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The 3 Pillars of Education

What is the “3 Pillar System”?

The principal goal of education is to create men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done.
Jean Piaget (Swiss cognitive psychologist.)

“3 Pillars system” is an internationally accepted method of education. This system says that education consists of 3 basic components. Each component is called a “pillar” of education.

The first pillar of education is conceptual understanding. Getting complete understanding of each and every chapter is very important. It is impossible to score good marks unless you have understood the basics of each and every chapter.

For this, Teachers are advised to spend maximum possible time in laying the foundations of the topic. Teachers should never rush or cut time allocated to this component.

On the other hand, if you are a student, Students are advised to never move to the next step till your core understanding of the chapter is perfectly clear. If you have even the slightest doubt at this stage, never move on to practice stage without solving that doubt.

The second pillar of education is “deep practice”. It is a proven fact that even if you have understood a topic, you are likely to forget it after some time, UNLESS you keep practicing it.

For this, teachers are advised to create timetable such that repeated practice of previously taught topics keeps on happening. The ordinary teacher will keep on teaching new topic (while the ordinary student will keep on forgetting old topics) But the smart teacher will keep revising and revisiting previous topics occasionally, so that these also stay fresh in the student’s mind.

Now I know, the teachers will say that “where is the time to keep revising.” Being an educator myself, I can understand…. but my technique is to simply allocate some time from my final revision lectures to this activity during the year instead of waiting till the end of the year.

If you are as student, you are advised to at least do one problem sur, or read at least one chapter’s notes every day from what is previously covered in class. You need to allocate just 20 minutes for this daily, not more. But the result will be fantastic.

The last pillar of education is also the most important. This pillar is “testing”. After having understood and practiced a chapter, it is very important to test what you have learnt. After testing yourself, you will know whether you are proficient in the concepts of the chapter or whether you need to revise it again.

For this, Teachers can try out three different types of tests. Each test can be designed to test different aspects of learning. Asan educator, I give my students separate tests to check their understanding, to check their concept clarity, to check their memory, and for overall evaluation of their performance.

If you are a student, you need to understand that each test has a different purpose. If you are taking a test that is checking your memory, and you score low in it, it only means you need to spend more time in memorizing key facts of that chapter. On the other hand, if you score low on a test of understanding, you should go back to learning the chapter all over again. If for example you score high on a test of concept clarity but score low on a test of overall performance, it probably means that you have understood the topic but do not have sufficient practice to answer the question in given time. You should practice more, put in more rigor to reduce the time taken to answer the question.

To summarize, spend a few minutes understanding what pillar you are standing under. Plan your teaching / learning activity accordingly. Allocate more time to revision DURING the year, instead of doing revision only at the end of the year. And try out different tests, ask questions that can you’re your students’ memory, their concept clarity and their overall speed in answering questions- in different tests. Do not mix up all three in a single question paper.

The author is an experienced educator, with a wide-ranging teaching experience with primary children, college going students as well as students enrolled in professional courses.

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