Nursery Admissions - New Age Schools Vs Traditional Schools

Traditional school classrooms are teaching environments where the teacher is the only person or instructor who transfers knowledge to the students. The students acquire this knowledge in an unquestioning manner through listening and observation.

Traditional teaching is concerned with the teacher being the controller of the learning environment. Power and responsibility are held by the teacher and they play the role of instructor and decision maker. Traditionally, classroom settings are teacher-centered where the teacher often talks at the students instead of encouraging them to interact, ask questions or make them understand the lesson thoroughly. Most classes involve rote learning, where students depend on memorization without having a complete understanding of the subject. Just by passing the tests, consisting of descriptions, matching and other forms of indicators are all that matter to complete the curriculum. It follows a content driven curriculum confined to linear learning, defined time period, paper based information and memorization.

But in a New age school the focus is on the student’s learning. The student is considered to be an autonomous individual and is allowed to make her or his own efforts towards learning. The teacher is there to help the student in this process. This school emphasized on children’s autonomy in the learning process and activities as the basis for learning. The teacher recognized that each child learns differently and at a different pace.

The school allowed for these differences to encourage each student to achieve their full potential. As each child is different when it comes to attention span, retaining capacity, the child’s prior knowledge of a particular concept, the aspects that are taken into consideration in the new-age classroom are manifold.

New age school emphasizes an experience-based education, where each student’s imagination and curiosity propels the development of more advanced communication, creative problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration skills. In other words, students open their minds and sharpen their thinking by getting their hands dirty. The schools are less interested in testing and more interested in making sure students have the life skills they need once they leave the classroom.

New Age schools prepare the students with survival skills required for 21st century life, work, and citizenship like critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and leadership, agility and adaptability, initiative and entrepreneurialism, effective oral and written communication, accessing and analyzing information and curiosity and imagination. They emphasis the importance of improvement over intelligence, development of social skills, understanding and action as the goals of learning as opposed to rote knowledge, collaborative and cooperative learning projects, education for social responsibility and democracy, highly personalized education accounting for each individual’s personal goals, integration of community service and service learning projects into the daily curriculum, selection of subject content by looking forward to ask what skills will be needed in future society, de-emphasis on textbooks in favor of varied learning resources, emphasis on lifelong learning and social skills and assessment by evaluation of child’s projects and productions. It follows a process driven curriculum with Process skills we need to add to new age curriculum are Communication skills, Technical reading and writing, Technical reasoning skills, Problem solving and critical thinking, Information literacy, Technology as a tool, New personal skills, New mindset skills like must teach students to live like quarterbacks developing their intuition, Failing is good, valuing stupid, crazy, off the wall ideas and Fostering creative thinking.

The New age schools should equip students for success in the brave new world of the 21st century.
Refer also the below link for 21st century education.

New age interactive devices like digital or smart boards, internet, audio video equipment and cloud technology are included into digital classrooms which fascinates everyone and gives an experimental edge to student to respond in a better way. So new age schools are equipped with smart technology and appropriately designed infrastructure that supports the main cause of teaching and learning in amicable settings.

The wide use of digital technology has expanded access and spawned new ways of teaching and learning. Technology-supported learning is those that employ tools like computers, distance learning equipment, Internet resources and other comparable hardware or software in order to improve student understanding. We can say a rich environment of active learning from artificial learning environment.  So the combination of several different technology tools to take advantage of immersive learning environment is the next step for a new age education. These schools also introduce CALL a computer assisted learning Language to improve students acquisition of second and foreign language with audio–visual, tactile and interaction affordances of computers.

Comparison between Traditional Classroom and New Age Classroom:

Traditional Classroom (TC) is Time based  and New Age Classroom (NAC) is Outcome based.

TC - teacher centered and NAC Student centered one

TC focus on memorization of facts  and NAC focus on what students know and can do

In TC lessons are designed on knowledge, comprehension and application. In NAC learning is designed on synthesis, analysis, evaluation and innovation.    

