“Everywhere I have realized that the problem doesn’t lie with technology or the students; rather, it lies with the teachers. The teachers are lagging behind in various areas, and this realization has led me to adopt a different approach in starting my company. Unlike other edtech companies that focus solely on content, I plan to teach the teachers themselves. My own experiences have shown me the immense impact that good teachers can have on one’s life, and I strongly believe that they should be the role models for their students”, said Madhuri Sawant, Managing Director and Founder, Brainquartz at the 25th Elets World Education Summit in Dubai.
She further stated, “Unfortunately, this is not happening as much as it should, as many teachers lack the necessary skills. Therefore, I believe that we need to support the teachers who are the pillars of the education system, so that they can in turn become role models for their students. This is not just a concern for India but for the world as a whole. While technology can be a useful support, it cannot replace good teaching. Many people make the mistake of assuming that simply providing technology to students will result in learning, but this is not the case.”
She says, “Technology is a support system that needs to be properly implemented and understood, and it cannot teach on its own. Ultimately, the future of our society depends on the quality of our teachers, and it is essential that they are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to lead their students towards success.”
She stated, “The abundance of data available on the internet has made it easy to obtain information through tools like Google search. However, this information only becomes knowledge when it is processed and understood by an individual’s brain. This is where the teacher’s role becomes crucial, as they are responsible for converting information into knowledge. When this knowledge is applied in the real world, it becomes wisdom. It is therefore important to empower teachers to fulfill this critical role.”
She also mentioned, “Technology is increasingly being used in education, but there is a stark difference in its use between urban and rural areas. While students in cities have access to technology and are learning through it, those in rural areas have very limited access. The problem is compounded by the fact that many teachers, particularly in rural areas, have little to no training in using technology for teaching.”
She stated, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools shifted to online teaching, but the quality of this teaching varied greatly. Some teachers simply replicated the in-person teaching experience using a camera and a whiteboard, which was not effective for online learning. This highlights the fact that many teachers have not been adequately trained in using technology for teaching. Unfortunately, the quality of teachers is declining, and this is partly due to the fact that teaching is not always considered a respected profession. This needs to change, and teachers need to be supported and trained to effectively use technology in education.”
Coming to an end she stated, “There is a significant amount of resistance towards change among teachers, especially those in their 50s or nearing retirement, who are hesitant to adopt new technologies. They believe that traditional methods like using a chalkboard still work, which is not the case. Moreover, there is a lack of professional development programs for teachers. In the IT sector, competencies and skill sets are clearly defined for every role, and employees must fulfill those competencies to advance or receive a salary increase. However, the education sector lacks such defined competencies for teachers. It is crucial to define the necessary skills that a teacher must possess at this moment.”
She further added, “In order to address this issue, we need to strike a balance between non-technical and technical teaching methods. This is important because in the current technological age, students often possess more knowledge on the subject than their teachers. This knowledge gap can cause embarrassment for the teacher, disrupt the learning environment, and hinder the progress of students. Additionally, teachers often face a heavy workload, including administrative tasks, without proper professional growth opportunities.”
“To overcome these challenges, we need to adopt different pedagogical approaches that cater to the diverse learning needs of students. It is essential to ensure that the knowledge imparted in the classroom is effectively communicated across the entire spectrum of learners. This involves understanding the different learning styles and multiple intelligence theory to create a teaching approach that resonates with all students. On average, only 20% of students learn in a traditional classroom setting, so it is crucial to create an inclusive learning environment that fosters curiosity and inspires students to learn,” she concluded.