Knowledge-Meaning, forms and ways of knowing

 

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V. (P.G) College, Roorkee, India

“‘Knowledge’ is defined as what we know: knowledge involves the mental processes of comprehension, understanding and learning that go on in the mind and only in the mind, however much they involve interaction with the world outside the mind, and interaction with others.” (Wilson, 2002)

According to Wilson, knowledge can only be in the minds of people. Although not directly expressed, the definition includes the empiricist (“interaction with the world) and the rationalistic (“comprehension, understanding and learning”) viewpoint on the creation of knowledge. Adding to his knowledge definition, Wilson (2002) says that knowledge is bound to the thinking structures of each individual and when these wish to share it, they compose messages which are then decoded by another individual. However, “the knowledge built from the messages can never be exactly the same as the knowledge base from which the messages were uttered”.

In an organizational context, knowledge is the sum of what is known and resides in the intelligence and the competence of people. “Information in context” is knowledge. Context is thereby defined differently. Rationalists see it as the coherent whole and ultimately true body of knowledge while pragmatists see it as the usefulness in a particular situation. The concept of context can supply information with meaning but does not necessarily include either usefulness (pragmatist viewpoint) or absolute coherence with the total body (rationalist viewpoint).

Allee (1997 ) has the viewpoint that “we literally cannot know anything without a word to describe it” and therefore binds knowledge exclusively to information. Her view on knowledge is very limited as language is only one out of many information channels such as visuals, sounds or practical demonstration. A defeater of her definition would be the fact that it is still possible to transfer knowledge without the use of language and often necessary when two individuals don’t speak the same language. Since these definitions are based on understanding of experience, and the criteria of usefulness for social action, these definitions represent the pragmatist’s view of knowledge.

“Knowledge, while made up of data and information can be thought of as much greater understanding of a situation, relationships, causal phenomena and the theories and rules (both explicit and implicit) that underlie a given domain or problem”

“Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. It originates and is applied in the minds of knowers. In organizations it often becomes embedded not only in documents or repositories but also in organizational routines, processes, practices and norms” (Davenport & Prusak, 1998).

“Knowledge is experience or information that can be communicated or shared” (Allee, 1997) is based on experience and information. However, to say that “knowledge is information that can be shared” is problematic since this leads to the question which information is not shareable. But as information consists out of data which is always shareable, the definition equals information and knowledge, neglecting the difference of these two concepts.

This definition concentrates on the definition of organizational knowledge which due to the authors does not only include experience and contextual information, expert insight  but also values. The element of truth and justification is missing, leaving out the criteria of validation of knowledge claims. The statement that knowledge can be embedded in documents and repositories shows that knowledge is seen as tangible which other academics would call information.

Knowledge is human faculty resulting from interpreted information; understanding that germinates from combination of data, information, experience, and individualinterpretation. Facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

Knowledge includes the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association ,it is the  acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique.  The fact or condition of being aware of something ,  the range of one’s information or understanding,   the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning :   It is  the sum of what is known :  the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind.

The sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned: In an organizationalcontext, knowledge is:

acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study orinvestigation; general erudition:

  • familiarity or conversance, as with a particular subject or branch oflearning:
  • acquaintance or familiarity gained by sight, experience, or report:
  • the fact or state of knowing; the perception of fact or truth; clear andcertain mental apprehension.
  • awareness, as of a fact or circumstance:
  • something that is or may be known; information:
  • the body of truths or facts accumulated in the course of time.

Thus knowledge is the sum of what is known and resides in the intelligence and the competence of people

In Indian context,the words knowledge, buddhi, and consciousness are used synonymously. Four means of valid knowledge are admitted: perception, inference, comparison, and verbal testimony. Perception is defined as the knowledge that arises from the contact of the senses with the object, which is nonjudgmental, or unerring or judgmental. Inference is defined as the knowledge that is preceded by perception (of the mark) and classified into three kinds: that from the perception of a cause to its effect; that from perception of the effect to its cause; and that in which knowledge of one thing is derived from the perception of another with which it is commonly seen together. Comparison is defined as the knowledge of a thing through its similarity to another thing previously well-known.

Areas of Knowledge

There are subject areas or disciplines into which knowledge is frequently classified. They may be seen as an application of Ways of Knowing, perhaps shaped by methodology, to particular subject matter.

There are eight different Areas of Knowledge

Arts

Ethics

History

Human Sciences

Natural Sciences

Mathematics

Indigenous

Religion

Art- Art is the expression of creative skill through a visual medium such as painting or sculpture.  The product of such a process; paintings, drawings, and sculpture collectively. It has various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, and drama. Art includes subjects of study primarily concerned with human culture (as contrasted with scientific or technical subjects).

Ethics-The branch of knowledge concerned with moral principles. The moral principles governing or influencing conduct. Ethics or moral philosophy is the branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. In practice, ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality, by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime..

The three major areas of study within ethics are:

1.         Meta-ethics, concerning the theoretical meaning and reference of moral propositions, and how their truth values (if any) can be determined

2.         Normative ethics, concerning the practical means of determining a moral course of action

3.         Applied ethics, concerning what a person is obligated (or permitted) to do in a specific situation or a particular domain of action

History -The branch of knowledge dealing with past events. A continuous, systematic narrative of past events as relating to particular people, country, period, person, etc., usually written as a chronological account; chronicle .History a continuous record of past events or trends. It is the study of past events. Here the past considered as a whole. It believe that the past events connected with someone or something.

Human Sciences- Human science is the study and interpretation of the experiences, activities, constructs, and artifacts associated with human beings. The study of the human sciences attempts to expand and enlighten the human being’s knowledge of their existence, its interrelationship with other species and systems, and the development of artifacts to perpetuate the human expression and thought. It is the study of human phenomena .Human science is the objective, informed critique of human existence and how it relates to reality.  The human sciences corresponds to humanities and social sciences, but also includes aspects of psychology and even mathematics, as one of the key things we are concerned with is how we gather information in our study of human behaviour.

Natural Sciences- Natural science is a branch of science concerned with the description, prediction, and understanding of natural phenomena, based on observational and empirical evidence. Validity, accuracy, and social mechanisms ensuring quality control, such as peer review and repeatability of findings, are amongst the criteria and methods used for this purpose.

Natural science can be broken into two main branches: life science (or biological science) and physical science. Physical science is further broken down into branches, including physics, astronomy, chemistry, and Earth science. All of these branches of natural science are divided into many further specialized branches (also known as fields), and each of these is known as a “natural science”

Mathematics - The branch of science concerned with number, quantity, and space, either as abstract ideas (pure mathematics) or as applied to physics, engineering, and other subjects (applied mathematics). Mathematics is the science that deals with the logic of shape, quantity and arrangement. Math is all around us, in everything we do. It is the building block for everything in our daily lives, including mobile devices, architecture (ancient and modern), art, money, engineering, and even sports.

Indigenous- Originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native.

Religion-A particular system of faith and worship, the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods, a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.

Areas of Knowledge in Indian context

The term ‘Jnana’( gyaan ) mean the same as education in its wide sense in Indian philosophy. In Indian philosophies, the term ‘Jnana’ is not used for only information or facts, though in the west, this sense is quite prevalent. In the Amarkosha, the terms ‘Jnana’ and ‘Vijnana’ (Vigyaan) have been distinguished saying that is related with emancipation while ‘Vijnana’ is reated with crafts. In other words,Jjnana or knowledge is that which develops man and illuminates his path to emancipation, while whatever is leant and known in practical life is called Vijnana or science.

The Indian concept of education can be understood from the prescribed list of subject on the concept of reality.

Vidya and Avidya

The terms Vidya and Avidya represent opposites. Vidya refers to knowledge ,learning, and to the different sciences – ancient and modern. So Avidya would mean the opposite – ignorance, absence of learning, and illiteracy

The Mundakopanised says :

Tasmai sa uvacha ha –dve vidye veditavye eti hasma yad brahmavido vadanti, para chaivapara cha

“…..There are two kinds of knowledge worthy to be known, namely, the higher(para) and the lower (Apara).”

The lines which follow the above quotation explains that the lower knowledge consists of the Vedas, phonetics, grammar, astronomy etc. and the higher knowledge is that by which the imperishable is known

The Sanskrit words Vidya is a shortened of forms of Para Vidya. The root Vid means to know. Para Vidya is knowledge of the Absoute or spiritual knowledge.

Avidya

Apara Vidya or it shortened from Avidya is knowledge of any sector or worldly knowledge in the wider sense.

Etymologically avidya is the antithesis of knowledge, ie., the absence of knowledge. But the word is not used in the negative concept. All knowledge or Apara Vidya which envelopes the phenomenal world is turned Avidya.

Isa – Upanishad explains the idea in the following verse:

Vidyam Cha avidyam cha

Bah tad veda upayam saha

Avidyaya mrutyum tirtva

Vidyaya-amrutam-asnute

It is through Avidya that one crosses the great stream of death which through Vidya one attains immortality.

Adi Shankara on avidya says in his Introduction to his commentary on the Brahma Sutras, “Owing to an absence of discrimination, there continues a natural human behaviour in the form of ‘I am this’ or ‘This is mine’; this is avidya. It is a superimposition of the attributes of one thing on another. The ascertainment of the nature of the real entity by separating the superimposed thing from it is Vidya (knowledge, illumination)”. In Shankara’s philosophy Avidya cannot be categorized either as ‘absolutely existent’ or as ‘absolutely non-existent’.

In the Mundaka Upanishad, a student reverentially questions a Rishi about Truth: ‘Revered Sir, what is that by knowing which everything (in this universe) becomes known?’ (2) The Rishi begins his reply by classifying knowledge or Vidya into two categories: Para(higher) and Apara (lower). Apara Vidya refers to the four Vedas and the six accessories of Vedic knowledge (the vedaigas): phonetics, the ritual code, grammar, etymology, prosody, and astrology. The compass is clearly very wide: the process of creation, the nature of gods and goddesses and their relation to creation, the nature of the soul and of God, the rituals that procure worldly and heavenly enjoyments, and the way of release from the series of birth and death; in short, religious or scriptural knowledge and the ways of living prescribed by different religions are all subsumed under Apara Vidya. Para vidya, the Rishi informs his student, is that ‘by which the immutable Brahman (akshara) is attained’. This Brahman is imperceptible, eternal, omnipresent, imperishable, and the source of all beings. Scriptural study is Apara Vidya, secondary knowledge. To know Brahman (or God) directly and in a non-mediate fashion is the primary aim of life, and is therefore termed Para Vidya.  If the scriptures tell us about life, then what about the other sciences – physical science and technology, and the social and political sciences? They do play a very valuable role in our lives, and are classed as Apara Vidya. But they are secular sciences. What do we get through secular knowledge? Wealth, power, luxury, and pleasure, but not the bliss that results from spiritual knowledge. The Apara Vidya that comprises scriptural knowledge helps us know that this world is not the only world, that there are other divine worlds accessible to human beings. The keeping of religious injunctions and performance of scriptural activities are prescribed as means for attaining enjoyment in these higher divine worlds. But these gains are transient and ephemeral. However, if the obligatory duties prescribed by one’s faith are performed with the aim of cultivating love of God and love of people of all faiths, the performer gets his or her mind and heart purified, and can attain the realization of that immutable Brahman which secures eternal bliss.

The Upanishads remind people with dogmatic and fanatic tendencies that scriptural injunctions also lie in the domain of ‘lower knowledge’. The Mundaka Upanishadsays that people devoted to mere scriptural ritualism are ‘deluded fools’: ‘dwelling in darkness, but wise in their own conceit and puffed up with vain scholarship, [they] wander about, being afflicted by many ills, like blind men led by the blind’. They think of their way as the best and delude themselves into believing that they have attained fulfilment, and so continue to suffer the ills of life .

How does one overcome Avidya Through Vidya, for ‘through the help of Vidya one cultivates such virtues as the taste for holy company, knowledge, devotion, love, and renunciation.’ Sri Ramakrishna  explicates the nature of Avidya: ‘Avidya consists of the five elements and the objects of the five senses – form, flavour, smell, touch, and sound. These make one forget God’

So Avidya is nothing but human ignorance about God’s nature, by which one is perpetually deluded into doing the rounds of Samsara, the cycle of transmigration. This Avidya again is nothing but misidentification of real knowledge, which is one’s real nature. Therefore, religious scriptures ask humans to purify their heart, mind, intellect, and ego. Real human nature is pure and divine; each soul is potentially divine. Maya personifies our illusory perception. This phenomenal world is the longest dream come out of cosmic mind, of which the individual is a part.

‘According to the Advaita philosophy,’ says Swami Vivekananda, ‘there is only one thing real in the universe, which it calls Brahman; everything else is unreal, manifested and manufactured out of Brahman by the power of Maya. To reach back to that Brahman is our goal. We are, each one of us, that Brahman, that Reality, plus this Maya. If we can get rid of this Maya or ignorance, then we become what we really are.’  While lecturing on ‘The Real Nature of Man’ Swamiji dwelt upon the nature of ignorance, Avidya:

Ignorance is the great mother of all misery, and the fundamental ignorance is to think that the Infinite weeps and cries, that He is finite. This is the basis of all ignorance that we, the immortal, the ever pure, the perfect Spirit, think that we are little minds, that we are little bodies; it is the mother of all selfishness. As soon as I think that I am a little body, I want to preserve it, to protect it, to keep it nice, at the expense of other bodies; then you and I become separate. As soon as this idea of separation comes, it opens the door to all mischief and leads to all misery . Swamiji also makes a distinction between objective knowledge that is in the domain of avidya, and para vidya, which is our very Self: ‘Knowledge is a limitation, knowledge is objectifying. He [the Atman, the Self] is the eternal subject of everything, the eternal witness in this universe, your own Self. Knowledge is, as it were, a lower step, a degeneration. We are that eternal subject already; how can we know it? It is the real nature of every man’ .

Types of knowledge

There is so much disagreement over what are, exactly, the different types of knowledge that an agreed upon “master list” simply does not exist.

Here is a master list of the different types of knowledge and theories of knowledge that are out there

1. A Priori

A priori literally means “from before” or “from earlier.” This is because a priori knowledge depends upon what a person can derive from the world without needing to experience it. This is better known as reasoning.

2. A Posteriori

A posteriori literally means “from what comes later” or “from what comes after.” This is a reference to experience and using a different kind of reasoning (inductive) to gain knowledge. This kind of knowledge is gained by first having an experience  and then using logic and reflection to derive understanding from it. In philosophy, this term is sometimes used interchangeably with empirical knowledge, which is knowledge based on observation.

