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The paradigm shift among teachers and educators – From chalkboards to smartboards

We currently live in a globalised, fluid world which is digitally connected and what is needed is a shift in paradigm among educators and teachers as the world needs new minds. Teaching should be able to adapt itself to the new realities of the generation.The majority of us have a very conventional idea of teaching. You ask a parent how she visualizes her child in school and she will tell you about a classroom with a teacher standing near the blackboard and students sitting at tables. On the other hand, you ask an educator about how teaching can be performed and he tells you about things like active learning, collaborative learning, web tools and technology tools.

In spite of the countless books and documents which promote some of the best novel methods of teaching, the majority of the teachers still take resort to the conventional and age-old method of direct instruction and assessment through the pen and paper exams. In reality, it is pretty easier to give a lecture than to engage the students in some other way and it is also easier to give conventional exams which are often associated with textbooks. Teachers usually bear a subconscious tendency to continue with the old and passive teaching methods and they even try their best to resist any new active methods of learning and teaching that keep evolving.

Classroom teaching methods – What’s your style?

We know that there will be no two teachers who are alike as all teachers share a unique experience whenever they enter a classroom. What do you mean by effective teaching style? Well, the teaching method that is effective will engage the students in the process of learning and also assist them in developing critical thinking and logical skills. Here are few teaching styles that you should know of.

  • The authoritative lecture style

The authority teaching model is entirely teacher-specific and it often comprises of long sessions of lectures or one-way presentations. Students are allowed to get homework help now and this is perhaps a big change from the previous trend of students doing homework at home. Here students are usually predicted to be either taking down notes or absorbing information. For certain high education disciplines and auditorium classes where there are large numbers of students, this style can be an accepted one. However, for teaching children, this may not be an appropriate style as little or no interaction with the teacher might bore children.

  • Demonstrating the coaching style

The teacher who is a demonstrator usually retains the role of a formal authority while allowing teachers to demonstrate their expertise by informing students what exactly they should know. The demonstrator or coach style offers the teachers with ample opportunities to inculcate different formats including lectures, multimedia demonstrations, and presentations. For teaching music, mathematics, physical education and art, this may be a perfect option but it can be tough to accommodate the personal needs of the students in bigger classrooms.

  • Displaying the facilitator or activity style

Facilitators are those who promote self-learning and they assist students in developing critical thinking skills and also retain knowledge which finally leads to self-actualization. This style teaches students to ask queries and inculcates skills to find out answers and solutions through self-exploration. The activity style is perfect for teachers who teach science and other similar subjects. On the other hand, this style also acts as a challenge to the teacher as he has to interact with students and lead them towards self-discovery.

  • Group style or delegator style

If there’s a curriculum which requires lab activities like biology and chemistry or subjects which demand feedback from peers, delegator or group style teaching works the best. This is a process which guides the process of discovery and enhances inquiry-based learning. The teacher is given the role of an observer which inspires students to work in a group and share the same goals.

imgres-6Teachers with apps – A change in the horizon

Students who keep fidgeting with their smartphones and texting in class are definitely a bane for the teachers everywhere but even then they would admit that smartphones and tablets also bring a number of advantages with them. Using smart devices not only expand the learning environment beyond the regular school hours but also keep them engaged by opening up brand new educational doors. But having only hardware is not enough as you also need the right software to spool young minds.

It has been revealed that more than 250,000 teachers utilize TED education tools in order to spark curiosity among students and explore their literacy skills. Most teachers say that TED-Ed is definitely an outstanding resource to be used in classrooms. Here are some interesting apps that teachers use to facilitate the process of teaching and learning.

  1. Dropbox: Chances are high that you will already be familiar with this app called Dropbox. Their accompanying application and service are terrific when it becomes the best time to store and upload presentation photos, videos, assignments and anything else which you may require to access while you’re at home or you’re in the classroom. This dedicated app even allows you to create and edit MS word files through your mobile and share links with students.
  2. Pocket: Education takes place both inside and outside the classroom and Pocket is an app which gives you a creative way of saving articles, check whether they are unique through the plagiarism tools, videos and other web content which may seem to be pertinent to your future class lectures. Through this app, you can also view anything which you save offline and also present your articles with a simple readable layout.
  3. Duolingo: Would you want to learn a different language so that you can create your future prospects and set your career in the field of an interpreter? If answered yes, you can install Duolingo in your smartphone and help your kids learn different languages.
  4. Animoto: Through this app called Animoto, students can create and share their own beautiful videos with this app. Teachers love this app and they call it a simple yet powerful tool for digital storytelling. Students are allowed to choose a theme, image, music or video, add captions or a few lines as text and within a few minutes, you can create a slick video. The final product can easily be shared through the social media and also uploaded on YouTube. You can also embed the link in the online portfolio of the student.
  5. Instructables: From merit badges to science experiments, this app offers certain instructions for more thaan100,000 DIY projects. Are you a teacher who is looking for some help for making a classroom project? You can install the Instructables app and upload the instructions and also share such ideas.

Gone are those days when students used to hesitate to come up to the chalkboard and demonstrate what they learnt. This is the age of technology when there are smartboards all around everywhere and teachers teaching with apps installed on their phones. The all-encompassing effect of technology actually encourages the students to get up from their chairs and start interacting with the teacher

fawad-malik-fadiFawad Malik – CEO of onlineawagat.com, blogger, contributor with many of experiences in online marketing.
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