Sunday, January 18, 2015



Have you ever seriously thought of your style of teaching? Did you ever permit your students to express their views about your teaching? Did you observe the reactions of the students during and after your teaching? Do you hear the students often say or praise about the method or teaching of a particular teacher of your school? Have you observed that the students prefer some classes to others? Moreover, scores of such queries, you might have come across during your teaching career.

In the western countries, teachers are habituated for sharing their classroom experiences. This is so because they do not have (relatively) problems regarding their service or facilities, as they enjoy comparatively better status in several aspects. However, in no way service facilities prevent us from sharing our classroom experiences with others. Sharing our experiences is a sort of revelation for both the individual and the group where it is shared or the individual with whom we share. If we arbitrarily think that ours is the definite and foolproof method in making the students learn, then certainly we make a mistake for two reasons. One, we may be wrong, if we share our ideas and logically examine the result-orientedness of our method when we find simpler method of others. Second, by not sharing our ideas with others, we are rather unconsciously concealing our methods from being followed by others. Classroom experiences differ from one teacher to the other. Especially in Indian situation with the heterogeneous group of learners, it is quite nature that the experiences differ.

Self-assessment is the first step for improving our teaching skill. Having known our lapses, we must be ready to rework our teaching behaviour. We often talk about students and their behaviour. We share our views about a particular student and at times of misbehavior we hear that every teacher opine about the student. What does it mean? It shows that we consciously observe the behaviour of the students. The same might be the case with the students. As they are also the conscious living being, they observe our behaviour with all sincerity and zest. Therefore, if a teacher wants to know about her teaching and temperament, she should hear the students what they really say about her. Understanding students mind and opinion is the key to bring modification in our behaviour.

As a teacher, we cannot directly approach the students and ask them how we teach. Sometimes our consciousness prevents us from approaching the students. Anyhow, some sort of direct or indirect students’ assessment is essential to know our classroom behaviour. If we fail to regard their views and opinion then our whole teaching-verve would go waste and we will not be in a position to correct our wrongs and strengthen the rights in course of time. In these circumstances, it is mandatory to think of techniques to understand ourselves and our teaching through students.

We all know that students by nature imitate others including the teachers. We could observe this behaviour even in a child when they get into play. Why don’t we make use of this nature for our own benefit! The idea is very simple. Give chance to your students to imitate your teaching in a formal classroom setup. Tell him that it is only for fun and he is free to imitate as he likes and teach. While you are being imitated, watch silently in what way he imitates. And perceive the method you are using through your own student besides assessing the lapses and success of your teaching. While imitating, the student may not be able to teach and show mastery as you usually do in your class. However, he would certainly imitate the methods and mannerisms used by you. At the end give him a pat and end up the class. Later think of your teaching and the reflection through the imitation session. If there is anything, you deem it to be worth for modification, plan accordingly and change without any hesitation.

Apart from imitation, ask a student or handpicked students to teach certain portions of the prescribed text (which were already taught) in a small group. What shall we achieve through this exercise? Students with above average comprehension would get a chance to explain the theme to others and this will instill confidence in them to express. Further they will get chance to experience their own level of understanding. In addition, the other students of below average would be benefited to hear the topic from a different angle and person. As the teacher being his classmate he would not hesitate to ask any number of questions which they might not ask the class teacher due to various reasons in a classroom situation. If we the teachers observe this process, we would be benefited by the nature of queries of the below average students and the level of comprehension of the above average students. Both will help us to modify our own teaching behaviour more effectively.

Another technique you can use is the method of team teaching. In actual life situations, we come across several incidents. Some are capable of narrating the incidents more lively and others may not do so with that much skill. We often praise persons that so and so has clarity in his idea and expression. Some teachers are so skilled that they excel in explaining even complex topics in a lucid language without any zigzag. There may be such skilled teachers in your school also. Request such teachers to teach your subject in their own way. Introduce the teacher, inform the students that she would be teaching the topic on a particular day, and observe her teaching. This will enable you to adopt right method or to understand the wrong method or the avoidable styles and methods. If you are a language teacher, do not think that subject teacher may not be able to teach the language as you do. Sometimes, inherent quality and natural interest towards a language, and their own bitter experience of their language learning sessions might have brought desirable changes in them, which they try to transform into teaching. This kind of exercise would open up new vistas and help us to change or refine our own methods. Students will also enjoy such classes irrespective of their success.

Of course, the formal technique – evaluation is there to understand your success of teaching but this is more formal to assess your own methods and style. Think of innovative techniques in addition to the existing techniques you are accustomed to. These occasional exercises will certainly benefit you and the learners. Make it a habit, when you enter the school campus think only of the school situation with all usual smirks and mascaras. 



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