3. Explicit Knowledge

Explicit knowledge is similar to a priori knowledge in that it is more formal or perhaps more reliable. Explicit knowledge is knowledge that is recorded and communicated through mediums. The defining feature of explicit knowledge is that it can be easily and quickly transmitted from one individual to another.

4. Tacit Knowledge

Whereas explicit knowledge is very easy to communicate and transfer from one individual to another, tacit knowledge is precisely the opposite. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to communicate tacit knowledge through any medium.

The biggest difficult of tacit knowledge is knowing when it is useful and figuring out how to make it usable. Tacit knowledge can only be communicated through consistent and extensive relationships or contact.

5. Propositional Knowledge (also Descriptive or Declarative Knowledge)

Propositional and non-propositional knowledge,  share similarities with some of the other theories already discussed. Propositional knowledge has the oddest definition yet, as it is commonly held that it is knowledge that can literally be expressed in propositions; that is, in declarative sentences  or indicative propositions.The key attribute is knowing that something is true.

6. Non-Propositional Knowledge (also Procedural Knowledge)

Non-propositional knowledge (which is better known as procedural knowledge, is knowledge that can be used; it can be applied to something, such as a problem. Procedural knowledge differs from propositional knowledge in that it is acquired “by doing”; propositional knowledge is acquired by more conservative forms of learning.

Ways of knowing

Philosophers have identified these four ways of knowing: Sense Perception, Language, Emotion/intuition and Logics/Reason.

Sense Perception: You know certain things because you can see and perceive them yourself. Empiricists consider sense perception so important that they will say that all knowledge comes from the senses.

Language/Authority: You know certain things because someone (an authority who knows more than you) told you personally or you read it somewhere. A person who had more knowledge than you passed on his/her knowledge with the help of language.

Emotion/intuition: You know certain things because you feel them emotionally. You know that certain things are ethically not right. Some decisions in your life are so complicated that you have to rely on your intuition.

Logics/Reason: You know certain things because you can apply logics and reasoning Rationalist consider reason and logics so important, that they say that all sources of our knowledge comes from our ability to use reasoning.

Five ways of knowing

The two inter-related concepts, knowing and knowledge, are defined the concept of knowing is about perceiving and understanding ourselves within our environment; whereas,knowledge is about being able to communicate the knowing (this is making it public). Bothconcepts are inter-related. Multiple ways of knowing contribute to the knowledge ofteachers. There are five ways of knowing. the first four from Carper (1978) and the fifth from Chin and Kramer (2008).

1. Empirical – . It is about what we can experience through our physical senses: hearing, seeing, touching. It is about seeking the truth; it draws on traditional science and is expressed as scientific knowledge. It is conscious reasoning and problem solving, predicting, explaining and describing to develop formal theories and descriptions or use them to substantiate actions. This is about laws, theories and explanations that are generalizable and allow prediction; it is consistent  and verifiable. These are educational theories .

2. Ethical – Ethics is the moral knowledge. It is about how teachers act or conduct themselves in their roles. It requires experiential and empirical knowledge of social norms and values as well as ethical reasoning. The goal is to know your responsibility and know right from wrong. It is being able to solve a conflict of values, principles or norms. Other sources of ethical knowing may be different philosophical positions including duty and social justice. These are all based on the premise that teaching is a service, is available to everyone, and in some countries considered a right. It goes beyond the code and considers all actions that are deliberate and involve a decision of right and wrong. In different philosophical positions designed to deal with moral judgment and notion of service.

3. Personal – It is about having an authentic relationship with the learner and the knowledge where the student and teacher are seen as open systems that interact and move toward what Maslow calls self actualization or growth of human potential . It is based on the assumption that when we engage or interact with students, we bring our personal biases; in contrast to empirics, where the teacher is objective. It is about recognizing that individuals are not objects and fixed entities but continue to develop so both students and teachers develop through all interactions .

4. Aesthetic – Aesthetic knowing recognizes the practical skills that are required to be an educator. When considering possibilities and outcomes, they draw from their previous experiences and not necessarily empirical framework.  In contrast to empirical knowing,in aesthetics, educators draw on what has worked in the past, but do not respond toa similar situation in exactly the same way. It may involve intuition. It is the art of teaching that leads to transformation and creativity and new knowledge in a very particular context, that is an open system. This is done by experienced educators, and excellent educators do this automatically even if they are not conscious of the process.

5. Emancipatory – Emancipatory knowing is knowing that critically examines the context or the environment in which the teaching and learning experience occurs. It is about understanding the  social barriers to education. It requires teachers to have capacity to recognize hegemony and the changes that are required to ‘right the wrongs’ that exist. Emancipator y knowing is developed through action in and on reflection or praxis.

The five ways of knowing are all inter-related and overlapping. All these ways of knowing are necessary in understanding the role of the teacher.

Modes of Knowledge:

Abstract and concrete

Abstract terms refer to ideas or concepts; they have no physical referents, while Concrete terms refer to objects or events that are available to the senses. The terms concrete and abstract are also used to suggest how practical or impractical an idea might be. In this sense, concrete ideas are those that have relevance to action

Abstract and concrete are classifications that denote whether a term describes an object with a physical referent or one with no physical referents.  . An abstract object is an objectwhich does not exist at any particular time or place, but rather exists as a type of thing.

Abstract knowledge is about things that is removed from the facts of the “here and now”, and from specific examples of the things or concepts being thought about. Abstract thinkers are able to reflect on events and ideas, and on attributes and relationships separate from the objects that have those attributes or share those relationships

People always think differently. Some may think in concrete terms and some in abstract terms. Concrete thinking refers to the thinking on the surface whereas abstract thinking is related to thinking in depth.

Concrete knowledge does not have any depth. It just refers to thinking in the periphery. On the other hand, abstract knowledge goes under the surface. Concrete knowledge is just regarding the facts. On the other hand abstract knowledge goes down below the facts. While some mental process is involved in abstract knowledge, no such effort is evolved in concrete knowledge. A person with concrete knowledge does not think beyond the facts. They do not have the ability to think beyond a certain limit. Concrete knowledge only have a generalized concept for all things. On the other hand, abstract knowledge have a very specific concept of things.

When compared to concrete knowledge, abstract knowledge is about understanding the multiple meanings.

When abstract knowledge is based on ideas, concrete thinking is based on seeing and also on facts. Abstract knowledge may be referred to the figurative description whereas concrete knowledge does not think so.

Abstract and concrete are classifications that denote whether a term describes an object with a physical referent or one with no physical referents. An abstract objectis an objectwhich does not exist at any particular time or place, but rather exists as a type of thing, i.e., an idea, or abstraction.

Concrete words are nouns; they describe things you experience through your senses: smoke, mist, a shout. Abstract words name qualities: beauty, justice, truth. Concrete words help us describe things; abstract words help us classify them.

A word or phrase is concrete if:

  1. It is specific, particular, real and tangible
  2. It is characterized by or belonging to immediate experience of actual things or events
  3. It provides specific meaning.

A word or phrase is abstract if:

  1. It is insufficiently factual
  2. It has only intrinsic form
  3. There is little or no attempt at written pictorial representation or narrative content
  4. It is unclear, indefinite, imprecise, indistinct, slight, hazy, vacant or obscure
  5. The words or phrases do not provide specific meaning

Theory vs. Practical

When it comes to knowledge there are different kinds of knowledge and different ways of acquiring each kind. On one side is theory and on the other side is the practical application of theory. Both types of knowledge are important and both make you better at whatever you do.

Theoretical knowledge — teaches the why. Theoretical knowledge can often lead to a deeper understand of a concept through seeing it in context of a greater whole and understanding the why behind it..

It helps in understanding why one technique works where another fails. It shows  the whole , builds the context, and helps in  setting strategy. Where self education is concerned theory prepares  to set a direction for  future education. Theory teaches  through the experience of others.

Practical knowledge — Practical knowledge can often lead to a deeper understanding of a concept through the act of doing and personal experience. It helps in acquiring the specific techniques that become the tools of  trade. It sits much closer to  actual day-to-day work. There are some things that can only be learned through doing and experiencing. Where theory is often taught in the ideal of a vacuum, the practical is learned through the reality of life.

Both of the above are important. One won’t survive in any career unless he bring results and to do that one need practical knowledge. There’s no avoiding it.

A distinction is usually made between practical and practicable. Practical refers to a person, idea, project, etc., as being more concerned with or relevant to practice than theory: he is a very practical person; the idea had no practical application. Practicable refers to a project or idea as being capable of being done or put into effect: the plan was expensive, yet practicable

At the same time learning how to solve a specific problem only teaches you how to solve that same problem again. Practice can only take you so far. Theory helps you apply what you learned solving one problem to different problems.

But if theoretical and practical knowledge cannot be adequately differentiated on the basis of the character of their goals, the source of movement (change) in their subject matter, or the exactness/inexactness of their subject matter . There are no major epidemiological differences between the types of knowledge..

Thus, although pointing only to the differences in the goals of practical and theoretical disciplines may not by itself help in identifying in what way the character of practical knowledge differs from that of theoretical, the implications the goals have may do so. One difference, then, between practical and theoretical disciplines is this: While the latter kind of disciplines can be solely constituted by general or abstract accounts, those of the former kind must, in virtue of their goals, also include particular, specific, or detailed accounts.

Universal knowledge and Local knowledge

Universal knowledge is  versed in or embracing many or all skills, branches of learning, etc. adapted or adjustable to meet varied requirements universal  Universal knowledge is affecting, concerning, or involving all and used or understood by all.

Universal knowledge is relating to, or characteristic of all or the whole, affecting, concerning, or involving all and used or understood by all: Universal knowledge is present and   applicable everywhere or in all cases; general: of, affecting, or done by all people or things in the world or in a particular group; applicable to all cases. Universal knowledge is   related to the universe, all nature, or all existing things:

It is something  may be applied throughout the universe to many things, usually thought of as an entity that can be in many places at the same time. Universal knowledge is  a trait, characteristic, or property, as distinguished from a particular individual or event, that can be possessed in common.

Universal Knowledge is simply a collection of frequencies, just like any other, that you can learn to access. You can ask questions and you can absolutely receive answers.Universal knowledge is that which is known to be true everywhere in the Universe and all of the time.  Physics and math are the two primary fields of study related to this type of knowledge.  It doesn’t matter where you are or what your situation you can rely on mathematics to remain stable.  Equalities will always be equal.  All of the functions of mathematics remain constant all the time. that can be used for a great many or all kinds, forms, sizes, etc, intended to be used, or understood by all.

Universal knowledge is   related to the universe, all nature, or all existing things: It is experienced by everyone : existing or available for everyone existing or true at all times or in all places including or covering all or a whole collectively or distributively without limit or exception;   existent or operative everywhere or under all conditions ,  embracing a major part or the greatest ,  comprehensively broad and versatile,   affirming or denying something of all members of a class or of all values of a variable,  denoting every member of a class .

Local knowledge, contrary to Universal knowledge local knowledge Is not  versed in or embracing many or all skills, branches of learning, etc.It is not adapted or adjustable to meet varied requirements universal  local knowledge is not affecting, concerning, or involving all and   is not used or understood by all. Local knowledge  is not relating to, or not characteristic of all or the whole, affecting, concerning, or involving all and  is not used or understood by all: local knowledge is not present and   applicable everywhere or . It is not affecting, or done by all people or things in the world an inapplicable in a particular group. Like  Universal knowledge it  is not   related to the universe, all nature, or all existing things: It is not something  which may be applied throughout the universe.

Local knowledge is not  experienced by everyone , existing or available for everyone existing or true at all times or in all places without limit or exception. Local knowledge is not   existent or operative everywhere or under all conditions.

School-knowledge and Non School-knowledge

School-knowledge describes the learning of academic facts and concepts through a formal curriculum. School knowledge includes  learning activities that are voluntary and self-directed, life-long, and motivated mainly by intrinsic interests, curiosity, exploration, manipulation, fantasy, task completion, and social interaction.

School knowledge is  organized knowledge guided by a formal curriculum, leads to a formally recognized credential such as a high school completion diploma or a degree, and is often guided and corresponds to a systematic, organized education model, structured and administered according to a given set of laws and norms, presenting a rather rigid curriculum as regards objectives, content and methodology.

School knowledge includes a   hierarchically structured, chronologically graded ‘education system’, running from primary school through the university and including, in addition to general academic studies, a variety of specialized programmes and institutions for full-time technical and professional training.

Out-of-school-knowledge includes those that operate before and after school, on weekends and holidays. Knowledge that are intended to  help develop and nurture their talents, improve their academic performance and provide opportunities for them to form bonds with adults and older youth who are positive role models. This knowledge include a wide array of models and approaches. Some are focused exclusively on boosting academic achievement through special courses, tutoring and homework help. Others are specifically focused on providing cultural enrichment in the visual, performing and culinary arts; recreational activities and athletics; or leadership training and community service. . It corresponds to the education process normally adopted by our schools and universities. .   Out-of-school setting and can be linear or non-linear and often is self-paced and visual- or object-oriented.  It provides an experiential base and motivation for further activity and learning.  The outcomes of  out-of-school-knowledge learning experiences in science, mathematics, and technology include a sense of fun and wonder in addition to a better understanding of concepts, topics, processes of thinking in scientific and technical disciplines, and an increased knowledge about career opportunities in these fields

Acquiring out of school knowledge is truly lifelong process whereby every individual acquires attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from daily experience and the educative influences and resources in his or her environment – from family and neighbours, from work and play, from the market place, the library and the mass media.

Out-of-school-knowledge  describes learning about cultural values, norms, and expected behaviors by participating in a society. This type of learning occurs both through the formal education system and at home. Our earliest learning experiences generally happen via parents, relatives, and others in our community.

Contextualized knowledge and Textual knowledge

Contextualized knowledge is a proven concept that incorporates the most recent research in cognitive science. It is also a reaction to the essentially behaviorist theories that have dominated American education for many decades. The contextual approach recognizes that learning is a complex and multifaceted process that goes far beyond drill-oriented, stimulus-and-response methodologies.

According to contextual learning theory, learning occurs only when students process new information or knowledge in such a way that it makes sense to them in their own frames of reference (their own inner worlds of memory, experience, and response). The mind naturally seeks meaning in context by searching for relationships that make sense and appear useful.

