In a traditional classroom setting, students are made to sit passively while the teacher delivers a lecture. There are reasons as to why many teachers seem dissatisfied with this practice. For now, I shall limit myself to only three:
a. Students' focus is set in the wrong direction; in taking notes rather than understanding and absorbing new concepts.
• students' inability to grasp key ideas and concepts,
• Failed lesson objective.
b. Too much focus on presentation, little time left for practice: Since a teacher has to deliver a fixed number of concepts within a limited time, most classroom activities are sufficed to the presentation stage only. Practice is left for the student to do as homework.
• This strategy does not allow for students to experiment with new concepts. Their learning is put to a halt at a certain stage; they end up cramming concepts, and are unable to produce anything fruitful, except generic answers to exam questions.
• Furthermore, many students might get stuck while doing problem sets at home. This too thwarts their performance. If they are unable to master one concept, and have been unable to practice it effectively, we cannot possibly expect them to grasp a newer concept based on the previous one,
c. A teacher's lecture is generally one-size-fit-all. Not every student has the same pace of learning. While some students can follow the teacher's lecture with convenience, most of the others require time to chow on the information that they are getting. Also, each student has a different learning style. You can't expect a kinesthetic learner to master a concept by just listening to a lecture. If a visual learner gets worse grades than an auditory learner, it doesn't mean that the former is slow or dull; it might simply mean that the classroom strategies were designed for the auditory learner only.
• This results in the students' inability to keep pace with the teachers'. The world stereotypes them as ‘slow learners'.
• Poor grades and lagging in classroom performance is a major contributor to a poor self-image and lack of confidence. In fact, the failure of many students to achieve what they are capable of achieving can be attributed to the above factors.
• This not only mars potential talent, it also causes distress to a lot many dedicated and hardworking teachers.
The traditional public school system and classroom practices are far from perfect. The responsibility befalls the shoulders of us educationists that we review the factors which make the present school system ineffective. Only then would we be able to rectify these problem areas in order to create classrooms that deliver. In the coming days, I shall be posting more on these issues, and offering practical solutions to them.
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