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Education 4.0 & the Future of Teachers

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By Chandan Ghughtyal

Teaching is a noble profession because it cares and creates human bonds. This is not just pursuing a career; it requires a heart full of patience and understanding. Teaching is a passion that keeps teachers young and enthusiastic learners. It reminds us of the sense of responsibility and makes the profession fulfilling due to the joy a student’s success brings to the teacher. The teacher is a nation builder who provides support to the new generation to grow mentally, physically, emotionally and academically. A teacher also inculcates in children an essential sense of decorum and order, which makes learning feasible. According to the Scriptures, the teacher is positioned after the parents, followed by God. The role of a teacher can shift at times. The teacher is sometimes referred to as a facilitator, curator, mentor, faculty member or master. The teacher’s role is not only teaching but also mentoring and counselling. The teacher takes part in shaping the next generation. All other professions are possible through the guidance of teachers, as they prepare doctors, engineers, lawyers, entrepreneurs, etc. Teachers are the fundamental foundation of the nation; they nurture the minds and skills of the next generation. For ages, the teacher was considered the source of information and knowledge.

A revolution has been brought about by computers, and now artificial intelligence, where each day is a new learning experience and knowledge can be acquired from anyone. The child needs to be trained with a forward-looking and growth-oriented mindset.

A US educational reformer said, “If we educate today’s students as if they were living yesterday, we would steal their tomorrow.”

In this new era, every teacher should have the 21st century skills to teach highly informed and aware students. The world has become automated because of the Industrial Revolution 4.0. The education system must be modified to keep pace with this revolution. Educators and students will use AI in education to harness the power of innovation for the advancement of mankind.

Effective teachers possess high moral principles, openness and willingness to learn. A teacher should be fair, treating everyone equally; he/she should create a positive classroom environment and earn students’ trust. A noble teacher is one who is open-minded, fair-minded, morally upright and broad-minded. Such a person exhibits many liberal qualities. Since they value inclusivity, factors such as religion, caste, and race are not obstacles.

What is the future of a teacher in this rapidly expanding world where industrialisation 4.0 is taking shape and artificial intelligence is useful? How can teachers keep up with technologically advanced students? Does a teacher have the necessary skills to teach the students in this new generation?

I reflect on my own journey, which encompasses more than 2.5 decades. When I began teaching in 1996, I used to concentrate solely on my subject and my classes. I mean, most of my colleagues used to operate in silos. After a few years, things started to change, and schools started putting more emphasis on teacher training programs. I had the good fortune of learning about the IB and IGCSE methodologies and incorporating experiential learning into my methods. Eventually, the ideas of fundamental literacy and numeracy (FLN), emerging approaches, and approaches to learning (ATL) were taught, and along with my colleagues, I developed into a teacher who had received 21st century training.

Every day is a new learning day as the journey continues. If we learn from the students without any ego, the journey becomes even more enjoyable. The students are never hesitant to voice their issues to me, and I am never afraid to voice mine. We use technology to enhance learning and apply the math we learn in class today. Whatever new advancements occur in the field of study, we learn about it and discuss them in classes.

There is no risk to the teachers’ future and there never will be. There was a loud outcry about the potential dangers of teaching when calculators were introduced into the educational system. However, it developed into a strong tool and improved the teacher’s abilities. Later, when computers were incorporated into the educational system, it was believed that teachers’ jobs were in danger. However, the computer grew closer to the students and assisted them in quickly and easily grasping the concepts. The risk factor associated with Chat GPT (AI) is being loudly discussed in the current environment, despite the fact that it is a potent tool that has made the lives of teachers and students much easier. The majority of the time, it is now employed qualitatively to improve skills. The jobs of teachers cannot be in danger because machines cannot teach ethics, interpersonal skills, or social skills. AI will not be able to solve the world’s problems; only good human beings will be able to do that. According to our former president, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the purpose of education is to create better humans with knowledge and expertise. Teachers can create enlightened individuals.

Each of us in this new era is facing economic, social and environmental challenges because of technological development and increasing globalisation. Although our lives have improved, we still worry about whether we are preparing our students for the jobs of the future. What types of jobs will they have in ten to fifteen years? The imbalance has already started because some of our students are changing careers after receiving their degrees in a particular discipline. Future jobs will be diverse due to advances in biotechnology and artificial intelligence. To address growing complexity, unpredictability and fragility, we must rethink, redefine and reimagine new education. To accomplish this, we must give our teachers new skills and more exposure to professional development programs. Students must cultivate curiosity, imagination, resilience and self-control to be prepared for the uncertain world that lies ahead of them. They must also respect and value the opinions, viewpoints and values of others to do so. Finally, they must learn how to deal with rejection and failure to persevere despite difficulties. At the end of the day, students’ journey to success is incomplete without the love and guidance provided by the teacher.

(Chandan Singh Ghughtyal teaches in the   Department of Mathematics, The Doon School)