The education system currently adopted by many countries emphasizes on teaching theory and testing student’s understanding based on how much they can remember and put down on paper. This approach is not ideal for preparing leaders and drivers of the economy. Teachers have abandoned the practice-based teaching approach that equips the students with skills necessary to face real-life challenges. For instance, students who graduate from high school and universities are good at memorizing concepts and theories which they were taught in class, but unfortunately, they cannot apply the concepts to help solve real-life problems in the health, housing, or food security sectors. This paper provides a story about my experience with University, and the story is a reflection of why the teachers must change their teaching approach to one which enables students to develop inner toughness.
There is a need to teach students in a way that helps them to develop grit. I graduated from high school in 2016. I was then required to think about what education had offered me and the direction my life would take. I talked to a few people in my circles of friends and the people I considered to be my mentors to help me figure out what I could do best with my life and what I wanted to be for the rest of my life. During all these consultations, one thing became clear to me. I was not well prepared for the next face of my life despite having performed excellently in my high school exams. I was not able to identify what I could do best or my future career. For a moment, I felt like high school education had not prepared me well enough to beat the challenges of life. Then I asked myself, what was the point of cramming all those theories? Why did I have to garbage in my head all the concepts if they could not help me find direction for my life? In the final exams, while I was able to remember them all and put them on exam papers as they were asked the theories remained obsolete and of no use now in the subsequent face of life. This story echoes the need to change the direction of our current education to more skill based education where kids are taught how to identify their skills and nurture them. This way the graduates will develop grit and apply their knowledge to solve some of the most challenging problems in life.
Developing life skills is very important for children graduating from high school. Life skills help students to decide what direction they want to take in life based on what they are passionate about. When I graduated from high school, I had scored marks points that would secure me a place in some of the most prestigious universities in the US. I contemplated applying for a law degree at Harvard, but I wasnot brought up to become a lawyer. My parents wanted me to become a doctor who still was not on my list of choices. I finally settled on my parents’ preference since they were both doctors and doing reasonably well in their careers. So I joined Princeton University to study medicine. Despite my exemplary performance in high school, I noticed that I didn’t have the passion for a medical degree when I had already completed my freshman years in the university. For me, this was too late for me to think of switching courses. Therefore, the only choice I was left with was to soldier on. I felt like I had lost the direction of my life although I did not understand which direction my life was to follow. I attribute these confusions to my high school years since I believe that those are the years I could identify my skills and talent with the help of my teachers.
Students should work closely with their teachers to be able to find the right direction in life. One day in high school, my class teacher and mentor asked me to list down possible careers that I felt that I could fit in well. While other students took the assignment seriously and did extensive consultations with teachers and parents, for me, that was no assignment. I listed down all the courses considered to be lucrative and forwarded to my teacher. I never asked my self-questions such as what drives one to choose a career? What are the prerequisites for developing a good job? And how can one know what they are good at? To date, I feel like that was the day I lost my direction in life, and I have not been able to find my way back on the right track. This incidence reminds me of the importance of working closely with teachers and mentors to find the right course based on the student’s ability and skills.
The experience I have had with the current education system has opened my eyes to the reality of life that understanding the theories and complicated concepts and putting them down on paper is not enough. As a student, I need to do more than just understanding the concepts and follow my passion for me to be able to find direction in my life. Solving life challenges depends significantly on the ability to apply what was learned in class rather than just knowing what was learned. Teachers must encourage practice-based learning that brings out the learners’ grit to help them do what they are good at.
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