By David Olusegun Ogunfowoke
The tasks of educators in recent times have shifted from what used to be the status quo of writing lesson notes, going to class to register attendance, writing notes on the board, among other. There is now a shift from what used to be obtainable in the past,as those things can no longer sufficiently match up with the demands of today’s world. Thus, there is need for our policy makers, educationists as well as educators to get thoroughly acquitted with what the focus of education is, as far as this 21stcentury is concerned.
It is no longer a strange phenomenon to know that the world has drastically changed and moved at a very fast pace. Unfortunately, there are many potentials wasting away as a result of ignorance of what is expected to be the focus of our education as well as the educators today, as developers of life and successful skills.
The world today is looking for those who can apply their cognitive (head) competence into their psychomotor (hand) combined with their affective domain (heart) to bring about much anticipated changes in all facets of life. Education, in today’s perspective, is a total and comprehensive one that is not only about notes and writing notes. This is not far from the fact the world has moved into of full technology, such that there are:
– an inexplicable advancement in Science and Technology now.
– wide application and usage of ICT in almost everything now.
– high level of computerization going on in the world now.
– the internet has globalized education.
– is global demand for modernized manpower skills.
– the world today is demanding for better and more efficient leadership skills.
– higher demand for more and more thinkers.
– increasing demand for more creative and critical thinkers among students being produced in schools.
These then call for the awareness on the part of policy makers in education sectors, educationists and educators, who relate more academically with the target audience (students) on what the demands of today’s world are. The skills needed today center around those skills, knowledge and expertise students should master to succeed in work and life in the 21stcentury.
The skills needed are obviously not taught specially as subjects; they are those skills that are transferable as they are embedded in the learning processes. Educationists and educators are, therefore, expected to be aware of this fact in order to tailor their daily pedagogy and instructions given to students.
Prominent among those skills are: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, flexibility, initiative, social skills, productivity, leadership, sporting, aesthetics, entertainment, etc. All these, in today’s world, have proven to be needed alongside students’ literacy in Economics, Science, Geography, Civics, Government, English, Arts, Mathematics, Biology Social Studies, Commerce among others.
When those who are put in the affairs of our national education do not know the essence of life and the need for possessing successful skills, there is no doubt that they will never take these things very serious. The task is basically to handle life and make it better. And they can make life better by how they have been able to bring out the potential and transfer the skills needed for such life to be successful. The need to have students that can fit into this alpha generation makes it of necessity for educationists and educators to know that their pivotal task is to develop life and successful skills in the students. And this generation requires young ones who are fast critical thinkers and creative.
Developing life and skills in schools requires a deliberate effort from the educationists and educators. In fact, it is a skill on its own to be mastered by educationists and educators. The strategies needed, therefore, include but not limited to the following:
– Educators must discourage learners from working in isolation, only except when doing test or writing examinations.
– Educators should organize learners to work in pairs, groups or cohorts, when doing classwork and project.
– Educators must make groups display their works in the class and permit critique from them.
– Educators must ask each group to explain processes or method employed in the group work.
– Educators should give students free hand to assign roles among themselves, in any group work.
– Educators must engage students constantly in critical thinking; create problems for them to battle with.
– Educators must make learning real as you relate to life experience.
– Educators should give learners opportunity to show and display their strength and multiple skills.
– Educators must not ask students want they want to be in future; rather, they are to ask what problems the students want to solve.
– Educators should assign leadership roles to learners at random.
– Educators should show examples to students and allow them to do the rest even if they will make errors.
The school business as well as education as a whole today has gone beyond what it used to be in the past. Sadly, looking at how education in Nigeria is fashioned, there seems to me no clear-cut alignment with the current debates in today’s world.Succeeding in life in today’s world requires getting additional skills.
And as policy makers in education sector, educationists or educators at all levels, there is need to keep up-to-date with the latest trends in order to get the development of the students aright and make them acquire the needed skills to be successful in life.
David Olusegun Ogunfowoke is of the English Language Department of the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos