Teaching Vs. Learning

Neeti Tripathi

Vice Principal, CIDER International School, Chittagong, Bangladesh

We all know that education is a lifelong process which brings out the best in a child’s mind, body and soul. During this whole process of educating a child, the teacher acts as a co-learner, a facilitator and a mentor who creates a teaching and learning environment that ensures the child’s growth in all the domains.

School is an institution where the darkness of illiteracy, ignorance and conservatism are addressed and banished. It brings the light of wisdom, knowledge and creativity into the sensitive minds of young children, on whose shoulders lie the responsibilities of the future.

We are called subject experts or teachers, but in reality, we are facilitators and supporters of learning. Not only do we teach, but we also learn from our students, and this makes us lifelong learners. Our education and learning are not restricted to the attainment of a degree from a university.

Also, mere degrees should not satisfy us because there is always something more to discover. Real education is a process that goes on forever. We start enjoying the wonderful procedure called learning once we interact with our students or rather co-learners. Trust me, some of the best and most challenging questions related to values and knowledge have come from regular classroom teaching atmospheres.

You cannot find such depth and clarity of the concepts in books of philosophy or journals on education which you can see during randomly-held classroom discussions with your students. It proves that knowledge is not limited to a structured environment. The most crucial tool to “know the knowledge” or to challenge ourselves - “are we really knowledgeable?” - is to generate enquiry.

WHY? This challenging word demands more from the educators and puts them into a never-ending thinking process. Sadly, some of us curb the creativity and curiosity of children the moment they say “Why”? We are so engrossed in the completion of the so-called syllabus that we suppress the thought process of our students. Students learn better and give a commendable performance in the subjects where teachers support their questions and appreciate them.

As educators, can we understand the needs of kinesthetic learners, visual learners or verbal learners, and facilitate differentiated learning? Do we explain to our learners that what connection our classroom teaching will have with their real lives? Do we explain to them that education is incomplete without learning?

Can we forget the way we were taught and start afresh? Because somewhere during my observation, I have found that we reflect the way our teachers had taught us. Can we “unlearn, learn and relearn”?

  • Why can’t we look forward to fulfill the objectives of being a life-long learner and not merely complete the “portion” for an examination?
  • Why can’t we cross classroom boundaries?
  • Why can’t we facilitate the learning process in a manner that a child imbibes the latest knowledge without making any compromise with our value system and traditions?
  • Why can’t we explain the true meaning of internationalism while maintaining the ethos, tradition and that very essence of a particular race? -Why can’t we make him understand the difference between tolerance and acceptance?

It haunts me when being in the education field for more than a decade, I still see teaching as one of the least preferred occupations and most of us are in this field not by choice. This will only change when we all will come together; we all will be on the same page; we all will be having the same educational philosophy, and we all will bring the change. We, as educators of the 21st century, need to ensure that a class includes not only teaching but also learningas this concerns both our students and us.

Neeti Tripathi

Vice Principal, CIDER International School, Chittagong, Bangladesh