Teaching methods changing the face of education in the 21st century
Imagine a teacher standing in front of the classroom. She explains to her students while writing on a blackboard with chalk.
That was the classroom 10 years ago, but things have changed since. New teaching methods have been adopted across most classrooms over the last decade.
Today, classrooms are equipped with smart digital boards, online resources and project based learning. These changes aren’t limited to enabling students with the latest technology or gadgets but there’s been a shift in the methods of teaching.
Teaching methods aren’t a one size fits all approach. It’s an intersection of the teacher’s teaching style, the individual needs of the learners in the classrooms and the subject being taught.
According to teach.com, teaching methods can primarily be divided into 2 groups. Methods that are centered around teachers and ones that are centered around students.
In both these approaches there are low tech and high tech aids that can be employed.
Teacher centered approach is somewhat like a passive classroom. Here teachers talk and students are supposed to learn by listening or taking down notes. Learning and assessment are two different entities and the learner is judged on how they perform in the tests and quizzes.
On the other hand in a student centered teaching environment, students aren’t passive learners, while the teachers are facilitators. Assessments are not a separate part of learning, but learners are evaluated on group projects and classroom participation.
Teaching methods are now embracing different kinds of technology
Remember those auditorium styled classrooms? They were made for direct instructions from a teacher. In these one-sided classes students are supposed to memorise facts and figures, which can quickly get monotonous. There was no use of technology involved in these kinds of classrooms.
Technology is now taken for granted in most classrooms with computer aided learning, mobile apps, simulations available on the internet and various other tools. Some classes use gamification of both the tech and non-tech kind to make learning fruitful for the students.
An example of a teacher centric class that uses tech would be a flipped classroom. Even though these might be of many flavors, a flipped classroom consists of a pre-recorded video that students watch at home. It’s easier for students to navigate a topic and then ask questions in class or discuss what they learnt. This is an example of a low tech enabled teaching method.
Inquiry based and game based learning are examples of student centered high tech learning. Teachers are mostly facilitators and encourage students to question or discover things on their own in inquiry based learning. In game based learning there are many software available that gamify the subject making it more engaging, for example campwonder polis.
Are low tech teaching methods less effective?
Many studies including an NPR study has found students retain what they learn better when they take written notes. There’s no denying the fact that spell check software ruins the process of learning the right spellings. These facts will tell you that a low tech class is not always a bad thing.
Low tech teaching is still in vogue. It is useful for kinesthetic learners ( children who learn better while moving around). It’s also better for certain topics when children learn the topics and apply it to the real world or subjects that require imagination and expressing thoughts.
What is the most effective teaching method?
Contemporary educators use a mix of technology and elements of alternative teaching styles as a hybrid approach to teaching. Learning doesn’t have to be an either or concept.
The best teaching method is one that can be adapted to the needs of the learners as well as a style that the teacher finds comfortable.