Due to the unfortunate Covid-19 situation, we are all home bound, thinking of what else we should do to enlighten our students. We are all confused regarding how we will help in this era of uncertainty and change, however I would like to provide you with some relevant information OECD had brought to life a few years ago. This organization continues to research students/schools/teachers to find out what is missing?
They also research education systems and have tests to ascertain that the students are well equipped in Math, Science and Literature.
Here is a description of what the test is all about: “The OECD conducts an assessment every three years of education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15 year old students in science, reading and mathematics (plus collaborative problem solving and financial literacy). Named PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), the test is conducted in 79 countries, with 600,000 students put under the spotlight of a two-hour test”
Among the best in the world in PISA 2018 test are China, Singapore, Hongkong , followed by small countries like Japan, Estonia and Finland, below you will find the aggregate test data:
And the below graph shows the different part of the test:
Why are these countries better? What are they doing differently? Of course, you have seen how China had concurred the world in getting rid of Corona virus, how they built hospitals in ten days, how they managed to contain the virus and were able to make over one billion people in China listen to the government. Thus, its not strange that they are also great at education, and many other things.
As you know tests are sometimes deceiving, and may not reflect the true face of a child’s education, there are other important skills that OECD insists upon, among these are curiosity, initiative, Grit, Adaptability, Leadership, Social and Cultural awareness, a description of each skill is followed:
The Force Within a Hungry Mind:
• Students’ natural curiosity serves as a basis for enduring learning
• Building a culture of inquisitiveness is essential to student success
Master the Art of Excellence: Self-direction is the ability to set goals related to learning, plan for the achievement of those goals, independently manage time and effort, and independently assess the quality of learning and any products that result from the learning experience. this can only be taught by example instead of lecturing. Monitoring include monitoring one’s own understanding and learning needs, Going beyond basic mastery of skills and/or curriculum to explore and expand one’s own learning and opportunities to gain expertise, Demonstrating initiative to advance skill levels towards a professional level, Defining, prioritizing and completing tasks without direct oversight, Utilizing time efficiently and managing workload, Demonstrating commitment to learning as a lifelong process.
The Power of Determination.
Be ready for change: Adaptability is the ability to adapt to change. In general, it is being able to acclimate yourself to changing roles, job responsibilities, material, and schedules. If you cannot accommodate for these different aspects of teaching, it will be difficult to give your students the best learning experience that they could possibly get, and of course that’s always the goal.
Empowering the leader in all of us: Leadership training is one of the most difficult as it involves abilities that students may not possess. thus we need to teach this aspect by examples. we can use planning of a building, mathematical formula, working with others.
Social and cultural awareness:
We are all different, and we love it.
These skills came about after studying the employers and their observation on what graduates lack. They mostly said that even if the new employee knows his or her subject very well, they both lack these skills. In general, we must find a way to teach the students these skills along with the STEM subjects.
This brings me to another thing that OECD researched, Art, it seems we as educators do not pay attention to Art, we focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects only, and neglected ART, by adding Art to this acronym, we must focus on STEAM.
Since the educators are all at home as well as the students, we all need to think of how to make our generation better equipped for the world, believe me, as soon as Corona virus goes away, the whole world as we know it will change:
- Governments will allow homeschooling, online education
- Schools and universities will offer their courses via face to face and distance
- Mums and dads will be more interested in teaching their children
- Other skills will be added (mostly can be gained from volunteering)
- Employers will have hot disks and most people will be allowed to work remotely
- Jobs will change and you may not be required to go to work, but work from your living room and your garage.
- Clothes that we wear for work will change to more loungewear and sports gear.
- Cars will be smaller, using less petrol.
- You will be able to save on petrol and outings, and maybe order in as takeaways will be way cheaper too.
- The home will be your heaven. Maybe you will have friends, but you would rather spend time with the family.
Enjoy reading, and find yourself.