Kalpana Sharma -Sanjay Ghodawat International School, Kolhapur
Kalpana Sharma is the current AS and A Level Biology facilitator at Sanjay Ghodawat International School, an International residential school based in Kolhapur. Sharma has over 2 decades of experience in the education sector having worked as Head of Department, Subject Co-ordinator and Academic Co-ordinator at various institutions across India.
On teaching Biology with books and technology
The prescribed Biology books says Sharma, should just be a support in revising concepts, which are always better understood with technology, hands on activity, computer simulation models. These teaching techniques hone skills better than textbooks. It is impossible to shun technology today. We are educating the natives of the technological era and it is therefore mandatory to teach them in the language and tools they understand the best.
On the Japanese education system
Research showed that children studying in Japan didn’t touch textbooks for complete two years. They had no syllabus to follow and nothing to meet as a deadline. Instead, there were pets in the school. Pets of all sorts, geese, rabbit, crabs and what not, to keep them busy. They were not there just for amusement but to help them learn. They were given duties, to feed them and wash them. Even as young four-year-olds, they were given responsibilities. There were story readings sessions, activities and the process of learning was made fun. On weekends, they were made to clean their own classrooms. The kids, teachers and parents, all worked in tandem to make the school spotless.
Now this to a person, who is a product of the vigorous form of the Indian education system is completely shocking and will surely be bewildered at the mention of complete absence of books from the two year curriculum. The point to be noted here is the education system there is far more relaxed, realistic and practical as compared to ours.
Japan follows 6–3–3–4 system i.e., 6 years of elementary school, 3 years for junior high school, again 3 years for senior high school and 4 years of university. There is a compulsory education system of 9 years comprising 6 years of elementary school and 3 years of junior high school. After that, a student is free to choose whether he wants to continue his studies or not.
Using the books only for reference purpose, holding discussions in the classroom, encouraging students to speak up and teaching with the help of practical examples are the tenets of effective learning. It is necessary to understand the practicality of the text. Connecting whatever they’re studying to the real life would do the trick.
Teachers of today are over-burdened
These days teaching means 24/7 job, especially for boarding schools. Due to less time they are given to prepare, plan and execute all the tasks that are demanded of them. Updating content presentations and documents, correcting older material, and adapting subjects to a new cohort of students are some of the tasks that teachers would like more time for.
Most schools are running for monetary gain, they exert unusual hard work and pressure on teachers. They don’t spend much on teacher’s salary and professional development. And to top it all, they replace good and experienced teachers with less paid juniors.
Teachers are not able to enjoy the teaching process as they are pressurized for producing good results in terms of percentage. The class strength (teacher to student ratio) is also very high and this hinders the teacher’s ability to conduct different activities in class and to be able to approach every student in class. The time table in many school is overburdening for teachers and this takes away the creativity in teaching.
Making education less stressful should be key
I believe flexibility should be implemented in the Indian Education System. The rigorous Indian Schooling system has taken an adverse toll on students and their parents alike. Take Finland for example, the teaching and learning process go hand-in-hand. The teachers are given the freedom of designing their own curriculum and implementing their personalized methods of facilitating learning. And child also has flexibility of learning. So our focus should not be on marks or grades achieve by the student but on honesty, happiness and producing responsible citizens.
Sanjay Ghodawat International School
Gat No. 555 , Kolhapur – Sangli Highway
A / P :Atigre , Dist : Kolhapur
ZIP / PIN Code : 416 118
State : Maharashtra, INDIA
Cell No. : +91 9997574904
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org