Higher Education Review ›› Last Word

Pedagogy and Effective Teaching

By Dr. J. Girish, Director, KIET Group of Institutions | Wednesday, 19 Jul 2017, 05:43 IST

Higher education is the key source for achieving the upward mobility of the people and the advancement of the country. The main objective of the Twelfth Five Year Plan is to increase enrolment in higher education with inclusiveness, quality and relevant education along with essential academic reforms in the University/college system. The focus has been on expansion and access to higher education through increasing institutional capacity and increase of intake capacity, promotion of inclusive education through equal access to various groups in higher education. From 15 percent gross enrolment ratio (GER) in 2012 to 30 percent GER by 2017 was set up for the Twelfth Five Year Plan. The 15 percent increase was sought to be achieved through a dual strategy that includes increasing the number of educational institutions and enhancing the intake capacity of the existing institutions. As a result, the number of Universities has increased from 20 in 1950 to 711 in 2015. The number of colleges has also increased from 500 in 1950 to 40760 in 2015 (Ref. UGC - Annual Report 2014-15).

Reforming in education has increased, both in its number of institutions /colleges and contents. However, most of the young teachers entering into the teaching profession do not undergo any teacher-training program. Support for beginning teachers is often uneven and inadequate. In view of this, it is imperative to discuss two important aspects of teaching, Pedagogy – Students level of satisfaction and effective teaching.

Pedagogy - student’s level of satisfaction

We can deliberate the idea that in order to be able to teach or to transmit knowledge to students, we need pedagogical knowledge so necessary to develop the art of teaching. The three important aspect of ‘pedagogy’ course in student’s perception and opinions regarding their level of satisfaction are; The quality of the course “pedagogy” offered, Teaching-learning process during the courses and The teacher’s competences.

Usually, students look up to the teachers whom they can learn from and dislike those who are not mastering the material taught. For teachers, methodical preparation should be considered essential. In the design of a curriculum, the development of the individual is very important so that he/she reaches a certain performance (knowledge-abilities-skills).

Teaching-learning methodology used during the pedagogy course plays a very important role. The way they are presented, the theoretical aspects and /or practical manner may or may not capture the attention of students in their learning process. The equipment/tools and the training materials used during the pedagogy course represents an important issue for having a good learning experience so necessary for the active participation of each student. The teacher may not be concerned only with the subject taught, but he/she should be concerned about how to present the material as clearly and interesting for his students.

The human resource, that teacher, who is in front of the classroom and transmits all the knowledge taught, representing a key factor in their socio-professional development. The teacher is a resource person who provides the development for every individual and who offers constant support to students, especially in those situations where they encounter some difficulty in understanding the material taught. One main key competence that students see as being very necessary for a teacher is communication.

As a summary, the methodology used during the course (technical equipment and materials), as well as the teachers competencies (communication, personality and knowledge) that were appreciated throughout the course represents a determining quality factor regarding the training of the pedagogy course. The other important aspects are practical applications, teaching methods used, relaxing, interactive, allowed free expression, manner of scoring the information gained and so on.

The course should assure a certain balance between; theory-practice; theoretical course support-free speech time to discussion different issues; number of hours at the course and at the seminar and many more. Consequently, students sustain that theoretical information is not enough, the know-how is just as important. The fulfillment of these goals helps to increase the level of satisfaction and motivation of the students. Effective Teaching

Teaching and learning should be cognitive, emotional and meta-cognitive skills building in which students learn to know about knowing. With the available knowledge and information, students need to go beyond memorization and need multiple skills to develop new ideas or risk becoming obsolete at a young age. Hence, teachers have to make changes in their learning. Classes will have to convey not only learning, but also the process of learning. The content and the process of learning makes students motivated to learn more because they have the tools to learn more. Knowing the process of learning allows the student to use information to create new learning and critical thinking to deal with a problem. This changes the role of the teacher from the composer to the arranger of the class.

When learners experiment with the information, they stretch it to new ways, play with it and take chances. It sticks in their minds in ways different from simple memorization. A good class is not about the teacher as much as it is about the student. The teacher must set the tempo and tone of the class, but the real learning occurs when students have a chance to participate. When the teacher gives the student space to participate with an idea or task, the student develops self-efficacy. Ownership in an idea or task inspires students to participate and master a topic.

Experimental work, group work, debates, paper presentations, flipped classrooms are all meta- cognitive teaching techniques that allow students to play with the material. As students master the material through active participation, they move forward to master the next level of material as opposed to one way learning a lecture and memorizing it for examination purpose. Delivering a brief introduction lecture on a topic then teaching students how to do primary research to produce their own work on that subject is more instructive and inspiring than the traditional teaching method.  In classical method of teaching, the teacher dictates what needs to be learned. The teacher delivers the information through various channels like lectures, readings, test and assesses it ensure the student learned what was required. It enables students to become the drivers of their own education and they will think of themselves as learners than students.

To do things right, the teachers also has to know how to do things wrong. While the teachers may prepare the solution, students are given assignments and tasks that allow them to discover the answer. In this model of teaching, teacher set up the lesson for the day or provide assignment material and the students are then encouraged to participate in small groups to discover the answers through learning experiences.

Students taking chances with the assignment work changes their perspective, expands their way of thinking, and allows them to be open to new ideas and learning experiences.

In a good classroom, students are engages because the teacher is excited about the topic, engaged in the lecture and uses his or her voice in a way that helps the students with the lecture. Teacher enthusiasm is directly related to positive outcome of learning and encourages students to become more involved in the learning process. How does one create excitement in their classes? Pay attention to the students, make eye contact, take control, teach things with love, and do it with enthusiasm. Step away from the dais and walk around the classroom. Talk with students and enjoy the vibe of their learning. Always keep in mind that learning is an emotional experience as well as a cognitive experience. As much as teachers would like to think that students would remember their every word, it is more likely they will remember the feel of the classroom and the connection with their learning process; create an atmosphere for learning and the learning will occur.

Mentoring and coaching from veteran colleagues is critical to the successful development of a new teacher. Great induction programs create opportunities for novice teachers to learn from best practices and analyze and it will reflect on their teaching.

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July Special 2017
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