TC is based on Low Order Thinking Skills (LOTS) and NAC based on Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS).     

TC is textbook-driven and NAC is research-driven.   

In TC passive learning and in NAC  active learning.

TC is an isolated Classroom and NAC is a Global Classroom.

In TC students remain isolated and in NAC they work along with the classmates and others around the world.

In TC students  have less freedom and in NAC more freedom.

In TC no student motivation  and in NAC students are highly motivated.

In TC curriculum is fragmented and in NAC an integrated and inter-disciplinary curriculum.  

TC is curriculum based and NAC is project based.

TC is content based and NAC is process based.

TC is knowledge based and NAC skill based.

TC is competitive and NAC is collaborative.

In TC they learn basic skills and in NAC applied skills.

TC is learning for school and NAC is learning for life.

In TC grades based on written exam and in NAC grades based on what was learned.  

In TC learning and assessment though exams and in NAC though performance, projects and multiple form of media.

In TC students work judged only by teacher but in NAC by self, peer, public audience authentic assessment.

In TC student diversity is missing and in NAC curriculum address student diversity.

In TC, Literacy focused on reading, writing and Maths but  NAC focused on multiple literacies of 21st century.

In TC expectations level is low and in NAC expectation level is high.

In TC curriculum remain meaningless or irrelevant to students. But in NAC, curriculum is connected to the interests of the students, experiences, talents and the real world. 

No innovative ideas and thinking missing in TC and in NAC we get innovative solutions for 21st century                                     

TC education suits the industrial age of 20th century and NAC is a building block for new age of knowledge based society.

TC focuses more on learning about things and NAC focuses more on learning things.

No one is sure how future education will take shape. But if schools are to prepare young people for successful lives in the new age society, they need to do things differently. New age schools need to develop different skills and dispositions from those that were required in the earlier years.

But the real change can happen in classroom only if teachers use refreshingly new methods of conveying concepts which create curiosity in the child’s mind hence incorporating Inquiry based learning approach. A massive retooling of educations or trainers is needed for a new age school. When schools do not apply these proper methods and teachers are not well-equipped with essential skills and training then it is meaningless to call them as new age schools.

We also cannot deny our successful traditional schooling adopted past two centuries provided extraordinary access to learning, status and economic success to millions. But in these new age schooling we are rethinking and reshaping our education to build new education system around deeper new understandings. Our careers are changing and these changes demand for new kind of educational leadership along with changing governments.  So new leaders need new age education with new technologies that bring new resources to everyone to build a new age nation.

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Comment by Lathaa Manavalan on September 18, 2014 at 2:10pm

@ Siddhartha

You are right! Technology is just a tool used for a New Age learning process. Yeah Teachers are not instructors  but facilitators or a co-learner.

Comment by Siddhartha Bagchi on September 18, 2014 at 12:25pm

Well, technology isn't by itself a mascot for New Age.

It needs a shift in thinking processes. Do we want our children to learn NOW as they would learn BY THEMSELVES when they are free of school boundaries. I struggled to get onto these "blogs" because it wasn't 'taught at school'. 

Technology should have its due place. Learning doesn't happen ONLY through technology. There is peer interaction (oh! is your distant peer is on Skype?) and learning facilitation from teachers (do you really believe my response, there's a lot of such junk info on the internet). 

Comment by Lathaa Manavalan on August 27, 2014 at 6:54pm

Quote by Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam  stressing the need of high technology.

"A good educational model is the need of the hour to ensure that the students grow to contribute towards thedevelopment of the nation. Can we sow the seeds of capacity building among the students? There will be continuous innovation during the learning process. To realize this,special capacities are required to be built in education system for nurturing the students. The capacities which are required to be built are research and enquiry, creativity and innovation, use of high technology, entrepreneurial and moral leadership".

Comment by Lathaa Manavalan on August 27, 2014 at 6:46pm

@ Tarun

Well said. In these days, modernization is making rapid progress internationally. Many countries like Singapore and Japan now follow a trend of introducing ICT into educational needs. It  widens the learning activities of children in school and helps them acquire the skills for the 21st century.

