Teachers are the builders of nation. In fact, in countries like SouthKorea, teaching is the most respected profession.
Albert Einstein, who used to dislike his school, shared-
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
Teachers play an important and challenging role of fostering children’s intellectual development. The best teacher is the one who knows her students well! Because through that, s/he can identify the existing learning gaps and can help overcome them.
Recently, I had a chance to interact with a few 7th graders on the concept of perimeter. The teacher was also present during the process. Most of the students shared that they could not find the perimeter value without knowing the formula of perimeter for that shape! This new discovery disturbed the teacher most as she believed that they have never stressed on formulae in class. The session was an eye-opener for the teacher too.
This incident reminded me of the study, done by Large Scale Education Program of EI (Educational Initiatives) with the support of World Bank in 3 districts of Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu each. As part of that study, we tried to understand if teachers could understand the mistakes their students were making. In this assessment, the average performance of teachers across the districts was around 50% in Math!
Let’s look at this example –
This question is on division of fraction and a student has answered this question in his own method. Teachers were expected to understand his method and identify the misconception he has from the given options.
More than 30% teachers in MadhyaPradesh and 48% teachers in Tamil Nadu, seem to think that student is confusing Addition of Fractions with Division of Fractions. Not realising that the method is perfectly correct and will work for any Fraction.
Only a few teachers could understand that a student’s method of solving Division of Fraction is correct. Hence it is necessary to address teachers’ misunderstandings equally as that of students, which will lead to better and faster learning! Happy Teaching with Understanding!
By Janvi Soni – Educational Specialist