A teacher needs to constantly strive to inspire her students and imbibe in them the love for the subject so that they learn and not just study or mug up. A teacher should make an attempt to not only communicate the knowledge he has, but also impart the wisdom he carries.

There are many ways to make a classroom more lively, participative and involved with the teacher and the subject. To this end, there are four major pillars of efficient teaching which can help teachers teach more efficiently.
Learning vs teaching

Firstly, the focus of the teacher should be on how much the students have actually learned and not how much they have taught. Usually teachers are more concerned about finishing their portions on time and feel if they have communicated their share of the knowledge their task is done. However, when the effects of such a style of teaching are measured, it is a complete failure. If the students have not understood anything and can not apply their learning in a practical manner then the teaching has no purpose. In order to tackle this problem, teachers can keep a check on the students by asking questions, giving situations and sharing interesting facts about the subject during the lectures. It is important to understand that course coverage is not equivalent to the learning.
Engage, motivate

Secondly, one should try to engage the students and motivate them parallel. At times the students might understand the concept, but may fail to apply it.

At such a point of time, it is very important for the teacher to motivate the student and help convert the learning potential in failure into something constructive. If the teacher makes an effort to help the student apply the concepts and principles effectively, the students don’t only feel motivated to improve, but also feel engaged and involved in the class room.

In this process, not only does the teacher help the student develop a better and more comprehensive understanding of the subject, but also builds a relationship on a more personal level with the student which gives an advantageous edge to him.

Content and process

The third most important thing to understand in the teaching process is that, content and process go hand in hand. The teachers should not give a vague understanding of the topic, but explain the process and try to provide sufficient content to the students, so that they can clarify any doubts that arise. Critical thinking activities and problem solving questions can be given to the students to test the applicability and enhance their understanding of various topics. This will help them in finding out the problems they are facing, doubts that they might have and so on.

Once the student has found out what the problem is, the teacher should play an active role in helping him solve the problem and clear the student’s stream of thoughts. It’s not just necessary to make the student understand concepts on an analytical level, but also imbibe in him an inquisitiveness which leads to discovery and hunger for further learning.

Last but not the least, the learning should be target focused. Students should be able to do what they are supposed to with the knowledge they’ve gained. Teachers can do ongoing tests and other types of assessments which help the student know how much they actually understand, what is expected out of them and in what areas they need to improve. These assessments help students discovering things they had earlier ignored or overlooked and provide them with a better understanding of the subject.

By following these four principles, the task of a teacher can become a lot more simplified and effective. Teachers should try to make teaching student-centric and develop a competitive yet cooperative environment in the class where students can participate and enquire on their doubts in a free manner. In the end it is not about what you teach, but about what the student has learned.

Teaching is not a lost art and with the right approach teachers can find a way reengage with the process more effectively and actively.

-Alice Mani
Courtesy: Deccan Herald, May 8, 2014

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