LEARN well, THINK deep, DO good, BE leaders: How education can prepare our children for life
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Rote learning and theoretical knowledge aren’t enough to prepare our children for the real world. We need to equip them with the ability and tools to handle themselves and thrive in any situation. With the LTDB framework, LEAD School is on a mission to ‘empower students to be capable adults, responsible citizens, and good human beings’.
No child thinks, speaks, moves, or dreams in a straight line. But the traditional education system does not quite cater to this universal truth, pushing kids into a linear way of thinking, and force-fitting them into boxes that confine them.
A big contributor to this issue is the practice of rote memory, a technique for learning in which one repeats facts or figures over and over again to perpetuate them in their memory banks. Rote learning does not prepare children for the challenges of real-life and fails when subject areas become more complex and problem areas increase in breadth and depth.
Only arithmetic, languages, social studies, science, and physical education are not enough to prepare children for the real world. The focus should also be on underlying skills such as comprehension, problem-solving, critical thinking, and logical reasoning, which are vital to prepare our children for a future in the real world.
The role the teacher plays to this end is incomparable and irreplaceable – a good one opens the door to learning, creates a positive atmosphere, and keeps children interested, motivated, and engaged. At LEAD School, we aim to help the teachers at our partner schools ensure that the education and learning we impart prepares our children for life and sets them up for success.
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The Learn-Think-Do-Be approach
Aware that our education system is not preparing students today for the future of tomorrow, LEAD School is on a mission to ‘empower students to be capable adults, responsible citizens, and good human beings’. To make this happen, all students will ‘LEARN well’, ‘THINK deep’, ‘DO good’ and ‘BE leaders’ (LTDB).
With the LTDB framework, LEAD aims to help students in its partner schools to prepare themselves for life. The Learn-Think-Do-Be approach to pedagogy is designed with real-life applications in mind. When everything that students learn has a lesson connected to it, children are both more likely to remember the material and gain real-life advantages.
This approach has been experimented within LEAD’s own schools and, after seeing its efficacy, introduced to partner schools.
- LEARN (well)
Focusing on academics
Every student needs a robust understanding of academic courses and subjects such as English, math, science, social studies, local languages, PE, performing and visual arts, and more. We aim to activate prior knowledge and help teachers build on that knowledge. The idea is to use the concept of embodied learning to build a complete understanding of what a subject is.
For example, for a lesson on human anatomy, students could be asked to create a model of the heart. The teacher will pose questions to discuss the activity, encouraging students to reflect on the learning/concept and then share their thoughts. Bouncing ideas off each other spurs group work and peer learning.
- THINK (deep)
Enabling the spirit of inquiry
There is a difference between simply acquiring facts and true learning. Learning and comprehension need students to be able to put information in context with other knowledge and apply it in a variety of ways. Over time, fuelling the spirit of curiosity and inquiry gives them the ability to think deeply, make connections, and appreciate multiple perspectives.
LEAD School supports teachers in our partner schools to use slideshows or ask students to read through additional content to bridge gaps arising from the previous step. Steps like these spark conversations, fix gaps and enhance learning. Students then practise what they have understood by solving a worksheet, producing an artefact, or showcasing a performance – applying whatever they have learned and crystallising their concept.
- DO (good)
Taking action to make things happen
This component will allow students to apply classroom learning in real life. The idea is to set goals, persist and work towards them, and ensure that learnings are applied (in the context of academic and human values). But learning can’t only focus on knowledge; it has to be put into practice with moral values and ethics in mind- exploring opportunities to “do the right thing”.
A value component cannot be forced into every lesson, it’s true, but it can be a part of many. For example, students learning about the zoo can be asked reflective questions like, “how will you feel if you are locked up”. English and EVS lessons offer scope for channelising learning via this approach.
- BE (leaders)
Taking responsibility, solving problems
This component aims to help hone students’ values, forms problem-solving skills, and encourages them to take responsibility to address issues. The LEAD School values include integrity, growth mindset, courage, empathy, and impact, and help students be young leaders who can be changemakers of tomorrow. For this, we offer:
- Student-led conference (all grades) – Learning exhibition at the school/classroom-level where a lot of skills are formed, including leadership skills, teamwork, taking initiative, and making contingency plans. This works very well in partner schools and parents get to see their child’s learning beyond the textbook. It also promotes healthy competition as children from different LEAD partner schools can submit their entries for prizes, enabling students to put their minds together and work hard collaboratively. This typically happens twice, but many schools do it almost three to four times a year.
- Student-led movement (Grade 4 and up) – Students zero in on problems that matter within their community or classroom and work under the guidance of the teacher to come up with a solution. For example, addressing school bathroom cleanliness could involve questioning habits, process, and infrastructure to figure out the problem and work out a solution (maybe speak to school management for a change). The learnings are then shared with the other students. Community examples include a rally for awareness to get more people involved in the solution for a cause.
- Leadership cafe: (Grade 8-10) – Here, we target high-school students with a series of leadership workshops and aim to focus on specific skills and habit-forming activities and lectures.
LEAD’s approach to application-based learning seamlessly extends to remote learning as well. LEAD School @Home offers hybrid learning, enabling children to watch a lesson, take the quiz, undergo regular assessments, and practice with friends. For schools that offer online learning options, our Academic Excellence managers train teachers and are present on calls to help them with activities. This has led to children flexing their imagination right from home—a student at one of our partner schools observed and documented a hen’s growth at home after she learnt about it in class.
Numerous studies have shown the need for our education system to address the gap between school and real-life to shape children into resilient beings able to deal with life beyond the textbook. From activity-based learning to projects that help sharpen their problem-solving skills, our children deserve an education that is couched in real-life scenarios and applications. With the Learn-Think-Do-Be framework, we at LEAD are doing our best to help them get just that.
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