To be or not to be .... a teacher!

As my misconception of a teacher's job “being easy” fades away with every session that I attend at TTF, I would like to mention what my compardrae said in the last class... that every successful fun session/workshop that a learner experiences, involves a whole lot of “behind the scene” planning and implementing for the teacher. It brings to the fore the importance of making a good Lesson plan before every class. Case in point...while the last class on “Concept mapping” went off “Like a breeze”, we (participants) did not even pause to think how this happened.

At this point, I would like to commend our facilitator Fathima, who being articulate and precise in her speech, made it a fun class and brought out the best in us. The creative and colourful concept mapping charts that we made was proof of how well the session went.

Concept mapping, a simple and effective tool used to teach practically anything under the sun. A useful tool to explain complicated theories and fairy tales as well.

Now that I have another trick under my sleeve, my confidence about getting into this profession builds and I'm looking forward to learning more innovative methods of teaching in the days to come.

Definitely the answer is “To be!”

It only seems apt to pen off with a lil' song from Winnie the Pooh...

Try a lil something new

Try a lil something different

Try a lil something no one else has done.

Take a lil different view.

Try a lil something new.

Thats a lil simple trick to

having fun fun fun,

Thats a simple trick to having Fun!

& as tigger says “ Tata for now!”

PS: watch video.

All work and no play....

At the end of every workshop I hear myself thinking that there cannot be anything better than the one I just attended, only to feel a slight jab which seems to say "Always jumping to conclusions!!". Personally every workshop has been better than the previous one. But there is one that stands out, possibly because I have used some of them as a student. Looking at tools for teaching through the eyes of a teacher was not only amazing but also enjoyable. The strategies which really appeal to me are games, graphic organizers and concept maps. 
I vividly remember attending a workshop on Effective Learning as a grade 10 student. The facilitators spoke about different ways to learn smart instead of hard. The two techniques I imbibed were mind maps and story-making.
Mind map is a graphic organizer and is just another term for spider web. From personal experience I can vouch for the usefulness and effectiveness of mind maps as a tool for teaching/learning. 
Story-making works very well for Geography, for example while learning about crops, the key words for soil type, temperature, uses, location can be strung to make a story. For a student writing an exam, it becomes easier to recall the story rather than a list of unrelated words.

Open Sesame is a supplementary paper published exclusively for children. Just between you and me, I love reading this paper, solving the puzzles and riddles, completing the crosswords and sometimes even coloring a cartoon. The edition on Friday had an article about making your own board game. This tickled my gray cells!! I made a square of 5x5 and drew some ladders and snakes. I wrote out 25 questions related to photosynthesis and borrowed a die from my sister. I began playing the game all by myself. 
The rules are pretty simple. Each numbered square corresponds to a question. If you answered a question correctly you received as many points as the die shows. If you reached a ladder you climb up and answer a relatively difficult question. Were you to reach a snake's mouth, you slide all the way down to its tail and miss a turn to roll the die. If you land on a square that has been answered, you roll the die again. 

If as an adult I enjoyed playing this game, I can only imagine how much a young learner will enjoy learning through such strategies. I should start thinking about how best to incorporate this game into one of my practice teaching sessions. After all 'All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy'.

Raring to go!

We don't need no education

We don't need no thought control

Hey, teacher leave the kids alone!... a song by the group Pink Floyd portrays a stern ruthless teacher holding a cane in front of the class in the video. During the 80s, this song was popular world wide among the students and it was obvious that they didn't appreciate teachers. Way back then, this unfortunate teacher had not attended the CIDTT program and mastered the art of “Interactive teaching”.

Humour aside, the only memory of my schooling was of the history teacher who was blind and yet used Interactive teaching methods ...quiz, plays etc. Needless to say the other teachers didn't leave a dent in my memory.

Having said that, the education system has now changed so radically that students enjoy learning and look forward to meeting the teacher again.

Joining the CIDTT program has been an “eye opener” for me. All the sessions that I attended emphasized that “Interactive teaching”and “Active Learning” were the essence of being a good teacher.

Personally the 2 workshops in the CIDTT program, that stood out for me were... Learning through Group Activities... making a travel brochure about The Indus Valley Civilisation and composing a Jingle in my opinion is the ultimate way of learning a boring subject like history.

The other favourite session for me was “Tools for Teaching” especially learning math, science and history by playing Jeopardy. How I wish I could be a student again. Well, the least I can do now is to teach using these innovative methods and believe me...

I'm raring to go!

TTF's Global Teachers: Reflections on Learning Spectrum by a teacher to-b...

