Old habits die hard
The old method of learning assumes that the teacher is the fountain of knowledge. Studies have shown that we only learn 20% to 30% of what people tell / teach us. The ability to learn is increased dramatically when we participate in the learning process or we carry out certain tasks. Trying to get students to prepare to learn can be challenging or even time consuming, but it is worthwhile if students are willing to participate and be guided.
Getting students to participate in class discussions can be difficult and sometimes can depend on culture. So creating an environment where students feel comfortable can also help. The advantage of student participation is that at least we understand what they know or their level of understanding. This is better than assuming what they do or do not know as the case may be. Not all students want to speak or take part, but words of encouragement can make a difference. Another advantage of student participation is a wide range of experience is shared by students from different backgrounds and culture.
Rich and diverse
Sharing rich, diverse and wide ranging experience is one of the most important parts of a multicultural educational system. My class with a blend of students from so many cultures and backgrounds, I am always keen that I learn from the students as much as they do from each other. In that case, the role of the teacher shifts from being that of someone that leads the class to that of a moderator or even a cheerleader that encourages participation and discussions.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the teacher should just teach whilst the students listen?
In my online sessions, I break my students into groups to allow them to interact amongst themselves and also to know each other better. Being in smaller groups allow them to exchange ideas and take control of their discussions. In some groups, leadership and teamwork skills are fostered or developed further.
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