How can innovative teaching strategies help a child to overcome the regular learning challenges?

Are the students of today’s generation happy with the way they are being taught in the traditional classrooms? Is meaningful learning being imparted to them? Are they being given opportunities and platforms to recognize their innate potentials? Do they love and enjoy learning in the traditional classrooms?

While the answers to the above questions are both YES and NO, the need of the hour is to bring a radical change and shift the education system to build a platform that fosters holistic and meaningful education to all.

Traditional method of education in schools

Often the educational institutions and schools which aim at bringing out the top candidates with the highest grades and percentages drill their students with loads of “INFORMATION” to reproduce it on bits of paper and excel. Few students are able to go through this entire “manufacturing process” while others are left neglected and face failure. The sole motive of Education in this entire process of traditional learning system becomes “Read – Memorise – Recite – Excel”

In this process we often clip off the child’s cognitive and affectionate skills and enforce standards of behaviour and knowledge in them.

This not only hampers the “self identity” of the learners but also shrivels off “ownership of knowledge” among the young minds. This eventually leads to “lack of self-confidence”, “low social values”, “low self esteem” and “identity crisis”.

Traditional method encourages “Rote method of learning”

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Many instructors and teachers have little knowledge about student learning processes and challenges that they face. By assessing the students through their performance in tests and exams we acquire only a glimpse of student’s learning.

In other words, the process of student learning stills remains invisible. So it is our responsibility to diagnose and understand how students approach to the learning tasks we assign them to do, where do they struggle , what kind strategies they use to learn, and how can we modify our teaching practices to meet their needs.

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The word learning is used routinely in discussions about education, so it’s important to clarify what we are referring to when we talk about learning.

‘Learning is a process that leads to change, which occurs as a result of experience and increases the potential for improved performance and future learning’(Ambrose et al, 2010, p3).

This change can happen among the learners at any level of behavior, attitude or knowledge. Learning is not something done to students but rather something students themselves do. It is the direct result of how students observe, organize, interpret, analyze, apply and construct their knowledge. Education has to be treated as an art whose essence can be enjoyed only when it is imparted in the right way.

Figure: Learning challenges being faced by students in regular classroom

So having read the challenges being faced by students in traditional education system today, what do you say is the thing to do now? Absolutely right, bring the recreation of meaningful education into the classrooms.

To bring in action the dynamic and holistic learning in students and eradicate the age old methods of teaching-learning we need to shift from :

“ONE – SIZE – FIX – ALL” approach to “RECREATING KNOWLEDGE” approach.

Education reforms results in a change of teaching and learning environment to a completely different angle. In a constructivistic classroom instead of assuming that all the students have the same learning styles the teacher tries to focus on individual student’s needs.

Figure: Teacher centered classroom vs student centered classroom

Greater student interaction is encouraged, the boundaries of authority are being broken down, and a focus on enjoyment over grades is emphasized. Following process needs to be adapted to bring in radical change in teaching methods in classroom:

  • Observing the learners,
  • Diagnosis of learners difficulty,
  • Comprehending the data,
  • Modification of teaching style as per the learners needs,
  • Creating the appropriate teaching- learning environment in class,
  • Reanalyzing the classroom response and
  • Adopting new innovative teaching techniques

Figure: Various Innovative teaching techniques of 21st century

Some really effective Innovative teaching techniques which teachers can adopt in their classrooms are:

Spaced learning:

This method of teaching involves  learning method in which the condensed learning content is repeated three times, with two 10-minute breaks during which activities such as physical activities are performed by the students It helps them to create the connections that they need to actually remember the knowledge. If they are compressing sections of the syllabus into such small sections then there’s no time to worry.

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Cross over Teaching

Under this the teaching and learning of the students is not just confined to the boundaries of the schools, but rather the students are given an opportunity to know how the knowledge that they were learning is applied to the real world. The students are taken to visit local businesses to help them connect their learning to the real world. Once this connection is built the student’s brain cells would begin associating their learning to the real world.

Place-based Education

Place-based education emphasizes upon interaction between communities and schools by providing them with authentic tools of learning with real world. This helps the students to collaborate and solve many challenges. This helps in removal of disconnectedness between students to their communities. In this way we can allow students to develop “Divergent thinking” and to move away from “Convergent thinking” practices.

Convergent & Divergent Thinking in Entrepreneurship | The Entrepreneurial  Diary
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Formative Assessment

To ensure competency based learning in classroom it is essential to monitor the student’s learning process filling the loopholes and modifying in the curriculum to meet individual differences in the classroom. Rather than “quantifying the student’s knowledge” at the end of the unit, holistic assessment of student’s competencies in different curricular and extra-curricular activities is monitored.

Flexible Fridays

It is usually seen that conventional method of having combination of different subject daily doesn’t work in effective learning of every student as they have different problematic subjects. On Flexible Friday classes students are allowed to focus on individual subjects in which they face difficulties and personalized instructions are given to cater their learning difficulties. This ensures the student teacher interaction and ensures teachers to give a more ‘personal touch’ to their lesson plans.

Creative teaching

Teaching the students by flipped classroom method and via smart boards not only improves engagement of students in the classroom by making them more interactive, but also enhances the ownership of knowledge among the students. In flipped classrooms the students are allowed to construct their knowledge through the resources available to them and the teacher acts as a facilitator in order to bridge the instructional gaps.

Figure: Types of learners in classroom

Personalized teaching

Personalized teaching allows educators to tailor their curriculum in accordance to the challenges, learning styles and needs of their students.During its implementation for a large number of students it must be kept in mind that the average requirements of learning for all the students must be kept in mind: audio,visual and kinesthetic learning must be catered to the students.

Project based learning

Teachers in Project based learning act as coaches and collaborators rather than just instructors. The need of the hour is to train students for a quickly-changing future that will require uniquely human skills, adaptability, a knack for asking the right questions and the ability to manage both projects and people. Hence PBL caters to the development of a student as anengaged and well informed citizen of today’s society.

So moving the education system whose notion is “school is a task to be endured” to “school is challenging and fun part of life” needs to be brought in to meet the challenges being faced in the system today.

Emphasis on the construction of knowledge through active interaction between teacher and the students which became a platform for the students to cope up with the learning challenges they were facing in education needs to be implemented. Neither can U nor can I bring this change but WE together can definitely achieve this for our generations to flourish and thereby unravelling new paths of success.

Let the students be given a space to unravel the artists in them, to travel onto the undiscovered paths and to unfold their potentials to the maximum. Each student has a unique socio-cultural identity , so lets nourish their talents, motivate them and support them to achieve their full potentials.