Skill - Based education

Skill - Based education

The traditional form of learning that is widely prevalent in India is knowledge based learning where the emphasis lies on facts and information. You are given a list of things to remember and that is the extent of your learning. While there is some element of practical application involved, that too is highly theoretical wherein you know where the concepts you study are applied but you have no idea how exactly.

This form of learning does have its own benefits. For one, your scope of understanding is much wider and also, since you have a theoretical understanding of the governing laws, you can grasp the practical aspect pretty quickly if you ever need to. However the major flaw with this form of learning is that you really never have a deep knowledge of anything and you can actually do very little with what you know.

Explicitly teaching reading, speaking, and writing skills is the best way to prepare students for state and local exams, college, and careers. Skill-based instruction ensures that a good amount of instructional time is dedicated to teaching students how to read, think, write, and speak in all subject areas. Through explicit teaching, students develop the ability to read complex texts and express sophisticated ideas on their own. Skill-based instruction will move students toward independence and teach them how to think at high levels, solve problems, and perform on various academic tasks with great success.

Skill-based instruction is about planning, implementing, and assessing literacy skills. In a skill-based classroom, a good amount of instructional time is dedicated to practicing, assessing, and reflecting on skills. As students practice skills, they are reading non-fiction texts, discussing ideas, and summarizing essential information. They are learning how to think critically, analyze ideas, and speak and write with insight and sophistication. The focus in the classroom is on developing students’ into independent readers and thinkers so that they are prepared for the rigors of college and careers. Content knowledge is critical, and using reading, writing, and speaking skills to access that knowledge helps students learn it and retain it.

An Educator’s role in skill-based instruction is simple: set high expectations, facilitate skill practice, and support all students so they can be successful. In essence, teachers become more like coaches leading a team. They introduce a skill, model it, and ask students to practice. After a few weeks of running drills, students perform and the teacher evaluates their performance. Then, they come together as a team to go over the results and use that information to draw up a new game plan for the following week.

If we teach literacy skills and truly focus our efforts on helping students read, write, and think in all subject areas, then our students will learn the content and be able to make new meaning through original analysis, evaluation, synthesis, and application. Strong skill-based instruction relies on four main elements.

  1. explicit teaching
  2. high expectations
  3. strategic scaffolds for learning
  4. skill practice, practice, practice
The author of this article is Assistant Professor Pioneer Institute of Professional Studies Indore. 
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