Building upon this understanding, contextual knowledge focuses on the multiple aspects of any learning environment, whether a classroom, a laboratory, a computer lab, or a worksite. It encourages educators to choose and/or design learning environments that incorporate many different forms of experience in working toward the desired learning outcomes. In such an environment, students discover meaningful relationships between abstract ideas and practical applications in the context of the real world; concepts are internalized through the process of discovering, reinforcing, and relating.

The term context to refer to an immediate linguistic environment (rarely detached or isolated) in which a particular word occurs. Since it is not always explicit, it may be hidden within the neighboring members of a word used in a piece of text. Taking these factors into consideration, Miller and Leacock (2000) have classified context into two types: (a) local context, and (b) topical context., the. According to these scholars, reference to the two contexts is more of less sufficient in understanding the actual contextual meaning of the knowledge  used in a text.

Dash (2005) classify contexual knowledge  into four broad types (): (a) Local Context, (b) Sentential Context, (c) Topical Context, and (d) Global Context

Local Context- The local context refers to the immediate environment of the KW in a sentence where it has occurred, encompassing its immediately preceding and succeeding words. While the local context refers to one or two words immediately before and after the key word (KW) under investigation.

Sentential Context- The sentential context refers to a sentence where the KW has occurred. It supplies syntactic information to know if the KW has any explicit or implicit syntactic relation with the other words used in the sentence.

Topical Context- The topical context refers to the topic of discussion and focuses on the content of a piece of text. Topical context refers to the topic of the text where the KW has been used Quite often, it is found that the actual meaning of the KW depends heavily on the topic which has a strong role to alter etymological meaning of the knowledge.

Global context- The global context deals with a huge chunk of information available from the external world, that supplies vital cues of place, time, situation, interpretation, pragmatics, discourse, demography, geography, society, culture, ethnology, and various other things . Since the global context builds up a cognitive interface between language  and reality, we often refer to it to understand: who says, what is said, to whom it is said, when it is said, where it is said, why it is said, and how it is said. Thus, the global context becomes a valuable source of information for meaning disambiguation of words, and it helps us to understand if the knowledge has any meaning variation, and if so, what it .

Textual knowledge, comes from the Latin word textualis, the adjective form oftextus, (“text”).  it is always related to some written material or relating to or based on a textor  This word is most commonly used in the study of religion, literature, philosophy, or the law — any field requiring the careful examination of various texts.Definitions oftextual

Anything textual has to do with writing. A textual analysis, comparison, or interpretation, has something to do with what is in a particular piece of writing (or text). A word, when used in a piece of text, usually denotes only one meaning out of multiple meanings it inherently carries. Although it is still unknown to us how does it happen, the general observation is that it is the context that determines which meaning of the word should be considered. This observation, as a logical consequence, leads us to identify the context responsible for meaning variation of a word.

 

 

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Tutorial Strategy in Education

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V. (P.G) College, Roorkee, India


It is the fundamental right of every person to get education in democracy. Therefore, instead of individual teaching, group teaching is emphasized so that the large group may be educated at the low rate of expenditure. But it is also true that in group-teaching, a general teacher cannot solve the ‘personal’ problems of every pupil. Its reason is that if he does this, he cannot finish his fixed syllabi in a time-bound manner.

To remove this drawback of group-teaching, pupils are divided into small groups so that the personal problems which came across during group teaching may be solved successfully. Hence, a tutorial is a sub-part of the class in which a teacher tries to solve the problems of the small groups of the pupils through individual teaching.

Aims of Tutorials

Tutorials are generally intended to:

  • Develop students’ ability to think and act like a professional in their discipline.
  • Develop students’ basic academic skills (e.g. identification and evaluation of relevant resources, effective communication both orally and in writing, effective time-management, critical self-assessment).
  • Enable students to learn how to think, for instance to synthesize disparate sources, to formulate a thesis and justify it, to anticipate criticisms of their arguments, and to respond to questions and challenges – thinking ‘on one’s feet’ – in the tutorial setting.
  • Enable students to pursue their individual academic interests within the context of their subject.
  • Help students to gain a deep understanding of the subject matter in their discipline  Helps students to see the significance and implications of their knowledge so they can apply what they have learned in new contexts.

The University’s Education Committee summarizes and defines the purpose of a tutorial as being “to develop an individual student’s capacity to think in depth about a subject area, and to operate with growing confidence within its techniques and methodologies, with the expectation that the process will promote increased understanding of the discipline for both tutor and student.”

Types of Tutorials

Tutorials are of three types :

1-            Group Tutorial. Group Tutorials are conducted to solve the problems of the grown up pupils of average level.

2-            Supervised Tutorial. In the supervised tutorials, the talented pupils and the teachers discuss the problems time to time. The pupils put up their difficulties. Then the teacher tries to solve those problems. In this way, after a discussion between a teacher and the pupils, the solutions to some problems come up.

3-            Practical Tutorial. Practical tutorials are conducted to develop the physical skill and to achieve the objectives of psychomotor skill. Pupils have to work in the laboratory for this.

 

Some people consider the teacher as primary and pupils as secondary in conducting the tutorials. In such a situation, if a tutorial acquires the form of a lecture, then this will be considered as autocratic strategy. Contrary to this, if the pupils are more active instead of the teacher, then it will definitely occupy its main place in democratic strategies.

Elements in Tutorial

In spite of a wide variety of tutors’ approaches to tutorials, there are common elements which contribute to this uniqueness, and these include:

•             Students meeting individually or in very small groups, with a tutor from their discipline.

•             Students spending time independently reading and preparing written work for the tutorial.

•             Students discussing their written work with the tutor, thus honing their oral communication skills and giving them an opportunity to receive constant feedback from their tutors.

Strategies for effective tutorials

For many graduate students, teaching tutorials is often their first – and in some instances, only – chance to apply and develop their teaching skills. Running tutorials (also called “seminars”) can provide challenges for faculty members. Numerous teaching aspects are involved in making tutorials productive learning events.

Below are few important strategies to help to deal with each one of these aspects:

1-Planning

•             Define guidelines and rules from the beginning. Devote time early in the term to familiarizing students with essential guidelines for successful and productive learning. Tell them your guidelines, and ask for their input and opinions about them. You will also likely have a number of non¬negotiable rules (e.g., due dates), but be flexible when possible (e.g., time for submitting assignments, locations for assignment submission, etc.).

•             Have your supporting materials ready. If you plan to use visual aids, make sure they are legible and concise. If you plan to use the chalkboard, determine how to partition and use itIf you need to demonstrate equipment use, practice before the tutorial.

•             Prepare a lesson plan for each session. Begin with your learning objectives for the session as a way to help you limit your content to 2-3 main concepts for a 50-minute session. Make sure to include time estimates for each section of the tutorial.

•             Tutorials should have their own learning goals. Check that your goals are congruent with those of the course instructor and that they clearly define what students will do. Then communicate these goals to your students. Focus not on “covering material” but rather encourage active learning among your students.

2-Communicating

•             Avoid excessive formality, but don’t get too close. Some tutorial leaders may feel insecure or nervous and behave in an overly strict or stand-offish manner. Try to act naturally. If you are close to students in age, you may be tempted to socialize too much with them. Faculties have codes of conduct between staff and students.

•             Comment on student performance and behaviours. With large classes, tutorials may be the only time when students can get expert feedback on their work. Explain what’s wrong, where and why. Put it in writing, if possible. Remember to commend good work too.

•             Do not ignore disruptive student behavior Ask the disruptive students if they have questions. Remind students of expected classroom behavior stated on the first day of class.

•             . Make sure you are not the only one talking in your classroom Encourage students to participate. Mention explicitly that you expect students to participate and that they should feel free to make comments and ask questions. Provide opportunities for participation.

•             Make an effort to learn students’ names and use them. Ask students to say their name when asking questions, or return assignments to them personally. Students will regard the tutorial as more important if they feel that they are known to you.

3-Delivery

•             Avoid speaking to your visuals. Whether you use the blackboard or a screen. Remember to point your toes to the back of the room before you speak so that students can hear you and you can see their responses to your teaching.

•             Keep pace with lecture progress. Tutorials normally follow up a lecture. Alternatively, arrange for a pool of students to bring you a copy of their notes after the lectures, so that you have a better picture of what students have learned.

•             Make connections among parts of the course/tutorial. Help students visualize the ‘big picture’ and integrate together the tutorial contents with the rest of their experiences in the course.

•             Use relevant examples. Illustrate points with examples taken from the field under study. Share  real-world experiences to help students visualize practical applications of concepts.

•             Use solid delivery skills. Maintain eye contact during your tutorials so you can see raised hands and develop a rapport with your students. Speak loud enough and with enthusiasm to keep student attention. As well, move naturally around the room.

4-Questions

•             Admit when you don’t know the answer. You will lose more credibility by trying to fake an answer than by stating that you don’t know. If you don’t know the answer to a student’s question, compliment the student on the question, then ask the class if anyone knows the answer.

•             Before answering, repeat questions. By doing this, you will ensure that everybody has a context for your answer. An additional point to remember is to look at the whole class when responding, not just at the questioner. A general rule of thumb is to give 25 percent of your eye contact to the questioner and 75 percent to the rest of the audience. By using this “25/75 rule,” you help to include everybody in the room.

•             Prepare questions in advance. Challenge students to venture beyond their current knowledge and attitudes. To help accomplish this, carefully design questions before the tutorial sessions.

•             Tutorials are the best times to ask detailed questions. Suggest the students  that they jot down questions and issues as they arise during lectures and bring their lists to the tutorial. But also let them know that you expect them to search for answers by themselves before coming to you.

 

5-Activities

•             Favor high-learning activities. Some subject related tasks that can help students to learn-by-doing are: solving problems, discussing different perspectives, asking questions, answering questions, working out different approaches to problems or case studies, and engaging in debates.

Give clear instructions. Before starting an activity, make sure that students understand what to do. Explain the goals and provide time breakdowns, then form groups if necessary. Write the instructions on the board.

 

6-Motivation

•             Acknowledge and thank participation. Students get disheartened if their response is passed over without comment because it is not what the tutor wants to hear – in ordinary conversation it would be considered extremely disrespectful to do this. However, be sure to provide or elicit an accurate response so the class has correct information.

•             Don’t be afraid to commend good performance.Receiving praise for doing something well is highly motivating. Sincere praise from a tutor for insight, achievement, participation, or helpfulness will make students feel good and more likely to participate again.

•             Never put students down. Showing respect for all students is critical. Students can be highly sensitive to snubs or sarcasm, especially if they’re feeling insecure. You need to act professionally at all times.

•             Students’ attitudes toward tutorials may need changing. Students often regard tutorials as optional and their attendance may be erratic. Be sure that your tutorials add value to the course.

 

Other strategies

•             Save time by making time. If you need to be available to students outside of class, set up office hours, post them on your office door or website, and be there.

Keep good records. Make notes about attendance, topics covered, questions asked and student difficulties with the material. Such records will be very helpful if you’re involved in running the same tutorial again and may provide useful feedback to the course instructor.

•             Solicit student feedback. Ask how they are finding their learning experience and what they think you should stop, start, and continue doing. Check whether or not they have mastered concepts that have been covered already.

Creating an effective learning environment in a tutorial

Students are a very diverse group, coming from a variety of ethnic, religious, linguistic, social and economic backgrounds. Tutors need to take this into account and aim to create a safe learning environment so that all participants feel included .Overall, effective (and enjoyable) small group learning sessions often have the following in common:

             Everyone had a chance to participate and the tutor was able to get students actively involved

             Students feel as if they are part of a group. Students are acknowledged as an individual

             Students’ contributions to the group were welcomed and acknowledged but they didn’t feel compelled to contribute. Students aren’t ‘put down’ if they make a mistake

             The students left the session feeling that they had learnt/achieved something

             The tutor can anticipate the difficulties and problems that the students are likely to have. The tutor can demonstrate flexibility: admit to not knowing and be open to learning from students as well as with them

             The tutor challenges students: questions and probes students’ reasoning processes and critical thinking. The tutor varies the activities in tutorials

             The tutor is well prepared, or at least had a good structure for the session. The aims of the session are clear and achievable

             Tutors facilitate and support good relationships within the group. The tutor shows interest in the material and in the group itself

Procedure for starting first tutorial

Successful tutoring, like teaching, is not an exact science; it is based on thorough planning and good communication between students and tutor.

Introduce yourself. Write your name on the board and give a contact number and your office hours. Tell them where your office is. Cover key administrative information – key dates, contact details etc

Do a ‘getting to know each other’ session. This gets the students talking to each other and takes the heat off you for a while.

Discuss expectations about what will go on in the tutorial and negotiate some ground rules. It is a good idea to write the ground rules down so they can be referred to later. Establish participation as one of the ground rules for contributions to the tutorials.

Learn your students’ names, as students will respond to you more if they feel that they know you, and above all, that you know them.

Have a brief warm-up exercise. Icebreaker session. Instead of launching straight into the task for the day consider starting with a brief warm-up exercise. Icebreaker session

Set up the room in a way that encourages active participation. The best arrangement is a circle or semicircle, or you can ask the students themselves what they think would be a good arrangement.

Top Tips to become a better tutor:

Whether you are a seasoned tutor or new to the world of tutoring, you will be well aware that each student is different, and what works for one doesn’t work for another.

  • Ask your student how you can improve: Sometimes, it pays to get to the point and end a tutoring class by asking your student how you feel you can make the class more beneficial to them. Some students will ask for more variety; others will tell you that you are going too fast and they need to spend more time on the basics.
  • Be patient, be innovative: Some students are able to grasp concepts at a quicker pace than others. Don’t despair if you find that you have to repeat ideas you have already spent a considerable amount of time explaining. If you find that your students have problems retaining information, try to use memory retention techniques.
  • Be tech savvy: Most students nowadays have an almost intuitive relationship with technology; indeed, almost 100 per cent  own a mobile, tablet or iPod. Think of how you can incorporate these devices into your tutoring sessions.
  • Cater the lesson to the student’s learning style: Some learners like to thoroughly prepare before each tutoring session and prefer to have access to the material to be covered in class beforehand so they can go over it various times and feel confident in the subject you will be covering. Others may be the total opposite; they like to learn by doing.
  • Keep it fresh: A lesson plan that may be interesting for two or three lessons will cease to be so once the novelty wears off. Surprise your student by introducing new activities in a class.
  • Learn from alternative education methods: For some students, the newest is not necessarily the best. Check out tried-and-tested techniques.
  • Make it personal: You can probably recall a teacher that changed your life, inspired you to become more academic or gave you the gentle push you needed. What made this teacher so special was probably the personal interest they took in you; their gentle understanding of your circumstances, obstacles and goals. This teacher or tutor probably walked that extra mile to bring you a book you needed or told you how much they believed in in your ability. It is amazing how something as simple as a lack of confidence in one’s own skill and capacity can be a student’s greatest downfall. Try to be that source of inspiration for your student
  • Take a look at innovative new ways of teaching: Read up on the latest developments in education; take the best from these new styles of teaching and use them in your tutoring sessions. One new method reporting great success is Spaced Learning. Another new teaching method is called Engagement; it involves encouraging students to visit local businesses so they can see how the subjects they are learning apply to real life.

