Announce a project as holiday homework and we will hear groans around the classrooms. Disappointment is evident on all the students’ faces. They want free time. They want to catch up on their sleep. That is their prime priority. Then they just want to chill. On face book, on WhatsApp, on Google, on their smart phones, laptops and tablets.
Most teachers are genuinely at a loss when they see the total disinterest that students seem to have for academic knowledge.
We need to acknowledge three facts here:
- Students lead extremely busy lives too. Most of them attend tuitions after school. This leaves them with very little free time on a daily basis.
- Technology is here to stay. Televisions and video games have replaced real life games. And teachers cannot really do anything about how they spend their time at home. They need to unwind too. Perhaps it is not the right way to relax. Nothing can ever replace a good game of street cricket or seven stones. Teachers know this. Parents know this. But we need to move with the times and accept the fact that our children lead different lives compared to ours.
- Doling out homework and projects and assignments regularly may have an adverse effect on the students. Parents/students outsource the entire project to other people. There are people out there in the market who make good money simply by doing the projects for their student customers.
The teacher is left with only one option. He/She has to ensure that all the learning and doing is done in the classroom itself. No. Don’t raise your eyebrows and roll your eyes. It is possible and I speak from experience.
- Create that interest in your students first. Create a love for the subject first.
- Come in with a tray full of colorful liquids in different test tubes and see how the class is suddenly attentive.
- Break the structure and the pattern of the classroom. Why should the students always confine themselves to desks and chairs? Why should they always sit beside their best friends?
- Ask them to lift – not drag – all the furniture. Make them put it along the sides of the classroom. Make them sit on the floor.
- Use a wet chalk and use the floor as a blackboard. Take them out to the courtyard and use the sandy surface as a black board. Use a short stick as your chalk.
- Do the experiments first. Let them see things first and then teach them that topic. See the clarity of understanding on their faces.
- Want them to learn about geography. Ask them to bring a pair of scissors. Make them draw the outline with a sketch pen on a chart paper or on the floor. You will be amazed at how accurately and precisely they draw the outline.
- Pin four empty chart papers on the soft board. Make them stick real food grains and real clothes on the chart paper. One class even stuck an idli and a dosa on a chart paper. I am sure every student will remember the staple food of South Indians even today.
- Let them draw. Let them search for pictures. Let them download images and get printouts.
- Divide a class into four groups. Announce a competition. See how the students get excited about the whole concept.
- Concepts like area, surface area, volume can be done live in a class room. Get measuring tapes. Make them measure the floor of the class room. They will understand the different units of measurement this way. They understand what they are studying in the class.
- Show them how to create a cube and a cuboid from a piece of card board. Let them fiddle with the chart paper for some time. They will get a feel of the object. They will now be able to relate to the concept properly. They will then be able to apply their learning in practical life.
- Play a vocabulary game for five minutes during the English classes. Let the students test the teacher. Write out any word that the students select from their dictionary. Let them flip through the pages. Let them select a word that piques their curiosity. Give them the meaning of the word. They will be impressed by your vocabulary. If you don’t know the meaning – simply say so. The entire class will remember the meaning of that word for a long long time. Now make them construct sentences with those five words. Ask the students to write down those sentences on the black board. Right now. No home work. Correct the sentence then and there. The whole thing will take five minutes flat. But the class will be receptive to what you are teaching for the rest of the period. I assure you of this.
- Enact history chapters. Make them act and behave like the characters. Draw the historical territories on the floor. Create the battle scenes and the wars in the class room. The entire history chapter will take care of itself.
- If we want our students to be innovative and creative in their thinking – we need to be innovative and creative ourselves. We need to think and carefully plan our lessons.
- We need to strictly monitor the activities and control the time span.
- We need to split a forty-minute class and plan every minute properly.
- It is not a fun class. There is syllabus to be completed. The learning has to be evident.
- It will get reflected in the tests and the exams.
- We need to be effective. We need to break down the traditional structured method of teaching and create newer methods of teaching.
- Slide shows, video clippings, animated clips all are effective tools that we need to use regularly.
- Projectors, smart boards, laptops are all very effective teaching aids.
- Learn how to use such equipment. See the difference in the quality of the teaching.
Yes. The teacher really needs to work hard to create those activities, slide shows and/or competitions etc. But the efforts will be worth our while. Our students’ faces light up with smiles when they see us. They look forward to our classes. They understand what we teach. Each one of them. That satisfaction is the real ultimate reward for the teacher. They know that they were effective and that is always enough for them!