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June 07, 2019 Friday 08:37:20 AM IST

Learning to Unlearn: Are the New Generation Teachers Ready for This Game Change?

Guest Column

By Shiny Davison
As I was attending the 17th World Educational forum in Dubai, the common question that triggered the audience was the need for teachers to Unlearn. Now, let’s see what the thesaurus says, the meaning of the word UNLEARN is. This is what I captured from the Thesaurus. UNLEARN means to discard an outdated information from one’s memory. This is exactly what is required from the educators of today to unlearn rigid rules for labelling and placing children in ranks and marks. This may be very contradicting when I say, as we are latched to this system of labelling and grading for generations and there isn’t any major revolution in this pattern in our educational system. So, where will the change begin? Who will be instrumental in initiating the change? Who are the benefactors? All these questions are very crucial, and we need to equip ourselves with an answer.
Now let’s get deeper into the world of UNlearning. For me, it simply means to make sure learners are active throughout a lesson, and that they participate in the various activities offered. Learners need to be hooked to whatever they are learning, students should participate in the process of learning through discussions, technology and collaboration. There is no humongous change in the pattern the major change is HOW we do it. The word HOW is the essence of unlearning. So, it’s the facilitator who is instrumental in making these changes inside a classroom. As an educator with over 20 years, the best days in these two decades were when I was with the textbook teaching a class of 30 students. But today, as a leader, I won’t like my fellow teacher to do the same. So as leaders ,we change the platform and train the faculty in UNLEARNING.
A simple phrase explains it all: Times have changed so is the teaching pedagogy. I would like to list down four major changes that need to be seen inside a classroom.
Adapting: Technology inside classroom (This is the thumb rule)
Collaboration: Focus on collaborative learning to enhance and captivate learners. 
Communication: Clear focus on the Idea 
Modeling behaviour : Be the change !

Today’s children have a degree of expectation, that their teachers will continue connecting personally to them and is not teaching a mass. The students want a more relaxed learning environment and educators who provide this approach will succeed. They have the mobility and access of technology practically anywhere, so to them a classroom can be a lounge, a coffee shop, a workplace, anywhere as long as minds can come together to be collaborative and productive. If we apply this to our own teaching space as an educator, we succeed. Students embrace teaching styles that involve less lecturing, more use of technology, more interactions with other learners and real-world experiences and applications.
How we teach, what we impart, and in what ways we choose to teach our learners today will affect the future in ways that we can't imagine. Practicing next-generation teaching habits by unlearning our traditional methods is the best way to ensure that the road we pave is a positive and constructive one. Our students are empowered. They know that social media is a big hub of knowledge. We need to recreate this situation inside a classroom. In a few years, some of our students will start to move into administrative positions. They will bring a new perspective and better understanding of working because they are a part of it. Until then, as teachers we have to be the master of change starting from inside of a classroom. Essentially create these learning hubs inside your staffrooms too, where teachers sit down to discuss UNLEARNING.
As the saying goes: You leave old habits by starting with a thought, I realize the need for this in my life now - WAYNE Dyer.
So, lets dive into this taught as educators of this century and ensure that student learning is more powerful by our UNLEARNING.

Illustration by Gerd Altman,



Shiny Davison

Shiny Davison is Vice Principal AMLED School, Dubai.She has done her post graduation in Sociology and has over 16 years of experience in Education Planning, School Administration, Teacher Management and Student Relations. She has administered the roles of teacher, HOD, and Academic-in-Charge.

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