Newer methods of teaching

Newer methods of teaching

To usher in quality changes in our schools, the Central Board of Secondary education (CBSE) introduced Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) in its affiliated schools a few years ago.

The CCE looks at a holistic assessment of students rather than limiting assessment to scholastic areas alone. Also, the concept of a three-hour annual examination is jettisoned out to carry out assessments in non-threatening situations spread throughout the academic year.

An important feature of the CCE is the formative assessment tools. This has given a new dimension to teaching and has elevated the teaching process to a new level as ‘teaching-learning’. What this essentially means is that there has been a shift from teacher-centric classroom to student-centric classroom.

A greater involvement and participation of students are ensured, so that the process of learning is experiential. These initiatives were tried out earlier also but more recently, they have been encouraged and propagated widely by extending support from the system. The new system has given autonomy to teachers to design their activities according to the needs of students. A teacher can also be innovative and creative in doing so. The net result of this change is a markedly changed classroom. Students enjoy what they learn and also it is long lasting.

The changed system has taken into account the characteristics of learning as envisaged by latest researches in the field of educational psychology. It is believed that all children are naturally motivated to learn and are capable of learning. This places a belief on the learners who are naturally inclined and have the ability to learn. Additionally, the important aspects of learning to understand are identified and this helps develop the capacity of abstract thinking, reflection and work. Furthermore, students learn in a variety of ways through experience, hands on activities, experimentation, reading, discussion, thinking and reflecting and so on. It is also assumed that learning takes place not necessarily in classrooms alone! Learning is enriched if both the arenas: classroom and the environment outside the classroom interact with each other.

Teaching of languages

Language teaching is no longer just teachers and students reading out the lessons. Today, there are several tools available that aid the teacher in imparting the lessons. Depending on the nature of the lesson, the teacher can use tasks such as listening and reading comprehension, debate, speech and group discussion by the students among others. The learners can learn immensely through activities like  such as role play, dramatisation, dialogues and conversations.

As they are actively involved in these activities, they enjoy learning. Creative tasks such as writing a poem, story, script, diary entry and visual representation give room for the students to express themselves in innovative ways. As a result, the students are given opportunities to develop their conversation skills. Thereby, the students can develop their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in a variety of ways.

Teaching of Mathematics

Mathematics is one subject which has created universal phobia because of abstractions and skills of computation. The changed scenario has attempted to remove the fear. A lot of hands on activities are incorporated to understand mathematical concepts. For instance, visual representation through a geo-board has made learning geometry easier and interesting. There is a lot of scope provided for data handling and analysis, group projects, presentations, chart and model making. Puzzles have been brought in to create interest.

Furthermore, experience from real life situations is drawn to make problem solving more engaging.  As Math lab activities are mandatory for all classes, the abstract concepts are made to understand in a play-way method. Papers folding activities, origami, model making, geo board have made mathematics learning interesting. Mathematics taught in elementary stage is completely related to their daily life.

Teaching of Science

Science is one subject which has a great potential to be interesting and absorbing. Every concept can be taught through experiments: some demonstrated and some carried out by the students themselves. The experiments can be carried out under the supervision of a teacher in the laboratory or even at home. Investigatory projects carried out in a group setting can make learning a fun. Presentations, symposiums, seminars develop their communication skills.

Model making can set them through interesting paths. Charts and posters can be made to describe topics in science. Science exhibitions and quizzes can also help students understand science in a more fun and practical manner. In research-based tasks, they learn to state a problem, collect data and deduce while investigating. Even a concept like inter molecular attraction in solids, liquids and gases can be enacted by three groups of students. Also the effect of heat and pressure can be brought about. A role play is possible with each of the organelles in a cell describing their structures and functions.

Take-home activities help students engage with science in their leisure time. These activities are of low cost and easily available materials around them. These projects help in consolidation of their classroom learning. It helps in developing a positive attitude towards science.

Teaching of Social Science

History can come alive with students presenting skits on events and persons of the past. Group projects, surveys and their presentations make the learning a lasting impression. Debates, symposiums, seminars also give an opportunity to students to do research on topics. To enhance learning and make it more hands-on, students can role play a important historical figure and get interviewed. This helps the students understand the times and beliefs during a certain period in the history.

Field trips help students understand the concepts of primary and secondary sources of history. Surveys can be undertaken by students to get familiarised  with the economic trends prevailing in the market. Models and charts prepared for topics in geography ensure that the students consolidate their knowledge base. For instance, under the national integration camps, students can present folk dances typical of a particular state. They prepare models and charts on various topics such as climate, economy, agriculture, industry, places of tourist attractions of a particular state and present them.

Looking at the changes that have been implemented, it can be seen that the students have been benefited extensively. Learning has become an enjoyable activity. Although it seems to be beneficial for the children, teachers are seen to be facing many constraints while implementing the new system with many finding it difficult to recordkeep. By conducting workshops to ease the difficulty, the transition becomes smoother and allows them orient themselves in the new teaching methodology. Other constraints such as large class sizes, scarcity of time, inadequate time for planning and assessment can be easily overcome with the help and support of the school management.

With these ideas and an innovative approach, education can truly enable the interaction between the teachers and the student. As a result, it becomes  more fulfilling and enlightening for all.

(the author is assistant commissioner (retired), Kendriya
Vidyalaya Sangathan)

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