Saturday, 23 October, 2021

Emerging Changes & Challenges of Learners in New Normal

Protiva Rani Karmaker

Emerging Changes & Challenges of Learners in New Normal
Protiva Rani Karmaker

Due to Covid-19, the world has already experienced a plethora of changes, challenges and uncertainties in the educational milieu.  According to Heraclitus, “The only constant in life is change.” However, the most striking features of changes of our learners in the post-Covid new normal society will be their apprehension, habit formation, understanding and management of life with skill as well as positive attitude. When our universal educational goal is to assist our youngsters develop their competence, understanding, and disposition, we have to be more considerate, flexible, passionate and reasonable in dealing with them. The effects of Covid-19 pandemic will be more frustrating if we fail to make them confident and competent in managing life and facing emerging challenges with deep insight and patience.

In the field of academics, teaching and learning setting has accommodated a multiplicity of changes to sustain itself to the rugged tests of time. Ever since the advent of technology in the tenets of education, like other branches of knowledge, teaching & learning has witnessed a series of innovative experimentations in approaches and methodologies through digital transformation. Geographical and physical boundaries are also being transcended constantly by technology as students learn to reach out to the world around them, using their language, literary and cultural skills to facilitate the connections they are eager to establish. Moving from the classroom-based teaching and learning context, the present day technology-based Embedded Learning (EL) has enlarged its wings at the urban settings in Bangladesh. Some of our learners are complying with existing system of knowledge sharing; experience gathering and other skills while many are lagging behind.

Life has turned out to be a different mirror to them. A few of them have been noticed suffering from deep depression due to  worries, acute family pressure, economic crisis, prejudices, death of nearest ones or break ups etc. The rate of death by suicide is increasing among youths day by day. Juvenile delinquency, also known as "juvenile offending", as the act of participating in unlawful behaviour is caused by a number of factors that include peer influence, influence by the family of the juvenile, race, and other related factors like low self-esteem and trauma. During and after any pandemic or unpleasant situation, changes of our life patterns bring forth changes in mindset, especially low self-esteem and trauma.

Grievances bring grievances, happiness brings happiness. Those who can feel the awakening magical spirit of the nourishing seeds of happiness into sprouts, buds into blossoms, and ripening flowers into fruitfulness remain happy and calm. The youngsters who believe that the darker the night, the brighter the stars can endure agonies with smiling faces and indomitable spirit. Any human who is grateful to his/her creator, parents, society and country remain composed and peaceful at any adverse situation. He/She never thinks of destroying their most precious human life. As human we should develop trusting and supporting connection with others through mutual understanding. Besides, we need to accept or strength as well as weakness equally. Self-acceptance is highly required to overcome unpleasant experience though overconfidence on one’s ability may bring sometimes negative result in society. So we need to embrace both of our strength and weakness.

 To assist our learners at the present situation the role of educational institutes from primary to higher sections should be extended. The contemporary approaches to teaching along with providing knowledge on health issues, safety, pragmatic skills, life managing abilities, counselling as well as monitoring changed behavioural patterns may bring positive result. It is recommended that along with teaching text books, a teacher should teach life lessons by being a role model to his/her students. As teachers we need to be good listeners and keen observers too to discover hidden qualities of our learners. Teachers or instructors will create a sustainable bridge for learners to learn, share and thus motivate them be the gold for our golden Bengal. Since a lot of things are transforming including law, science, commerce, educational strategies, presentation skills, language, business, acquiring extra skills will act like ornaments in their career. There is in fact no time to be depressed now. Updated methods and techniques like blended mode, flipped classrooms, experiential learning, art, music, and sport integrated learning, inter disciplinary and multidisciplinary learning, and collaborative learning strategies will prepare the learners to face emerging challenges of life with pleasing outcomes.

Now let’s focus on family as a strong base to guide youngsters. Mobile addiction has already started drying up many young learners’ positive thinking capacity, creativity, questioning skills, communicative skill, hospitality and other faculties of mind. In this complex web of modern life many of us are merely lonely.  Technology can keep us busy but it fails to remove our loneliness. We need friends and family to forget loneliness. For kids and adults family must act like friends and strong guidance. There should be balance of love, support and control from family. The constructive role of society, country, and international organization is highly appreciated and expected. There should be more facilitating wings open for proving youth excellence, employment by government and non-government organization. Entrepreneur development process through proper training will promote new firms or ventures get better in achieving their goals, improve business and the nation's economy. Besides, we need to forsake our prejudice of searching and waiting highly prestigious jobs. Let us create jobs rather than running after it; let us value each honest profession.

According to Swami Vivekananda, “We are what our thoughts have made us; so, take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.” So we need to guide us by individual self. If the world fails to reward you, you reward yourself as it is you who know you better than others. Wise men talk with their own intelligent self to get direction sometimes. To keep pace with these emerging challenges of life, the youths should feel strong from inside. Their failure is catastrophic as they are our leaders. They can never fail as they are the shining stars.


The writer is Associate Professor and Director (Former) of Institute of Modern Languages (IML) of Jagannath University, Dhaka