Saturday, April 24, 2010


Taking another step towards reforming the education system by making it more student-centric, the Central Board of Secondary Education has "advised" teachers in affiliated schools to act more as facilitators than instructors by cutting down on teacher-talking time and instead enabling more peer-group learning.
In a recent set of guidelines spelling out, in no uncertain terms, the curriculum to be followed in Classes IX and X in CBSE schools, the board has asked teachers "to reduce teacher-talking time to the minimum; encourage classroom interaction among peers, students and teachers; take up questions for discussion to encourage pupils to participate, and to marshal their ideas and express and defend their views."

Academics say it is important that teachers speak less in class in order to adopt a constructive approach towards a student's learning and development. "The child must discover things for itself. Unfortunately, in our country teacher training schools still advocate the teacher talk method. Such guidelines will allow the teacher to look at other teaching methodologies, some of which have been prescribed," says Neera Chopra, an educational consultant based in Delhi who has worked with several schools in Delhi and abroad, and is an expert on the continuous and comprehensive evaluation suggested by the CBSE in all affiliated schools.

"In the schools that I visit, I often come across children who say they are able to understand 60% from the textbooks, and that teachers make the whole learning experience boring by trying to explain things to them. Instead, teachers should focus on guiding children to the right places to look for information, not by explaining everything in textbooks," she says.

While the guidelines break several barriers by making rote learning infeasible and instead focussing on learning by doing, there are fears that such precise instructions could stifle a teacher's spontaneity and tendency to innovate in the classroom.

A facilitator makes learning happen by demystifying the process of learning and making students autonomous learners.

It is believed by many educators now that facilitation is a never ending function of a teacher who continually develops and supports the learning potential of students.

As a teacher, what is your opinion? Let's interact and discuss. Post your comments and ideas.

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