Thursday, May 15, 2014

Content Overloaded Education

Teacher fronted teaching is the dominant teaching method in Bhutan. Walk into any few classes, you would invariably find teachers taking the center stage while students would simply be listening to the teachers explanation of subject matter and copying what teachers write on chalk board. This trend ails the Bhutanese education system. In teacher-fronted teaching, students do not get to learn by interaction. They do not get chance to share ideas. They don't become responsible for their own learning. They depend too much on teachers to decide what and how to learn. They are left with too little to think and they don't become creative. Learning doesn't become an interesting and enjoyable experience.

Many reasons could be attributed to the prevalence of such practice. But a major reason could be the content overloaded curriculum. There are too many content matters to be delivered within an academic year. The heavy content matters developed by curriculum developers and mandating teachers to complete the syllabus in stipulated time-frame has proven to be disadvantages to the Bhutanese education system. It has resulted in pressure on teachers to move with undue pace through material and encouraging a 'tick list' approach to teaching. It has led to less flexibility and creativity and to a more slavish and sometimes, frantic gallop through the curriculum. Teaching and learning depends too much on textbooks. It doesn't give room for teachers to practice innovative and interactive teaching techniques. 

Besides, overloaded curriculum has lead to considering other important learning activities less important. Teachers are forced to neglect minor subjects such as physical education, living skills, character education and moral education in order to focus more on examination subjects. Because of this, education in schools has become exam oriented learning. It forces schools to rush through subject and drill pupils to pass exams.

Moreover, content overload has led people misconstrue the meaning and purpose of education. Due to overemphasis laid on teaching subjects, most people think learning subjects as the centerpiece of education. People feel that education is all about remembering the subject content or being able to write good answers to questions in exams. And students who score good marks are regarded as educated. That is a narrow view about education. Education is more than that.