Collaborative learning “best option for students”

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Collaborative learning “best option for students”

Collaborative learning, in which the students form themselves into groups and discuss subjects, and participate with teachers in the Teaching – Learning Process (TLP) is today the best option to make students learn by understanding the subjects, according to S.P. Thyagarajan, Chairman, Tamil Nadu State Academic Audit & Accreditation Council (TNSAAC), Chennai and Pro – Chancellor (Research) of Sri Ramachandra University, Porur.

Inaugurating a two – day State – level seminar on ‘Innovative Approaches in Teaching – Learning Process’ organised by the Internal Quality Assurance Cell of Adhiparasakthi College of Arts and Science at the College Campus in Kalavai on 02 February, 2011, Dr. Thyagarajan said that the greatness of a teacher lies in showing a student how capable he (the student) is, while the greatness of a student is to live up to the capability he has been shown.

“Learning merely to write well in the examination is not useful. You should be able to apply your skills. One may acquire knowledge by reading books, but that alone will not give the necessary skills and attitude.

TLP should inculcate skills in the students and enable them to use the skills to real – time situations.” The teachers should impart to the students skills that would be required of them from the employers, he said.

The TNSAAC chairman said that one of the successful innovative approaches to TLP is problem – based learning, wherein the students apply their knowledge to a given problem and come out with a solution.

Student teams could be formed to discuss the problems and submit reports. This teaching – learning methodology will not only help the students do projects, but also develop team work that will be required of them when they go for employment.

The teachers should adopt the method of case – based teaching, wherein they relate their teaching to actual cases, as in the case of medical teaching, in order to attract the attention of the teachers.

“Students should be thrown open to some exercise so that they will understand what is taught.” Another option is to go in for web – based technology with active learning methodology in classrooms. Downloading materials from the website inside the classroom will enable better understanding of specific lessons.

It is very important for the teachers to evaluate the learning outcomes of the students, especially with regard to their capacity for teamwork, self – direction and analysis of options, he said.

Dr. Thyagarajan said that educational institutions could avail of the opportunities of virtual education provided by the National Knowledge Network Programme (NKNP) introduced by the Centre last year.

This would help realise the primary objective of the innovative TLP, which is to provide the best of teaching to the students, irrespective of where they were located.

This programme would enable a student sitting in a classroom in any part of India see the TLP that is going on inside a classroom in any other part of India or abroad, through high bandwith connectivity, he said.

P. Allan John, Professor and Head, Postgraduate Department of Social Work, Sacred Heart College, Tirupattur who spoke on ‘Experiential Teaching and Learning’ said that teaching based on Experience, Sharing, Generalisation and Application would facilitate proper learning.

“We study a lot, but learn very little,” he said, adding that education should not only impart knowledge, but also the skills and attitudes required for life.

The ‘4 – H’ model of teaching, which consists in kindling the head, giving exercise to the hand and touching the heart would lead to holistic education, he said.

A. Mohamed Sadiq, Principal, Adhiparasakthi College of Arts and Science, who presided, said that innovation did not mean the mere use of tools like liquid crystal display (LCD) projectors in education, but in making the students interact with each other and with the teacher, and promoting discussion among the students and teachers.

N.T. Ravindran, Convener of the Organising Committee, welcomed the gathering.