The previous industrial revolutions were driven by the power of steam, followed by electricity. Now, it is going to be Artificial Intelligence that is going to trigger a revolution
A majority of today have an educational perspective based on their own experiences with 20th century pedagogy and methodology. Since we are now entering the third decade of the 21st century, we need to gear up with new challenges and realities. Klaus Schwab had pointed out in January 2016 about 4th Industrial Age which is fundamentally different from the previous industrial revolutions driven by the power of steam and electricity. Andrew Ng famously said that “AI is the new electricity” and the right education is the best way to prevent ourselves from getting electrocuted or even from getting a severe shock.
Anthony Seldon in his recent book ‘The 4th education revolution’ compliments schools and universities for doing a good job overall at preparing students but then adds for the twentieth century.
Edward de Bono draws an analogy to a ship. Education is like a ship where the lights have gone out, the rudder is broken, the crew is demoralised and it’s drifting. You can fly in a new captain, mend the lights, fix the rudder and inspire the crew but you’ll still be heading in the wrong direction.
What does it mean to be educated? What is worth learning? The answers to these questions have changed during the last decade. The relative ranking of the top 10 skills valued in 2015 has changed and new skills like ‘cognitive flexibility’ have been added. While AI has been acknowledged to be a game changer there are also associated technologies like sensors. 3D Printing, IoT, Blockchains, augmented and Virtual Reality that are already around us. Parents are among the last one to know of the new technologies, pedagogies and the expected knowledge and skills for tomorrow.
We are perhaps among the few counties that have enacted a Constitutional duty [Article 51A (h, k)] to promote the spirit of enquiry and the Scientific temper, and a parental responsibility for the education their children (or wards) during the years 6 to 14.
Extension education or outreach programs are a feature of many institutions. We witness public lectures from reputed medical institutions on health concerns of the general public, especially in lifestyle diseases. But the education departments or teacher training institutes have not done enough to bring public awareness on the what, why and how of a good education.
Although a parent’s role in their children’s learning evolves as they grow, they are always their children’s learning models.
In the early years, parents are their children’s first teachers — exploring nature, reading together, cooking together, and counting together. When the child begins formal school, the parent’s role is to show how the school can extend the learning that began together at home, and how exciting and meaningful this learning journey can be. As preschoolers grow into school age kids, parents become their children’s learning coaches.
Pay attention to what your child loves. One of the most important things a parent can do is notice if the child is a talker or shy? Find out what interests him and help him explore it.
Tune into how your child learns. Some learn visually through making and seeing pictures, others through tactile experiences, like building block towers and working with clay. Still, others are auditory learners who pay most attention to what they hear. And they may not learn the same way their siblings do. By paying attention to how your child learns, you may be able to pique his interest and explain tough topics by drawing pictures together, creating charts, building models, singing songs and even making up rhymes.
Practice what your child learns at school. Many teachers encourage parents to go over what their young children are learning in a non-pressured way and to practice what they may need extra help with.
Set aside time to read together. Read aloud regularly, even to older kids. If your child is a reluctant reader, reading aloud will expose her to the structure and vocabulary of good literature and get her interested in reading more. Reading the first few pages of a book together can help, also try alternating: you read some pages aloud, she reads some to herself. Let kids pick the books they like. Book series are great for reluctant readers. It’s OK to read easy, interesting books instead of heavy novels.
Connect what your child learns to everyday life. Make learning part of your child’s everyday experience, especially when it comes out of your child’s natural questions. When you cook together, do measuring math. When you drive in the car, count license plates and talk about the states. When you turn on the blender, explore how it works together. When your child studies the weather, talk about why it was so hot at the beach. Have give-and-take conversations, listening to your child’s ideas instead of pouring information into their heads.
Connect what your child learns to the world. Find age-appropriate ways to help your older child connect his school learning to world events. Start by asking questions. For example, ask a second-grader if she knows about a recent event, and what’s she heard. Then ask what she could do to help (such as sending supplies to hurricane victims). You might ask a younger child if he’s heard about anything the news, and find out what he knows. This will help your child become a caring learner.
Don’t over-schedule your child. While you may want to supplement school with outside activities, be judicious about how much you let or urge your child to do. Kids need downtime as much as they may need to pursue extra-curricular activities. “If a child has homework and organised sports and a music lesson and is part of a youth group in church or synagogue, it can quickly become a joyless race from one thing to another. Therefore, monitor your child to see that he is truly enjoying what he is doing.
Keep TV to a minimum. “Watching lots of TV does not give children the chance to develop their own interests and explore on their own. However, unstructured time with books, toys, crafts and friends allows children to learn how to be in charge of their agenda, and to develop their own interests, skills, solutions and expertise.
Learn something new yourself. Learning something new yourself is a great way to model the learning process for your child. Take up a new language or craft, or read about an unfamiliar topic. Show your child what you are learning and how you may be struggling. You’ll gain a better understanding of what your child is going through and your child may learn study skills by watching you study. This will help both you and your child to be a happier lifelong learner, with perhaps no need of a separate “happiness curriculum”.