Being a teacher, I would like to chip in with some ideas to make the teaching and learning process more effective. Firstly, a teacher should feel blessed to have the job of imparting education. An all-round education consists of learning, knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits. Education teaches people how to reason and “how to learn”. It’s not just about accumulating knowledge. A child may come away from school not knowing a lot, but if the child has been taught how to learn, then he or she will learn everything there is to learn in life. Unfortunately, our education system has been reduced to marks and completing the curriculum. The question before teachers is, how to go beyond it?
The most important tool in a teacher’s and even in a student’s kitty is conversation, or the ability to talk. Schools don’t do enough in improving the children’s ability to talk. Our classroom environment is that of a monologue, with teachers asking specific questions and prompting students to give specific answers. Instead of this, teachers should exploring the creativity and thinking process of the student. Having a positive, interactive classroom culture is one of the most important elements of a successful learning environment. The teacher should actively work towards this. The way to achieve this is to keep the questions and discussions open, allowing more participation and making the dialogue more interesting. Teachers should also give up the habit of imposing their thinking and stop behaving like a “know all” person.
Another way to improve is to encourage children to understand the “how” and “why” of things, rather than learning by rote. Students should be allowed and encouraged to express their ideas. There should be brainstorming in the class between the teacher and students before coming to a conclusion. Teachers should also encourage use of simple language to discuss topics/ ideas rather than throw in complex jargon. The student’s learning can be tentative at first, but with the right guidance and in an atmosphere which encourages curiosity and participation, these ideas will help make the students’ understanding more sharp and focussed. Teaching children in various subjects like maths and science is fine but they need also be taught to “communicate well”.
—The writer teaches at Boys Higher Secondary School Tekipora, Kupwara district.