Student-centric learning gives good results
Student-centric learning gives good results, Chukka Ramaiah, SSC Examinations. While Tenses and their proper usage was being dealt within one group, Adjectives and their efficient usage to express one's views was under progress in another group.
Many people talk about academic excellence in students, but who or what really defines this quintessential quality?
In the context of students, especially students appearing for SSC, academic excellence is synonymous to student excellence.
It is to achieve this student excellence that SPAES (Society for Promotion of Academic Excellence in Schools) has made the first of its kind attempt to conduct a four day in-house orientation programme to students appearing for SSC 2014. “Love of ideas, achievements and engagement in learning, discovery and creativity – all these reflect student excellence.”
Aiming to foster lifelong learning and empower the students to carry out their educational goals, as chief resource person, I have focused on making the students to gain proficiency in English as a communicative tool as well as the key to scoring 10 GPA at the ensuing SSC Examinations.
The enthusiastic student-participants numbering 102 came from diverse schooling backgrounds - varying sectors - rural/urban, tribal; some from the social welfare hostel as well making them a mini-representation of the state-wide SSC aspirants. They formed a highly interactive group. The unique feature observed in this vastly diverse group was the keen enthusiasm to imbibe diverse ways of learning and apply knowledge for future academic careers. The programme was also attended by 20-25 teachers of English to integrate knowledge of current thought into their pedagogy.
During the proceedings of day-1 at the seminar, the current status of students in their English language skills was reviewed. The common practices observed in students such as learning textual Q/A by-heart (rote-memory); poor usage of vocabulary; inability to frame sentences; incompetence to find word-substitutes; lack of creativity in letter writing were condemned. The students were assigned to the topic 'My School' to assess their skills in writing. The students’ response revealed certain deficiencies that required immediate and scientific attention. Contrary to the previous thrust on (MPC) technical areas-related skills; it was decided that the immediate concern was to address the English language learning deficiencies in students.
With a firm belief that teaching English must go a long way beyond the portals of examination; SPAES plans to chalk out a long term programme for English enrichment to reach out beyond this 4-day orientation.
As a maiden step in this direction, the following major areas were identified: 1. Deficiencies in teaching English at school, 2. Common learning difficulties for students.
The student participants had a free and fair inter-action with each other. They expressed a need for gaining an optimum proficiency in English to reach their learning goals with high expectations .The students' enthusiasm certainly demands a strategic plan with English enrichment measures to be blended into the current curricular pedagogy. It was observed that the current conservative teaching pedagogy should be put aside and innovative, efficient and creative programmes aimed at improving communicative English skills be taken up at schools. The efforts of schools such as Brahmam Talent High School which have imbibed this perspective to improve LSRW (Listening/ Speaking/ Reading/ Writing) skills in students were highly appreciated.
After I delivered keynote address, the students were divided into smaller groups. Resource persons (English teachers) facilitated the students in identifying specific areas of learning difficulties with respect to Paper-I (29E) and Paper-II (30E) of SSC Examination. What followed was a highly interactive session wherein the students learnt to overcome their difficulties by 'doing'. The impromptu interaction with the student groups with me was the most beneficial module; turning out to be the highlight of the sessions - giving a new impetus to the students’ edu-journey.
While Tenses and their proper usage was being dealt within one group, Adjectives and their efficient usage to express one's views was under progress in another group. A third group was dealing with conditional clauses. I have interacted with the students building on their levels of confidence and training them to learn techniques of strategic/focused learning to overcome their areas of difficulties. To my delight, I found in the students the readiness to learn and progressively improve individual learning styles, the paths to Student excellence; re-affirming my conviction that communicative teaching endeavors of faculty would herald benchmark enrichment in students' communicative English.
The areas which were dealt with in each of the smaller groups include Transformation of sentences, Tenses, Voice, Direct- indirect speech, Conditional clauses, Degrees of comparison, Simple/ Compound/ Complex sentences, Parts of speech, Punctuation, Correction of sentences, Improvement of passages, Contextual meaning of words, Paragraph writing based on the given dialogue, Scrambled sentences, Letter writing, Supplementary readers' passages, Explanation of FAQs. At the end of these highly inter-active, student-centred sessions; the students appeared beaming, confident, armed with new strategies to overcome learning difficulties so as to score a GPA of 10 at SSC 2014. The sessions by Srinivas Rajaram, Asst. Professor, IIT & Raj Kumar from IIT, Bengaluru proved to be highly beneficial .Also, frequent value-based inputs about sports, health & well-being; Values and Attitudes helped the learners mould into better human beings.
I have personally interacted with the teachers guiding them to develop a rapport with the students in order to explain their deficiencies in the examination post-evaluation and plan strategies to overcome these deficiencies in future examinations.
I advised the students to listen and respond; adapt benchmark strategies to draw out their innate potential; and build constructive human relations.
Expressing deep satisfaction in making the orientation a student-centric programme with participants from tribal, social welfare hostels from remote areas of Adilabad, Nalgonda, Kadiam, Khanapur, the organisers said participation of Dalit students too was a good and welcome sig