Tutoring with Interactive Small Groups

Tutors play a key role in giving students strategies on how to learn, and opportunities to use those strategies.

By scaffolding students’ learning by providing them with guidelines on how to approach a problem in their reading, study and exams, you are helping them to become more independent learners who are able to take responsibility for their own learning.

Independent, motivated learners are the key to successful interactions in your small group.

Your support may come in the form of:

3. Providing Feedback

4.  Getting feedback on what students have learned

             Feedback may be formal  or informal.

             Make feedback clear and constructive

             Provide feedback about what the student or group has done well and what needs improvement.

             Clear instructions that explain how to solve a problem step by step

             Key question activity: Key question/problem on overhead. All students given an index card to write their response. Distribute a large envelope to collect responses (anonymous or named).

             Modelling how to approach a problem or read strategically

             Quick quizzes at the start of the tutorial. A one-minute quiz at the end: List one/two/three questions about the work we did today that you still have at the end of this tutorial

             Scaffolding students’ problem-solving by asking a series of questions

             Self-reflection/ self-assessment. Assessment of the class – may be submitted anonymously – partway through semester

             What was the most difficult concept covered in the lecture/tutorial.Which problem/reading did you find most difficult? Why?

5. Strategies for involving “quiet” students

Avoid rushing in to answer all the questions – Give students responsibility for answering each other’s questions, with your guidance. Get people talking to each other using non-threatening situations, such as ‘ice-breakers’

Ask students to brainstorm ideas on paper first, before the discussion begins. They can then pair up with a neighbour to build up a bit of confidence, then share with the whole group (think-pair-share). Other activities you might try are:

o Brainstorms – a task is set and small groups quickly ‘brainstorm’ their ideas and these are fed through to the larger group without discussion, elaboration or criticism. They can then go back through the suggestions to see which are worth pursuing.

o Buzz groups – are pairs or small groups of students who are assigned a task or discussion topic for a limited period of time. A good moment to suggest a ‘buzz’ is when you what members of your tutorial to reflect actively on something and come up with quick ideas. The discussion itself may be enough, or you may get them to report back.

o Fishbowls – students in a small circle of chairs have a discussion. Students in a surrounding larger circle listen in. The outer circle can join in the discussion by swapping seats with someone in the inner circle. This can be useful for a focussed discussion in quite a large group. It’s also fun.

o Syndicates – teams of students work for a longer period of time in parallel on the same task – analyzing a problem or case, studying a text or artefact, preparing a proposal or bid, then each team presents their idea to the whole group.

Alert participants about an upcoming discussion (a week before) so that anyone who is nervous has the opportunity to do adequate preparation, and will feel more at ease about the prospect of contributing.

Don’t assume that silent students aren’t involved. There may be cultural or personal reasons for their silence. Work on a range of activities that allows for individual, pairwork, small groups of 3/4 as well as larger groups.

Recognise that people adopt different roles within a group or team situation. For more information about team roles, read

6. Strategies for managing “dominant” students/talkers

Develop and maintain ground rules. Being able to refer to ground rules will often help defuse a potentially irritating or disruptive problem. If you only let the dominant one(s) talk, others will become resentful and will probably stop coming to the group.

Work with individuals. This may mean talking with them before or after class alone, chatting with them when small groups are working. Explain how they might give their peers a chance to contribute.

Affirm the dominant individual. Let them know that you value their contribution, but out of fairness to all members of the group, everyone needs a chance to contribute.

Respond carefully. For example, if the dominant student constantly answers or asks questions, you may use humour sensitively, where appropriate, to let them know that someone else needs a turn! Usually the dominant ones know who they are and respond well to someone who works with them. Sarcasm or putdowns are never the way to go.

Resolving conflicts

Develop and maintain ground rules. Being able to refer to ground rules will often help defuse a potentially irritating or disruptive problem.

Be assertive. This may involve you stating your opinion or request; listening actively to another person’s opinion; reflecting back on what he/she says without comment or criticism; then calmly restating your point of view.

Confront the situation. Confronting has the connotation of aggression, but positive confronting simply means stating your concern about behaviour you find unsettling or disruptive. Self-disclosure can be useful. “I feel it’s unfair on the larger group when a small group does not participate.”

Activities to enhance learning

Read some material – Ask some students to read part of a handout and note their response to it. Alternatively, ask them to read from an overhead transparency, followed by a small group discussion.

 Give an example - Ask students to invent examples of a presented concept and compare them with another student.

 List pros/cons - Ask students to consider briefly likely advantages and disadvantages, or strengths and weaknesses, or a procedure or theory and then discuss.

Read your notes - Ask students to read their recent lecture notes or summary of a chapter in a text. Invite students to exchange and discuss notes to that they can add to their notes and compare approaches.

Solve a problem/answer a question - Set a problem or a question based on a lecture, a chapter from a text etc. Ask students to solve the problem or answer the question, individually, or in small groups, or individually followed by group work.

Watch a video-clip- Show a short video, giving clear instructions on what to look for and then discuss.

Write a question - Ask students individually or in pairs/groups, to write down one or two precise questions on a recent lecture. These can be dealt with in a variety of ways. An effective way is to put them in a hat and draw them out at random and get the whole group to suggest answers.

Concluding the tutorial

A common challenge is running out of time towards the end of tutorials. This often means rushing through the last few minutes of the tutorial which makes students feel frustrated and possibly anxious.

Make sure you conclude in a way that gives students confidence about what they have discussed and a sense of direction for how they will manage their tutorials, lectures and assignments to follow.

Final Tips

  • Be confident: Even the most experienced teachers have bad teaching days and “not so effective” groups. If something goes wrong, have confidence in yourself and the experience you have to share.
  • Be enthusiastic: Students value teachers who are enthusiastic about their subject and sharing with their tutorial group. Maintain your sense of humor.
  • Put yourself in their shoes: The most successful tutors empathise with group members – try to remember how you felt in your second and third year and share this with the group if/when appropriate.
  • Talk to your peers and share ideas: Sharing ideas and strategies is one of the best ways to learn and develop as a tutor.

Evaluating your tutorials

It can be very instructive to do some kind of evaluation before the end of the semester, and then you can make changes if you need to. An informal evaluation might simply involve you asking your students how they feel about the tutorials. You might decide to get students to answer some questions on paper, anonymously.

Conclusion

There is no simple advice about the ‘best number’ of students to teach at a time. An important consideration is that the larger the group, the less possible it is to provide individual attention or to be flexible and match content to the particular level or interests of individual students. Groups of two or three are probably the most effective, offering the advantage of supporting discussion and argument between students: as well as being productive in itself, this can serve to lift students’ confidence in expressing their ideas.

Students generally produce a piece of written work for each tutorial, based on bibliographic guidance provided by the tutor. The form of that written work varies across disciplines. For instance, the Humanities rely most heavily on the essay

All colleges should provide a means for students to give written feedback to Senior Tutors on their tutorials, to report both on the students’ perception of the support they have received, on the progress they see themselves as making and on areas where they feel they need more help. Uptake of student feedback in colleges is typically low, but, when the process is used, it can provide useful insight into the effectiveness of tutorial teaching and into the needs of individual students.

 

 

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Problems of learners in school.

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V. (P.G) College, Roorkee, India


Problems refers to various problems of students like behavioral problems, emotional problems, educational problems and social problems. Problems related to any or all the external activities of a person, which are observed directly, like behavior that harms or threatens to harm others, lying, violation of rules etc, are behavioral problems. Emotional problems are the problems related to any of the particular feelings that characterize the state of mind. Educational problems include problems related to cognitive skills, teachers’ and parental motivation in academic field, adjustment with the school etc. Social problems are the problems related to social environment such as social behavior, social participation, peer influence and adjustment with family, society and religion.

Here are some common problems faced by students in their academic period.

Behaviour Problems

An unwanted behavior which needs changing. Also, a pattern of hostile, aggressive, or disruptive behavior which goes beyond societal norms. Although it does not serve to seriously impair individual function, it can be a problem area.

Social problems

For a problem to be social its causes should be social too. I mean that its origins must have something to do with human interactions. Sometimes everyday problems such as lack of communication within the family don’t seem social but personal, but after more thorough examination we come to understand its hidden social nature.

It is a social condition that the threatens or actual alters the normal function of society to which there is a general consensus that something need to be done about.

A condition in which someone deviates from social mores, norms, values,etc. and the condition is considered problematic, especially from the dominate culture.

Emotional Problems

Children’s temperaments vary and thus they are quite different in their ability to cope with stress and daily hassles. Some are easygoing by nature and adjust easily to events and new situations. Others are thrown off balance by changes in their lives., a mood disorder; an affective disorder in which the victim tends to respondexcessively and sometimes violently.

Curriculum related problems-

Curriculum is a reflection and a product of the society and can contribute to the change in the society. It is necessary to reflect on the issues to reach decisions in a dynamic and responsive curriculum development process.

Classroom Size

Many areas of the country are facing classrooms that are literally busting out at the seams

most teachers agree that they cannot effectively teach every student in a classroom, if the class size exceeds about 30.

Technology

Technology needs to come into the classroom to keep up with the learning demands of the 21st century. Schools that are already cash-strapped may find an unsurmountable challenge in coming up with the funding to bring computers and other forms of technology into their classes.

Bullying

Bullying is not a new problem, but it is one that has a profound impact on the learning aptitude of many students today. Cyberbullying has become a major issue for schools

Funding

Budget cuts have created huge problems for most public schools in recent years. Less funding means smaller staffs, fewer resources and a lower number of services for students.

Money

Tuition costs are rising at alarmingly high rates. Couple that with eating out, shopping trips, gas for the car, and the price of textbooks, and you have a college student’s worst nightmare. College students drop out of school each year because they cannot afford it

Homesickness

Whether they admit it or not, most students will at one point get homesick. This is especially common for students who go to a school that is more than 3 hours from their home.

Sickness / Health Conditions

With heightened levels of stress and lack of sleep, health problems can occur. Living in close quarters in dorms also poses potential health risks and increases a student’s chances of contracting some sort of virus or other sickness.

Partying

Parties were designed so that attendees could have a good time. However, many of the parties that go on at colleges today have the potential to cause problems. At many parties alcohol, drugs, and sex rule the night. Alcohol can lead to drunkenness and potentially deadly situations

 

 

Concentration
Concentration is essential for study. Many students may find it hard to concentrate on their study properly.

Exam Stress
It’s very common that student becomes too much stress at the days of exam. He thinks about how to make full preparation in time. He fears he may not complete his preparation for the coming paper. He fears that he may fail and this worry doesn’t let him study.

Selection of Major Career for oneself – Imposed Programs
Every student after passing the basic classes  has to choose particular program of education as a major career for himself. Student has many options to choose from, i.e. studying medicine or engineering or accountancy etc.. Majority students find it hard to select an educational program as a major career for themselves

Lack of Motivation and encouragement
Lack of motivation and encouragement of student is a problem and it affects their studies adversely.
Student needs to be motivated so that he can keep on studying.

Financial Problems
Current day education is very expensive. Many parents can’t afford the education of their children. Many students have to quit their education due to financial problems.

Lack of Practical Education
In our country most of the educational courses consist of theoretical knowledge only. There is having no or very less practical learning in most of the courses

Poverty

Poverty has a major negative psychosocial impact. Persistent exposure to poverty has a directly negative effect on a child’s health, cognitive development and ultimately, their school achievement, particularly when poverty happens in infancy or early childhood.

Poverty has a direct effect on cognitive functioning and development, which has a direct impact on psychosocial development. If a child is unable to master the tasks that other children his/her age are, then their development may stall. Basically, poverty affects the physical, social, societal, and mental well-being of a child.

Cultural Values and Societal Roles

It may not come as a surprise that a person’s gender or cultural heritage can shape who they are and what they do in life. It also affects psychosocial development in positive and negative ways. It also effects self-esteem, academic achievement, stigmatization and psychosocial functioning.
Abuse or Neglect

The students who are neglected perform at the lowest levels of academic achievement among any maltreated children. This is significant in terms of classroom management because it may not be as easy to spot neglect as it could be to see the signs of physical and gender abuse.

Family Dynamics

According to studies of adolescent socialization in families by Steinberg, children whose parents were authoritative (warm and firm) showed high levels of competence and psychosocial maturity than peers who have more permissive, indifferent or authoritarian with their child .

Peer Influences

Students spend more time with peers/friends than any other group. These interactions are important for self-esteem, development and learning the hidden curriculum. Peers can however have both a positive and negative influence on adolescent development
Mental Health

It might seem like an obvious cause of psychosocial dysfunction, but mental health can have a broad meaning. It can cover disorders but also emotional stressors that cause mental health issues.

Physical Health and Malnutrition

Studies show that food insufficiency and malnutrition can affect not only physical development but also psychosocial development

Disabilities

Physical and learning disabilities can effect psychosocial development as well. Research on children with learning disabilities found a negative correlation with self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and juvenile delinquency

Stress

Stressors for student can include any of the above problems and more. It is important to note the fragility of the emotional state of children this age.

