Teaching is an art. And like all art forms, each artist likes to approach the discipline in his/her unique way. In my opinion, teaching involves amalgamation of interaction, inspiration, creativity, time management and passion within a timeframe; and emerging out of each anecdote as having being able to introduce to an individual, a concept, in such a way, so as to imbibe curiosity for the same.
Engineering, like most of the other disciplines at the university level has students coming from two main backgrounds. The first, are the ones who are hoping to introducing themselves to a new discipline or a field of study. The second are those who already have had the exposure to the discipline at the high school level, and they now need to know more. In both these groups, the initial threshold that needs to be assuaged is to sensitize them as to what they wish to learn and why. In my classrooms, I hope to cater to both these queries.
The undergraduates in engineering must have the aptitude, interest and ability towards engineering if he or she has to succeed. Many a times the engineering student chooses to work in this field due to pressure from the family. Many a parent tries to live their dream through their ward’s academic and professional achievements or try to negotiate their career without considerations to their innate ability and interest. As a teacher of undergraduate students it is also essential to guide and counsel the students. Teaching at a professional level essentially revolves under two main domains namely:
• invigorating the students with enthusiasm towards the discipline;
• helping the students’ towards self actualization.
To me, one of the important things to remember as a teacher is to recognize that each student in unique. All do not learn in the same way. We need to understand and appreciate the individual differences in the classroom. As teachers we should facilitate students to set their individual learning goals, develop strategies to reach those goals, and check their progress toward the achievement of those goals. Of course the education has to function under a given curricular ambit, but too much of rigidity to stick to its confines may stifle the normal natural academic blossoming that is expected in a teaching environment of a good institution.
The classroom climate is as significant as the style of teaching – learning. A classroom environment created by the teacher can either encourage or motivate a child to learn or it can impede the learning process. The classroom environment should foster a student’s ability to learn and make him feel acceptable as a member of the class.
In my opinion, the professional educational interaction cannot and should not be limited to transfer of information. In fact, that becomes counterproductive in an age of info highway where almost everything that is ‘out-there’ can be accessible. Therefore any teacher acting as a vessel of info-transference only contributes to info overload and wastes own time as well as that of the students. My predominant teaching philosophy is constructivism. According to this, the best way to learn is by having students construct their own knowledge instead of having someone else to construct it for them. This philosophy is explained by the Constructivist Learning Theory, which states that learning is an active process of creating meaning from different experiences. The students are not empty cauldron to be filled with knowledge. Learning is best when students try to make sense of something on their own with the teacher as a guide to help them along the way. The teacher in these circumstances acts as a sounding board for the active enquiring mind of the student to negotiate the flow of thoughts in the right direction.