Teachers have a critical role to play to empower the youth of tomorrow, to get them ready to lead this rapidly changing world. To do this effectively, we need to step away from the traditional methodologies, systems and principles of teaching.
The well-established traditional structure of a classroom where the teacher drives the class while the students sit and listen will not serve the world of today. We need to build environments that are learner centric and where the ownership of learning is with the students. To build academic motivation in students and drive enthusiasm is a key responsibility of teachers on our journey to make education truly impactful and meaningful.
In this article, we discuss how non-traditional teaching mindset can change the dynamics of classrooms and make learning more effective and engaging for students. This is crucial to guide the progress and development of any nation, to present every youth of our country with a level ground to make their mark in this world.
Making learning learner centric
Our classrooms need learner centric environments today that takes consideration of the needs of students. Students should feel empowered in classrooms and take ownership of their own learning. They ought to be able to drive learning through questions (inquiry-based learning), discussions, game-based learning, debates and more.
True learning cannot be forced, the urge to learn has to come from within. The teacher’s role here is to facilitate this shift by making learning more engaging and effective.
Teaching for life, not for exams
Every teacher wants their student to learn for life. The reality, however, is quite different.
Majority of students learn to secure good scores.
This is mainly because they fail to see the purpose of education beyond the context of examination. This is also the reason for their disinterest in classrooms. This is one of the biggest challenges teachers face today. One of the solutions to counter this problem is to align classroom learning with “real” world. Teachers should be able to establish a visible connect between the lessons taught and the practical world outside the classroom, so that students can recognize value in academics.
Some of the recorded benefits of this type of learning, also called service learning, are higher interest level and increased motivation in students.
Focus on skills, knowledge would follow. For example, instead of teaching how to solve a particular problem, it would be more advantageous to inculcate the problem solving ability in students. How to approach any problem, how to analyse, how to go about constructing solutions as well as how to identify and define problems in real life would be far more helpful for students. This approach can be applied to several practical skills such as critical thinking, team work, leadership, communication and so on.
Being willing to learn
A great teacher is not the one who teachers exceptionally, but the one who never stops learning. Learn from your students and peers. Ask for their feedback with an open mind.
Never make negative assumptions about learners’ interests, capability or level of understanding, as each of these factors could be the result of underlying insecurities. Always make positive assumptions that challenge you to explore and innovate the way you teach. After all, assumption is an imagination. Why not choose the ones that benefit you and your students.
A teacher should be curious to understand why your students react and behave the way they do. Seeking to understand your students, their behaviours, motivations and challenges is a great technique to improve their learning efficacy. Actively seek feedback from students and peers, to understand what’s working and what can be improved. Learning is an integral part in non-traditional teaching.
Introducing alternate teaching methods
Variation in teaching methods is a fantastic way to keep your students intrigued. Monotonous teaching can squeeze the excitement out of students. Alternate teaching methods would help you gauge the approaches that your students appreciate the most. Problem-based, inquiry-based and discovery-based teaching are few methods that teachers can alternate between, from time to time.
In addition to teaching methods, teachers can spice up students’ classroom experience through engaging quizzes, polls, tests, debates and so on. Reward systems are a great way to keep students motivated in learning. While developing tests and assessments, be sure to find a balance between the skill level of students and the difficulty of the task.
Accounting for all kinds types of learners
Traditional learning primarily involved learning from the text books. This could be attributed to the lack of infrastructure and technology. However, we live a much different world now. There’s a plethora of reliable learning resources available at our disposal. It’s the task of the teacher to connect their students with the right resources. Not just in terms of accuracy, but also compatibility.
Allowing students to consume content in various media formats such as videos, text, graphics and audio makes learning comfortable, creating self-motivated young learners. There are 7 different types of learners — auditory, visual, verbal, logical, kinaesthetic, social and solitary. These are not exclusive, each learner may fall in two or more of the above category. As a teacher, one must make sure that the course content is compatible will all kinds of learners as a random classroom sample would have a good mixture of each of these.
Taking help from technology
Traditionally, teachers relied on their own self to manage everything in the classroom right from attendance, discipline, content development, lesson development, grading, and reporting. Now, technology has created ways to help them with each of these tasks enabling them to focus their maximum time and energy on learning. Learning platforms such as Deetya and TeachPro+ leverage technology to help teachers and students maximise the learning outcomes. Here are some of the key benefits that technology platforms such as Deetya offers:
- Ability to pay attention to every child in the class
- Flexibility to create and curate content
- Convenience to deliver lessons using state-of-the-art digital tools
- More time Automatic attendance, grades and reports management