 

FORMAT OF QUESTIONNAIRE ( CAN BE USED FOR RESEARCH PURPOSE )

General Information

Name (Not compulsory/voluntary)                                Name of school-

Age-                                              Sex – Male / Female               Locality- Urban / Rural

 

 

THEMES FACTORS , PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES STRONGLY AGREE

 

NEUTRAL STRONGLY DISAGREE
Behavioural problems

 

  • Aggressive behaviour
  • Bad manners
  • Disobedience
  • Disrespect
  • Extreme passivity
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impatience
  • Introversion
  • Over dependence
  • Self harm behaviour
  • Shyness
  • Talkative
  • Tendency for lying or stealing
  • Tendency to violate rule
  • Unorganised nature

 

     
Emotional Problems

 

  • Anxiety
  • Apathy
  • Day dreaming
  • Depression
  • Excessive fears and worries
  • Feeling of inferiority
  • Feeling of insecurity
  • Hot temperedness
  • Lack of sleep
  • Loneliness
  • Nightmares
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Suicidal feeling
     
Educational problems

 

  • Academic underachievement
  • Busy schedule of parents
  • Decreased motivation
  • Disinterest in school work
  • Educational problems % of occurrence
  • Fear of failure in exam
  • Lack of academic skill
  • Lack of concentration
  • Learning disabilities
  • Over expectation parents
  • Over load of school work
  • Percent of Occurrence of Poor memory
  • School absence
  • Strict rules of school
  • Uneducated parents

 

     
Social problems

 

 

  • Attraction to opposite sex
  • Bullying
  • Domestic violence
  • Identity confusion
  • Isolation from family
  • Lack of leadership ability
  • Lack of self confidence
  • Lack of social recognition
  • Low self esteem
  • Participation in antisocial activities
  • Partying
  • Peer Influences
  • Poor self concept
  • Religious conflicts
  • Social withdrawal
  • Superstitious believes

 

     
Personality of the lecturers

 

  • chalk and talk), teaching geared towards passing examinations).
  • -Examination pressure not relating content to real life situation
  • -Few qualified lecturers.
  • -Poor attitudes to content, learners and teaching
  • -Poor teaching methods and practices (mainly lecture-centered, rote and
  • -Weak academic background and content knowledge for teaching

 

     
Characteristics of the students

 

 

  • Concentration
  • Cultural Values Societal Roles
  • Homesickness
  • Lot of content to be memorize
  • Sickness / Health Conditions
  • Absenteeism and dropouts
  • Home and socio-economic background
  • Lack of practice
     
Overcrowded classrooms

 

  • -High pupil to teacher ratio
  • -Inadequacy of teaching and learning materials and resources (textbooks) and Technology
  • -Large class enrolment

 

 

     
Nature of the Curriculum and Syllabus

  • -Irrelevance of the  content
  • Overloaded curriculum
  • Subjects-congested timetable  Inadequate time to teach much content
  • Too much content to be covered)

-Examination oriented

 

     
Government Policies on Education

  • -Recommended lecturer-student ratio of 1:35
  • -The overloaded curriculum.

 

     
Learning environment and assessment  methods

  • Abuse or Neglect
  • Exam Stress
  • Examination focused assessment
  • Inadequate provision of infrastructure
  • Lack of external support outside the school
  • Lack of Motivation and encouragement
  • Poor reading culture
     
General problems
  • Family Dynamics
  • Financial Problems
  • Imposed Programs
  • Lack of Practical Education
  • Mental Health
  • Physical and learning disabilities Physical Health and         malnutrition
     

References

Bhardwaj, S. K. (1997). A psycho-social study of adjustment among adolescents. Indian educational abstracts,5, 4.

Haugaard, J. J. (2001). Problematic behaviours during adolescence. New York: Mc Graw- Hill.

Hurlock, B. E. (1981). Developmental psychology- A life span approach. New York: Mc Graw Hill Book Company.

Husen, T., & Postlethwaite, T. N. (1994). The international encyclopedia of education ( 2nd ed.) England: Pergamon.

Jeevarthina, K. V. (2010). A study of psycho-social problems of teacher trainees. Journal of educational research and extension. 47(3), 38-51.

Kakkar, A. (1999). A study of parental acceptance-rejection as related to the problems of

Adolescents. Indian Journal of Psychometry and Education, 30(1), 23-30.

Kaur, R. (2006). Adolescent psychology- New trends and innovations. New Delhi: Deep and Deep.

Mumthas, N.S. & Muhsina, M. (2012). Psycho-social Problem Inventory. Farook Training College, Kozhikode.

Prathiba, S. (2006) Role of parents in helping adolescents cope with stress. Experiments in education, 34, 165-168.

 

 

 

 

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Smart Class Room- A new vision in education.

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V. (P.G) College, Roorkee, India

The traditional approach of lecture and note taking has lost its effectiveness as the modern day around education grows. In efforts to grow academically it must be considered that differentiated modalities of teaching and learning are necessary to implement deeper levels of growth and conceptual development.

Learning is not how much one can cramp up. It’s rather the knowledge that remains after one forgets what he/she learned in schools. Thus we emphasize on learning the concepts with the help visuals and activities. To keep such view the smart learning was introduced.

The Smart Learning approach provides learners of all ages and walks of life with a framework and a host of Smart Thinking Tools that motivate higher levels of understanding. Through the process learners activate and build background knowledge, process information, transform their learning into a product that shows what they know, and reflect on their learning. Structured talk and assessment as and for learning are carefully woven into the process to build a thoughtful context for learning and to advance the thinking of all learners. Smart Learning realizes the goals of inclusivity and differentiation.

The use of Education technology can bring a huge change in education. Internet and e learning devices can make class room environment extremely amazing. Teaching through computer, internet and multimedia devices will be a common thing in future. Now a day’s different multimedia lessons are available. By using these multimedia lessons teachers may teach the students very easily.

In these day Smart class and smart schools are very interesting dreams for students, teachers and the students. Students are very interested about the smart school and smart class. Several institutes are making their classroom smart and modern. They are working on “Smart School Project”.

Importance of Smart Classes

E-learning and smart classroom aims at developing the students learning ability as the entire chapters become more interesting to study and hence improve the results of the students. The smart classrooms are the new generation educational product which helps students gain more marks and is a step to the future of education. E-learning is a revolutionary product in the field of education.

The Smart classroom learning approach provides learners of all ages and walks of life with a nine-step framework and a host of Smart Thinking Tools that motivate higher levels of understanding. Through the process learners activate and build background knowledge, process information, transform their learning into a product that shows what they know, and reflect on their learning. Structured talk and assessment as and for learning are carefully woven into the process to build a thoughtful context for learning and to advance the thinking of all learners.

A smart classroom can be considered as a virtual classroom. A Smart Classroom duplicates the capabilities found in a real classroom.

A Smart classroom provides:

• Students and teachers use their computers to go to a virtual meeting place instead of a classroom.

• A list of students is recorded.

Lecture:

Teachers can choose from a variety of synchronous technologies including:

• Slide presentation

• Audio and video conferencing

• Application sharing

• Shared whiteboard

Interaction with students: Students can indicate when they want to speak by virtually raising their hand. Teachers can let students speak through audio and video conferencing. Teachers and students can use instant messaging and chat Teachers can present questions to students. Students can work together in groups.

Usage:

• Using e-class is as simple as operating your Television from a remote. As with e-class you get an e-box which needs to be attached with the TV and with the e-box remote you can navigate through the study material loaded on e-class.

• The students have access to the study material with them, so they can plan their studies at their convenience. Revision would never had been so fun earlier as all the have to do is switch on to e-class and sit back and learn using the Audio Video learning.

• With e-class you can study at your own pace, devote more time to your weak points. Studying and revising can be done at once own pace

Characteristics of a Smart Classrooms:

Adaptive learning: Any classroom will always have students of different types of learning abilities in it which often makes it difficult for teachers to make sure that all of them understand the concepts. The modern approach of adaptive learning gives students the freedom to learn at their own pace and in the way they are most comfortable with.

Collaborative learning: Learning through collaboration is one of the most effective forms of learning. Teaching and learning in isolation are very restrictive and hinder progress. Learning in groups enhances the scope of learning and develops critical thinking. Collaborative learning activities include collaborative writing, group projects, joint problem solving, debates and more. Collaborative learning redefines traditional student-teacher relationship in the classroom.

Computing devices: Computers are readily available in modern classrooms, since they are essential tools for 21st century students and replace the utilities of pen and paper. They give teachers the opportunity to enhance their lessons and assist them.

Mutual respect: Teachers and students should always have respect for each other. As now the role of teachers is no longer to be the sage on the stage, students should not forget their value as they will always receive guidance from them. Also, teachers should encourage students to speak with confidence and value their opinions.

Performance-based assessments: Regular performance-based assessments are carried out by teachers through various methods which are not restricted to tests. These can be by conducting quizzes and polls.

Student-centric: In Smart classrooms, teachers play the role of facilitators. They help students think critically. Students discover and master new concepts. Student-centric classroom environments put students’ interests first and are focused on each student’s needs, abilities and learning styles.

Students take responsibility of their learning: As students are encouraged to actively participate in their own learning, they become responsible for their learning.

Students understand and follow the rules and procedures: The learning environment is carefully planned and well-organized. Class rules, procedures, and notices of upcoming activities are posted in convenient places to help students stay on track. Students are constantly encouraged to remind them of their goals and responsibilities. They follow class routines and understand what they are expected to achieve each day and how they are to go about it.

There is innovative working system for teachers and in school management:

An attractive classroom environment is needed for such type smart and innovative activities. Smart school class will be more attractive, innovative, student friendly, healthy and more interesting class. In a smart class it may possible there to arrange “online classes” by internet. Smart class is a platform for e smart class and online IT class.

There is fully multimedia enabled audio-visual classrooms :

Smart Class is a Smart concept for Smart Educators of Smart Schools. “Smart Class” includes Smart Learning Techniques, Smart classroom management, Smart Learning environment and Smart Learning Materials. Internet, projector and other multimedia devices are the main parts of smart classrooms. Smart class is a class of modern age. There is fully multimedia enabled audio-visual classrooms in a smart classroom. It will be quite different than traditional class. In a smart classroom the teacher works as a facilitator in learning.

The upgraded kind of education:

This upgraded kind of education is very interesting for children! it is an innovative idea to change our boring system into a smart and innovative system of teaching-learning activities. Smart School: Smart class is a more fascinating model in the world. In a smart school teachers have to develop the skill of learning from experiences.

Objective of Smart Class Room

The following are some objectives for a Smart Class Room application:

  • To help teachers to meet new challenges and developing students’ abilities and performance.
  • To enables teachers to access multimedia content and information that can be used for teaching students more effectively.  Pedagogically sound and visually rich curriculum resources.
  • To enables teachers to express their views and ensures that every child is understanding the undertaken concept which ultimately affects his achievement.
  • To make possible for the concepts to be understood clearly. To makes abstract concept real.
  • To have interactive and live teaching to elaborate and compare different objects and perceptions towards the particular concepts
  • To designed a module of smart class  which allows a student to visualize the concept much better than static images. Visuals and animations that students will never forget.
  • To move a step towards development where students’ achievement is highlighted.
  • To makes learning an enjoyable experience for students. Activities and games to make learning process easy.
  • To make effective blending of technology with the classroom, and to Inform the teachers of classroom events
  • To instruct simultaneously remote and local students.
  • To improve creative thinking in learning process to visualize the concepts and practices with model and demonstrations.
  • To optimize the use of e-resources wise e-books, e-journals, protocols, lecture notes, documentaries and so on.
  • To customized content as per the school’s scheme of work and to provide facility to update the content.

Principles inherent in Smart class room

The following are the principles for smart classrooms in terms of arrangement and pedagogical configuration which we have established as widely generalizable and which should be considered in order to transform any formal learning space in smart classroom .

Principle of  Adaptability

From the idea that every teacher and every class is different, and that space can be adapted to their needs, the concept of smart classrooms includes the principle of adaptability to the type and needs of teacher and of each student.

Principle of  Connectivity

The concept of connectivity has a twofold character. On one hand it is required that the learning space has a good network connectivity, both local and global, to use to the most the potential of mobile devices. Connectivity should be wireless, and this is fundamental to maximize physical mobility around the space and comfort in using technology. On the other hand, beyond digital connectivity there exists social and informational connectivity. Through networks, students live connected to teachers, friends, family, professionals and to a large number of information sources, both in their immediate surrounding and from distant places.

Principle of Comfort

Under this principle, elements which enable this well-being should be included in the learning space for the various tasks to be done for learning, such as couches, pillows, rugs and carpets, comfortable chairs. A smart classroom is a place arranged to comfortably do various activities –reading, watching videos, playing, listening to music and audios, writing, talking, debating, experimentation, and so on.

Principle of Flexibility of physical arrangement

The arrangement of a smart classroom and its elements is such that it allows agile and easy variations in activities, that is, make it possible to change student grouping, the type of resources being used, use of various types of resources at the same time, ICT and non-ICT, for different students to carry out different tasks, e.g. searching information, discussing, watching a video, etc. The classrooms is supplied with varied furniture elements to achieve flexibility of space arrangement.

Principle of  Multiplicity

This principle refers to smart classrooms having features which enable the use of various types of resources and stimuli. While teaching and learning, the arrangement  enable possibilities for creativity, reasoning, logical thinking, etc., and  be adapted as close as possible to learners’ various needs and learning styles.

Principle of  Order / Organization

This is an important principle, even though it is not easy to design, and attain, sustainable placing, storing, arrangement and rules of use of spaces and resources available. For this reason teachers  carefully consider the order and arrangement of spaces and resources so that these are the most adequate for the learning activities that will take place in their smart classroom.

Principle of  Openness

This principle relates to the false and rooted belief that learning takes place only in the formal space in the traditional classroom, where the teacher presents information and gives a lesson in a transmissive way . Learning takes place beyond the classroom space, both physically and virtually, and therefore activities put forward for smart classrooms should consider these extended learning places and learning times in order to learn beyond the classroom and the class times traditionally assigned.

Principle of Personalization

Smart classrooms allows students and teachers to personalize their environment according to their likes and needs. A space which progressively teacher and students should make their own, personalizing it by means of activities which support and reinforce learning.

Principle of  Safety / Security

Smart classrooms have an arrangement which prevents users from having physical accidents and will also be safe in terms of access to information and communication on the Internet from the classroom. Therefore security systems will be taken into account when conceptualizing and designing smart classrooms.

In sum, the arrangement, structure, methodologies and principles of smart classrooms intend that learning experience be as likely as people’s learning ways, preferences and styles, in a natural way and in a personal space; all this through active participation, experimentation, collaboration, solidarity, rapport, creativity, leadership, and so on.

