Teaching styles and methodologies have changed remarkably over the years. The traditional way of imparting education in all subjects was delivering a lecture through which students could gain knowledge and practise and learn through different memorisation techniques, whereas the modern education is all about interactive methods. Even in the subject of Mathematics, there is a significant shift from lecturing to facilitating learning.
Following are a few specific changes observed in the modern style of teaching Mathematics as compared to the old styles.
- From a sage on stage to a guide on the side
In the past the teacher lectured and the students were passive listeners. The teacher used to be the “sage on the stage,” the one who was capable of imparting his knowledge to the students, and students would simply memorize the information, do some practise and later replicate their information in the exam without even knowing the applications of the information they had gained.
What has changed?
But thanks to the researchers in education who have changed the entire system and guided the teachers to not to consider the students as empty containers into which they can pour in all the information they have learnt and simply prepare them to take an exam and reproduce the same information. Such a system is outdated and is no more effective for this millennium.
The new system is based on the approach of guidance and interaction where learning is made to happen in a completely different manner. The teachers provide a bit of basic information and conceptual knowledge, then provide some resources for help and students become the problem solvers. This excites the students when they realise their own potential in solving various problems based on the concepts being taught by their teachers. Therefore, we can say that the role of teachers has shifted from transmitters to facilitators.
2. Students shift from Passive to active listeners:
Today, the students are no longer the passive listeners who would simply take the notes from their teachers and memorise. In the modern system of education students are encouraged to perform activities. There are numerous activities designed for students to learn maths from the primary level up to high level. After providing some basic knowledge on a topic the teachers challenge the students to think.
The students churn their brains, generate relationships between their previous and newly gained knowledge and then actively process all the gained knowledge to model new situations and problems and solve them. Students not only gain knowledge but also they learn how to apply their Mathematical knowledge in other areas of life.
3. Teacher centred system to the student- centred system:
In the conventional teacher-centred learning system of education
The role of a teacher was to present the information to the students, who were passive listeners. In this system the teacher exercised the full control of the classroom. Students always used to focus their attention on the teacher.
Advantages and dis advantages
This method worked only if the teachers could make their lessons interesting. On the contrary this system just made the students feel bored, they would easily get distracted and miss all the important information in the class. Another drawback of this system was that Students missed the opportunities to share their experience of discovering new things with their peers.
The biggest flaw in this system was that students had negligible opportunity to enhance their communication and develop the crucial-thinking skills.
Whereas in the student-centred learning, although the teacher is still the classroom authority figure the role of the teacher is more of a guide or facilitator as students get exposed to a more active and collaborative environment in their learning. Education has become an experience sharing system between the teacher and the students, and also amongst the students themselves.
Students feel more interested and excited in learning when they can do some activities themselves and discuss interact with one another. The student-centred model is a constructivist model which places students at the centre of the learning process, help them to actively participate in thinking and discussing ideas and posing new possibilities. With online resources widely available, education platforms like tribe topper help make students the decision makers.
4. Shift from Transmission to construction model:
In contrast to the transmission model executed by the teacher, the constructivist model changed the teacher to a guide. Though the teacher still presents the course material, but in such a manner that the students are expected to play around with the information received and interact with it, exploit the ideas and relate them to their prior information.
Role of the teacher
Essentially, the role of the teacher is to act as a facilitator and guide the students in the construction of new models and ideas in mathematics and also apply their mathematical skills to solve diverse problems. Rational and critical thinking is highly encouraged int eh classrooms in the present system of education.
About the Author: Sonal Gupta is the Chief Learning Officer for Tribetopper.com. She is an Educationist. With over 16 years of offline and online teaching experience. She is Masters in Physics and Education have co-authored three science books.