Ideally learning and delivering knowledge to students should be a natural and free-flowing process. With the increasing pressures of exams and diversified instructional approaches, students are now living in absolute confusion, which have negative impact on their process of learning. They are hardly able to grasp new skills and information and incorporate it practically. In the current education system, the method of delivering training is designed in such a way that it is confined within a restricted periphery. Consequently, the process becomes extremely tedious with students losing interest gradually.
Being an inseparable part of our education system, over the past few years, I have always felt that education is not about getting a certificate with good grades. It’s about enrichment of your knowledge and upgrading your skills, thereby ensuring a full-fledged development. A year ago, I conducted an intensive research regarding how to best ensure a complete educational enrichment for students. The objective of my research was to come up with solutions that can be used to enhance the method of instruction in a conventional classroom.
I believe that one of the most challenging tasks in a conventional environment is to keep students engaged. In this blog, I would like to highlight some of my findings which I think can enrich our curriculum and at the same time can keep students engaged in the learning process. Though I am not really against the conventional method of learning; my research was essentially to incorporate some ideas and techniques in the conventional methods, so that general curriculum is improved and effectively help educators to achieve a tangible differentiation in students.
My findings were essentially based on a three-step approach- exploration of students’ interests, whole class training, incorporation of how-to-learn skills, and in-depth individual investigation. During What “exploratory session” students are mainly exposed to several topics and subjects of the curriculum.
We can use guest speakers and videos to demonstrate these to our students. The purpose is to explore the interest and passion of the students in a fun way. The second phase involves an intensive training, but as an educator, you must keep in mind that the training session should not be tedious in any way. It could include group training, developing creative thinking and research skills. And last and perhaps the most significant one is to train students in a way that they themselves find immense interest in the in-depth research and develop something for real audiences. My objective is to train our students in such a way, so that they can get something beyond a paper certificate.
So, how can we incorporate this technique in a conventional classroom? Let’s take an example here. Perhaps the topic for a social studies class is Civil war. What a teacher can do is provide them with a list of probable topics related to that subject. With videos and presentations, the students might be introduced with the socio-economic reasons behind the war, the role of the President and government, slavery, weapons, the lifestyle of soldiers, results of the war, warfare tactics, and diseases. Students can choose any topic as per their interest (this is where we deviate from the conventional process of learning) and once this is done, a teacher can provide basic training to use the Internet and other similar resources, to collect information. During this process, students can get to learn about reliable and disputable web sites, the process of documenting resources, word processing, and other skills. Finally, students can be subdivided in small groups, where students are exposed to a real life environment to conduct an investigation on their own. Based on their original interest, they can conduct in-depth research, create video slides, share information through e-Books etc. By doing this, we offer students some tangible achievements, which carry a value in the real world.
I believe the current education system still does not have enough resources to incorporate such three-step framework, yet as an educator, I feel it is our responsibility to train our students in a way so that they can learn something of real value.