““A teacher is the one who will learn along with her students every day along, and emerge successful only when she adds the ingredients of innovation, creativity, imagination and expression in her teaching.”
Yes, that’s the definition of a true teacher who believes in the saying that teaching and learning go hand in hand.
Gone are those days when a teacher would walk inside the classroom with heavy books and just spend her time delivering a lecture and then just ask one question, “Children, have you all understood?”, and the answer in chorus would be ‘Yes, Ma’am’, so that the teacher would leave the classroom fast and the students could engage themselves in mere classroom pranks in order to escape from the boredom.
Today, the face of teaching has changed. Lecture method of teaching has been replaced by classroom interaction and the regular practice of delivering notes has transformed into innovative methods of teaching and learning at the same time. In other words a good teacher will add innovation, creativity and application in her teaching curriculum rather than restricting herself to the prescribed textbooks and meeting deadlines to complete the syllabus irrespective to the fact that students have understood or not.
When I first took up teaching as my career, I had only one aim and that was to be the best and the most innovative teacher among the rest. My soul vision was how to make each day of my teaching a challenge and in order to meet this challenge I had to create and plan out different innovative methods of teaching. My goal was not only to create an interesting and innovative teaching atmosphere inside the classroom, but also to help learners enjoy the lesson and at the same time have a clear concept about the topic taught.
Being a teacher in English my first task was to create an appropriate ambiance inside the classroom where students will be given the freedom to imagine, express freely through debates, discussions, interactions, emote through poetry, recreate through role play and drama, and most importantly be confident enough to showcase their oratory skills through seminars and paper presentations.
I never believed depending or restricting myself only to prescribed textbooks, but I believed in the phrase “Beyond Textbooks’ where I have connected the fiction world of drama, short stories and poetry to that of real life situations in which each student imagines himself as a character from the lessons and tries to draw a parallel link with their real lives to that of the fictional characters.
In my classroom students are allowed to create their own methods of learning and understanding the lesson. They are gifted the freedom to interpret in their own independent ways and express in their own unique style. The weak learners are never segregated, yet at the same time given an opportunity to prove their worth inside the classroom among their peers.
My innovation in classroom teaching invites theatre and drama which plays an important role in helping the learner to communicate and interact better. Involving the learners in a lesson with the help of conversation and prompt and probe techniques inside the classroom has created a healthy atmosphere inside the classroom. Students pick up new words and phrases and they also improve on the usage of punctuation marks with the help of this creative method in classroom teaching. In other words they enrich their vocabulary with the help of theatre and drama in teaching and learning.
Another innovative practice that I always believe to have brought wonders to the classroom teaching is the Prompt and Probe technique where I encourage the learners to voice out their views. Sometimes the learners might have difficulty in presenting their ideas in a nut shell and hence at this point I prompt the learners with a few hints that may guide them to express their opinion related to the topic taught inside the classroom. This device has definitely boost up the confidence of the slow learners and given them a scope to think freely.
I have always believed that teaching has to be made interesting and it cannot be without the use of electronic gadgets inside the classroom. In order to enhance quality learning among the learners it is essential to capture the attention of the learners. Hence electronic gadgets like OHP (Over Head Projectors), Plasma Television, Computers and various other gadgets related to education, must be used inside the classroom especially when a difficult lesson is being taught. Through these gadgets I as a teacher have been successfully able to impart a clear understanding of the lesson while teaching in the class and have also helped the learners to get a clear concept of the lesson. It is always said that children remember better through pictures and graphics rather than memorizing the points only from the black and white pages of their course books.
I definitely don’t believe in the Chalk and Talk Method of teaching which surely lacks innovation. Instead I have introduced the innovative method of Exhibitions and Seminars in my teaching. Children love to participate in portraying their skills through seminars, paper presentations and exhibitions. This can take place inside the classroom itself. After teaching a particular topic I allow the children to organize a seminar or an exhibition related to the topic taught inside the class. I invite the students from other grades to have a look at the exhibition organized by the students of her class. This strategy of learning helps the learners to give their best in their presentation. And to give their best they do a lot of extra study and research work. This has helped me to impart quality education among my students, and the learners on the other hand get a good hold upon the subjects.
Finally, when it comes to Projects and Revision I don’t preach the method of myself asking questions to the students. Here, I initiate Group Work where the students of each group have to prepare questions on the allotted topic and ask the other group members. This innovative method not only helps the learners to skim and scan through the lesson but also develops a sense of being responsible to the other group members and boost up the learner’s confidence level.
In the same manner I encourage my learners to participate in more of research and project oriented work. I ask the learners to prepare short and informative projects about the topics taught in the class. This encourages the learners to do a lot of research work and collect information from various sources. Hence by skimming and scanning for valuable information the learner can register and remember the lesson well.
Children are very fond of games no matter whatever the game might be. They love to participate in activities related to games and get more involved in challenges that are thrown in front of them. But games must not only be restricted to outdoor fields under the fresh air, but can be also arranged inside classrooms by teachers during the free periods. Arranging games inside the classrooms usually emphasize upon catering to the learning abilities of a child in a more creative way. These games which might be defined as Language Games is an effort from the teacher’s part to help the learners improve upon their language skills and get more exposure to the practical side of learning. Some of the games which I have tried out during my teaching are Word Games, Building and Constructing a Word Tower,
Story Chain and Memory.
My humble effort to make teaching interesting does not cover only games and interactive approaches, but also it includes print media. I believe that a lot of innovation can be brought out through newspapers and by using newspapers in classroom teaching. Learners can be taught lessons based on Grammar through newspapers. After teaching a particular topic in Grammar, I ask the children to find out words and phrases related to the Grammar topic, from the newspapers. The children are given the freedom to choose any news article of their choice and skim for the words. Different colors can be used in order to do this task. This has helped the learners to pick out the necessary details and also gain information about the happenings.
Along with these innovative practices I have also implied another most interesting method which comes hand in hand with teaching and that is called Motivation and Rewarding the learners. Motivation and encouragement from teachers makes a lot of difference within a child’s learning ability. Teachers always expect their students to live up to their expectations by doing well in their academics. And hence to help the child to succeed in his academics it is very essential to motivate and encourage the child. These are some of the small rewards that I have used to motivate my students just to make them feel how proud I am of them: Sometimes I call up the parents to tell them the special qualities of the child and how proud I feel to have the child in my class. This gesture not only rewards the child but also makes the parents happy.
Twelve years have passed and with every new day I try to introduce new innovative methods in my classroom teaching so that when I complete my lesson for the day, I come back home satisfied and with a relaxed mind recalling how my students had a smile on their faces as if to say,’Thank You, Teacher for making the lesson so interesting.’
Teaching is my pride and being a successful teacher is my true identity.