During one online class I was teaching seasons and weather to children of class 4. These children were from different places– Meghalaya, Assam, Bangalore, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, and Kochi. I was discussing the five seasons–spring, summer, monsoon, autumn, and winter. I was talking about summer and the student from Meghalaya interrupted saying, “I have never experienced this season.”
As a student, my whole life, I have studied about these five seasons. Though frankly I have myself not witnessed autumn in India. All the same, the topic was in the textbook and I had to study it.
My student’s repeated interruptions stressed me a little, but they also got me thinking. When we use standardized lesson plans, this is what will happen.
When we prepare a lesson plan, we simply take a look at the topic, read the lesson in the textbook, google exercises and plan our lessons. We have one lesson plan for every student in the class. Does one size really fit all?
These days I have noticed in many schools teachers are handed readymade lesson plans to follow in their class. Readymade lesson plans probably save time, but a teacher should be allowed to tweak it to suit the needs of the students in her class.
The one-size-fits-all approach is flawed because it assumes that every student learns in the same way. Rather the curriculum should be differentiated to suit individual needs …with the belief that every child is unique. And this can only happen when we give teachers the liberty to frame lesson plans according to the needs of their students. And it’s then that the students will receive an education that will ready them for the future.
Standardized lesson plans, by definition, do not take specific contexts into account. The solution is not for curriculum developers to create contextualized lesson plans for each and every situation. The solution is in giving teachers support in the form of training and resources, from which teachers can choose, modify, and contextualize as per their own experience and expertise and according to the needs of their students.
The author has been working in the field of education for 20 years now. She was the academic coordinator for kindergarten for 16 years in a reputed institution. She is also the author of three books. Her most recent book My Poetry… My Feelings (1 & 2) is available for sale on Flipkart. She can be reached at email@example.com.