Kindling within children the interest to be involved in and to know about the unlimited diversity of life is the most difficult challenge for teachers. Young students seldom respond positively from within to teachers perceived by them as either “ordinary” or a “know-all.” What, then, are the qualities that make teachers “extraordinary” and “inspiring” in their eyes?
We are all only too familiar with that traditional kind of teacher who seems to possess formidable bookish knowledge of all the topics he or she needs to teach. He or she has the uncanny capacity for not only programming into students certain pre-fixed bodies of information but also training students to effectively memorize and regurgitate answers to a predetermined range of possible questions well enough to enable them to pass tests and examinations with high marks or grades. All students are expected to achieve “academic excellence” in the same way.
At Oakridge, we believe in moving away from this ‘cattle class’ one-size-fits-all schooling paradigm. We develop in students all the diverse skills, aptitudes and attitudes required for empowered self learning such as sensitive observation of occurrences, effective questioning of diverse phenomena, proficient research into facts, higher order creative thinking leading to resourceful critical analysis as well as opinion-making, innovative problem-solving and the capacity for methodical and competent creation of one’s knowledge that is critical to any kind of success in the ever-changing 21st century human scenario.
Learning can be truly valuable only when every learner establishes an intimate, resonant and positive relationship with one’s total learning environment and situation. So, rather than giving ‘textbook knowledge’, today’s schools need to provide their children with educators that facilitate true learning by making them relate constructively to the institution. A remarkable facilitator is necessarily a deeply caring and involved person who not only accepts but also celebrates the differences that distinguish students individually and yet stimulates in them a familial sense of belonging based on the trust that all their best talents would be discovered, nurtured and aptly displayed to the world via the school community. The ideal facilitator is intensely passionate about the subject or activity he or she teaches.
In today’s top international schools in India, they ensure that the facilitator’s innovative and flexible approach to academic transaction is such that students see him or her as a co-learner who makes learning fun at their level due to which he or she engenders in most students, individually and collectively, the desire to learn and know more. Concurrently, such a facilitator makes students responsible and accountable for anything they learn, know and achieve or do not and their overall conduct as human beings. The facilitator is the parent on campus who personally endeavors to inspire each student to perform better, get the best out of school and be a complete human being with the correct values by ensuring that they, on a one-on-one basis, feel recognized as unique individuals as well as precious team players.