Gearing up to teach

Gowri Iyer

Learning is natural and continuous. We are all learning all the time – the students, teachers, families, peers and communities. Learning is also a collaborative effort and an amazing journey. The journey becomes fulfilling when the driver takes you with a clear idea of the destination, explains the ups and downs of the route, represents the spirit of the journey, is excited about something new that comes up, encourages questions and clarifies doubts to the best of her knowledge. The driver’s seat has great power but with great power comes great responsibility.

The teacher (driver) needs to equip herself to deliver the learning experience. For this, she needs to strengthen her strategic planning and critical thinking, emotional learning, reviewing skills and motivational tactics.

With one teacher handling many children at different interest and skill levels, it becomes challenging to reach out to every child to ensure productivity and each child’s development. Hence this needs a lot of pre-planning and learning tools.

Here are seven tools to improve your learning skills to become a better teacher.

  1. Spiralling – Spiralling in learning is when learners repeat the same topics over and over again with each encounter increasing in complexity and reinforcing previous learning.

    For instance, after students are taught to read, they are asked to read to learn new things. This is an example of spiral curriculum in reading – learning to read evolving into reading to learn. Teachers can make a lesson plan for a story, for a small age group, then use the same story but plan something more challenging for an older group of children.

    In mathematics too, we use spiralling – the progression from finger counting to simple additions, to tables and then to algebra.

  2. Retrieval practice – Practice bringing information to the mind without the help of materials. The mind usually tricks us into believing that we remember what we have learnt. Space out your studying over time. You learn, forget and relearn. This helps in improving memory. For instance, you can go through and explain a topic to a friend, a pet or an inanimate object, without referring to the material used to learn. This makes it easier to retrieve that information later.

The author is co-founder of Cilre, an educational organization, which makes learning fun, engaging, relevant and available. She is a professional storyteller and is passionate about working with kids. She facilitates and designs workshops for children and teachers. She can be reached at gowri@cilre.com.

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