Sunday, May 6, 2012

Learner centric approach

A great awakening has been created in the last few years as far as education in the schools and the colleges is concerned. There is a paradigm shift in the pedagogical approach towards teaching learning process especially in the schools across the world and our country has also been through the same. The focus is changing from teacher centric approach to learner centric approach which has helped in empowering the learner. The approach for multiple intelligence and  helping the children excel in the field in which they have an interest and aptitude, is the hallmark of the new approach. The role of a teacher has been redefined to be not just a facilitator but also a helmsman in and outside the class steering them in the right direction. Some people feel that the role of a teacher has been reduced but it is not so. The role of the teachers remain as important as it was before. The important thing all should understand is that the children of the day have more knowledge and exposure and the teachers will have to cope up with the same so that they do not cut a sorry figure in front of the children.
Today I would like to focus on what approach a teacher should adopt in the teaching learning process. Earlier when the teaching was synonymous to the authority of the teacher, then the teachers could have their way through but now when all the children and even the parents and the community is very much aware of the changes taking place, then the teachers will have to make amendments to refine and redefine their approach. They will have to understand that every child in the class is equally important and should be able to have achieve a minimum level of learning .  The teachers must know all the children of their class and act according the need of the individual children. Some people might say, how is it possible in a class of more than forty or more children. They may be right but think about the individual child. This number in the class is not because of his mistake and he/she cannot do anything to control the class strength. But at the same time, he/she has a right to be exposed to the best of the learning opportunity. Even if there are some limitations, the teachers can still make a difference with some change and improvement in their class. First of all, they should have the lesson plan made prior to their going to the class, with absolute clarity regarding their aims and objectives. Once they know about the aims and objective then they should plan the way of transaction of the content in the class involving all the learners. The assessment and the evaluation are as important as the aims and the objectives. The teachers must adopt differentiation approach while teaching and also while assessing the children, the assessment should be as objective as possible and the teacher should be able to quantify the same. The aims and objectives of the teacher in the class can be more than one depending upon the strength and aptitude of the class.  If the objectives of the lesson are clear to the teacher and the learner then the approach to achieve them will become easy. In the process of learning, the activities should be designed in a manner that these keep all the children  involved in the process of learning. Somebody rightly mentioned that in the CCE pattern of education this is required  more than ever before and all the teachers should follow this to ensure that all the children obtain maximum learning. The lesson plan should be so clear and specific that even if the teacher is absent on some day, the other teacher will be able to follow the same and the learners will be able to learn. This is important because in most of the cases the arrangement period is almost a waste if a teacher is absent on a day. Time is precious in the school or elsewhere. The other thing which is very important for a teacher is to create a learning environment in the class. It is the foremost responsibility and the duty of the teacher to create such environment that all the children are involved in learning and nobody has any inclination towards disturbing the class. The teacher cannot blame the learner for not learning or letting others learn. The children will learn if the things are  done the way they feel comfortable. The role of the teacher is to create opportunities for learning of the learner to take place. For this, understanding, patience, tolerance and clarity of the fact of their being in the class are a few very important factors. If the class is not managed well and the children are not made aware of the objectives of the lesson, then they would not be learning anything and the whole exercise will become a stress for all. Another thing which should be taken care of is the modulation of the voice and the change in the way the teacher acts in the class. The voice modulation and the change in the activities will make children anxiously wait for their teachers to the class. They would always be curious to learn more because of the interest created by the teacher by using different methods and activities.  Those teachers who have been following the traditional method of teaching ( in which the learning is really effective)  may find it difficult initially but if the same is followed sincerely then they will themselves find it good and enjoy this exchange. For this they will have to spend more time beforehand and subsequently this will become as an important part of their teaching learning process. I would like to summarize the learner centric approach for the benefit of all educators.
1.          Have clear aims and measurable objectives.
2.        Expose and check the previous knowledge of the learners to ensure that they get involved in what you are      going to do today.
3.        Plan the process in a way that all learners are able to follow.
4.     Plan the activities which are easy to follow for all but there may be a few high order thinking skill based learning also so that the interest of all the learners remain high.
5.        Do not use lecture method for a long time in the class even if these are higher classes.
6.        Assessment activity should be as close to learning as possible.
7.    Learning and assessment must be planned in such a manner that the learner does not know about the assessment.
8.        Give maximum opportunity to the learner to find the answer.
9.        Peer group learning and assessment may prove to be very handy at times.
1.         Summarize the lesson at the end in an effective manner.
1.         Evaluate the lesson by involving the feedback of the learner.
1.         Leave the class at a note that all learners remain excited to attend the next class.

These are a few steps and strategies which can be employed by the teachers to make the learning,
learner centric. At the same time, I would like to add that the teacher is the one who can change and amend the lesson plan as per the needs of the learner. There can be no single way of making learning more effective but the only way of doing the same is open approach of the teacher which he/she finds good for the learners of their class.Adopt and adapt to the inevitable and ever changing times of today and you will emerge as an efficient teacher.   

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