TTF's Global Teachers: Reflections on Learning Spectrum by a teacher to-b...: There has been a tremendous change in the way elements of a learning environment are being used these day...

Reflections on Learning Spectrum by a teacher to-be

There has been a tremendous change in the way elements of a learning environment are being used these days. Where a black board was once used primarily by a teacher, it is now used as a sort of enlarged note pad – utilized equally by teachers and students to pen thoughts, ideas, key words and even doodle meaningfully.
When the term bulletin board is mentioned, I tend to think of the displayed class time-table – courtesy, the most creative student of the class, in addition to some assorted art work. But is there any learning happening on such a board? As teachers we must realize that learners come with plenty of hidden potential and we should tap into that potential to plan and deliver lessons through the bulletin board. Teaching Math using puzzles and quiz featured on the class bulletin board is something I am seriously thinking about trying when I begin teaching.
Newspaper in education calls for re-thinking on the part of schools in general and teachers in particular. What is the use of mere news reading if we are not paving the way for active learning wherein the gap between classroom and real world maybe bridged. Newspapers have always fascinated me for the ways in which it could be put to use. During the workshop on Learning Spectrum, when we were given newspapers to solve problems in Math, Science and Language, all I could think about was a project I did when I was a class 10 student. It involved comparing different news papers on the coverage given to politics, sports, advertisement, local news and entertainment in terms of percentages and area.

                                     (Using newspapers to teach Mensuration)

All it takes to enhance the teaching-learning experience is to improvise our teaching methods and actually listen to the student and incorporate those ideas on ways he or she would like to be taught!!

Farewell Time - October 2010 Batch

Its been a learning adventure, punctuated with lots of 'aha' moments for this batch. They now move to the next phase of the program where they will meet their mentors and begin their assignments. All the best to a group of warm, friendly, enthusiastic and enlightened teachers - more enabled more inspired, true TTF style!!

Saturday Afternoons......are Fun!!

On a Saturday afternoon post lunch what would be expected of teachers who had given up a holiday after a hectic work week??

Well... watch the videos to get a glimpse of the magic of working collaboratively to create amazing presentations. The passion, dedication and enthusiasm of the "inspired" who hope to recreate todays experience with their learner groups.

Jisaw - the Big Picture

Colour Coded Groups working on Jigsaw puzzles.....can Professional development be enjoyable?
A glimpse into the session on Brain Based drive home the fact that 'the brain processes parts and the whole' it also 'searches for meaning' and 'meaning is made through patterning'

Day One with the New Batch

Our topic for the day was Learners and Learning....

We explored a whole range of principles that go into designing a learning program - the focus being on "How learning actually happens"

The workshop was fun..... by the end of it we realized that we 'retain' more when the 'joy' of learning in built into the design...

The points made were very hands on for example the glove activity....see the pictures to get a 'feel' (pun intended) of the experience we had while we discovered so many profound details about design...awesome!!

Using QCT in CIDTT sessions to establish rules with 4 year olds!

Like many of us, I too have attended a session on Quality Circle Time (QCT). At the time I was quite enthused with the idea working with older children. However I was quite skeptical about its success with the pre primary children. With the passage of time QCT was a memorable experience which was never experimented with because I was scared of failing and making a complete fool of myself.

Recently I have started practicing the 10 hour teaching sessions as required by CIDTT. After a discussion with my mentor, I decided that I must try this method with my children of Jr. Kg. Increasingly I was becoming tired of “being safe” and refusing to try unchartered waters! However I kept thinking if jeopardizing my CIDTT session was the only way out…but the streak of taking risks got the better of me.

Oct. 25th is a memorable day in my teaching calendar – in fact my very own learning and teaching moment! It has often been observed that children adapt to changes much faster than adults do. This is just what my class of 25 did today. I started with an energizer and soon followed it with a QCT to reinforce the golden rule of “Raise your hands to speak else I will not respond”. Since the theme that I am teaching is “Marine Creatures” I used a bright orange fish cutting as the speaking object. This technique worked like a charm. Children were encouraged to speak about their favorite pet animal in a sentence. A humbling aspect of the QCT was the shy ones enjoying the technique and actually basking in their moment of glory about their pet animal!! The children who are usually more extroverted actually waited their turn instead of overriding the shy ones.

A firm conclusion from today – Teaching is not as much about the years of experience as it is about the moments that take your breath away and lend an insight into learning and aging like the banyan tree – strong enough to stand rooted and flexible enough to branch out.

Archana Sarkar
Vibgyor High, Marathahalli, Bangalore