The old school where the teacher primarily told/informed/lectured the students sitting in rows at desks and where the students passively listened to what they heard doesn’t exist in the contemporary world anymore. This whole scenario has changed and today teachers are also students and students are also teachers… and so education isn’t just one way.
Today Information isn’t bound predominantly in books; it’s available everywhere in bits and bytes. Students don’t depend solely on the teacher to acquire knowledge. Exposure to information found at fingertips has changed the institution of education where the defined roles of students and teachers have taken a 360-degree turn and today a teacher is both a student and a teacher and vice-versa a student is also a teacher in many ways. This new relationship between teachers and students takes the form of a different concept of instruction.
During research work, the abundant and extensive information that the student brings to class, may many a time also help the teacher to learn something new. Students have a different perspective of things that a teacher being an adult may fail to see. In such situations again, it is the teacher who is the student having seen another viewpoint and gained from it. When teachers provide a situation where students have to solve real-world problems, the innocent mind comes out with solutions that are not manipulative or selfish. The standing example of this is ‘Ubuntu’- A very nice story from Africa….
An Anthropologist proposed a game to the African tribal children …He placed a basket of sweets near a tree and made the children stand 100 meters away. Then announced that whoever reached first would get all the sweets in the basket. When he said ‘ready steady go! Do you know what these children did? They all held each other’s hands, ran together towards the tree, divided the sweets equally among themselves, ate the sweets and enjoyed it. When the Anthropologist asked them why they did so, they answered ‘Ubuntu’. Which meant… ‘How can one be happy when the others are sad?’ Ubuntu in their language means – ‘I am because we are!’ How many of us as adults, whether teachers or otherwise would do this???
To sum up, a teacher need not be someone who teaches in school, and a student need not be someone who learns in an institution. Anyone who is able to teach becomes a teacher for that moment and anyone who learns is a student for that moment. At all times this position is interchangeable.
Ms Priya Natraj
Early Years and Primary Coordinator