Professional Learning

The Need for Critical Thinking – Skill Trends of 2019

In the opinion of Vikas Gupta,  MD, Wiley India, learning and the discourses around education have always been the property of institutions throughout the course of human history. Even when the Renaissance changed the very fabric of education in terms of content and the syllabus, the basic and fundamental method of imparting education remain unchanged, and for good reason. Traditional methods of learning has had throughout the centuries proven itself to be a very reliable pedagogical method by which the intellect of the student was sharpened and attuned to suit the needs of each specialized field. As a result of this method, many brilliant minds have graced our civilization with innovations and discoveries.

However as with everything else there is a limit to which a certain method and its established framework could work. Although a stellar success in the preceding decades and centuries, the traditional method of learning has reached the very limit beyond which it could not function and it instead harms the very purpose for which it had been historically established. In the 21st century, a number of unique demands and challenges have arisen which are proving the untenable nature of traditional learning methods in the modern era. If the future has to be reached, it is impossible to use the tools of the past in order to shape the present.

It would be pertinent to point out some of the major problems being faced by the traditional learning method in order to better understand and appreciate the crisis it has found itself to be in. In brief, three major issues can be discerned: the issue of high tuition fees, the issue of inaccessibility and the issue of not meeting the industrial qualifications which are in vogue. The first issue is self-explanatory in itself, a rise in prices of all commodities also incurs an increase in the price of basic services, including higher education. This has caused the beneficiaries of the education system to be limited to a certain privileged demographic. The issue of inaccessibility is again a problem pertaining to exclusion as students from rural backgrounds would be unable to regularly travel to their institutes. Finally, and perhaps the most glaring caveat, is the inability of traditional learning methods to cater to the demands of modern industry. All of these complications have compounded to make these problems even more dire.

It is impossible to completely discard traditional learning methods both due to its historical significance and universal pervasiveness. However, in the process of developing an alternative method of learning, we must not only seek to remove the problems faced by traditional learning methods but also imbibe some of the positive features of the same. It is here that we need to focus upon the act of critical thinking, viewing everything objectively and in relative terms. By focusing upon the benefits it could have for the wider number of people, critical thinking should solve all problems and create new avenues of growth smoothly.

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