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Renewing teaching methods

Alaul Alam, Guest Writer  |
Update: 2022-10-02 13:57:47
Renewing teaching methods Alaul Alam

It is no denial that if a lawyer fails in the trials repeatedly, he or she becomes known as an infamous lawyer to the clients. Similarly, a doctor becomes infamous when his/her patients face ill-fate. A teacher can never be a resource to students and nation when his or her teaching hardly changes the life of students. They not only become infamous to their students but also play an active role to destroy the fate of a nation. 

However, it is usual to notice that the policy makers always prioritize introducing updated curriculum. But the question is pertinent that how far updated curriculum contributes to ensuring quality education unless teaching methodologies are improved significantly.  

Obviously, we cannot deny that there is no need to modify the education system and the curriculum of different education levels. To cope with the global education trend we see no alternative to updating the existing education and curriculum but more importance should be given to the pedagogical methods. Undeniably, curriculum brings innovations in education and its system but innovations in teaching completely depend on teaching methods of the individual teachers. 

In the digital age, global education prioritizes technology in all cases. Technological devices are being used in the classroom to maximize educational outcomes. Bangladesh is not the exception to the introduction of technology in the field of education. But much attention is still required in bringing innovations in teachers and their teaching. More often we see that education experts and teaching personnel criticize the curriculum and education system direly and highlight many shortcomings of the existing curriculum introduced at different education levels. But they hardly think of renewing teaching methods. 

However, it cannot be denied that at different education levels there has been a tendency of imposing new curriculum on students without extensive studies. This cannot be a good practice to address the challenges in the field of education in the 21st century. If we want to reach the country’s education to a height, we need to develop sustainable and pragmatic pedagogical practices. In this regard, teachers must play the sole responsibilities. 

Studies are conducted on classroom pedagogy to reveal the updated teaching approaches to ensure maximum outcomes in education. Even individual teachers and researchers are conducting studies on classroom pedagogy but how far the findings are followed in the class. In most cases, research findings are not considered important to develop teaching methods. The situation corresponds that neither teaching methods nor outcomes of teaching are significant to students Most of the students are filled with instrumental motivation and pursue short-term incentives in life. 

It is no wonder that even in the digital age many teachers prefer traditional approaches of teaching. They neither try to update their knowledge and skills nor go through innovations in teaching methods. But one thing is very obvious that to disseminate updated knowledge among students, do teachers see any alternatives to being updated? 

Studies have found that there is a close affinity between teaching approaches and motivation. Maximum learning outcomes can be achieved when students learn being motivated. Findings also reveal that student-centered teaching approach enhances learning outcomes and motivates the learners more. 

Again it is evident that ICT integration in teaching and learning has opened up many new potentials for the learners. However, many teachers are still unaware of the use of ICT while taking class. There may be many others who have not come out of the cocoon of lecturer-based teaching approach. On top of that, there are many who encourage students to the culture of rote learning. 

Such a learning culture hardly fosters creativity of students. It seems obvious that teachers and students go on with different motto. Teachers see completing syllabus the foremost task with no headache whether students achieve any outcomes from their teaching while in all the education levels students are busy with pursuing good marks. 

So, learning is ultimately ignored. Again, we see that facilitating teachers with sufficient trainings on pedagogical practices is still an issue of debates. Many enter teaching at their first day of recruitment with no teaching experience. As they do not have any prior teaching experience, they undergo huge difficulties in choosing innovative teaching strategies. Things get more frustrating when we see that even despite receiving trainings, for many the class management and teaching pedagogy is not appreciated.

As an English teacher of a university I can give you a picture how English curriculum has changed over the years. These days students are taught communicative English at every level of education. The purpose of communicative English is to teach students English in a balanced way where all the four skills, i.e. listening, speaking, reading and writing, are supposed to be prioritized equally.

But our teachers see little scopes to address four skills in a balanced way while teaching students. In most cases listening and speaking are ignored in the class. So, a gap is revealed between communicative curriculum and existing teaching practices. Apart from that, many teachers while teaching communicative English highlight traditional approach of language teaching and learning. Expected learning outcomes are hardly achieved, what was supposed to have when communicative English was introduced in all education levels in the country. 

Evidently, in Bangladesh context the learning outcome of communicative English is still below the mark. But in many countries it has benefitted students more than any other traditional teaching approaches. However, the communicative system itself is not responsible but the teachers with no teaching innovations have failed to bring maximum outcomes from this approach. Even the trainings of the teachers on communicative English hardly work unless the mentality of the teachers are changed. 

Education amid the Covid-19 pandemic faced enormous catastrophe. Like most other countries to avert education catastrophe the government introduced online education for students. However, online education could not achieve the desired outcomes. There may be some unavoidable reasons behind the poor outcomes of online education.  But in my opinion, the prime reason is the lack of teachers’ innovations. 

Most of the teachers struggled to cope with the new normal trend of education. Many delivered monotonous teaching and hardly took strategies to innovate their teaching. It is clear that whether online or onsite innovations are highly appreciated in the field of education. Teachers are sole responsible for bringing innovations. 

In the fourth industrial revolution can we be able to produce efficient graduates without innovative teaching? Producing a huge number of graduates and post graduates is not enough unless they turn into skilled manpower. Undeniably, teachers’ innovative teaching methods can address all the challenges students face in the classroom, which brings maximum learning outcomes. Finally, let’s renew teaching methods to ensure quality education for the nation. 

Writer: Alaul Alam teaches at Prime University. He is also research scholar at the IBS. Email: [email protected]

BDST: 1357 HRS, OCT 02, 2022

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