Students are formative and summative judges

Mohankumar JK

I am fairly new to browsing the Internet for teaching resources. The day before a grade V science class, I looked up a website called Edheads and found many interesting ideas to teach simple machines. I prepared my questions and discussed them with my students. Imagine my surprise when I learnt that many of my students frequent Edheads and are members too!

In this technical age, teachers can no longer be mere transmitters of knowledge using chalk and talk, reading from books and asking students to take notes, or banging on the table and screaming, “Will you keep quiet?” Children of the 21st century are fast-paced with lots of curiosity and expectations. Before I start the lesson on force and pressure they are eager to know about the current status of the indigenous satellite which was launched recently.

school-boy In such a dynamic environment, it has always been a challenge for teachers to make the teaching-learning process interesting and enjoyable. Experience shows that even highly qualified teachers who are excellent in terms of their subject knowledge often don’t understand classroom dynamics and fail to capture student attention.

Students are central to the work of teachers. They keenly observe the merits and demerits of our teaching styles. Therefore, in order to understand what my students expected from me I asked my first batch of students in 2012 to write the one thing that might help my science class become more productive. I told them not to mention their names. These are but a few of the many suggestions I received – allow us to observe, explore, investigate, give us a chance to think, allow us to do experiments, connect the topic to real life situations, use the smart board, multimedia tools, organize field trips, take us to the ground and teach under trees, let it be more interactive…

One student wrote, ‘You are not confident about what you are teaching.’ I do agree on some days, I deliver only what I memorize without connecting with the children. Students’ views are an important consideration in a teacher’s evaluation. Students are formative and summative judges. This exercise has helped me grow in my profession because I am constantly made aware of what my strengths are and where I should improve.

A passionate teacher who understands students’ needs will make the class more enjoyable, interesting, and understandable. It is up to the teachers to create a conducive environment for the children.

The author is a teacher at Chettinadu Public School, Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu. He can be reached at earthmohan@gmail.com.