Main themes in the Smart Classroom concept

Smart Classroom aims at combining entrepreneurial pedagogy, collaborative teaching and the latest technological teaching tools to create a modern and effective education service environment in education setting. There are three main themes in the SMART Classroom concept:

  1. Smart Pedagogy,
  2. Smart Teaching Solutions.
  3. 3.Smart Learning Space

SMART Pedagogy is based on entrepreneurial pedagogy and methodologies. Smart Classroom project aims at fostering the application of these methodologies in institution setting and hereby provide more interactive alternatives to traditional  teaching. This theme of the project results a handbook for teachers on applying fresh teaching methods into practise, tools for teachers’ self-reflection and evaluation and training programme for  teachers.

The second theme of the Smart Classroom concept is called Smart Teaching Solutions and it deals with variety of practical teaching tools and materials for  teachers including teaching games and simulations. Smart Teaching Materials include for example exercises and examples that teachers can apply to their courses.

Smart Teaching Spaces cover both physical and virtual teaching spaces  spaces in the instiution setting. The Smart Teaching Spaces concept defines the essential furniture and technical specifications of ideal physical classrooms and the most important features of virtual learning platforms. Also facilities and fuctions for lecture halls and collaborative teaching spaces will be defined in this package. The Smart Teaching Spaces as a whole brings flexibility to learning and makes the learning ubiquitous.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom is an online application, linked to Google accounts, that allows teachers to set up online “classrooms” for their students. It is an open portal that has simple functionality and helps educators stay organized and paper-free. Teachers only need an aligned G Suite for Education account to use this application. Students enroll into the online class with a specific code. Then, they have the ability to submit assignments, take examinations, and access informational files all through each teacher’s uploaded stream. All classwork and homework is uploaded to classroom, and can be monitored by the teacher as well. Teachers can also track on-time and late student submissions, and divide assignments into categories for more organization. This application keeps every class separate from one another, and keeps all files in one central location for a simplified grading process.

The Layout of Smart Classroom

The Smart Classroom is physically built in a separate room of Pervasive Computing Lab   in which several video cameras, microphone arrays are installed in it to sense human’s gesture, motion and utterance. According to the characteristic of invisibility in pervasive computing environment, it deliberately removed all the computers out of sight. Two wall-sized projector displays are mounted on two vertically crossed walls. According to their purposes, they are called “Media Board” and “Student Board” separately. The Media Board is used for lecturer’s use as a blackboard, on which prepared electronic courseware and lecturers’ annotation are displayed. The Student Board is used for displaying the status and information of remote students, who are part of the class via Internet.

The classroom is divided into two areas, complying with the real world classroom’s model. One is the teaching area, where is close to the two boards and usually dominated by lecturer. The other is the audience area, where is the place for local students. Complying with the philosophy of Natural and Augmented. Natural means obeying real-world model of classroom as much as possible to provide lecturer and students the feeling of reality and familiarity, which leads to the existence of local students. Augmented means trying to extend is the reason for remote student.

Suggested features for Smart Class Room

Smart Class Room must have some of the following features:

• Redecorated interiors

• Enhanced lighting controls

• A gyro wireless mouse to control the computer and projector from anywhere in the classroom

• Switching controls to easily change projector output between the PC, laptop,

document camera, and DVD/VCR

• New projectors

• Laptop plugs so you can bring your own computer and hook it up instantly

• A document camera to show transparencies, papers, or small objects on the projector and even take

Snap shots of them

• A SMART Sympodium that allows you to make electronic notes and images appear

• The Classroom Performance System(CPS) to get real-time answers from your students in class by means of wireless multiple-choice response devices.

Components of Smart Class Room

• Smart Board (6X4)

• Smart LED TV High (Panasonic 42”, 2 USB, Viera connect)

• Short throw Projector (Panasonic PT-VX400)

• Video Conferencing Equipments

• Laptop with Internet connection (with public IP)

• Document Camera/ Visulaizer (12 time optical Zoom and 8 time Digital Zoom)

• Podium (ITC 6236B, 60W amplifier inbulit)

• Video Conferencing – High Definition (Lifesize Express 220) and Screen

Architecture of Smart Classroom at  Library

 

Affordable Components of technology for Smart class Room

With so much new education technology being created at such a rapid pace, teachers can have a hard time deciding what will be beneficial in their classrooms. Even after a specific device or program has been chosen, cost can often be prohibitive in a school environment, making it difficult for smaller districts to access the same advantages of larger ones. To help sort through all of the noise and find the best tools at the lowest price, we look into four of the most budget-friendly pieces of technology that can benefit classrooms:

1) Document cameras

A budget-friendly device that can help to more actively engage students, document cameras allow teachers to display worksheets on a screen or to individual devices much like an old-school lamination projector. Group exercises and quizzes can be displayed with the camera instead of on individual sheets of paper, helping classrooms become more environmentally friendly as well as technologically savvy.

2) SMART boards

Interactive whiteboards, or SMART boards, offer a benefit similar to that of a document camera, but taken up a notch. Presentations are made more robust and given more depth. When a picture or document is displayed on the board, teachers can write on them with an Internet-connected stylus that provides a trove of additional information to the lesson, such as definitions, extra images or accompanying video. Instructors are also able to archive and share any lesson that has used the board, and past lessons can be revisited to reinforce new topics being covered.

3) Cloud-based communication systems

One of the most beneficial aspects of adding technology into a classroom environment is its ability to broaden the scope of what students are exposed to on a daily basis. With Internet communication services like voice-over-IP and Web conferencing, teachers can arrange for virtual field trips to places they wouldn’t be able to take their classes otherwise. Experts in specific topics can give a talk through Skype and students can collaborate with one another on projects online.

4) Tablets and eBooks

Like laptops and smartphones, tablets and e-readers are becoming increasingly popular with students outside of school. Harnessing familiar technology inside the classroom can help to engage students and help them feel more comfortable with the material since it is being presented in a format they are used to. Providing electronic copies of textbooks also allows students to go into the lesson more in depth, as links to additional material can be provided inside the text. Key concept summaries can also be provided at the end of a section, as well as digital flashcards that cover the lesson plan.

All of these devices can help teachers and schools greatly improve learning experiences for their students, but all of the benefits offered by the technology would be for nothing if it can’t be managed effectively and kept secure.

Functionality of Smart Classroom Applications

In this section, we will describe how our Smart Classroom application suite facilitates collaborative learning applications. Our Smart Classroom application suite facilitates different collaborative learning activities of a student, an instructor, and a teaching assistant. The suite also provides different functionalities for communication between the students, the teacher, and the teaching assistant

The functionalities of Smart Classroom Applications are listed below:

i) For a single student

a) The application suite reminds the student of his/her homework and class schedule based on current time and current location.

b) The application module will synchronize the lecture notes between a student’s smart phone and desktop computer before and after class.

ii) For instructor/Teaching Assistant

a) The application suite synchronizes the lecture notes between instructor or teaching assistant smart phone and desktop computer before and after class, since desktop computers have the original lecture notes.

iii) For student-to-student communication

a) The application suite enables students to exchange and share their documents in drawing.

b) It also enables students synchronize drawing document among their smart phone.

iv) For instructor/ Teaching Assistant-to-students communication

a) The application suite distributes teaching material (lecture notes/survey forms/grade sheet/course schedule) from instructor or teaching assistant to all students at proper situations.

b) The instructor can create exams for students and groups by using the application suite.

The instructor can also send exams to the students and groups and collect answers; grade

and send the grade back to the students by using the application suite.

v) For student-to-instructor/Teaching Assistant communication

a) The application suite facilitates students to store their questions or concerns in text format in their smart phone. When the instructor is available (in classroom), the questions are automatically transferred to the instructor smart phone.

b) Students submit their progress report in a similar way by using the application suite. At the end of a class, their reports are submitted to the instructor automatically.

c) Students make appointments with the instructor using their smart phone to send the request to the instructor’s smart phone and get a confirmation using the application suite.

d) Students write answers of the exams and send answers to the instructor using the application suite.

e) Students run and display their homework on the smart phone and project it on the screen with the help of the application suite.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Smart class room

Bringing technology in classrooms has been a topic of debate for the last couple of decades. While many parents, teachers, academicians and policy makers are in favour of the same, others think it is a total disaster. Let’s look into the matter and discuss some of the positives and negatives of bringing technology inside classrooms.

Advantages of Smart class  room

Access to online information: Technology tools allow learners to easily access a rich database of online resources. Teachers can use the wide variety of online information sources such as knowledge databases, online video and news items to reinforce their lessons. Learners can also quickly access the wide range of powerful tools and resources to conduct.

Allow for connectivity in different location: Interactive technology tools allow for connectivity in different locations; making ideal collaboration and distance learning environments. When using technology tools, student show to increase student-to-student collaboration and increase overall participation in the lesson.

Better understanding: It shifts the classroom experience from the sage-on-a-stage approach to a more collaborative environment. With classrooms turning into smart classrooms, students are also getting smarter! Big chunks of paragraphs are being replaced with pie charts, bar graphs and images and the theory “A picture is worth a thousand words” is coming to life.

Bridge the urban/rural divide: The smart classroom creates another opportunity to bridge the urban/rural divide by exposing students to technology in a classroom setting. Also, this classroom may be used in conjunction with our proposal for pre college outreach to allow children and teenagers to experience technology that they may not otherwise be exposed to in a rural, small town setting.

Countless resources for making learning more fun and effective: From apps to organizational platforms to e-textbooks and more, there are many amazing tools that can help .Tools  will help both students and professors alike collaborate, share ideas, stay organized, and more to get the most out of learning.

Can automate a lot of teaches tedious task: There are engagement tools like that can automate grading for you and keep track of student performance. Similarly, tools  can help him streamline grading for writing assignments, discussions, and participation, and answering common student questions, which otherwise can seem daunting due to their objective nature.The class has instant access to information that can supplement their learning experience.

Change the way of imparting knowledge: Overall, incorporating   technology tools   to the classroom environment is likely to change the way teachers impart knowledge to students and at the same time simplify the learning process for students. Students will find it easy to engage with lessons and gain a better understanding of the overall subject concept. It is an ideal tool for any classroom setting. The education field needs technology like this for students, learners, and educators to continue to grow in their field.

Environmentally friendly: Interactive technology tools     are also environmentally friendly. They offer teachers an entirely different way of presenting information to students, which eliminates the need for writing, printing or photocopying. Which, contribute to eliminate wastage from over-utilization of paper and ink.

Enhanced teaching/learning experience: Technology tools provide new ways for teachers to teach, and for student to learn. These tools support a wide variety of learning styles. For instance, visual learners can watch as their tutors use the technology tools   to project visual elements, whereas audio learners can listen and have discussions. On the other hand, the Boards come with touch screen capabilities that allow tactile learners to touch and interact with the board.

Increased exposure and wider access to information: With internet access, students are provided with great exposure as they are given a chance to think and feel outside their bubble. They come in terms with what is happening in the world and perhaps even try to change the wrong.

Technology nowadays is not only widely available but also affordable. From apps to e-textbooks to Wikipedia, no matter how far you go, all you need is the internet and information will be available to you and all other potential readers and learners.

Improved student engagement: Students who hardly raise their hands in class or the back benchers who are usually sleeping, now look forward to learning something new as these modern age tools are more relatable to them. By fostering discussions and surfacing new and out of the box ideas, technology also helps improve the student- teacher bond.

Interact and share: The interactive nature of technology tools   offers learners an opportunity to share and participate in the instructional process. Interactivity provides a platform for students to demonstrate their grasp of the subject through touching, drawing, and writing. Every learner has an opportunity to participate or contribute to the presentation and discussion .

Low-Maintenance: Technology tools are neat and easy to use. There are no hassles cleaning or maintaining whiteboards. The data on the screen can be modified using a specialized highlighting tool or pen. There is no need for using unhygienic chalk or marker pens.

Provide rapid assessment: In addition, the technology tools   provide for rapid assessment whereby learners can receive immediate feedback. Teachers and students are able to identify individual strengths and weaknesses in various subject areas and isolate areas/topics that need more focus or review. Thus smart board helps to increase the involvement of the students in learning.

Provides Flexibility: Interactive technology tools allow many different forms of media – including photos, illustrations, maps, graphs, games, and video, to be displayed. These tools help to expand the nature of content that can be used in learning. In addition,  technology tools makes learning to be more dynamic as the different forms of presenting information are readily available.

Students can learn life skills through technology: Creating presentations, learning to differentiate reliable from unreliable sources on the Internet, maintaining proper online etiquette, and writing emails; these are all vital skills that your students can learn in the classroom and master before graduation.

Technology Integration: Technology tools allows for integration of various technologies in order to improve the learning experience. For instance, it is possible to attach tools such as microscopes, document cameras, cameras or video cameras to a whiteboard to aid in instruction. It is also possible to integrate the interactive learning tools with a wide range of software applications.

Teachers can do more experiment in pedagogy: As an academic professional, teaches learn more about how to effectively design and execute a class guided with technology. Whether it’s a dramatic change such as teaching with a flipped-classroom, or just adopting a single tool for a specific project or term, he will learn something new in modern academia! Being well-versed in technology can also help build his credibility with students, and even with fellow colleagues.

Disadvantages of Smart class room  Technology In Education

A Disconnected Youth

This harmful effect of technology has already come to light in today’s world. People are attached to their screens almost 24/7, which is causing an entirely new set of social issues to pop up. This translates into the school system in a bit of a different way, however. More and more students are experiencing social anxieties when it comes to face to face interactions, but are perfectly fine socializing online.

Can foster more cheating in class and on assignments:

This will happen if the teacher give up hope on adjusting his students’ attitudes and only give them subjective assignments that require no thought or perspective.

Inevitable Cheating

While have an easy access to information may seem like a great thing, it can become a real problem in a test taking environment. Cell phones have made cheating easier than ever. You no longer have to figure out how to write all of the answers down, you can just look them up!

Inappropriate data:

With internet connectivity available 24X7, students are exposed to some sites and links which are inappropriate for them. While colleges can limit the availability of these websites on their network, they cannot control what the student is searching for.t is a bit of expensive job to set up the smart classroom environment. The biggest concern when it comes to the use of technology in schools is how easy pornographic, violent, and other inappropriate materials can be accessed and viewed. This could cause big problems if the material is shared with other students while in the classroom.

Lack of face to face interaction:

With social media platforms, students might have come closer to each other by using various apps and sites but, at the same time, they have gone far from each other when it comes to face to face interaction which is apparently affecting their real life social skills.

Lesson planning can become more labor intensive:

It can seem overwhelming to adapt technology into the classroom. In many ways though, using technology can become as natural to as any daily activity. Allow  time to learn how to use something. Chances are that students will learn it even faster than you since they’ve grown up surrounded by technology.

