Dr S S Verma
The industrial revolution was supposed to be based on scientific methods and systematic learning. These are meta-skills, skills on the basis of which other skills can be developed. The school and college are the places for acquiring such meta-skills. Whether it is the sciences or the social sciences and humanities, grounding in the scientific method is essential for any further growth. It involves systematizing learning and transmission of knowledge and constant testing of ideas and beliefs against reality. Importance of education towards the growth of a person and society is unquestionable but the modes of imparting or getting education is changing very fast with changing social system. Earlier, it was only formal and structured learning based on going to schools, colleges and university and having lectures from teachers. Classroom environment was considered one of the most important factors affecting student learning. Such an environment was supposed to provide relevant content, clear learning goals and feedback, opportunities to build social skills, and strategies to help students succeed. Teachers were regarded as the important and greatest sources of learning. But with time, gone are the days of “Guru Gobind Dohu Khade, Kake Lagu Paiy, Balhari Guru apki jo Gobind deyo Milaya”. In the present era, education or learning is totally governed by the internet resources (google baba) available to almost every student in his hands as smart phones. Earlier, students used to look towards their teachers for teaching material, methodology or tricks or remembering/learning and understanding. In the present times, students are more dependent on learning apps (like BYJU, MARITNATION, WIKIPEDIA, TED, MYCBSEGUIDE, DUOLINGO, SOLOLEARN, GRAMMARLY, KHAN ACADEMY, COURSERA, DICTIONARY.COM and others) of which hundreds are freely available on the internet. In schools, colleges (both professional and non-professional) and in universities if stress is not given on compulsory class attendance, students will rarely come to classes. Presently, teachers all over the world are facing a tough competition at the hands of personalized learning resources easily available to students. Students can question each and every step of teaching and learning and are mostly not happy with the teachers teaching them in classes. Availability of reading and learning material as well as methodology with clarity, explanation, repeatability, without any threat of reprimand at the hands of teachers, free from time bindings, and as per desire is making personalized learning more popular among the students of present.
Personalized learning is the big thing in education right now and everyone in education is talking about it, selling it, and investing heavily in it. Personalized learning involves students having greater control over the content and the pace at which they learn with the use of technology to which they are customized. More school leaders than ever before are seeking to harness digital tools to personalize learning and to prepare students for life after school. Personalized learning paths, designed to meet the needs and goals of each learner, can lead to a redefinition and a new understanding of lifelong learning to include informal as well as formal learning, delivered at scale. Factors in personalized learning that are believed to drive an education transformation are:
* Customized learning pace as per each student’s needs
* Tailored content, learning objectives, and tools to optimize student learning
* Learning decisions centered on learner interests, i.e., individualized learning
* Learning flexibility in terms of students get to choose what, how, when, and where they learn
* Supported by technology and influenced by the individuals’ learning data
* Helps students with a sense of control
* Fulfilling the learning objectives in small groups
* Assisting and reinforcing the learning by blended learning and online learning
Though online and personalized education is becoming very popular, there are certain benefits of classroom teaching that it simply cannot replace. Now-a-days online learning, coaching or tutoring has become a trend but we have to realize the benefits of maintaining classroom teaching. Critics say personalized learning isn’t supported by evidence, leads to bad teaching, and depends on data-mining students. Research has also proved that classroom teaching not only impacts the students but also the teachers. The following are the pro’s of classroom teaching that digital or online education will find hard to replace:
* Promotes collaborative learning: Classroom environment is essential to promote and stimulate collaborative learning and collaborative learning increases a student’s self-awareness about how other students learn and enables them to learn more easily and effectively, transforming them into keen learners inside and beyond classroom.
* Enhances critical thinking skills: Classroom teaching gives the students opportunity to engage in live discussions in which they are forced to use their critical thinking skills to formulate opinions or arguments. Thus, enhances students’ critical thinking skills.
* Improves social skills: Inside a classroom, students experience social interactions with peers and establish rapport with teachers. Helping children develop socially is an important aspect within the realm of their academic education.
* Builds organisational skills: Classroom teaching teaches students how to develop organizational skills, beginning with the basics, such as arriving to school on time. In a live classroom, students are held accountable for being prepared to do school work, which includes having done their homework the night before, being ready for quizzes, turning in assignments by their due date and being prepared for in-class discussions. In effect, students learn how to organize their time, prioritize their assignments and get their homework done.
* Keeps students stimulated: The physical presence of a teacher keeps students stimulated through the interactive and interesting activities. This enables students to retain more from what they have learned during a session.
* Teaching style can be modified according to the student’s issues: Teachers can modify their teaching style based on types of learners in their classroom i.e. classroom activities can help visual learner, interactions can help auditory learners, etc. Teachers can get a clear idea whether students are following what has been taught or they require further explanation. At the same time, students can get their doubts clarified immediately before moving ahead in a topic.
* Develops important personality and career building skills: Classroom teaching inculcates conflict resolving skills, presentation skills when it comes to presenting their ideas confidently in front of peers, develops team spirit and teaches them to get along with those from different cultural backgrounds. Such experiences are valuable in shaping students’ communication and listening skills, as well as growing and maturing emotionally.