By Sandy Hooda
The schools that we all used to know deployed primarily one teaching method, and it is known by one or more of the following names.
One way lecture method
Chalk and talk method
Rote learning method
With the passage of time and the transforming needs of the real world these methods are now largely outdated. In the past, employers and businesses valued ‘how much a candidate knew’ and ‘the candidate’s ability to perform routine tasks with a sense of discipline’.
Today’s world rewards completely new set of skills. From creative ability to problem solving, from change management to innovation, from empathy to working well with others. And perhaps most importantly, the ability to unlearn and relearn, and to apply knowledge to find new (and better) ways of doing things.
These abilities require children to be taught in superior ways. Some of these research proven and time tested methods include:
Project based learning
Learners cover the curriculum by doing authentic projects which involve creativity, teamwork and problem solving. While it is easy to simply create a project, it requires special skills to undertake authentic projects. Authentic projects require a driving question that aims to solve a real world problem, it requires covering vital aspects of the curriculum and most importantly, involves creating new knowledge. The teachers need to be extremely skilled, failing which students may end up doing inauthentic projects which have limited value. Superstar educators are able to deliver outstanding projects that create deeper learning.
Inquiry based learning
This time tested method requires asking questions relevant to learning and is designed based on units of inquiry. The questions are powerful and bring context and relevance to the learning. The IB program is well known for inquiry based learning however it’s not the only one. Schools can deliver CBSE, ICSE, and other curriculum using the inquiry based method.
This method involves bringing real life experiences into the learning process. It is a progressive, robust and proven method. It requires a lot of preparation and teacher training to be delivered well. Learners are far more engaged and imbibe real world skills they will require in the future.
Problem based learning
This is a three in one learning method that combines (and involves) all three methods – project-based learning, experiential learning and inquiry based learning. When delivered well, this transcends all learning methods and creates an excellent all round development of a whole child. The teachers need to be extremely creative and skilled. They need a high level of continuous training.
This means ‘learning by doing’ and places a lot of responsibility on the learner. Students and teachers together embark on learning that is challenging, adventurous and meaningful. Learners are educated to demonstrate deeper learning, to apply their learning, to think critically and to communicate effectively.
All the progressive methods have great value. However, it requires a next level caliber of teachers. Teachers who are not creative and cannot work collaboratively find it very difficult to deliver on these methods. Equally, teachers have to be trained specially and exhaustively by national and global experts who have mastered these learning methods.
While it is easy for schools to claim they offer one or more of these methods, it requires enormous effort to actually deliver them with fidelity.
Be it Schools in India or Schools in Gurugram, without the right talent, training and commitment they will find it difficult to deliver exceptional learning via these progressive methods.
The Top Schools in Gurgaon need to strive hard to deliver learning through these methods. Be it at the nursery grade, kindergarten or primary school, progressive methods require a lot of resources and an extraordinary commitment from the school management. Schools need to completely revamp their teacher recruitment and training processes, their assessment methods and blend them with the use of technology.
The outcome of well delivered progressive learning will be a happy and whole child who will embody the values, mindset and skill set to thrive in the rapidly changing world.