Tips to make learning more effective, personalized and meaningful

As a veteran educator, I do admit that I was not the only one often doing all the work in and outside the classroom: preparing lesson plans, delivering content, creating assignments, grading, monitoring work, etc. Many teachers plan and execute their lessons and assignments professionally, successfully, and even energetically. But sometimes, there aren?t enough hours in the day or week to ensure that each student gets the personalized instruction they need to move to the next level.

I did notice, if I give students some choices with whatever the lesson content is, the students feel valued and gain a real sense of connection to what is being taught. This when followed by assessments that are goal oriented, actionable and geared mindfully towards developing skills, strengthens student?s approaches towards learning by creating relevant connection between the task and themselves. Mining student?s experiences can bring personal insights to any discussion that hasn?t been thought of yet. This makes learning truly personal. It is also noticed, if learning is placed directly into the student?s hands, then they try to craft challenges from real problems to real solutions using ?Inquiry Based Learning.?

The most effective, and most fun, I believe, was how I developed the ?Peer Teaching? concept for the ?pull-out? groups. I had students be in charge of their own learning and develop lessons which they taught one another. The options were wide open as to how to deliver the information. I happened to use this strategy with students learning creative and critical thinking skills. The ?Flip Classroom? concept, though it sounds crazy, the students love it when it works well. Not only does it develop communication, leadership and instructive skills but also helps improve understanding and comprehension. Hence, whenever I did this in class, I noticed even the quite child gets excited to ask questions and to solve doubts. It then becomes truly meaningful. I believe children to be producers of knowledge rather than consumers of knowledge. So they are not receptacles into which we pour in facts and data from a funnel. Helping them create their experiences engages them and gives them responsibility for their own learning.

I am sure all educators must have heard from students the question, ?When will I ever use this in the real world?? And honestly, we should all spend more time thinking about this and give a tweak to our lessons to give a satisfaction to our students. Thus, relevant and meaningful activities that both engage students emotionally and connect with what they already know are what help build neural connections and long term memory storage. We are dwelling in the world of technology. Teaching through the usage of technology helps to address a wide range of learners and becomes very effective since it offers our students the chance to connect to instruction through the tools and networks they find familiar and reassuring. Students require advanced skills that require collaboration with both physical and virtual worlds. Thus learning becomes more personalized when we give our students lots of room to be their creative selves and use media that speaks to their interest and abilities.

In order to make learning more meaningful we can incorporate personalized learning into our teaching practice. I personally feel teachers from various levels of experience and subject backgrounds can collaborate personally or virtually bringing fresh ideas and insights which often becomes very effective. I love the quote that ?information without emotion is rarely retained? because that has definitely been my experience. Not only does it make learning more enjoyable, it makes it more memorable.

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Mr. Prodipta Hore
Program Director, Aditya Birla Education Academy

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