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June 20, 2020 Saturday 01:22:19 PM IST

Move to Self-Learning Pedagogy

Teacher Insights


Much concern and anxiety have been raised in social media and other online platforms regarding the implementation of various virtual learning platforms in educational institutions from first June 2020 onwards. 
In the higher education scenario, the stakeholders students, teachers and parents are now encountering an unfamiliar situation due to Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown. It is beyond doubt that online platforms are never an alternative to direct classroom teaching. Nevertheless, we cannot also keep away from such new platforms on nostalgic, emotional or technical reasons. Students have to be creatively engaged, and learning has to carry on.
Teaching, especially in the higher education level, doesn’t aim alone to transmit knowledge into the brain of the learner as per the requirements of the syllabus. At this level, transaction of knowledge is of utmost priority by providing learning experiences to learners. It is senseless to provide classes virtually as per the earlier (pre-Covid) schedule and modes of teaching. Putting the existing pedagogy into a virtual platform without modifications will serve no purpose. New methodologies of online delivery have to be utilized.
Learners at the college level should be guided for self-study so that self-learning becomes their primary mode of learning. It is one of the aims of imparting knowledge at the higher education level, though a few are adopting it. If we were already following this pedagogy extensively, this ‘pandemic- edu- crisis’ could have been avoided to a certain extent. 
Practising self-learning strategies does not mean that teachers remain idle in the learning process, and learners have to bear the burden of learning all alone by themselves. Instead, the teacher guides each student in the learning process in such a way that they are led through problem-solving, inquiry and discovery to reach the desired learning outcomes or goals. It is not an easy process and can only be accomplished by resourceful teachers. It is a fact that almost all teachers teaching at the higher education level are resourceful and equipped with such skills. Unfortunately, this resourcefulness is not utilized as many teachers are forced to follow faulty models of teaching. The system is still left with the hangover of colonial practices, where effective teaching was often equated to rote learning, mechanical drilling and explaining in detail every word in the text from beginning to end. As our concern now is not to evaluate the system, it’s better to leave those issues there and find a fruitful solution for the current crisis. 
Alternative Strategy
The new academic year in June 2020 begins amidst a jumble of hopes and worries. Regular classroom learning to e-learning, we have to do it without overlooking its cynical side. Virtual strategy may be used for a short while to tide over the ongoing crisis in learning caused by Covid-19.  
We will overcome this too, the heated discussions and unrestrained chuckles and giggles in the classrooms will return in no time. As teachers we have been lending our students ideas, hope and confidence to face the world and overcome every hurdle that comes their way and let us continue it in these tough times too by returning to digital classes or rather ‘zero space classes’.

Dr Aswathy A

Asst Professor, HHMSPB NSS College for Women, Thiruvananthapuram.

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