Shin X India, Gurgaon

Skill based Learning Over School based Learning

Should We Encourage Skill based Learning Over School based Learning?

Should we encourage skill-based learning over school-based learning?

Not long ago, I happened to read the following quotation right outside a coffee shop, "Education is more important, but skill is most important !!"

Since then, like most of the parents today, I have been stuck in the age-old dilemma as to whether we should encourage skill-based learning over school-based learning or not?

It is a universally acknowledged truth that the Indian education system isn't quite up to the standards and that is the point where virtually all argument ceases. On the one hand, some stand tall and strong with their test scores like those of SAT, JEE, and others, claiming that we are in the middle of a crisis and suggesting that a return to traditional values in the education system is the way forward. While on the other end, there is this huge sect of people who think that the current emphasis of school does not fit us for a future in which compliance will no longer be rewarded and practicality of the theory will be appreciated more.

At the very heart of this debate is the age-old fundamental disagreement about curriculum and pedagogy stating whether education should emphasise on getting students to expand their horizons and know more or be about solving math problems? The classic skill vs knowledge.

By instinct, I am someone who believes that students should construct their meaning and discover new knowledge by doing. In the traditional scheme of things, this is represented as the "direct instruction" method, or the approach where the teacher leads the class. It is the one where the teacher pans out the chapters and chalks its success, while reviewing the objectives.

The bad news for someone who believes in letting things learn their way is that direct instruction is shown by researchers to be the most effective strategy for transmitting knowledge and has the most significant effect on students' grades. So where does that leave discovery learning, problem solving and inquiry-based teaching? Are they merely surplus to requirements?

Well, that's what most of us have been attuned to believe: students collaborating in teams is messy, time-consuming and unsuccessful. And to a large extent, it can be argued to be true. It all boils down to what you as a parent consider the point of education to be. Is it that you ensure that your children take exams and tests and are good at it? Or is it to make them learners and problem solvers? To make them develop the ability to think creatively or to make them the old-age rote learner? As usual, there has to be a middle-ground where the answer lies. Undoubtedly, both sides have their own positives. The best approach would be to find the best-suited teaching method for your children. Make sure that they have a blended education and are not deprived of the essential life skills needed in the modern-day world and do not become plain instruction followers.

Knowledge and skills are integral. You can't have one without the other.

Every student, while embarking on the learning journey, will have a few unassembled pieces of knowledge but as their knowledge grows, they become adept to apply it to bigger areas, practically and connect them with other ideas and pieces of information.

It's daft to ask students to tell us what we've already told them. Much better if they understand us how they could apply what they've learnt. They should be able to do this if we start with the outcomes we intend students to learn and make sure teaching and assessment match these outcomes. Outcome statements need to use verbs (apply, explain, evaluate, etc.) which describe the activities that students need to undertake to meet the intended outcome. In this system, learning is constructed by what the students do, not what teachers do. Here, I would like to leave you with a food for thought with the following saying:

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."

And I think now you have clear idea of Which type of learning you should encourage Skill based Learning Or School based Learning.

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