Beware of the Googling Teachers

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They say the problem comes with its own solution! How much is it appropriate regarding how we teach in this century of challenges and a very distinct kind of 'professionalism'? There seem to be dark hours going in terms of curating content for teaching. No one wants to enrich the web; we are all just copy-pasting.

Education was supposed to be a common commodity to separate the uncommon from the common ones. We got good use of it in the gone centuries when the leaders got educated to lead and they ensured that the panacea to curb poverty of all sorts - i.e. Education - is offered to all. Even today the solution to most of the global problems is seen in education. What I have believed is that education is not an end; it is meant to achieve any goal for the betterment of human beings. We plan and prepare to teach and the students expect us to empower them. The current generation might be a lost one, but even they know when we try to make a fool of them by 'beating around the bush'. Information or technological resources are no more things to be fascinated about in the classroom. What matters and remains supreme is:

HOW DO YOU MAKE THEM FEEL IN THE CLASSROOM?

If a teacher is able to have a stand-alone presence and has the confidence to take any conversation to its sensible end, the master of learning is there with us. But when someone depends on the World Wide Web for notes whereas it is possible to curate content rather than copying them - it hurts. It tells us that we are successfully failing the students. While I say this to my fellow teachers in the world, I also accept the responsibility of being one of those who refer to web resources. There has been a difference here. I learned these things early that we need not feel bad about making use of something already existing but in return, we need to enrich the web world. I started with EklavyaParv.com around 8 years ago and was adding digital content even before that. In addition to this, my students were putting content under the EduSoMedia Model of Learning.

Not to forget, the ethical way of using internet-based sources is to cite them. One also needs to make corrections because the websites that provide mass-usage-based content also need to create it on a mass scale. Hence, the number of errors - be it grammatical or factual - will certainly be high. In terms of language, we must remember that nothing is final - there will be exceptions as well as arguments about answers.

To share one more concern about 'Googling' and to make use of the content, let me share a significant aspect that I believe in. The writers of the articles are not necessarily teachers who teach in the classroom. They are content writers and if you see a website coming up in the last five years, that is not content creation, but curation. Referring to 4-5 websites or books, the writers frame an answer. There are many websites where we find the same passages and answers. It becomes quite comical when we see a teacher searching for reading comprehension by mentioning the class. The same passage will also appear for any other grade - as it is all about the SEO - Tags.

Taking a cue from the mention of 'Reading Comprehension' We can delve deep into why this particular skill has been an unending part of English language skills. The primary reason is that reading is an integral skill which has to be imparted, at all costs - at all levels. Another side of the 'Unseen Passage' selection is that students READ it in the exams. But when teachers copy a passage from internet sources and go a step ahead in copy-pasting the questions as well - they break the code of conduct. Students check the passage online and the default response is - this came from that website and the answers are there. Can't we pick a passage with a relevant - utility-based context for our students and then frame questions ourselves? We can! But what about procrastination and the laziness spread all around?

IF we want to convey an idea, deliver thought and even do some propaganda among millions of students, just put an unseen passage and you will be having a large number of kids reading it with full attention. Take an excerpt from the books that have inspired you or from a good biography, editorial or even a storybook - it adds to the experience of the learners. It is right that competitive exams stress the use of a high-end vocabulary. That cannot be the purpose of classroom learning. We cannot forget that we are there to make them learn, not to divide them into Qualified - Failed learners. 

 With this explanation, I shall also add a tragic-comic experience of copied content on the internet. There is a popularly used YouTube Channel AD Study Channel. The gentleman presenter has used all educational content of English subject from Tata Class Edge (a paid product) and has given it his own voice-over besides doing video editing to hide the Tata Class Edge interface. More to add is that the script is not his own, it is the reading of what is provided in the package to schools after they pay a good amount to purchase. This is unethical and when we pass it on to kids as an authentic source, it hurts education.

The flood of YouTube channels that TEACH topics provides mediocre to good and in most cases, below-average content as well. Now, when I as a teacher will recommend the explanation by some unknown presenter (not teacher), am I making myself look incompetent to my own students? In the Post-Pandemic Pedagogy, we expect the teachers to start MAKING CONTENT as they claimed a survival based on Educational Technology. So, this is the right time to present our own content, customised according to our own students. 

School leaders need to ensure the integrity of the learning process by safeguarding the interests of the learners. Teachers will be benefitted if there is a check on them to avoid using the internet as the first choice to refer to (actually COPY and PASTE).

 

About the Author
Author: Parveen Sharma
'You Create Yourself' is the belief that drives the EklavyaParv Life Long Learning Mission. The trilogy of Enhance-Empower-Encourage motivates us and we share learning contents on Communication Skills, EdTech, Life Skills, Blended & Innovative Learning and Insights about Education. These resources are Open Educational Resources (OERs) under CC-BY-NC-SA licence. Parveen is an EdTech Evangelist and has been working in the field of Innovation-driven Education for more than a decade. He writes and delivers training on EduSoMedia, E-Learning, OERs, MOOCs, EdTech, ICT, Blended and Flipped Learning, Academic Intervention, Classroom Makeover, Employability Enhancement, EdTech and Teacher-Student Learning. EklavyaParv is the celebration of his belief in the Learning Spirit of Mankind!

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