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Education should be student-centric

Students face academic-related stress on account of their ability to secure higher marks, better employment, or meet other expectations.

Education should be student-centric

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  18 March 2023 10:15 AM GMT

Partha Pratim Mazumder


Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon – EM Forster

We all know that well-being is an essential component of happiness and a better-quality life. Due to workload challenges, responsibilities, and complexity, psychological stress has become an inevitable part of our lives. Teaching-learning environments are also becoming more demanding and complex. Students face academic-related stress on account of their ability to secure higher marks, better employment, or meet other expectations. Increased emphasis on competition and performance-oriented results or targets has been breeding grounds for rising anxieties. Stress is not confined to the learners. The teaching fraternity is also overworked. The administrative job burden on the faculty is increasing and, to a considerable extent, is producing unhappiness connected to the nature of work. Addressing the root cause of academic pressure may be the most efficient way to alleviate stress and create a more inclusive and healthy learning environment. Most children and teens with mental health disorders go undiagnosed because they are reluctant to seek help. The teachers should be trained to understand any psychological issues faced by students and should be given special time slots to deal with such students regularly. The Union Education Ministry’s Manodarpan, initiated in recent times, is a step in the right direction and should be further strengthened.

There are many ways to incorporate student-centered techniques:

Use of open-ended questioning techniques: This practice encourages critical and creative thinking and enhances problem-solving skills. Open-ended questioning encourages clear communication and provides students with the reassurance that their thoughts and ideas matter.

Allowing student choice: This might mean providing project, classroom, and homework assignment options, as well as allowing students to design their own seating arrangements. Providing more types of questions in assessments also gives students the chance to make their own choices.

Engage in explicit instruction: explicit instruction moves away from the skill and drill attitude of teaching. It is a much more direct and engaging method of instruction that pulls the students right into the heart of the lesson. Students are active participants in what is going on, rather than bystanders and onlookers.

Encourage student collaboration and group projects: When students work with each other, they are learning a great deal more than just the lesson content. They are gaining an appreciation for the diversity that exists in our schools and communities. They are also learning to have respect for what may sometimes be very differing points of view. And finally, they are able to bounce their ideas back and forth with each other, creating a much greater opportunity to grow these ideas into something great.

Getting students involved in community-based activities: This helps students see their important role in the larger world. They are given the chance to learn how valuable and fulfilling it can be to give back to others. Learning becomes more organic and less rigid. Students have the opportunity to see firsthand that learning opportunities surround us everywhere we go.

Encouraging student reflection: Students’ reflection allows them to slow down things a bit and take a step back to analyse things. It also allows time for their brains to process what they have been learning. Reflection creates space and time for individual and group growth.

Create individual, self-paced assignments: All students don’t work at the same speed, and assignments should reflect this. Allowing students to move through material at a rate that best fits their learning styles and needs makes it more likely that they will gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

In the current scenario, teachers support students in their endeavor to get information through research and do not give them that information directly. Student-centered instruction is intended to engender active learning by using methods such as cooperative learning, open-ended assignments, critical thinking exercises, simulations, and problem-solving activities. By giving students, responsibility and independence through a student-centered instructional approach, it helps develop the characteristics of a lifelong learner: motivation, self-evaluation, time management, and the skills to access information. Cooperative learning is now the norm for classroom instruction. It is also an instructional paradigm in which teams of students work on structural tasks under important conditions that qualify criteria such as positive interdependence, individual accountability, face-to-face interaction, appropriate use of collaborative skills, and regular self-assessment of team functioning. It demands the combination of understanding those differences and empowering students to play a greater, sometimes primary, role in decisions along the way. And, going by research, it has been found that the new approach to learning has significantly helped lift up the success rate of underserved kids.

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