Leading change especially the attempt to shift to a learning institution is a huge task. Where people, mostly after their formal education comes with a mindset that they have done with it. Attempting to change an Institutional culture requires a vision, energy, focus, and ultimately buy-in from those that are part of an already established deep-rooted culture in an Institute or organization they are working.
It is critical that the Leader of the Institution creates a culture within the Institute to develop it as “Learning Institute”. Top Management and key Decision makers of the Institute play a significant role in creating a culture that is essential for its Faculty and other employees to cultivate the habit of continuous professional development. The culture of continuous improvement can happen through a culture of paradigm shift.
Today’s Schools, Colleges and Business Schools must equip students with the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in an uncertain, constantly changing and challenging tomorrow and meet the diverse needs of 21st century learners. What we did a generation ago does not work today. The Instructor must update herself regularly in order to engage the students in the classroom and must also adopt different teaching styles, as learning styles of students differ. Only a lecture method wont’ work today. Active learning, Flip classroom, Blended learning approach, Project based learning, Peer Instruction approach, assessments are some of the methods that are effective. Yet, at times, students need to be motivated!
Teachers must develop passion to teach! A Teacher cannot step into the classroom with one style of teaching; she has to wear many hats to connect and engage with all those different types of learners present in classrooms. She must rise to the level of a Facilitator to ensure that students enjoy the process of learning and meaningful learning takes place in the classroom.
Therefore, the need of creating a Learning Institution that can react more quickly to changing external environments to improve student outcomes is essential.
At the same time, another very important factor the Institute needs to emphasize today is “Skill Development” of its students. Mere academic brilliance does not guarantee jobs or success. Developing essential skills and making them employable is key to their success and eventually for the Institute’s success as well.
The purpose of education which used to be during 60s 70s was to make a child “a good human being, good citizen for the nation and to the community” so that the long term problems of nation can be solved with human engineering. But post 1990 and more so in the 21st century with the boom in private education and the needs of Industry, the emphasis should be on developing employability skills of students.
It is important that the Institutions bring in positive change in their employees. And how would this happen? When Leaders seize the opportunity to make things better and make their employees believe that they care by providing opportunities for their employees to professionally develop themselves on a regular basis.
No doubt, “Skill development” should certainly be a primary goal of education. Still, it is a question to ponder that “can the Nation be satisfied if every educated individual merely fulfils his/her own economic needs through learning”, and should it not frame an education policy which will create citizens with the right approach to “Nation Building”?
Finally, the learning must be integrated with focus on creating future leaders.
- Creating and supporting learning opportunities and continuous professional development for all faculty and other members of the institution
- Focus on promoting collaborative learning where people work in teams
- Encourage Creativity, Innovation and skill development through holistic approach
- Introduce innovative methods of learning
- Make students think thus help them become “Thinkers and Problem Solvers
- Effective communication and Leadership
- And create Good and Smart People – Good when I say “Value side” and Smart on “skills”.