Some of the tenets of postmodernism have resulted in a paradigm shift in the whole education methodology.
There is a general shift from a teacher centered classroom to a student centered one.
“Rather than identifying the set of skills to be got in children’s heads, attention shifts to establishing learning environments conducive to children constructing their Math and Science in social settings,” Wheatley notes.
A student centered classroom involves opportunities for social interaction, independent investigations and study and the expression of creativity as well as provision for different learning styles. There are students who create knowledge and are no longer forced to bow to the subjugation of traditional objective knowledge.
Traditionally, a learner was viewed as an empty slate. All knowledge was supposed to come from the teacher. Learning by heart was at the core of the teaching methodology.
Critics to this system argued that learners cannot be empty slates to be filled by the teacher. Even when a learner steps in the school compound for the first time, he or she should not be viewed as being completely blank. At least he or she knows something which needs to be sharpened or built on.
The postmodern approach recognizes that knowledge can both be discovered and constructed.
Stimulating and affirming creativity in students is important in constructing knowledge and values, particularly if diverse view points are encouraged.
The student centered approach takes into account what is known as multiple intelligences. The teaching methodology is formulated in such a way that different learning styles of learners are accommodated.
In the learners’ social realm, the postmodern view emphasizes tolerance and respect for other cultures. In a school setting where there are students from diverse backgrounds, acknowledging and celebrating other people’s culture is encouraged.
Campaigns against environmental degradation also find enormous support in the postmodern movement. Postmodernists regard the environment highly.
Students are encouraged to form nature clubs where they learn the importance of a good and clean environment as well as how to take good care of it.
In language, there has been a general shift towards gender inclusive speech and politically correct expressions.
Textbooks and media reports are now gender sensitive and cognizant of the fact that biased gender coverage are both oppressive and discriminative.
Despite the rather damaging side of postmodernism, its onset is not an absolute evil. It has had varied positive impacts that have had a positive transformation in education, religion and even culture.
The author is the Director Of Studies at Nu Vision High School, Kabuga.