June 8, 2020

About modern education


Since I started teaching, I have questioned myself about the implications of modern education. I must admit that my views on this subject at the beginning of my teaching career were completely different from the ones that I hold now. This is probably the most defining feature of modern education: the idea of constant change and development. Even in just a few months, education has been completely transformed with the spread of Covid-19.

Firstly, modern education seems to be based around the idea of developing pedagogy for autonomy. This means that students should be responsible of their own learning, in a way that they see their teachers as a support rather than as the holders of knowledge. Fostering autonomy in lessons can be a great motivator for both the teacher and the students.

Therefore, in modern education, lessons are to be planned in a more learner-centred approach in which students work cooperatively. Educators promote the idea that we all must listen to each other with attention and respect. By giving students more responsibility and voice not only in lessons, but in the whole academic life, an autonomous learning environment can be achieved, in which teaching and learning is happening effectively.

In order to promote pedagogy for autonomy, teachers must be familiarised with the different principles for its development. The one that is paramount in education nowadays is engagement and intrinsic motivation. In all honesty, intrinsic motivation was the main factor that encouraged me to study English and achieve a proficient level. Therefore, I am a firm believer that without engagement and intrinsic motivation there cannot be real learning. Promoting this principle demands a lot of energy and enthusiasm from teachers, as we need to constantly come up with strategies and ideas to help learners  develop a positive attitude towards learning.

Sometimes, even the most engaging teachers will have to work with students who are very demotivated to learn. In this case, the approach might be getting to know those students well and give them choice in order to let their motivation flourish. Therefore, by giving them options, we are offering them the possibility of becoming more involved in their learning and thus, probably achieve academic success.

When I think about the methodological approaches that are most suitable for modern education, I feel that a task based approach or a project based approach are probably more innovative methods rather than just using the text book or following a PPT presentation. A very exciting aspect about modern education is the idea of innovation and carrying out action research in the classroom with the aim of exploring different possibilities. Moreover, tasks and projects are a great opportunity to develop higher order thinking skills among students, like critical thinking, creativity or imagination.

Overall, there are probably many different views on modern education and that is why teachers usually tend to reflect on their views on a constant basis, as this helps us towards professional development and lifelong learning. On that account, I am of the opinion that the main requirements of modern educators are to be flexible and challenge themselves to become the best teachers they can be. This is important because every teacher can do something as long as there is passion in what they do.