Everyday equality in classrooms

Apr 08, 2018

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” – Albert Einstein

There is a gradual shift in the country’s attitude towards schooling and education. While parents demand a dynamic learning system, schools have moved far beyond the bounds of text books and exam papers. Increasing competition has made holistic education, not just a strategy, but need of the hour. Educators and teachers across the world, now concentrate on conglomerated teaching, focused on the overall development of a child.

However, despite how ingenious and modern teaching methods get, some challenges remain the same, like ensuring all students get the same level of intended learning. A classroom isn’t just a group of students of the same age, studying at the same level. It comprises of students holding different intellectual and emotional levels, backgrounds, understanding capability, psychological profiles and many such factors, that mark a distinct line between each student. Hence, ensuring equality on everyday basis, with respect to teaching and overall student development, requires equally diverse approaches.

Equality through equity

To ensure equal learning, it is important to begin with teaching based on equity. While an equal approach treats all students alike, equity approach recognizes and respects the fact that not all students are the same. Students hold varied learning capabilities, and a fixed, one size fits all teaching, no matter how good, will not be as effective. Equity approach gauges performance and needs of the students, to derive individual student profiles, and provide customized assistance.

With a better understanding of student profiles, teachers can make classroom sessions more effective, engaging and intense.

Education technology

Education technology, popularly known as EdTech, is changing the very notion of education system as we know it. Using artificial intelligence, EdTech monitors student learnings and progress, to design customized teaching practices and student plans. A rich and in-depth understanding of student profile, ensures all students receive the same learning through tailor made methods.

EdSense is one such EdTech solution that analyzes students’ interests, strengths, skills, behavior, health, nutrition, learning pace & preferences. Customized learning plans are thus created, to ensure no student gets left behind.

Student collaboration

Student collaboration in classroom activities and learning, encourages participation and knowledge sharing equally. Such collaborations give the impression that teaching doesn’t just lie with the teacher, but the student too. It cultivates accountability among all group members, encouraging them to help each other, while also helping themselves. Being a part of a group, also encourages interpersonal skills and personality development.

Blended learning

Traditional teaching framework, has opened up to welcome innovative teaching methods that make learning an authentic experience. Blended learning combines teaching and digital media to offer in-depth understanding of a subject. Most digital learnings are not confined within a stipulated time and classroom walls, thus encouraging self-paced learning, taking pressure off the student to compete with classmates that have different understanding levels. Freedom with respect to time and learning, makes students comfortable in the learning environment, ensuring further engagement to learn better, on everyday basis.

Open environment

Learning in itself can be a challenging task, and is often made more difficult by unwelcome environment. Classrooms that facilitate open discussions and celebrate differences, help students be more vocal about any challenges they face in learning. When mutual respect and peer help is advocated, students find themselves in a more comfortable environment where learning isn’t difficult and challenges aren’t complicated further by competition.

General empathy in the classroom, among students themselves, and with teachers, make a safe learning environment. Such an environment also enhances better teacher-student relationship, helping teachers understand student needs and come up with effective teaching solutions accordingly.

Track progress

A teacher’s role doesn’t just end with imparting knowledge and taking effective steps to ensure it reaches all students equally. Student progress must be recorded and tracked, to notice patterns and progress over time. This will enable practical measurement of teaching methodologies and also highlight the need for change if any. Records of student growth also serves as a good measure for teachers’ performance, encouraging them to do their best. Good teachers hold the power of bringing out the best in every student equally.

Great teaching will eventually fail, if there is no equality in the classroom. It is important to create a healthy, equal environment, where no child feels discriminated or isolated. After all, the foundation of learning lies in providing equal opportunities, for better outcome.

- Jiji Tharayil