Education has evolved like never before during this pandemic, which became an opportunity in disguise for young learners. While our lives became socially distanced, we interestingly connected much more and forged many meaningful relationships in the global village. From virtual student exchange programs, virtual international student debates to immersive room sessions in virtual classrooms, learning evolved into a whole new experience.
This is clearly evident in all the GEMS schools spread across the Globe, who are exemplary in the blended learning field.
As we teach children how to think, it is important to ensure that they also learn to learn. Thus, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment should be blended at the school to make learners evolve with growth mindsets. As our children self and peer assess, work in collaboration and own their learning process, they learn to be objectively critical for their own work.
Parents, their very first teachers and role models, also become effective collaborators sharing and encouraging our children in this journey of holistic development.
Apart from cognitive, children must equally develop their creative, emotional and social intelligence. This is seamlessly integrated in the curriculum of GEMS International School, Gurgaon, which focuses on development of communication skills and critical thinking. While a
generation grows amidst instant gratification, we must help them build resilience. While the ability to adapt, or what we lovingly call ‘jugaad’ in India, may have been ingrained in us the hard way, our youngsters will need it much more as the world around is changing phenomenally at a much faster pace. Thus, Emotional Quotient (EQ) and Resilience Quotient (RQ) and student well-being and value-based development should be at the heart of our curriculum.
Global Citizenship Education inculcates respect for the ‘Other,’ mindfulness and a celebration of diversity. Civic, environmental and cultural literacy, truly global in nature, is today a survival skill just like ICT literacy. A generation has already been raised in the 21st century. The next one has way more to re-invent for itself, as the very survival on this planet becomes increasingly difficult.
Thus, we should move our focus from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) to a multi-dimensional focus on STREAM (Science Technology Reading Engineering Arts Mathematics), from ICT to Artificial Intelligence, from competition to collaboration, competency and building relationships, from the teaching to learning that is lifelong.
GEMS’ Co-curricular activities like the Cultural Fest and Literary Fest fosters collaboration not only among the peer group of their own school but among a larger pan India community of school students. Transforming the disruption caused by the pandemic into an opportunity to explore new vistas their virtual Student Exchange Programs have truly been great opportunities of learning and relationship building, it brought divergent culture and thinking together. Through Virtual Student Exchange program for Climate Action Project, their students have collaborated with their peers from across the globe and worked together as real change-makers.