‘Aaj kuch different karte hai!’
This is the motto for the current education scenario in our country.
With the aim to improve the learning levels of our students novel approaches which include more than the regular classroom teaching method is been explored. Regular book teaching is being coupled with classroom activities and projects to link the learning to real life and deepen the understanding.
As of now, in this equation of solving education inequity the ‘what’ and ‘why’ are been handled decently by not only the government but also by schools and parents. Trainings are being held for government teachers to expose them to this new way of teaching and empower them with necessary tools to execute the same inside their classrooms.
But can just include activity in a lesson can serve the purpose?
Based on my teaching experience the problem was not what to teach, I had all the resources but the struggle was in incorporating these innovative ideas in my class within those limited hours. The problem was even bigger in subjects that were more practical are required equal hands-on activity time as that of theory.
Recently during my preparation for a workshop, I came across a book written by William C Robertson and published by NTSA (National Science teachers’ association), called ‘Stop faking it!’
This book focuses on inquiry-based science learning inside a classroom. Suggested for the grade 5th- 9th, this book had activities appropriate for elementary and middle school science, as well as high school conceptual physics. The unique thing about this book was that it not only had all the activities but it also suggests a simple way to execute them inside a classroom.
Based on the 5E- learning cycle ( engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate) by Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), the author carved out the learning cycle that can help in executing any kind of activities inside the classroom in the most effective way.
The major focus of this cycle lies on 3Es- Explore, Explain and Elaborate.
With the purpose to “set up” the learner for understanding certain science concepts, Explore gives the opportunity to students to perform hands-on activities. Its major component is ‘Debriefing’,
where all students share their observations and discuss their thought process. Teachers usually stay away from explanation at this stage.
The next stage, Explain focuses on explaining the science concepts in terms of activities the learner has just done. As people understand concepts better when they are anchored in concrete experiences, this step becomes more relevant to students. It is the step where teachers start helping students in making the connection between the real-life science (activity) and the science principle behind the phenomenon or activity.
The final stage, Elaborate then lets students apply the learned science concepts in novel situations to deepen their newly gained understanding.Here, it’s appropriate for teachers to let the students struggle a bit as they attempt to apply concepts, but it’s also important for them to step in and help students figure things out. This phase serves as a perfect point for students to do practice and internalise the concept.
These 3 steps not only works for science but can be applied to any subject which requires students to think!
This also becomes an important tool in terms of monitoring students’ learning before diving directly into assessments. Overall, it turns out to be an approach worth trying inside the classroom. With no time limit set by the author, this can be modified according to the classroom needs.
So, go ahead and try it out!
And make learning fun yet systematic!
By Ritika Shukla – Educational Specialist
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