Paradigm Shift in Indian Classroom Teaching-Learning: Student-Teacher Barriers in Question?

Paradigm Shift in Indian Classroom Teaching-Learning: Student-Teacher Barriers in Question?
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Collaboratively Understanding Biology Education (CUBE) program has been experimenting ways and methods in which classroom learning-teaching can be changed in order to develop real scientific, critical thinking, investigative approach and working skills in students which through our experiences and experiments in the field of science education, tend to not develop adequately in conventional instruction based model of classroom education.

One such event that recently took place in CUBE was CUBE STEM workshop organized at HBCSE, TIFR for RJ College students on 24th Aug, 2019, located in Mumbai.
The main highlighting striking features of this one day workshop which radically challenge the way things are done in classrooms in a contemporary college education can be broadly highlighted as follows,

  1. The workshop was completely run by students without the interference of any teacher
  2. Students from different colleges participated and mentored each other
  3. The workshop had a focus on groups with a number of students instead of individual-based focus and collaborative work efforts were the aim of workshop
  4. Fresh students who joined the workshop were educated and trained by mentors from their own as well as different colleges
  5. Students were of different age groups/academic qualifications (ranging from undergraduates to postgraduates)
  6. The workshop was completely based on project-based learning model (PBL)
  7. Each aspect of the workshop was connected to frontier research areas in biology (which are actually pursued by real scientists in laboratories in mainstream research institutes)
  8. The workshop took care that aspects of syllabus learned in the academic curriculum are very well covered (or rather uncovered) during learning by doing the experiments
  9. Half of the workshop engaged in peer-to-peer discussion (also called causerie) where each group presented their own work in front of others, which means each group came to know what other groups work is on and offered students opportunities to connect each others work
  10. The whole workshop had coverage from designing research objectives, designing experiments, following scientific methodologies, providing logical reasoning, providing evidence, developing abilities to present the work, developing abilities to document the work on an online platform
  11. The workshop was completely thematized in a constructive model where students will construct the knowledge and then connect it with the theory they study, instead of theoretical instruction-based pedagogy and work

From above-listed points, it is clear the individual based focus, instruction-based learning, and separation/divorcing theory from practice, and requirement of a highly qualified adult teacher appointed externally are problematic and the workshop shows these are actually unnecessary for in case of developing a collaborative learning-working education environment.
Here students themselves are teachers as they have worked and know how things work in their own areas, and thus can educate those who are naive to that area.
This also is possible as the working criteria are not based on rote-memorizing, where teachers have to memorize all topics of the syllabus and narrate them in a decontextualized manner separate from real practice, which actually don’t have any connection with reality.

The current model experiment highlighted here, clearly shows that “each student is a teacher in itself, as well as a student”, as he/she can guide in what is known to him/her, and at the same time learn from others as the candidate groups are from different academic qualifications, providing possibility of vertical integration and vertical flow of knowledge from peer-to-peer discourses/reasoning/questioning/analyzing and so on, which in reality breaks knowledge hierarchy and creates opportunity for newer knowledge by merging and contending of ideas.

Following is the group picture of students of the workshop

The following link gives some pictures as highlights of the workshop

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You have made several big claims. What is the evidence?

Could students who are part of this workshop tell us about what happened during the workshop, what did they learn, and most importantly: did they enjoy? Do they want to do more such workshops?

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The blog highlights characters of workshop, and laids foundation to alternative model of pedagogy,
It clearly says the alternative model is possible.
The response and learning happening in students can be seen by their engagement still with us through online instant messaging forums and continuity/ follow up.

These claims can be verified by collecting those data and intervewing individual students/groups.

@Lydia can you share your experience as well about the workshop? and what are your observations comparing your experience in CUBE and Classroom teaching methods, do things corelate or in what aspects with the points made above?

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@jaikishan and @G_N sir the induction program conducted on 24/8/19 was a great experience to the students as well as the mentors.
The workshop conducted for the students of RJ college surely unfolded an array of questions but also got an idea as to how these model organisms share a relativity with humans and even the questions that need to be addressed.
The students enjoyed the later part which involved sample collection as in fetching of earthworms, trapping flies…
We truly look forward for the active participation of students and involvement of many such cubists from varied colleges across the city…

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@jaikishan & @G_N Sir…
This induction program was really amazing which was held on 24/8/19!!!
Students were first introduced to the model organisms and were divided into groups as they wanted…
Being with the whole day… I got to know that they enjoyed the workshop!!
Along with them…even we mentors also enjoyed this session…
Being the student of RJ college, i gathered more than 25 students and organizing this workshop was making me a bit nervous too…like how this is going to turn out…
But then…by the collaboration of the mentors of other colleges…we could do this successfully (@sanjana @Neha98 @Mandar)
The morning session was working with the organism!!
Students were given a brief idea about their own model organisms…
Then some of us including other organism group members…we together went for fetching earthworms!!
Even that was a great experience…we all spread around and started fetching for earthworms from different corners!!

Then after lunch…
We started with the causerie session…
CUBISTS liked this session as they were starting to realize and understand many things which they had earlier heard of and learnt in their school life!!
When questions of different ways or types were asked…at that time they were realizing different dimensions of a particular topic!!

Later on when we were about to leave…some of them were saying that we need such casual discussions in our college as well…
Not only just the discussion about the organisms…but also the topics related to our syllabus where queries…doubts…difficulties…all can be solved!!!\

A great experience and a wonderful day at CUBE lab :star_struck:

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According to you Lydia,
Why is learning in a regular class boring as compared to that which happens in a CUBE causerie?

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Usually…
According to my experience :grin:
Some teachers dont see or dont know whether the students really understand what they are teaching…
This is not my present experience…
Also not every teachers are approachable…
Why I’m saying so is that…some teachers would be in a hurry to complete the portion…so they wont even encourage the students to ask questions or dont even ask whether we have any doubts or not!!
There would be an aim to complete this much part in this much time…so answering to each and every question is not possible too…may be :woman_shrugging:

But during Causerie
We all are supposed to ask questions…
We sit for causerie for reasoning or questioning…
This is the fun as well as an important part of the causerie for those asking questions!!! :joy:
For those answering…its a tough time as they have to answer everybody’s questions!!!
But at the same time…stage fear goes away…and the ability to answer etc…develops
Its like a complete study environment along with fun element!!..
We never forget whatever we learn here…

Its not that the present education is not working…but needs some improvement!! :smile:

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