Possible disconnection of social interaction:

Many people are skeptical of technology and what it does to students’  ability to verbally communicate. If the teacher create assignments in class that use both technological tools as well as oral presentations and collaboration, this will teach students to be dynamic in how they learn and interact with others.

Students do not have equal access to technological resources:

There may be students who do not have iPads or cameras or even the textbooks for class. It will be up to the teacher  to point them in the direction of the library or community resources, or to create assignments that allow them to work in groups and share resources.

The Cyberbullying Trap:

Giving students access to anonymous accounts and endless contact avenues can only lead to trouble. Cyber bullying has become a real and in our face problem among young people today. This harassment has no end, which includes the class room. There is also no way to monitor or discipline students who are involved.

Technology can be a distraction:

One of the major drawbacks of having technology in classrooms is the distraction which comes complimentary with it. With so many tempting social media platforms like snap chat, Instagram, facebook, twitter and tumblr, it’s not hard for the students to divert from what is happening in the class and misuse the opportunity given to them. Attentiveness drops drastically in the classroom when students have their cell phones or other technologies out. The focus shifts from their teacher and education, to whatever they are looking at, playing, or doing on their phones.

The quality of sources  may not be top-notch:

The internet is both a blessing and a curse. The students may need some guidance on identifying proper sources and unreliable sources. Many campuses have writing centers that can help with this.

However, the need of the hour is setting up of guidelines and rules in place, teaching students about online safety and helping them understand what the good sources of information are. Apart from that, trying to restrain personal usage of internet to as less as possible in the classrooms should also be taken care of.

Conclusions:

The Smart classroom  is a one-stop resource for students needing research, technology, or writing help. The usage of this new technology must be encouraged in the current education system. The Smart classroom provide the students as well as teacher to learn through a new techniques and too in a different and interesting manner.

 

 

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Text books- An integral part of any educational system

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V. (P.G) College, Roorkee, India


The textbook is one of the important aids in the teaching learning process and has occupied a provital   sole in the education of the school students, the process of education is most of the students in india  and even in abroad can be summed up in one phrase “as is the text book so is the  teaching and learning”, As McKeachie (1994) notes, ”. . . my years of experience in attempting to assess teaching effectiveness have led me to think that the textbook, more than any other element of the course, determines student learning.”

Functions of Science Book

1. Guide: The text book serve as a guide. They become part of the syllabus white framing it. The text books play a pivotal Rolex in rural area where students relay only on text books to the maximum content.

2.  Understanding: A good  text book makes the basic concepts and principles clear by giving suitable examples.

3.  Scientific attitude: It develops scientific attitude in the students. The students looking through the    book should be fascinated to enquire or search or search  the world around them.

4.  Home study: the students can study books at their homes after getting demonstration lesson in the class.

5.  Develop Variety of skills: Science text book provide opportunity to develop a variety of skills. The learner can handle instruments in the laboratory carefully after reading precautions of the experiment.

6.  Speedy revision: Text help the pupils for systematic and speedy revision of the lesson after it has been finished.

7.  Supplement the class work: text books can be used to supplement the science curriculum. Science text books which supplement classroom work are usually recommended as reference books or encyclopedia volumes by teachers ..

8.  Economical: These are economical as texts can be used for a number of years.

9.   Accurate conclusion: Science text books help the classroom discussion to arrive at accurate  conclusion.

10.  Home work: These help the students for doing home work and the preparatory part of assignments.

Use of the Textbooks

  • It is used as a ready source of authoritative information.
  • .  A source of factual material in the preparation of assignments ..
  • To provide motivation by attractive presentation and self testing exercises.
  • A handy source of illustrations of superior teaching value which serve as visual aid for the understanding of facts and principles.
  • To supply stimulating exercises, numerical problems and other devices which would serve as a means of applying the knowledge again.
  • To help the pupils improving the subjects systematic and fixing it in memory.
  • To give the biographical and historical reading material to realize the cultural value ..
Suggestions to Students on How to Use a Textbook

  • Study assigned readings before each class. Be prepared for questions, references to those readings, and other activities building on that material.
  • Take notes in outline form as you read the text, indicate key points with a highlighter, note connections between sections, make lists of questions that come to mind or uncertainties, and pause frequently to summarize the key points of each section or chapter.
  • Compare your lists of questions and your lists of key points with those of others in the class.
  • Bring questions to class or recitation sections and ask the instructor to answer them.
  • Review the text after the class to gain additional perspective.
  • Look in supplemental texts to see how other authors present similar topics, especially if the points seem vague or unclear in the primary text. Remember that often the presentation that introduces new information, concepts, and vocabulary will seem foreign. Another presentation with a slightly different twist may help you see something differently or may confirm that you have identified key points.
  • Review the text before exams and quizzes or periodically throughout the term.
  • Study and review worked examples before attacking the homework problems. Read over questions, exercises, and problems that are not assigned and think about how to answer them. Group questions or problems by the topics they address or the methods required to solve them. Summarize by writing your own problems. Consult worked examples in other texts.

Qualities of a good science text book

1.         The author: A good text book is judged at face , by the author, his qualifications  and experience.

2.         Mechanical features of the textbook.

a)  The print and paper used and the binding of the text book should be   attractive. It should be hard and durable. The printing  should be clear, legible and appropriately spaced.

c)      The book should be well-illustrated with diagrams, sketches and pictures. The subject matter its nature and organization.

d)     The size of the point, the language and experiments discussed should suit the age of the child and standard of the child.

3.       The Subject matter

The subject matter should be developed as for as possible in Psychological sequence.  Care must be taken of the mental growth and interest of pupils.

  • Care should to see that it is related with the other subjects.
  • During treatment of subject matter, numerical examples should find place where necessary.
  • Each chapter should begin with a brief introduction and end with a summary.
  • Each chapter should contain assignments at the end.
  • Each text book should be accompanied by a laboratory manual.
  • Each text-book should contain detailed Table of Contents and an index.
  • Examples in the text book should be given from local environment and from life experience.
  • Heading and sub-headings are given in bold letters.
  • Subject matter should lead to the in calculation of scientific attitudes.
  • The English equivalents of the terms should be always given in brackets.
  • The language of the book should be simple, clear, lucid, scientific and precise.
  • The text book should give suggestions for improving scientific apparatus.
  • The text book should satisfy the objectives of science teaching
  • There should be consistency of the subject-matter

Principles of writing text books.

The UNESCO planning mission has given some principles of writing text books.  They are as follows.

i)         It should be first of all according to the requirements of the syllabus.  It should also help in the improvement of the syllabus.

ii)        The facts, concepts etc should be modern and within the comprehension of the pupils.

iii)       The contents should contain not only the established facts but also the problems which are being researched and thereby arousing the interest in the pupils in these problems.

iv)       It should help in linking up science with life and practice.  The pupils should be equipped with ‘know – how’ utilizing the knowledge in everyday life.

Characteristics of a good  text book:

It is not only the subject matter and flow of language but the mechanical features like the paper the printing etc…also play an important role in the selection of a text book.

The following points should be kept in mind while selecting a text book for science.

1. The authors – this qualification and experience Only that person who has a certain amount of experience of teaching subject should be encourage to write a book because he can only be the better judge of teaching learning process. Certain minimum academic qualification should be prescribed for the author.

2. Mechanical features of the text book:

The quality of the paper should be fine, the printing should be appealing and the binding of the text book should be attractive. The size of the print should be according to the students. The book should contain good illustrations with sketches, diagrams, picture etc… as the Chinese saying goes “one picture is worth a thousand words”.

3. The subject matter – Its nature and organization:

The subject matter should follow the psychological sequence .it should be according to the mental age and interests of the students. Each chapter should start with a brief introduction and end with a summary.The text book should be according to the aims and objectives of science teaching. There should be harmony of the subject matter.

  • Each text book should be accompanied by a laboratory manual or hand book
  • It is better correlated with daily life situations and other subjects too
  • It should cover the whole syllabus
  • Only standard terminology is regional languages should be used
  • Quotations should be in italics
  • Text book should certain headings and sub-headings in bold type
  • The book should also mention teaching aids
  • The book should be reasonably priced
  • The language of the matter should be simple and precise
  • The text book should contain a detailed table of contents and an index
  • There must be a teacher’s guide book for each text – book for the help of the teacher
  • To facilitate learning, some good methods of learning should be suggested
  • Use of community resources should be given due emphasis

The Score- card Method of Evaluating Science text book

Various score cards and check lists have been devised to make the selection of text books as objective as possible. All the major factors considered important in evaluating text books are listed and assigned a certain number of points to establish the relative weight of each.

Vogel’s Criteria of Selection

Another kind of score card, designed to speed up the process of evaluation, is the “spot check” method illustrated by Vogel Louis F known as ‘Vogel’s Spot Check Evaluation Scale.’ Cited in Thurber and Collete (1964), on this score card, each item has been assigned a maximum value of two points. The value of each item under each head is totalled against the part score. The part scores of each head are then counted and the overall value is written against the space for partial score.

VOGEL’S SPOT CHECK TEXT BOOK EVALUATION SALE

Textbook………………………………………………………………….

Author…………………………………………………………………….

Publisher………………………………………………………………….

Copyright year……………………………………………………………

Score……………………………………………………………………..

1.       Qualification of author

(See the title page, preface to text book and preface to  teachers manual)

1.         The author has taught  the subject about which he is writing

2.         The author holds advanced degree in related fields

3.         The author has received assistance form specialists in preparing his manuscript.

4.         The author has tried put his material in classroom situations

5.         The author’s point of view, theory, or philosophy is in harmony with that of my school.

Partial Score……………..

II.        Organization

(See table of contents, the preface, the section headings through one unit, and the end of one chapter)

1.         There is a central theme which correlates the whole textbook.                       (    )

2.         The textbook is organized into units which are based on student

interested and probability of use in everyday life.                               (   )

3.         The organization makes use of topics already taught in my school    (    )

4.         Questions at the end of chapters are graded explicitly in difficulty  (    )

5.         Problems at the end of chapters are graded properly.                          (  )                                                                                            Partial Score……………..

III.      Content

(See table of contents, index and five next pages)

1.         The text book contains all the topics necessary for my course.          (  )

2.         Material from one part of the textbook is cross-referenced

with similar material in another part of the book.                                (  )

3.         The historical development of science is given some place.               (  )

4.         Topics dealing with latest advances of science, such as

atomic energy are included                                                                       (  )

5.         The social significance of science is stressed.                                       (  )

Partial Score……………..

IV.      Presentation of material

(See any five introduction to chapters, or problems)

1.                  The inductive approach is used wherever possible in introducing

a new topic.                                                                                                  ( )

2.                  The problem solving aspect of scientific method is stressed.              (  )

3.                  The author’s style is informal and interesting                                         (  )

4.                  Unfamiliar scientific terms are set in italics or bold face.                    (  )

5.                  Important principles are set in italics or boldface.                                (  )

Partial Score……………..

V.        Accuracy

(Select any five topics in the index and look them up in the text)

1.         All the items I looked up are on the pages indicated in the index.     (  )

2.         The items I looked up are scientifically correct                                                (  )

3.         Technological expressions are avoided                                                   (  )

4.         Personification is avoided                                                                         (  )

5.         No ambiguity is apparent.                                                                          (  )

Partial Score……………..

VI.      Readability

1.         The average number of words per sentence is below 21.                    (  )

2.         Sixty percent of the sentences are simple or compound, as

opposed to complex                                                                                               (  )

3.         There are at least four personal references per 100 words.                 (  )

4.         There is at least one application for each abstract principle               (  )

5.         There are not more than 42 affixes per 100 words.                               (  )

Partial Score……………..

VII.     Adaptability

(See table of contents and any five text pages)

1.         The textbook is satisfactory for slow, average and brilliant students.            (  )

2.         Students with rural and city backgrounds will find the text useful       (  )

3.         The textbook is arranged so that certain section can readily

be omitted.                                                                                                   (  )

4.         The authors treat controversial subjects impartially                              (  )

5.         In general the text fits my particular community needs.                       (  )

Partial Score……………..

VIII    Teaching aids

(See end of chapters, appendix, and teacher’s manual) (  )

1.         Summaries, questions and problems at the ends of chapters

are adequate                                                                                                 (   )

2.         References for teachers and students are annotated.                            (   )

3.         Appendix materials is pertinent and useful                                            (  )       4.         The teacher’s manual is more than an answer book.                                    (   )

5.         An annotated up-to-date film list is provided

Partial Score……………..

IX.      Illustration

(See any 10 illustrations)

1.         The illustrations are relatively modern                                                   (   )

2.         The photographic reproductions are large and clear.                             (   )

3.         The line cuts are well drawn and adequately labeled                           (   )

4.         The figures are tied into the textual material by direct reference.      (   )

5.         The legends under the illustrations are useful learning devices.        (   )

Partial Score……………..

X.        Appearance

(See cover and leaf through the text)

1.         The appearance of the cover is attractive.                                              (   )

2.         The size and shape of the textbook would not be a handicap

to students                                                                                                   (   )

3.         The placement of the illustrations is pleasing.                                       (   )

4.         The design of most pages is open, rather than crowded.                      (   )

5.         The size of the type makes for easy reading.                                          (   )

Partial Score……………..

Advantages of Using Textbooks

Books are a highly portable form of information and can be accessed when, where, and at whatever rate and level of detail the reader desires. Research indicates that, for many people, visual processing (i.e., reading) is faster than auditory processing (i.e., listening to lectures), making textbooks a very effective resource (McKeachie, 1994). Reading can be done slowly, accompanied by extensive note taking, or it can be done rapidly, by skimming and skipping. There are advantages to both styles, and you may find it useful to discuss their merits with your students.

One important aspect of any science class is helping the student to make sense of the mass of information and ideas in a field. This can be done by showing students how to arrange information in a meaningful hierarchy of related major and minor concepts. Well-chosen textbooks help students understand how information and ideas can be organized.

Disadvantages of Using Textbook

Textbooks have several major limitations. Although a well-written book can engage and hold student interest, it is not inherently interactive. However, if students are encouraged to ask questions while they read, seek answers within the text, and identify other sources to explore ideas not contained in the text, they will become active readers and gain the maximum benefit from their textbook. In order to meet the needs of a broad audience, texts are often so thick that they overwhelm students seeking key information. Texts are often forced to rely on historical or dated examples, and they rarely give a sense of the discovery aspects and disorganization of information facing modern researchers.

