The Bold Voice of J&K

Bridging the gap

62

Dear Editor,
Life skills are just as important as academics, but are teachers equipped to teach them? The pandemic has shown us that success at work requires much more than just good academics.
Professionals who were able to stay in touch with their peers and teams and stand out despite working remotely were those who possessed good life skills.
The term life skills encompasses a range of qualities and skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, adaptability, creative thinking, communication skills and more. While there is no debate that students should be exposed to vital skills such as leadership, innovation, decision-making, self-awareness, empathy, and emotional intelligence, most are not included in the curricula or are not taught satisfactorily.
Today, technological skills-like proficiency in artificial intelligence and machine learning, Internet of Things, data science, and cybersecurity-have also joined the essential skills club.
While most colleges aim to teach these modern skills, they are unable to do so successfully, largely because the faculty does not have the proper training to teach them.
This means that students are either literally and figuratively left to their own devices or not learning them at all. A lot has changed in the classroom: from blackboard to digital blackboard, from offline to online learning mode and so on. The gap between the needs of students and the abilities of educators has also widened. How can we expect students to be ready for 21st century careers if they are not being taught 21st century skills?
How will that change? If teachers know how to teach these 21st century skills.
How will teachers learn? By undergoing the necessary training at regular intervals. Our educators must be adequately and regularly trained in domain-specific knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) as well as in new teaching methods.
Not all of yesterday’s subjects are relevant to today’s students. Similarly, yesterday’s teaching methods, strategies, and techniques will not be as effective with today’s students as the way students absorb, absorb, and process information has changed. Students’ attention spans, cognitive processes, and intrinsic motivation have also changed.
The traditional chalk-and-speak methods of the teaching and assessment system that encourage student memorization and rumination do not align with the way students think and learn, or with the new areas of the technology domain and soft skills that more real time and real life require teaching and learning processes.
When educators become highly skilled, the benefits are many. Greater student engagement leads to greater interest and intrinsic motivation to learn, leading to better learning outcomes.
It is therefore clear that our universities must focus more than ever on the further training of their teachers.
Vijay.

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