Learners are inundated by a flood of information and what they need today is the ability to choose the right knowledge, said Governor of Tamil Nadu, K Rosaiah. He was speaking at the inauguration of the 44th Annual Conference of the English Language Teachers’ Association of India (ELTAI) held at the SRM University recently.
“They need to filter useful from the useless and the progressive from the regressive,” said Rosaiah. He added that teachers needed to adapt themselves to help students with this new challenge rather than continue with traditional methods of teaching. They should help them in choosing the right knowledge with the help of new learning styles and techniques, he said.
Speaking on the topic, ‘21st Century Learners: Learning Styles and Strategies’, Chris Brandwood, first secretary for English language education at the British Council, said that today the amount of learning aid and information that a little mobile phone could provide was unimaginable a few years ago. “There is no lack of access to learning. The best lectures from the best universities can be made available to students in the remotest of villages,” he said.
He further added that owing to this accessibility of information, the lecture mode of teaching will have to give way to more interactive teaching wherein the students will be able to discuss the subject with the professor after having read up on it prior to the class. “Universities have started taking to teaching modes wherein the papers prepared by the teacher are handed over to the student before the class so that the students can read it up at home and have an interactive session during the class hours,” he said.
He also added that digital interaction will be crucial in the coming years especially for language learning. When interactions between students and teachers in various locations are necessary, digital technology will be a solution, he said.
Regional English Language Officer at the Embassy of the United States, Diane Miller, said that in the 21st Century, everyone was a learner. “There is no point if one stops learning and become a professor,” she said.