Education is what can seriously impact any nation, and make it flourish through enlightening young minds and motivating them to serve their country with honour and the wisdom they acquire. For the youth to excel, the education system and the educators must provide a suitable platform and latest approaches to knowledge. Presently, that is the need of the day for Pakistan. An educator’s approach to learning is critical in the intellectual growth and development of students. I have seen this first-hand for over 20 years in my time as a teacher and school leader. An imperative aspect of an education programme is its bottom-up approach — it identifies age-appropriate goals for its students. For instance, if a child is growing and moving through the Cambridge Primary and Secondary programmes, their goals keep changing; getting more challenging and advanced and the country must make sure that every kid makes it and gains access to the country’s workforce.
A thing to note: the teacher’s role is fundamentally intrinsic to this whole process. It is the teacher who is to first understand children as individuals, and recognise that learning activities must be tailored to suit each student according to their needs and abilities. The teacher’s primary responsibility is to be a facilitator for the students, helping them to find answers to problems and learn more in the process by encouraging students to formulate strategies and understand concepts on their own.
The intellectual growth of a child is a complex process; a graph that increases and plateaus at times, and the teacher’s job is to ensure that the trend continues upwards. It is also important for a child to be aware of their own progress.
Setting the foundation for a student’s development is the task assigned to all teachers that are responsible for children during their primary years. This is exactly why the Alpha School will be following the Cambridge Primary Programme. It is a broad-based and balanced approach to education, enabling students to appreciate specific subjects through the topics studied, and a better understanding of the world at large.
When I previously introduced the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Programme and the Cambridge Primary Curriculum into schools in an international setting, I was delighted with the positive reactions from pupils and parents. It was wonderful to hear the children animatedly talking to each other and the adults in the classroom about what they were doing and the freedom with which they expressed themselves. Over the first term, we noticed a blossoming of the children’s use and understanding of English directly as a result of the EYFS and the way in which this was delivered by the staff. In addition, the hands-on style of learning enabled the children to physically explore the learning process in an open and safe way. The focus very much is upon allowing children to find their own pathways to learning in a structured and child-friendly manner in and out of the classroom — something every institution must strive to achieve since every child represents the future of the country.
The co-curricular aspect of school life is fully integrated into the timetable so that children discover their artistic, musical, rhythmical and sporting talents. With the latest equipment and resources, children must be assured to have fun while they are learning.
Teachers play a pivotal role in shaping students — and a curriculum must provide a clear pathway to progress and the freedom to create amazing opportunities for the children.
I am delighted to be working with my students to bring these learning opportunities to the children of Lahore and I hope other institutions all over Pakistan will make sure our students make it in this competitive world.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 11th, 2017.