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
A teacher taking an online class
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 would be ‘if you want to be something and earn enough for yourself you need to study.’
The school that she goes to still follows a system where the focus is more on syllabus rather than curriculum. That’s the case with most of the schools in India barring a few which are trying to change or have changed over the years.
‘Teaching for learning’ a commonwealth run course on Coursera, made me ask my self several questions. As a result, I realigned my style of teaching. I teach Journalism at graduation and postgraduate level. The most important thing that I reflected on is ‘The Teachable moment.’ I think a lot about how to get each student from my class to be with me all through. It disturbs me when even one of them is sleepy or talking.
But now with more understanding, observing the behaviour of my ten-year-old and the 19-20-year-olds who I teach., I have realised that three critical principles of Connect- Extend and Challenge have to be the core of teaching. I have broken down each of my sessions into practical and theory and repeat myself several times, to begin with, while teaching theory, then again while doing the actual, once more before finishing the session where I take a quiz as a recap.
My answers to my little one have changed when she asked me why are there so many word meanings in her Hindi chapter? I told her “you guys hardly read any Hindi storybooks, and these words will help her express herself 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, hence making you understand them better to construct your classes accordingly.
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 me now as a teacher to get through my sessions in a flow.
Since all learning can be connected if we make it Socially, emotionally and intellectually relevant, I try to gather what they know by having an open discussion with them. While discussing I pick up points and elaborate on the topics that I must teach. As I do this, the children are now expressing themselves better, and their constant participation has increased the level of interaction in class.
Be it a 10-year-old or a 20-year-old they want you to hear them. Once the children are convinced of being heard, you will get their attention; they will ‘listen’ to you and become your friends. Being a friend as you be an educator, I think it is one of the biggest achievements of a teacher.
Making students into teachers in some sessions is also an interesting exercise that has 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’s challenging to make them use that energy, especially with so many gadgets around and now even our education is also online. One big thing that teachers can do is give them practical things to do, also work on methods that will help them move, chat, discuss, reflect, display and express.