A couple of weeks back, I was conducting a training session on why life skills need to be integrated with lesson planning in front of some 1100 plus teachers for a prestigious chain of school. At the beginning of every training or workshop whether its teachers or students, I keep thinking of innovative ways of engaging my audience and keeping the monotony at bay that generally sets in after first 10 minutes of commencing of the class.
What bothered me was how to engage such a huge audience all the time and help them relate the content of the workshop with their working style. So my little brain suggested that ‘Do not follow the pattern you have predefined’. Best thing is to let the audience give the information they know and slowly weave the same into the content of the workshop. The reason for this is - Thinking is driven by Questioning and when you are thinking your mind is alert & you don’t doze off! So it works well no matter how large the audience is!
During the first 15 minutes, I must have asked them multiple questions and got amazing responses, and we were sailing smoothly into the workshop, when one teacher asked me, “All that you said about life skills is good, but how are we going to integrate it with everyday curriculum?” So it was time to do some impromptu thinking because this question was supposed to come somewhere in the middle of the session and not right in the beginning. So I decided to conduct a simple 10 mins class for them- The question given to them at the beginning of this class was – Why do you think Junk food is bad? We got amazing answers- all facts on calories, fats, proteins and how the calorie count goes up when you have junk food etc etc. Pop came my next question, “If we have eaten 600 calories through the junk food which is actually what a Mc Donald’s happy meal contain, then why do we still feel hungry after an hour so of eating that food?” That’s when there was complete silence. At the end of the hall a teacher got up and said, “Ma’am why don’t you tell us the answer? Why are you making us think so much?” Obviously, the Life Skill bug in me smiled again and said, “Well! That’s the exact objective of this workshop Sir. To make you all think”.
The whole point of teaching is to make the students learn to think in a logical manner. Get them to using the information available in abundance to apply & find the answers to their problems and way forward also learn to analyze the same.
As a teacher you should be able to sense when your students start to lose attention, and not become immune to it and tell yourself, “Oh! This generation of students just don’t have the desire to learn. They are useless bunch of students who are ready to do all kinds of antics but are not ready to pay attention.” I suppose, then its time ask yourself a simple question- when was the last time you got bored when someone was speaking or lecturing you, and WHY did you get bored. Probably you might just stumble upon learning core life skill- empathy.
The whole objective of education is to help the children and even we adults learn to ask right set of questions at the appropriate time so that we can solve our problems or take the right decision. It’s not about giving information; it’s about explaining them the process of using that information to make a change in their attitudes and behavior.
Now if you are still wondering what happened to the answer to why do we still feel hungry after eating junk food and have not yet worn your thinking caps, then I will just give you another hint before signing off: What is that most important thing which we need to eat in our food other than carbohydrates, fats, proteins and essential minerals and vitamins. If you have got the answer and still wondering how, then there is another question which you need to ask- what is the property of cotton when it get soaked in liquid... In case you still did not get it then, just think why the example of cotton was given in the last question.