Teach to Reach

With the world of internet providing more information that we can keep up with how does a teacher keep up with the ever inquisitive students who in their youthful spirit challenge knowledge in teachers?

Let us start off with some facts – kids today are able to dig up more information on the web on any given subject than one human (read scapegoat) can store in their mind and reel off at any given time. This challenges the status quo of teachers because of 2 things that we’ve been reverently taught since the beginning of time

1. The teacher is always right 2. The teacher knows all

While this is a good notion, it also clips the wings of curiosity in a child and doesn’t let them grow. Hence it is time to do away with these antiquated ideas and figure out what works with the Gen Z kids sitting in our classes.

What does a Gen Z student today need from a teacher? With the tech savvy students it is definitely not huge amounts of data that can be fed to them like feeding data onto a computer. What they need is direction as to how to look at all the data that’s been given to them and figure out how to derive information out of it. But beyond information they need someone to instill the passion for a subject in them.

For example while Google can get millions of hits when I search for poems, it cannot instill the passion my English teacher Janaki did when she taught me the love for the beauty in words etched in my memory with ‘The Road less travelled’ or a Shakespeare sonnet.

And it is the love and passion for subjects that will reach to the students and help them find their own unique space in the world, and only teachers have the power to imbibe this love in them.

To do that we need to change the way we think, and as Sir John Jones puts it, develop a Double loop mental model to find solutions for students as opposed to single loop solutions.

Here’s an example. Mental model – i need to teach math Action – teach math Outcome – student doesn’t learn math Single loop solution – Change the action, keep teaching the kid more and more math Double loop solution – Change your action, teach the kid resilience in learning, to not give up. So that the student won’t be daunted by initial challenges with math and will keep at it. Imbibing love for a subject and using double loop solutions are the key of teach to reach.

-Rashmi Ramesh

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