or highlight the important points in the text.
  • Color-code and organize all the materials you provide as this helps organize things in their minds.

Tactile(kinesthetic) Learner

The kinesthetic learner learns through movement. Learning exercises and role-playing are very helpful. They enjoy engaging in acting out events or touching and manipulating with their hands to understand concepts. These types of learners may find it difficult to sit still. They are usually good at sports or like dancing and may need to take more frequent breaks while studying.

Methods for teaching Tactile Learner

  • Let them interact with physical objects or solve puzzles.
  • Provide real-world examples, such as case studies.
  • Invite them to teach some of the content of the lesson to other members of the class.
  • Standing and walking exercises are very effective.
  • Use physical exercises and provide hands-on experiences.

Verbal (linguistic) Learner

Verbal learner prefers to use words and language skills when speaking and writing, such as, reading, writing, listening, or speaking. They like word games, puns, and rhymes, etc, and are usually powerful speakers.

Methods for teaching verbal learners

  • Invite them to discuss or demonstrate.
  • Include quizzes in your classroom.
  • Utilize role-playing games, such as interactions between employees and customers.
  • Suggest that they re-read and rewrite their notes, including summaries.
  • Use of written and oral teaching activities.

Aural (auditory) Learner

Aural learners have to hear something to process it. They prefer to read aloud when presented with written material and enjoy lecture format learning. These types of learners respond to sounds, music, recordings, rhymes, rhythms, etc. They can remember conversations well, and music triggers an emotional response in them.

Methods for teaching aural learners

  • Let students work in pairs to explain concepts to each other.
  • Use mnemonic devices and rhymes.
  • If reading is required, suggest audiobooks.
  • When explaining a story, play relevant sounds on your computer.
  • Initiate group discussions so that their auditory and verbal processors can properly take in and understand the information presented.

Logical (mathematical) Learners

Logical or mathematical learners use logic and structures to learn effectively. If you’re good at numbers and statistics, you are most likely a logical learner. Logical Learners are particularly good at analyzing cause-effect relationships.

Methods for teaching logical learners

  • Add critical thinking exercises.
  • Provide statistics and facts.
  • After presenting evidence, ask them to draw a conclusion.
  • Provide the class with problem-solving tasks.
  • Challenge them to work things out for themselves.

Summing Up

To summarize, there is no wrong learning method or superior type of learner—each type has specific pros and cons. All styles reflect personal strengths and can help a person remember information more effectively. Although it may seem strange to others, you need to use your strengths by trying to learn new information, to truly capture it. Embrace all types of learning. By switching the teaching method, you can keep students’ attention longer and make the learning process more enjoyable.