Standing at the front of her classroom this past February, the public high-school English teacher Jana Rohrer wrote the words “American Flag” on the board and asked her ninth-grade students to tell her what came to their minds. Over the past six years Rohrer has used the exercise as part of a lesson to help explain symbolism in Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird. And over the past six years, the students’ answers had become routine: Freedom. Independence. Patriotism. This time, there were new words mixed among the more familiar responses: Hate. Racism. Danger. “It was like when you hear a record scratch and the music stops,” said Rohrer, recalling the moment from the classroom exercise. “I was just floored.” Plenty has been written about the shifting relationship between the U.S. and its
Each year, 5 September, the birthday of India’s second president and eminent educationist, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, is celebrated as Teacher’s Day. The modern celebration follows a time-honoured tradition of recognizing spiritual and academic teachers during Guru Purnima, which falls on the full moon day in the lunar month of Ashada (July). Since the Industrial Revolution, in India and around the world, the tradition of home or community schooling—often centered on the teacher—has gradually been transformed into a human supply chain schooling system centered on the educational institution. As we move towards an information age, nations around the world are grappling with what the next transformation in education needs to be. The current challenge in India remains a 20th century challenge of quantity and quality for its primary and higher education systems.