Friday, 22 January 2016

All Teaching, No Play, Make Schools a Dull Place to be in!

In the last post, I had talked about why is it important to build a bridge between the 19th and 21st Century teaching styles...This post will focus on highlighting the key component which is required to make this bridge...

Well according to me its called interactive learning. By interactive learning, I do not mean virtual classes, app based learning or smart classes or any kind of technology based teaching...  They are just replacing the medium of teaching which in our era were called books (coming in various shapes and sizes and available in every place under the sun)...

In this blog, my focus is on how the efforts put in by the two stakeholders (in this case Student & Teachers) are directly proportional to the results which are the outcome of the interaction between these two stakeholders in a classroom. Until now, that is till the twentieth century, all the focus was on the efforts being put in by students and teacher, could get away by being, just another book reader. But the scenario has changed or needs to be changed, because our goal of 21st century education is sustainable development & living. For this both stakeholders need to put in equal efforts and in a different direction all together. The challenge is daunting because we as teachers don't know what lies in that different direction and how we need to create a path to reach the unknown goal. Thus, we also have conveniently taken up the old method of teaching and are moving with the impression that the students will find their own way.  But then is challenge not what make things exciting and keep up the excitement and interest levels high for all of us.

Therefore, it is finally the job of a teacher in the classroom to make the lesson interesting for the students via the various mediums he or she has at her disposal.

The question is how is she going to make it interesting...
For that she too should find the lesson or content equally interesting and should have the opportunity to learn something new while teaching that same syllabus again & again over the year...
So what's the answer to that..

Its very simple, develop a live social project. When I say social project, I mean a project which will ultimately give answers to real time problems which are being faced in the society. If teaching concepts are used for finding solutions to these real time problems, you will definitely be able to get teachers interest in the subject and she will be able to excite the student as well... After all its“interest and enthusiasm" which thrust us to continuously evolve as humans and keep us connected.

Here I would like to take reference to a small a core life skill project which we had done last year in a village school in the outskirts of Gurgaon, the millennium city of India. The project was about developing all forms of communication by taking a social problem in this case teaching children the importance hygiene and sanitation.(This is our annual program which we run every year in multiple formats in multiple cities and call it Dastak- a clarion call by young minds and this year plan to make it an online competition)

When we went to the school last year, I remember the initial response I got from the teachers. They were highly disinterested lot, thinking we are just another NGO or program being funded by some NGO who will just do some trivial activity or show children some movie and go away.
But when it was explained to them that we will teach children how to write stories and they will then act on their stories, we got a complete nay from them, signalling that its a complete waste of time and effort. The response from teachers was that these kids are a highly disinterested lot and will not be able to do anything.

We knew where this was coming from.These teachers had missed something crucial in their teaching style, which we had and knew could win their hearts. The result is here to see what we got from them, a beautiful play on importance of cleanliness all conceived, scripted and enacted by these kids themselves over a period of three months.

The art is not in making them learn  or understand,it lies in catching their interest. Albert Einstein's famous quote states,"I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn."

Now that is possible only when the teacher also has a challenge in front of her which she has to solve alongside students and has no instant answers available in any book. If the teaching assignment has all ready made answers which remain the same over years then why will teaching not get monotonous for the dear teacher.

Don't we get bored with same thing being repeated again again, then why will this rule not imply on teachers...

The next blog will focus on how to develop these programs and thus end up creating an ideal value based integrated project

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