Education is the pursuit of truth, transforming of knowledge into wisdom. It is a process of caring, nurturing and developing minds and talents. A good educational system must be able to promote activity, co-operation, interaction, diversity and responsibility. Teachers are facilitators, co-travellers in this journey towards enlightenment. They must help in building capacities of the students, encourage spirit of enquiry and creativity.
Students want teachers who are real people, who recognize them as human being, teachers who care about them not just test their performance. They want to be challenged but not demeaned. Teachers must follow 3 A's formula to promote loving relationships –
Accept – Accept students as they are. Each person is unique. Avoid comparisons and avoid creating intense competition among students, it can produce anxiety.
Adjust – have empathy, put yourself in the pupil’s position, try to understand his/her point of view. Do not have a fixed agenda or be rigid, but be flexible and fluid and adjust to changing circumstances.
Appreciate – What is worth appreciating. One must never be stingy with words of praise. Appreciating the good qualities can help in bringing out the best in the student. A smiling face, an open heart, a helping hand can do wonders. Great teachers neither mock nor underestimate the young. They believe in the dignity of the young people.
To encourage students to become self-motivated, independent learners, teachers should :
- Give frequent, early, positive feedback that supports students’ beliefs that they can do well.
- Help students find meaning and value in the subject material.
- Create an open and positive atmosphere.
- Help student feel, they are valued members of learning community.
- Make students active participants in learning. Never ‘tell’ them you can ask them. Encourage students to suggest approaches to problem solving, guess the result of an experiment. Passivity dampers students’ motivation and curiosity.
- Give assignments that are neither easy nor very difficult.
- Teachers must be enthusiastic about their own subject and build good rapport with the children. They should use concrete and practical examples while teaching.
- If teachers expect their students to be motivated, hardworking and interested in the course, they are more likely to be so. Teachers should set high but realistic expectation for students when giving assignments and projects, conducting leactures and grading exams. ‘Realistic’ means the standards should be high enough to motivate students to do their best, but not so high that students get frustrated trying to meet them. Students must believe that achievement is possible. So it is necessary to produce early opportunities for success.
- Encourage students to focus on self improvement and not just on marks or grades in a particular subject. Let them analyze their own strengths and weaknesses, motivate them to overcome of the latter.
- Strengthen students self motivation instead of emphasizing on extrinsic rewards.
- Vary teaching methods. Variety reawakens students involvement in the course and their motivation. Break the routine by incorporating a variety of teaching activities and methods in your course: role playing, debates, brainstorming, group discussions, demonstrations, case studies, audio visual presentations and so forth.
Learning must not be imposed but must flow from a friendly contact between the students and teachers. A visionary leadership, a supportive management can help in creating a happy learning process, which is truly participative, transparent and stress free. Let us learn to be inspired within and inspire others. Kindness, gratitude, humility, generosity, being at peace and truth are the important sources of inspiration.
Good teachers, understanding parents, inspiring management can make learning creative, participative and joyful.
Dr. V. B. Sahai