Poor quality of teachers is often cited as one of the reasons for the abysmal quality of education in India. But before putting all the blame on the teachers, it is necessary to evaluate their education qualifications, training, on-job assistance, etc. This would help us get a clear picture of the quality of teachers, their motivation and the support they receive. This would help in understanding what goes wrong in the teaching process, thereby making it easier to rectify the root cause of this problem.
It is essential to provide assistance to teachers especially in the 21st century, where students are being technologically reared. Education presently aims to make this generation of learners job-ready, and hence, a teacher is expected to be adept at handling digital tools and experimenting with new pedagogical techniques. Suggested teaching plan, hands-on learning kits, audio-visual kits, etc., are some of the means by which teachers could be given curriculum support, thus enabling them to do a better job.
Suggested Teaching Plans
The job of a teacher is not an easy one. Proficiency in the subject alone is not enough to pull off the role of a teacher. They have to plan the lessons well, include logical pauses to encourage debates and discussions in the classroom, gauge their understanding to progress their learning further and more. All this, they have to plan in their free time. An organised day-wise lesson plan for each chapter is essential to teach effectively and make the best use of the content. Teacher manuals should provide activity suggestions that a teacher can take up after the completion of each chapter to yield better learning outcomes, encourage collaboration and enhance communication in a classroom.
Both formative and summative assessments should be a part of the assessment rubric. While formative assessments involve sharing qualitative feedback with the students, summative assessments gauge students’ learning outcomes by providing a score reflecting each student’s performance. Summative assessments are usually held during the middle of the term or at the end of the term and formative assessments are held all through the semester as students need continuous feedback to further their learning and improve their performance.
Designing questions papers can be a cumbersome task because the teacher would have to take into account the competence of every student in the class. If the practice paper is too easy, an above average student would not find it challenging. On the other hand, if it is too difficult, a below average student would find it too difficult and demotivating. Thus, assessments should be balanced, catering to all types of learners. Teachers can resort to the Learning Management System (LMS), which works on the principle of Artificial Intelligence (AI). It allows for adaptive learning and provides practice questions to students as per their calibre, thus, catering to individual students’ learning needs.
Different Learners, Different Needs
We have come to realise that the ‘one size fits all’ approach does not apply to education. There are different learners with varied learning needs. While the lecture method might benefit the auditory learners; visual and kinaesthetic learners need content solutions suited especially to their learning needs.
Audiovisual content which includes slides, videos, PPTs, etc., is essential to classroom teaching. Learning via audiovisual means is more effective because more than one sensory experience is simulated. However, teachers would have to be careful that the content they choose in the class is age-appropriate and has parity with the prescribed textbooks. The chosen content should have a diversity of appeal and be representative of different points of view, and should be free from bias.
The tendency of kinaesthetic learners to move their limbs is often looked upon as restlessness and problematic. Hands-on learning activities should be included in the classroom ecosystem to keep kinaesthetic learners engaged and motivated. This mode of encouraging exploration and experimentation can facilitate active learning, and build higher order thinking skills, technological fluency, collaboration, communication and problem-solving skills. For instance, providing place value games to help children better understand the concept of subtraction and addition as part of Maths curriculum solution could cater to the kinaesthetic learners and their learning needs.
Training sessions should be organised for teachers to introduce new academic concepts such as creating participatory learning environments, experiential learning, etc. Workshops on gender sensitivity, classroom management, and digital skills to handle digital tools can go a long way in bringing about effective classroom teaching. They also need training on life skills, new pedagogies, new initiatives undertaken by different boards, etc.
Education in 21st century has come a long way from chalk, charts and blackboards to markers, ppts and digital boards. The education sector has undergone a revolution, and the purpose now is to prepare the present generation of learners for the future if sufficient attention is given to the professional development of teachers, it can definitely bring about a positive change in classroom teaching.