The Evolving Attitudes Towards Classroom Interactions
We are currently at the cross roads of education. The entire meaning of Education in terms of its structure and purposefulness has taken a new leaf, specially, with the bold declaration by the Govt. at the top of the Pyramid, through NEP, and also at the bottom, due to the Pandemic, we find a huge shift from the way we were teaching and how!
We’dall agree that Interaction is an essential component of learning. Be it physical classroom or online, without interaction no effective Learning can happen, certainly not child centered one.
Let’s examine the relationship of Learning with Education. Learning is always active, driven by curiosity and is Extrinsic; whereas Education is passive, introspective and driven by a curriculum. Learning always precedes education. Therefore it becomes incumbent upon us as educators to understand the vitality of INTERACTIONS as a step towards complete learning to happen.
Hence, we need to be poised to look at Interactions from an angle of a necessary stage in the teaching learning process-where students will come together, either physically or virtually to discuss their learning journey.
One thing needs to be clear, that when students come together, they are bound to interact, but are these Interactions Productive? We need to ask this? We often we see teachers discussing the ‘disturbance’ children cause behind the screen in a live class or the noise level or the disruptive chats going on, taking the mind away from the topic at hand. This is actually similar to the activities being done by the back benchers in class like passing chits or scribbling mindlessly.
But have you wondered why this happens? It’s a simple thing, when the students find a class beyond their level or not of their Learning style; they will do all of this. As teachers if you keep them engaged either with a task, or with a thought, or question or assignment they will never do things unproductive. What was called Noise or disturbance earlier is now called Interaction. Hence we need to respect its place in the class and understand it.
Interaction is of three types in a digital class
• Learner with the teacher
• Learner with Learner
• Learner with the content
Take the first case, as Digital citizens, instead of proctoring the Learning process teachers play the role of facilitator and collaborator.
Now, we need to reimagine a classroom as a place where learning happens anytime, anywhere and about anything. The learner has been empowered and spoilt for choices. He is in a position to choose his teacher and even in the absence of a real time teacher; he is still accessing the classroom!
So what just happened, we have to leverage our teachings to match up to the expectations of the learners. We can foster this either formally through direct Instructions or informally through mentoring and supporting.
Quality of feedback which you give for assignments and presentations is important, so make room for it.
To maintain Traction, teacher should allow room for interaction and the desired outcome from each Interaction should be shared with the students.
She can post messages in groups about upcoming activities, Recap of a class, take up Individual mentoring.
Teachers should create a Scalable model of Interaction in her lesson plans.
LEARNER TO LEARNER
We all know about peer interaction and how productive and non threatening it is! It can be formal i.e. course related or Informal for ice breaking as virtual classrooms the students may never really meet physically. So it is a good idea to have a few familiarization interactions of a batch before the formal ones.
Break out rooms are an amazing feature which can be explored.
For Collaborations, Discussions, Debates, Synthesizing ideas Group Problem solving and peer reviews, Interactions are a great tool to develop these skills.
SYNERGISING THE LEARNING MOMENTS AND BRINGING IDEAS TOGETHER SHOULD BE THE ULTIMATE PURPOSE OF PEER INTERACTION.
Of course, the Bonhomie and the way it eases the stiffness in a class is visible.
LEARNER WITH THE CONTENT-
IT’S MORE than just reading a book! E classrooms have done wonders to the way learners have explored the content available on the internet. It has expanded their horizons and given them a Segue way to play around and take ownership of their learning.
I think the biggest and boldest step which we have taken as adults, despite being cornered by the pandemic is to handover the Learning devices to the learners. We call them Lg device now, earlier they were called distractions!
The students can now get to play around with Ideas and contents; this will essentially lead to innovations. Thinking skills, researching skills all will expand when they interact with the content.
I think that teachers need to take interactions very seriously and scaffold it with their teaching. Just ensure that it is varied, promotes active learning, is sequential and is used to give useful feedback to the learners.
By: Pooja Bose, Principal
The High Range School, Munnar
1. Varied (no boring)
2. Promotes active learning (so plan it well)
3. Sequential (from simple to complex)
4. Use it to give useful feedback on the Lg outcomes