Posted on Thursday, January 3, 2019
Who would have thought that someday a simple four-walled classroom with a few wooden benches and a blackboard will produce the finest of talents in the world? Going by the remarkable words of Ivan Welton Fitzwater, “The future of the world is in my classroom today”, the classrooms have the power to make a fool wise and a bleak present into an illuminating future. The edifice of a classroom depends less on the concrete, and more on the cornerstones of knowledge, love, understanding, respect, commitment, creativity, and innovation. A teacher and the students are the builders of the classroom who transcend the four walls in the pursuit of learning and knowledge together.
To improve learning experience up a notch, the schools and teachers are already taking proactive approaches to education and switching from traditional ways of teaching to the new and innovative methods. The introduction of smart boards, AV, 3D enabled projectors, and control devices into the traditional classrooms allow the teachers as well as pupils to collaborate in a creative and engaging world. As pupils are better able to understand and retain the lessons in their mind through visuals, such digital classrooms have shown a massive impact on the pupils and provided the teachers with great flexibility.
However, there have also been some cons of the widespread use of digital technology in classrooms. The students, especially, children have shown signs of weak eyesight after the introduction of digital boards. Therefore, teachers and school authorities have to be conscious of this as well.
To innovate a classroom does not mean using the latest technologies in the classroom, it means what sort of learning environment and culture is created for the students. Education is not simply about teaching students what one has learned, but inspiring in them the passion and creativity towards learning the truth, facts, and the philosophy in life by themselves. Where student engagement is the key to classroom innovation, empowering students through skill and personality development is the true essence. While engaging students with the course curricula and raising their cognitive level to that of adults remain the major concern of the teachers, they should focus on imparting the relevant knowledge and right skills which will motivate them to pursue their passion and create their own future.
The ultimate goal of education is to familiarise children with the outside world and to let them discover their talents, find their voice, and form their perspectives that are not influenced by others. Obviously, this cannot be achieved indoors with the old-school pedagogy. So, the schools are turning up to creating outdoor classrooms in order to provide a stimulating learning environment for the children bringing the indoor and outdoor space together.
Even research has suggested that spending more time outdoors contributes significantly to students’ overall health. With educational field trips and outdoor physical activities, their learning outcomes are maximized and cognitive development improves. As a matter of fact, students find History and Mathematics lessons too boring, which weakens their academic base from the very start. To cope up with dull and monotonous lectures, the students daydream, doodle, chat with friends, and pass secretive notes to each other. Amongst many, the one way to spice up the boring and lengthy lectures is integrating them with art.
Creating a culture of innovation, the teachers should design lesson plans in a particular art form that interests the students. Instead of providing them with complete information, turn them into mysteries, pose them challenges, and encourage them to solve it all by themselves. Let students come up with their own ideas, promote brainstorming and peer-teaching; this will help them find a promising idea and then work on it collaboratively.
Another means to form an open and active learning atmosphere in the class is role-play teaching. By implementing this technique, a teacher can bring fun and entertainment to otherwise boring lectures. In role-playing, students are given different roles to perform, enacting the drama of literature or a scene in scientific discovery. This helps students gain deeper insight into the character, situations, and theories. The props will also make it remarkably different for the students to memorise.
Innovation in education and classroom is all about making learning easy and intuitive for the students. It is more about asking questions and motivating students to find the answers on their own. For this, we have to cultivate a productive yet interesting learning environment using the best tools and techniques. These are the only ways through which we will be able to build ‘Schools of Tomorrow’ today.
[The author is the director (Academics) at Sorsfort International School, Bengluru]
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