A strong case for classroom learning

A strong case for classroom learning

A strong case for classroom learning

Of late, an unprecedented technological dynamism is being witnessed in the education sector. With the introduction of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) like Udacity and the Coursera, knowledge and information are at one’s finger tips.

The mushroom growth of open universities and correspondence courses makes it possible to acquire any degree from any country.

Considering the importance of formal education in the formation of generations and the advantages of organized institutions in imparting formal education, the large scale adaptations of latest technologies to facilitate the transmission of information should not be by downsizing the relevance of classroom teaching.

Most innovative technologies like MOOC only facilitate collection and transmission of information. They cannot be substitutes for the teaching and learning processes that happen in classrooms. Education involves a much more comprehensive learning approach than just transmitting facts. Formal education in classrooms is one of the ways by which a society invests in its human capital. The two main returns from this investment are its future earnings component and the present enjoyment component.
The great contributions of teachers in classrooms help in character building and value inculcation. Teachers exert tremendous influence on one’s love or hatred towards a subject. Teachers from different backgrounds and trained in different universities can bring in their rich experiences and the best practices in their universities.

As posted in the Certification Magazine, “In a classroom, students can ask questions, request clarification or explanation when it’s needed and interact with a knowledgeable instructor who can help them understand concepts and terminology in terms of their own frames of reference. The biggest asset of a classroom is the instructor.

A qualified and talented instructor’s insight, knowledge, flexibility and leadership are what make a class great. An instructor’s ability to elicit feedbackfrom his students and turn it to the class’s advantage is what makes classroom training so valuable.”

In a regular classroom set up, students get the added advantages of peer review and peer group learning. This helps them have a broader life perspective and exposure to different cultures. Each class can be an enriching experience. In approaching a course curriculum, mere completion of the syllabi from an examination point of view must not be the goal.

Each course is a journey with the teacher in which the teacher too gets an opportunity to learn new things. For the teacher, taking up the responsibility of the conduct of a course should be a challenge. In a classroom environment, a dedicated and committed teacher can do wonders. He or she can help his students to integrate their social, emotional and intellectual growth and can contribute to the holistic development of the student’s personality.

In a classroom environment, there is great scope for education beyond curriculum. The teacher can bring to the classroom real life cases and discuss them with students. A proper blend of class workshops, seminars and debates can enhance the students’ learning capabilities. A proven successful strategy for a one hour session is to combine instructor led learning, class workshops and movie clips of equal time duration.

In addition to class activities, students get opportunities to engage themselves in subject associations, intra-collegiate and inter-collegiate subject festivals and competitions. One of the greatest advantages of a regular college course is the opportunities students get through sports, games and cultural activities.

A classroom provides a great space for a dedicated, innovative teacher whose main interest is the holistic growth and welfare of the students in his class. For him students are not mere numbers in his attendance register.

Each student is different and unique in their personalities and the success of the teacher depends on his capabilities and preparedness to understand the specific learning requirements of each one of his students.

(The writer is professor of economics at Christ University, Bangalore)

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