LOOKING FOR ANSWERS IN EDUCATION

With education going online parents now are becoming equal partners in teaching their children. It is challenging for a lot of them. On the other hand, Teachers have lost that physical connection and opportunity to build a repo with every child. I share my experience and ideas of how we can win over these challenges. 

By Shweta Bhandral

Why do I have to learn this: how is it going to help? Why are there so many word meanings in this chapter? Why do you want me to write things?

These are some very basic ‘WHY’s that I get to hear from my daughter when I teach her. My answer, to most of them, often was ‘if you want to get a job and earn enough for yourself, you need to study.’

Her school still follows a system where the focus is more on syllabus rather than curriculum. It the same case with most of the schools in India. A few though are trying to change now with everything going online.

Every teacher today is trying to find out a new way to connect with her students. As a teacher myself, I also reflected and evaluated, Which got me to a concept called ‘The teachable moment’ I had learned about it while doing the ‘Teaching for learning’ a commonwealth run course on Coursera. After a question-answer session with myself, I realigned my style of teaching. Teaching online is a different game, and these COVID months have driven everyone to put up their best. I focused on getting each students attention with me all through my class.

There are three critical steps – Connect, Extend and Challenge, these are the core of teaching. It helps to breakdown each session/class into practical, theory and repeat. This process can happen several times during the course. While teaching theory, again while practically doing it and once more before finishing the session. Things like Extempore, quiz, games can help you stay connected with students.

Following this practice of Connect, Extend and Challenge my answers to my little one have also changed. Now, whenever she asks me why I have an answer that satisfies her. She did ask me yesterday about why are word meanings essential? I told her ” because words will help you her express yourself better.”

Getting involved with the children in their activity and process of learning is extremely important as a teacher and a parent. Being with them helps you understand the capabilities and abilities of each child.

Discussion on ideas/issues with students, knowing what they think? How would they approach a problem? How would they want to learn a particular thing? Helps you guide your child better.

If we make all learning Socially, emotionally and intellectually relevant, by having an open discussion, children understand things easily. While discussing pick up points and elaborate on the topics that are part of the curriculum. I do this a lot in my sessions and with my daughter, and the result is nothing but good. The children are now expressing themselves better, and their constant participation has increased the level of interaction in class.

Another essential part of the Connect, Extend and Challenge process is Listening. Be it a 10-year-old or a 20-year-old they want you to hear them out. As they gain confidence in being heard, you will get the required attention. They will reciprocate by ‘listening’ to you and become friends. Being a friend, I think it is one of the most significant achievements as a parent or a teacher. 

Roleplay by making them teachers in some sessions is also an exercise that worked wonders for me. The pear group responds well, and I get a platform to build on. Learning from peers not only help them understand but also make them want to learn more. Healthy competition grows, alongside team spirit and the ability to understand that there will be friends who will know more and that we can learn from our pears too.

The only challenge here is to find that one child who would be interested in being that teacher, it’s not very tough though, you will find that one excited fellow in your class, just be on a lookout.  

Kids have a lot of energy; it a challenge to make them use that energy, especially with so many gadgets around. One thing that works here is to give them practical work to do, also work on methods that will help them move, chat, discuss, reflect, display and express.

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