By Rabab J Ghadiali
The world is changing at a rapid pace. However, the pace of change inside the classroom is slower. This gives rise to the question of “Are the teachers relevant even today?”.
A student can access videos on YouTube, Google any piece of information & connect with industry experts from various fields through Facebook, LinkedIn or any other social media platform. Then there are other various educational apps that students can use to learn concepts.
However, the teaching methodology hasn’t changed much over the years. There are teachers who have adopted the changes, but these are very few in number. The teachers have to understand that students can access any piece of information and knowledge in just a few clicks. Gone are the days when teachers were considered the authority and were the go-to person for learning. So what should a teacher do?
For starters, a teacher should currently look at him/herself as a facilitator and not only as someone there to educate students. They should work towards creating a safe, comfortable learning environment for the students. Traditionally, the teacher would come to the class and deliver the lecture with very little participation from the students. But, in modern times, the student has various avenues to gather this information. Hence the teachers should focus on interacting with students &andengage them to learn more. This will ensure that all the students in the class understand the concepts better.
Make the topic relevant to the student so as to keep them engaged
While teaching, try and connect the concepts to the real-life scenarios. Also, explain to the students its application in their day to day lives. Only then will they understand the reason for studying a particular concept. Keep it interactive & allow them to ask questions. The more questions students ask, the better. This means they want to know more about the subject and you are able to maintain their curiosity about the topic. And as their interest levels increase, they will remain engaged with the subject as they want to explore it more.
Each child learns in a different way
A teacher should understand that each child will learn differently. It is the job of the teacher to understand the way a child learns best and then teach the class in a way such that each and every child is kept engaged. This is easier said than done. Let’s look at an example that will make things more clear. In every class, there would be students who would be hyperactive and would not be able to sit at a place more than a minute. Some students might be able to sit for hours without moving an inch. Some students would listen very carefully while some would be doodling during the lectures. The pedagogy for each of these students cannot be same.
The student who is hyperactive is someone who is kinesthetic and will typically learn better if there is an activity involved. So if you adopt activity-based learning technique for this kind of student he/she will be more engaged. As a teacher, you need to understand the different personalities of the students in your class and conduct the lecture that will keep all of them engaged.
Speak in the language students speak
There is an obvious generation gap between teachers and students. But as a teacher, you need to reduce this gap as much as possible so that the students feel connected to you. Here’s an example of it. Suppose you are teaching them Figures of Speech, try explaining it to them by using lines from a current popular song along with the ones mentioned in the textbooks. This will also introduce a fun element in it and students are bound to remember it better.
Understand what the student values
In a classroom, each student will value different things. Some might value the encouragement they get; some other value being left alone & some might require constant attention. If a teacher is able to identify what each child values, it helps them a lot in conducting the lecture efficiently.
Imagine a situation, wherein there is a student who prefers to be instructed just once and then finishes whatever task is assigned. However, the teacher keeps on giving instructions or stands on his/her head, the student will feel uncomfortable and might disrupt the sanctity of the class. On the other hand, if there is a student who values constant attention, but the teacher doesn’t do so, the student may feel left out or not valued. So understanding this is very important.
Understand the goals of the student
Another very important thing that a teacher should consider while teaching, is to identify the goals each student has. If we take the example from the film 3 idiots, the goal of Amir Khan’s character – Rancho was to gain knowledge, whereas the goal of Omi Vaidya’s character – Chatur was getting marks.
Similarly, there might be some students who would be good in art forms like poetry, drawing, painting etc. while some would enjoy languages. These students naturally would focus more in the field of their interest. As a teacher, it is imperative that you are able to identify their interests and goals so as to encourage them to achieve success in them. However, you also will have to make the students understand the need to study other subjects and align them with their goals so that even if the child is not interested, he/she would not neglect the other subjects completely.
As a teacher, your job in today’s scenario as a facilitator is to inspire them to explore different avenues that are available by understanding them and be there to help them in their journey. If you are able to do so, students will start looking up to you – the teacher as a role model. This is what every teacher should aspire today to be. The technology can only provide information to them, but you the teacher have the power to inspire them, encourage them and lift their standards to a higher level.
Now this may seem daunting to you as a teacher and probably even too much time consuming. Like any other task, if you know the process and want to do it well, rest of the things fall in place. If you are committed to being a role model, I can help you in this endeavour through the trainings I conduct for teachers.
In the “Train the Teacher” sessions, I enable schools and teachers to create an environment in the classroom that will encourage better learning among the students.
To know more on how to make teaching more relevant in today’s world drop in a comment below or drop an email to me on firstname.lastname@example.org.