It seems like the ant and the elephant story playing out in real life. A microscopic virus has wrecked havoc in the lives of human beings worldwide. Like everything else, education systems across the globe have been disrupted. How are the various stakeholders in education coping with this crisis? Have we found ways to adapt? Is online education the solution to our problems? Are we listening to the voices of the digital have-nots? While the situation we are in is unprecedented and therefore scary, perhaps we should also look upon this as an opportunity to rethink what education should actually be like and work towards more permanent solutions that will help us withstand future crises.
Active Learning engages students in two ways – doing things and thinking about the things they are doing. In order to learn, students must do more than just listen. They need to read, write, discuss or be engaged in solving problems. But why do most schools and teachers resist adopting Active Learning methods in their classrooms? The reasons are many, ranging from a vast syllabus to class control and even time management. This month’s Cover stories explore the relevance of these methods and even highlight some strategies that can be adopted.
A typical classroom, teacher-centric and bound by the shackles of time and syllabus gives its students absolutely nothing. Try and transform your classroom into one where students are given a free rein to explore questions that interest them and where teachers stay on the sidelines and then see how learning blossoms.
Do teachers fail at any point during their journey as a teacher? Do they have self-doubts? How do they approach or view failure and achievement? Is the so called ‘perfect teacher’ a myth? Most articles by teachers showcase successful strategies for student and classroom management, but there are very few examples of ‘teacher failure’ or even training for teachers to cope with classroom failures. How can there be opportunities for teachers to encourage growth and achievement through failure? We present three varied viewpoints that breakdown this phenomenon of ‘teacher failure’.
Students live tough lives. While grappling with psychological challenges and under constant scrutiny for their academic performance and behaviour, students are expected to “fit” into the standard norms we have set. We do not appreciate any kind of deviation. With pressure from parents, school and the society to be a certain way, what the students put at stake is their emotional wellbeing, which is extremely important to their ability to learn. So how can teachers help students cope?
How do teachers work as a team at different levels —- within the classroom and outside or even through the life cycle of the children? When a group of teachers works pedagogically, the real learning for students lies in the nature and quality of relationships among the teachers themselves. Children learn more from observation and can see if teachers are truly coming together to serve a larger interest or otherwise. Our Cover Story this month seeks to explore how well teachers are teaming up for the sake of students.
A teacher not only teaches her students but also cares for them and this can cause her a lot of emotional and mental stress. Care-giving requires you to be empathetic, understanding, patient, and emotionally available to your students. In the process of giving so much, teachers hardly notice, until too late, that they are experiencing symptoms of burn out. Teachers should constantly be alert and aware of their own emotional well-being and take care of themselves as much as they do their students.
Nisha Rajkumar Butoliya
Textbooks hold an important position in classroom teaching and learning. A child’s world can be visualized in the classrooms if textbooks are enriched with the context of children. So when the SCERT, Gangtok, decided to revise English textbooks for grades 1 to 3, teachers engaged in this work felt the need to include and appreciate children’s experiences and knowledge.
Finally after a long gap of more than 25 years, India is ready to overhaul its education policy. A draft of the much needed and awaited New Education Policy was released in June this year to public scrutiny, advice and suggestions. As the committee led by Dr. K. Kasturirangan sieves through the overwhelming feedback received and finalizes India’s New Education Policy, eminent educationists look at and comment on the document for Teacher Plus and its readers.
Can a teacher afford to take risks in her class and experiment with newer ways of teaching? Or should she stick to the tried and tested path, of not leaving her comfort zone? The moot question is how can she even begin to think out of the box? The first step would be to nurture a mindset that says that it is alright to fail and to start looking at effort and not result. Fear and failure need to be a part of the process of learning. This month’s Cover theme looks at risk and experimentation in the classroom.