KOCHI: Education and teaching methods are much-discussed topics. Many educational reformers have tried their best to bring about a change in the system. Some have succeeded while many others had to face defeat, not because their ideas were flawed but due to the lack of courage on the part of the public to try something different. Tracy Hanson is among the minority who has tasted success.
An educator with a passion to bring about a change in the present concept of education, Hanson, 69, was recently honoured with the World Icon of Peace award. She is in the country to promote her idea of education called the Matrix of a Learner, a five-point system of learning.
Hanson, who is the founder director of Next Generation Global Education, says, “Our mission is to promote the Matrix of a Learner philosophy and to facilitate its implementation in learning situations for all learners, educators, parents, peers, local communities and global citizens. I believe a learner-centric model accelerates individual growth, betters the community, and results in solving real-world problems.” She was very critical about the drawbacks of the current education system.
“We are bringing up a generation who don’t question. Right from home, kids are discouraged from asking questions. That’s not right! That’s not the method or manner in which a child has to be brought up,” she says. The world is in such a mess due to the very reason that people don’t question and try to seek solutions for them, she says. “Why should everyone always look towards the government to get a problem solved. That shouldn’t be the attitude,” she adds. And for this decay, she blames the education system that thrives on learning by the rote.
“Kids are taught facts and concepts from prescribed textbooks. The teachers jot down the points on the blackboards, students note it down, mug it up and then vomit it onto the exam papers. A useless exercise which has only one positive outcome: the student gets good marks. But at the cost of his or her ability to think out of the box. Formulate new ideas, create new things and hence, take the nation, world and the human race forward into a new era,” she says.
Hanson, who works among kids in the African countries, says, “We need our teachers to investigate and implement a new educational model. A system that eliminates artificial grade expectancies and allows students to learn in a mastery-based curriculum geared to their individual learning styles and needs.”
She stresses there is a need to empower teachers to facilitate individual learners rather than try to direct group learning. “Give teachers the tools and support to make these changes and in doing so, we can turn a consistently failing situation into one that breeds motivation, excitement and success for everyone,” she says.
According to Hanson, the concept of the Matrix of a Learner which she hopes to introduce in the schools in Kerala, constitutes the learner in the midpoint. “He or she is surrounded by parents, peers, educators, community and the global citizens. The students explore, learn, create, master and give back,” she says.