Ms. Uma Venkataraman,
Head of Department (Humanities) – Euro School, HSR Bangalore
Modern day teaching is a challenge for most of the teachers. The traditional method comprised of explaining the lessons and expecting the students to learn them. This is almost ineffective with the current generation of students.
It is not the fault of the children; they are faced with a multitude of distractions that result in limited attention span. Keeping a student focused for even 20 minutes is a tough task for the teacher these days, whereas in our school days about 40 years ago we used to sit and listen to our teachers for over 45 minutes, with unblinking eyes and unwavering mind.
Changing circumstances demand change in teaching method too. Teachers can use some innovative methods in their classes and try to make extensive use of modern technology to convey the subject matter. Let me explain a few of them.
Involvement of children:
When the teacher simply explains the contents and expects the students to listen and understand, it could create an overwhelming sense of ennui in them, especially in the modern age. It is essential to involve them in discussions and activities so as to keep their interest and energies alive. A pedagogy based on inquisitiveness and research is so much more exciting than remembering the lessons, events, information, and taking tests.
Ask the children to create something of their own – a birthday card, a decoration, a pencil sketch, a webpage – whatever they can according to their age and inclination. Ensure all the children participate in some activity. Tell the children there is no right way or wrong way of doing such things. The effort that put in matters.
Never fail to appreciate a work done by children. This develops a sense of belonging, ability, and pride in the children, making them more responsive in the class.
Use of technology:
When we talk about the subject History, invariably it consists of a series of events that happened a long time ago. Instead of simply explaining the events, these can be presented in the form of a video with appropriate text and pictures. This helps in registering the contents in the minds of the students.
Then, when it is time to recapitulate the lesson, another method can be adopted. For example, while teaching about World War, the students can be asked to do role-play, each student taking the role of a historic figure or representing a country. They can enact a drama of the events during World War, the victories and defeats, the treaties signed, the formation of new borders and so on. The preparation for the drama and enacting the same will help the students to remember the events for a long time.
Journey through time:
While teaching Geography, normally we resort to simple reading of the textbook contents. Instead, the teacher can take the students on a journey where we pass through different geographical regions and enjoy the variations in climate, soil, people, and culture. These can be explained through colourful graphs, images, and videos of the places we walk through. If the furniture has to be moved around the class, so be it; this will only increase the participation from the children.
Teachers have always been checking on the progress of the students by asking them questions on the subjects taught. This can be improvised in the form of a Quiz with multiple choices of answers. Taking the idea further, the teacher can devise a crossword puzzle containing all the key words from a lesson and giving the clues to the students. All these can encourage the students to learn the lessons and the key areas of study.
The impact of creative learning is enormous. It is indeed the best tool to bring about a change in the learning environment in the class and bring smiles in the faces of children.