Endow learners with the tools for lifelong learning

G Sree devi
 India deciding to take part in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) 2021, is a welcome move that will set a new phase in Education. The schools and the Boards that were so long looking only at the pass percentage will now have to look at student engagement and the learning outcomes. PISA does not just ascertain whether students can reproduce knowledge; it also examines how well students can extrapolate from what they have learned and can apply that knowledge in unfamiliar settings, both in and outside of school. This approach reflects the fact that modern economies reward individuals not for what they know, but for what they can do with what they know.

“India’s participation in PISA 2021 is an attempt to move away from rote learning and move towards competency based education. The assessment will help us set global benchmarks for Indian institutes,” says Maneesh Garg, Joint Secretary, MHRD  Endow learners Endow learners Endow learners

Expectations are lined up as India declares to participate in PISA. Unless there’s a paradigm shift in the teaching learning model, the scenario will stay the same

India’s decision to re-join the PISA though welcome, should not be participation for participation’s sake. It should be an endeavour to improve its 2009 ranking of being 72 out of 74. If India has to change and improve its entire model of teaching learning, there should be a paradigm shift from the attitude of the teacher being a know-all, ‘sage on stage’ to a facilitator, ‘guide by the side’. The classrooms should transform from teacher-centric to more of student-centric with sometimes a blend of both.

Re-joining PISA should be an endeavour to improve its 2009 ranking of being 72 out of 74

Student-Centric Learning has become a buzz word in education circles. Any school that gives the students a minuscule role in the classroom prides itself on being a student-centric school. For a school to become student-centric varied strategies should be implemented: As the Nellie Mae Education Foundation describes, student-centred learning “engages students in their own success—and incorporates their interests and skills into the learning process.” Student-centred classrooms include students in planning, implementation, and assessments. Involving the learners in these decisions will place more work on them, which can be a good thing. Teachers must become comfortable with changing their leadership style from directive to consultative – from “Do as I say” to “Based on your needs, let’s co-develop and implement a plan of action.”

Shifting the focus from mark or grades to learning outcomes is not a child’s play. A stringent effort from the Government and the National Board to overcome India’s tenacity and tendency to keep up rote learning and shift the stress on learning outcomes has to be done on a war footing. Unless the Government gives up looking at marks; proudly displaying its pass percentage and assists the teachers to look at student learning at the respective grade levels, the PISA ranking will not change. Once a class becomes student-centred there will be a high degree of student engagement; challenge, enthusiasm and joy. The focus will now turn to learning outcomes and this style of instruction will gradually develop independent thinkers, endowed with the tools necessary for lifelong learning. This will in turn help India score high in the PISA Ranking.

The following table has some activities for a teacher to use to make his/her class student-centric:

Learning Activities to Incorporate into a Lecture

Student activity Explanation or example
Think-pair-share Students individually think for
a moment about a question posed on the lecture, then pair up with a classmate beside them to share/discuss their thoughts
Generating examples Students individually (or in pairs)
think up a new example of a concept presented
Developing scenarios Students work in pairs to develop
a specific scenario of how and where a particular concept or principle could be applied
Concept mapping Students draw a concept map
(a graphic representation such as a web) depicting the relationships among aspects of a concept or principle
Flowcharting Students sketch a flowchart
showing how a procedure or process works
Predicting Given certain principles or
concepts, students write down their own predictions about what might happen in a specific situation
Developing rebuttals Students individually
develop rebuttals for arguments presented in the lecture and then pair up with another student to argue for and against
Constructing tables/graphs Students develop a table or
draw a graph representing information presented
Analogical thinking Students propose a metaphor
or analogy for a principle or procedure
Problem posing Individual students make up
a real-world problem regarding a particular concept or principle, then exchange problems with a classmate for solving
Developing critiques Students develop a critique
of a common practice
Pair Summarizing/checking Students work in pairs – one
summarizes what’s been presented and the other listens and checks for errors, correcting errors when noted

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Authored by Ms Ayesha Sirajuddin, Head of South Campuses, Ekya Schools, Bangalore


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