Tuesday, 26 August 2014

My Experiential Learning…

Many of our teaching occasions should be framed in such a way that children should get the limelight.  Learning processes that stimulates the kids to actively involve ultimately helps them to embrace accountability to the task assigned.  Moreover, the pleasure and hardship that they draw from such challenges have greater tendency to inculcate the values of appreciating their own ability to persevere, initiate, and to have that genuine sense of ownership to given challenges.  Such approach to teaching is must especially when the learners tend to shy away from their learning and also when you have learners who emanate illusive and shy characteristic.  However, without crystal –clear instructions accompanied with rigorous monitoring and follow-up, such approach can look too casual. Moreover, positive supplementary commentaries and timely guidance must be ensured to enhance experiential learning.

During the course of my teaching, I have lately come to realize that teachers should fade away amid the session- he/she should always brainstorming himself/herself constantly how to create a mood or situation where children can get ample room to exhibit and realize his/her potentials.  I believe, now, it’s quite old fashion for teachers to act like invincible-supreme wisdom holder- transmitting his/her realization to his learners with a stern physical presence.  Today, a teacher should be rather more animated to check whether learners share the same realization as his/her own or not –opinions should be shared amicably and valued.  Imposition of one’s ideas and philosophy is outrages and- out of question. 

When I talk of experiential learning, it cannot be narrowed down to field trips-study tours; in fact, I have this firm believe that any task that arouse the sense of achievements-realization and sense of belonging through his/her internal exploration and discovery can be a part of experiential learning.  Experiential learning need not have to go beyond our classrooms-such misconception can lead to complacency and monotonous teaching where children end up being passive listener and teachers as divine giver.

Numerous probing-brainstorming strategies and creating a situation where learners are bound to be inquisitive, critical and creative can imply that it is an experiential learning.  However, simply making kids to stack facts and figures-and deriving false sense of achievement as the kids admirably regurgitate exactly from test can be a piteous moment in the life of a teacher.  In any learning situation, teacher has to evoke the kids and quietly fade away amid their exploration so that his/her learners can find a way to glow ceaselessly-after all-lets accept it- it’s their show and it’s their stage- and all we can do is sit behind the curtain and relish their awesome performance.  

Hats off to John Dewey for evoking and making teachers like us educationally conscious about experiential learning-the soul searching continues...  

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Teaching English in Remote School…
Having an interactive English class is a mammoth like challenge in remote schools.  English teachers who are assigned to far flung places to teach English language should not be shocked or dishearten at this realization.  Nor should they blame the kids and make maligning comparative statements after referring to some city dweller kids, “In Thimphu a class six would be able to speak English fluently but look at you all-you are fit to be sitting in class two.”   Such statement is a sign of ignorance although it might be poured out of sheer frustration and dissapointment…
 Blaming your kids would be simply childish and definitely,  kids would be psychologically affected. And many would develop that so called, “Inferiority complex.” Perhaps teachers should never compare. So, now, the question is how to go about with teaching English language with kids who unfortunately manifest shaky English language foundation.
 First, as teacher we needs to understand their English setting which determines their English mood.  In villages kids never speak in English at home as their parents have never been to school.  Thus, there is no direct or indirect stimulating factor to arouse kid’s interest to learn English. This led to have poor taste for English radio programme which is at least accessible to them.  Again, they hardly read English written books at home-there is no flashy and eye-catching comics and magazines around-buying these books are never their priority; sadly, their life circles around helping their parents-doing petty physical house hold chores and at times strenuous manual work in the fields.  Therefore, setting in which the kid is living has no motivating agents to inspire the kids to learn English.
Whom shall we blame for not being able to create an atmosphere where kids can learn English?  Well, here is the scene where teacher can step in and play his role to make our kids realize how they can keep themselves in good shape pertaining to learning English language.   
To kids no matter what you say-if we are not exemplary then it’s futile.  Kids look up to us and if we are admiring role model and share your experiences of tackling how to win over learning English-it helps.  “I have the book called, “Coming Home” would you like to read.”  Sharing your poems and articles-at times writing together.
Sharing your bitter English learning experiences and telling how you have mended over the years with passionate narration helps to connect their own flaws and helps to realize that there are people like them who shares the same sentiments over learning English. Thus, changing their depressing attitude  towards learning English.
Moreover, creating a classroom situation where kids are stimulated to participated in speaking through brainstorming trickery, role play, presentation, comic writing, drawing and writing captions, listening to lyric songs, making them to watch good English movies … using electronic gadgets like cell phones and laptops (projector) can bring freshness to learning English.  Websites like teachertube and youtube has got rich English learning materials which are audio visual oriented-it helps. 
Practice! Kids need ample speaking, reading, writing and listening practices.  Teaching English goes beyond classrooms and school campus.  It is continuous learning process-I tell my kids-you can learn English even in a toilet when you are shitting-the point is-never stop learning-it’s a gradual process and needs discipline and one day it will pop out elegantly. No matter what activity you execute-these activities should have room for them to practice.
I may not be wrong on this! We need genuine concern for helping the kids-then- innovation will follow-you will look beyond school teaching English manuals and text book but above all we need patience and perseverance-positive approach and lots of self motivation to teach English language in remote schools.