Comment by Lathaa Manavalan on August 27, 2014 at 6:40pm

@ Rajeev Kumar

New age school is not a school who use just multimedia or ICT devices. It is just a part of it.

In New age school, focus of learning is on insight, deeper understanding and higher order thinking. The child  should learn a new concept and understand it  in a better way by applying it to situations based on real life situations. It encourages a research based model which encourages students to think, search and discover. A child absorbs lessons through a new age technique called "accelerated learning method". But the progressive school follow activity or project based learning methods.

Comment by Tarun malhotra on August 27, 2014 at 6:01pm
Well guys we all used tape recorders and cassettes to listen to songs followed by CDs and later with pen drives. Walkman shrunk to become iPod and now we just download mp3/4's so change is the only constant and education system will undergo the same
Comment by Lathaa Manavalan on August 27, 2014 at 5:50pm

@ Rajeev and Aditya Agarwal

As Sakshi mam mentioned I wrote this blog just distinguish between the two terms New Age and Traditional.

I too agree with most of your points. Even I do not recommend using tablets at young age. Children may have confusion in between real and virtual and their concentration of mind. We should be very cautious and follow balanced approach. Preschool kids learn to master speaking skills and making friends at this stage of learning. They will have great fun with natural things and interaction with human beings. We should not expose children to expensive gadgets at this stage but slowly introduce these tools at higher levels. Hand held devices are also associated with wide range of health problems. But at higher levels, tablets can be a best learning tool because it is much lighter which can hold hundreds of textbooks, increase student interactivity and creativity, and that digital textbooks are cheaper than print textbooks.

In new age schools, the challenge is to learn how technology can be used in a student-centered manner to enhance student learning. From a learning stand point, we should see how technology can transform learning and bring it to a higher level for our students than the devices and equipments. From just information transformation in a traditional school, high order thinking skills and learning are given due importance in a new age learning school.

Comment by renu on August 27, 2014 at 1:03pm
Well said. rajeev
Comment by RAJEEV KUMAR on August 27, 2014 at 10:53am

I have following inputs to add on:

1. New age schools ---- also use traditional methods

   Traditional schools ---- many also use modern 'multimedia' technologies

       So, the point of discussion is basically 'Traditional method' vs 'Modern methods'

2. The basic idea of going to school is to understand, learn, & memorize (or retain)[so that it can be recalled for applying to get the result)  the concepts/system. Traditional method uses traditional ways,e.g., lecture by teacher supported by writing on black/white board using chalk/pen, Q&A sessions with students and oral & written tests. On the other hand, modern method uses newer supporting systems, e.g., computers & projectors, Audio-video Presentations, graphics & animations etc. In some ways newer methods are good in explaining complex things in a better way which may not be possible by lecture, text or drawings on board but at the same time they are having certain drawbacks as well, e.g., easy distraction of students, more dependence on internet (google baba), less habit of reading books, less habit of writing and worst of that CUT & PASTE methodology.

3. All may appreciate that information given by GOOGLE BABA are mostly half truth and sometimes wrong as well, as many of the information are posted by less knowledgeable persons (not competent). It is very difficult for little students to identify the correct article/text.

4. More & more use of the modern methods for teaching/learning makes students addicted to such equipment/tools... not good for health, makes them less attracted towards sports ... again not good for health...

5. So a school with good teachers supported by traditional supporting methods and modern methods may be used as and when/where required basis.

6. In my opinion, propaganda of so called NEW AGE SCHOOL and INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL is to differentiate such schools from others for marketing purpose and charging increased fee.

-- Rajeev

Comment by Tarun malhotra on August 27, 2014 at 8:51am
Very good article.. I think there is a need for all the schools to have newer technology introduction which should change the traditional way of teaching. I also see various smartclass companies providing sufficient training support to teachers..which shud gradually change this scenario. The business of education being the best way to make good money is somewhere driving the high end smart schools who suck all juice from the parents... which i think shud he avoided

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