Conclusion:

Thus the text book is an integral part of any educational system. Even in the advanced countries of any the world, where the techniques of teaching learning have advanced a lot the text book is almost the role determinant of what is taught. That text book should not be used as the only source of instructional materials. It should be used as an aid in teaching.

In the teaching-learning process, the text-book occupies an important place.  There is a saying “As is the text-book, so is the teaching learning”.  A good text-book can even replace class room teaching.  The science text book should climate aiding the pupils in the development of their personalities, in developing open mindedness, developing appreciation and under standing of natural not merely stuffing their minds with facts.

 

 

 

 

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SCIENCE LABORATORY FOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V. (P.G) College, Roorkee, India


A major principle of good science facilities planning is to avoid building for a single curricular model. Since continued change in educational trends is inevitable, any plans for science space should allow as much flexibility as possible to avoid the expense and considerable inconvenience of reconfiguring the space later.

Types of Science Rooms

In high school, science rooms are almost always specially designed, separate teaching spaces. As in middle schools, the increasing integration of science curricula makes it even more important to ensure that the school’s facilities do not limit the types of subjects and strategies that can be used. Given sufficient space, flexible furniturearrangements, and appropriate equipment, almost any type of science instruction can be possible in most spaces.

Space Requirements

Class size is an important design factor because it helps determine the amount of space and number of workstations needed. To accommodate current technology needs and teaching practices, a good science room will generally require:

• a minimum of 4 m2 (45 ft2) per student for a stand-alone laboratory, 100 m2 (1,080 ft2) for a class of 24 students
• a minimum of 5 m2 (60 ft2) per student for a combination laboratory/classroom, 134 m2 (1,440 ft2) for a class of 24 students.

An additional space of 1.4 m2 (15 ft2) is needed for each computer station and 1.8 m2 (20 ft2) for a workstation to accommodate a student with disabilities. At least 0.9 m2 (10 ft2) per student is needed for teacher preparation space, equipment storage, and separate chemical storage. Space is also needed for longer-term student projects.

A ceiling height of 3 m (10 ft) is desirable for a science room. This is particularly important for classes in physics, where some investigations may require a high ceiling, and in chemistry, where an investigation may produce clouds of smoke. Using a projection screen that is 1.8 x 2.4 m (6 x 8 ft) won’t work well in a room with a ceiling less than 2.7 m (9 ft) high because tables and desks will block the lower portions of the screen. Under no circumstances should the classroom ceiling be lower than 2.4 m (8 ft).

For safety and flexibility, a rectangular room at least 9 m (30 ft) wide, without alcoves, is recommended. The room should have at least two exits and doorways that accommodate students with physical disabilities.

The Combination Laboratory/Classroom- The combination classroom and laboratory requires a larger room, but it has several advantages over a stand-alone laboratory, including providing maximum instructional options and the most flexible use of space. The combination laboratory/classroom is more in keeping with the best practice recommendations for science instruction where laboratory activities are freely intermingled with classroom instruction.

The two most popular arrangements are:

1. A room with fixed student workstations and a separate section for classroom instruction.
2. A room that has a flexible arrangement, with utilities at the perimeter and movable tables that can form various configurations for laboratory and classroom work.

In all room arrangements, there should be a minimum of 1.2 m (4 ft) between the perimeter counters and the areas for general and group seating, and at least 1.2 m around each grouping of tables. In classroom format, provide a minimum of 2.4 m from the front wall to the first tables. The teacher will then be able to easily move around and have use of a table and equipment.

Installed workstations should always allow an aisle space of at least 1.2 m between the perimeter cabinets and the rows of students.

A popular design for fixed stations is the trifocal utility island (triple table hub), as shown in the diagram. Movable tables are drawn to the three longer sides of these six-sided islands, creating work areas for students who share large, deep sinks that they access from the three narrower sides. Gas, electrical outlets, and computer date wiring can be installed at the three longer sides adjacent to the tables. Each trifacial unit can accommodate three large tables (1220 x 1370 mm [48 x 54 in]) or six small tables (530 x 1370 mm [21 x 54 in]) or (610 x 1370 mm [24 x 54 in]), and thus provide laboratory work space for 12 students.

The tables may be combined and rearranged as necessary to permit activities required in the various disciplines. Tables are available with electrical “pigtails” and outlets that plug into the hub units providing power and data wiring to the far end of the table for computers and other electrical equipment.

Fixed rectangular stations with central sinks can be modified to provide a 1.8 m (6 ft) long work surface, but these sinks are hard to cover because the faucets are in the center of the table. Both types of workstations can be equipped with sockets for apparatus rods, if desired, and outlets for computer network connections. Various storage compartments for supplies and equipment can be installed beneath the counters of these stations.

The classroom portion of the room should be as flexible as possible and provide various arrangements for student seating. Desk and chair combinations, tablet arm chairs, or tables with chairs may be used. The laboratory tables from the trifacial units can be rearranged for the classroom seating, but moving the tables takes some time.

A flexible room arrangement. In the flexible laboratory/classroom, sinks and utilities are located on perimeter counters, and students use movable flat-topped laboratory tables for both classroom and laboratory activities. This design makes the most efficient use of space and renders the room available to a variety of uses. The flexible room is also more easily modified than a laboratory/classroom with fixed workstations or service islands.

Flat-topped tables used as student workstations allow multiple arrangements and combinations for laboratory work and small-group activities that would not be possible with sloping tops.

Two tables, each seating two students on a side, form a workstation when placed together against a counter with the longer table sides perpendicular to the counter. Each group of four students has a sink, a source of heat, such as gas or a hot plate, electric power for equipment and computers, and often, networking connections. The sinks should be installed so that when the tables are drawn up to the counters there is enough space between the

Flexible lab/classroom with computer carts tables for students to easily access the sinks. Gas jets, if used, are between the sinks.

Furnishings

The following describes the needs of a flexible laboratory/classroom with movable tables and perimeter counters, sinks and utilities.

Sinks. Sinks for student investigations should be fairly wide and deep (380 x 380 mm [15 x 15 in]) with swiveling gooseneck faucets that allow students to fill and clean large containers. A good rule of thumb is to provide one sink for four students. Resin sinks are recommended because they resist chemical corrosion.

All sinks should have hot and cold water. This minimizes the need for separate heating facilities in many investigations and improves student hygiene. Schools should be mindful of the maximum temperature for hot water and keep it safely below the scalding point.

It is also an advantage to have a large, deep sink with hot and cold water and adjacent counter space for various purposes such as cleaning large containers.

Work space. For work space, counters 915 mm (36 in.) high and tables 760 mm (30 in.) High are convenient for most students. Countertops should be at least 610 mm (24 in.) deep. A counter depth of 760 mm (30 in.) will provide increased work space. Chairs or stools may be used for seating, but tall stools are not advisable, for safety reasons.

Counter tops should be made of resin or a similar chemical-resistant material. They must be caulked using clear silicone between the back splash and the wall and along any other joints. Standard back splashes are 100 mm (4 in.) high. They should also run along the counter beside any tall cabinets, all fume hoods, and other surfaces that interrupt or are set into the counte rtop. Near water sources, always, always use one-piece countertops with backsplashes and no seams.

Flat-topped, movable tables 610 mm (24 in.) wide, 1370 mm (54 in.) long, and 760 mm (30 in.) high can be used for both classroom and laboratory work and may be pushed together to form larger surfaces. The tables should be large enough so two students can sit on one side. Allow at least 200 mm (8 in.) between the bottom of the table and the chair seat. Each student needs a knee space 610 mm wide or as close to it as possible. Most 1220 mm (48 in,) long resin-topped utility tables have knee space only 915 mm (36 in.) wide – not wide enough for two – because the legs at each end reduce the amount of space under the table.

These tables should have tops made of resin or a similar material and equipped with sockets for apparatus rods.

For durability, the best choice is an oak-framed utility table with a resin top. The connection between the leg and table frame is critical for the durability of these other-wise sturdy tables In the strongest design, a bolt passing through the plate and leg is held in place with a nut and washer. Since these tables will be subject to a lot of abuse, the strongest table is worth the extra expense.

Many teachers prefer to use a movable table because they feel that a fixed table at the front of the room separates them from the students and interferes with students’ access to the board. A mobile teacher’s table can have base cabinets, drawers, knee space, and its own water, gas and electrical service.

For safety reasons, workstations for chemistry classes and specialized chemistry laboratories should be at standing height and all stools and chairs should be removed. Biology classes require seating for microscope work.

Physics teachers need a clear work surface at least 1.8 m long for equipment such as air tracks. Many standard designs for science casework should be specified as needed.

Physics teachers aso like long, flat tables with apparatus rods clamped to the edges or fitted into sockets recessed into the top. C-clamp apparatus rods have limited clamp depth and can be used only with tabletops no more than 30 mm (1 ½ in.) thick. Fixed rod sockets should be specified only in cases where they are essential, because they limit flexibility and interrupt the smooth surface of a tabletop making it difficult for students to take notes.

Storage. It is desirable to provide base cabinets and countertops along at least two walls for storage and additional work space. High-quality cabinets, such as those made of marine-grade plywood with plastic laminate fronts, should be a priority. Avoid particleboard assembly for casework because this material is affected by moisture.

Every room needs several types of base cabinets. Consider units with drawers of various sizes, drawer and door units with adjustable shelves, and tote-tray cabinets that allow the teacher to store all items for a class or activity in one bin. Tote-tray cabinets are also useful for storing student laboratory kits that can be brought out at laboratory time and make-up work.

Wall cabinets are typically either 305 mm (12 in.) or 380 mm (15 in.) deep, and should be mounted about 460 mm (18 in.) above the countertop. Bookshelves should be at least 255 mm (10 in.) deep and adjustable to different heights.

Cabinets of various heights and depths are needed for specialized storage of items such as rock and mineral samples for Earth science; a skeleton on a rolling stand, microscopes, and glassware for biology and life science, and stands for aquariums, terrariums, and plants. Physical science makes extensive use of materials and equipment of varying sizes, types and weights.

Display space. Chalkboards, marker boards, and tack boards are hung at roughtly counter height. Dry erase marker boards are often used in place of chalkboards because chalk dust can be harmful to computers and people. However, there is also concern about the toxicity of the permanent markers and manufacturers’ information should be studied. Sliding, multiple-panel

Sliding panel markerboards with shelving behind boards can be used to extend a marker board without requiring more wall space.

The instructional focus area may support a variety of presentation formats, including video, laser disc, slides, projected microscope images, and overhead projection. Since a movable teacher’s demonstration table is frequently used, controls, including light dimmers, can be installed in a wall panel easily accessible to the teacher.

Provisions should be made for suspending objects from the ceiling. Tracks with sliding hooks can replace the standard “T-bar” grid of pipes and provide a variety of places for hanging various teaching aids and models. The suspension system for this grid must be much stronger than the typical ceiling grid. A less sophisticated solution is to suspend several 25 mm (1 in.) diameter steel pipes beneath the ceiling using standard pipe clamps, and then to tie or clamp the items to these pipes. The pipes must be suspended from a suitable structure, such as joists from the floor above. The hooks should have at least a 23 kg (50 lb.) Capacity, and each pipe should hold at least 90 kg (200 lb). It is advisable to over-design the suspension system.

Utilities.- Classrooms will need plenty of duplex electrical outlets carrying standard household current on separate circuits to avoid overload, all with ground-fault interrupters (GFIs) for safety. Analyze the equipment that will be used to determine if any higher voltages are needed. DC power can be provided by small cells, not automotive storage batteries, or by portable units that plug into AC outlets and are protected by circuit breakers.

To ensure future flexibility for the science program, all classrooms should have wiring with multiple outlets for voice, video, and data network connections. Many schools are using fiberoptic cable for long hallway runs, but most still use copper wire in classrooms. Two-way voice communication between every classroom and the office is essential.

Science rooms need power and data lines at each student workstation. It is never safe to run wires or conduits across a classroom floor to provide power to workstations or equipment in the center of the room.

Do not use the old tombstone-type floor outlets that are fixed and stick up above the floor because these are tripping hazards and greatly reduce the flexibility of the room. Also avoid floor outlets flush with the floor or hinged brass cover plates that can break off easily, exposing the outlet to dirt and spills.

Extra care should be taken to investigate the pros and cons with respect to safety of each alternative, especially the floor boxes, and to ensure that everyone, including the custodial staff, is informed of procedures for the safe use of the floor boxes.

Gas is used less often than in the past because it is expensive and requires particular caution and diligence. It is primarily used in chemistry. If the science program requires its use, gas should be installed at the perimeter, near the sinks. When gas is provided by a central system, an emergency shut-off valve, activated by pushing a highly visible button, is needed. A central control valve that enables the teacher to shut off the gas in the room is useful.

Emergency shut-off controls for water, electrical service, and gas should be near the teacher’s station, not far from the door, and not easily accessible to students.

Distilled water is used almost daily in high school science, and most schools build in their own still system. Remember to provide storage space for these units in a preparation or storage room.

Fume hoods are used in certain physical science, chemistry, and life science classes and are required in laboratories where hazardous or vaporous chemicals are used. Either a trifacial fume hood or two fume hoods are needed for advanced chemistry classes.

Computers

The use of computers in high school science classrooms is growing. A class of 24 students will need at least six computer docking stations with connection points to the school’s and the district’s computer network.

The location of computer stations depends on the nature of the classroom. Computers should be stationed as far away from chalkboards and sources of water as possible. Desktop computers are often mounted on rolling carts that can be docked at wall stations or moved to any part of the room.

When planning space for the computer carts next to the various table configurations, allow space for the length of the cart, seating at the cart, and clear passage behind the seating. The depth of the docking space should be roughly 1.5 m (5 ft), to accommodate the cart and allow 0.9 m (3 ft) or more of clearance for a seated student. The aisle behind the seated student should be at least 1.5 m wide, to allow free movement behind the cart.

If computers are to be installed at permanent locations, provide counter space no higher than 810 mm (32 in), with knee space beneath. If the power outlet is beneath the counter or a tower unit is being used, leave a 50 mm (2 in,) diameter hole with a rubber grommet in the counter top for the wire connections. Do not mount computers near sinks for two reasons: the most obvious reason is that computers can be damaged by water. The other is that standard counter tops are too high for comfortable computer use.

In response to continued reductions in the prices of laptop computers, many schools are moving toward their use, installing the appropriate wiring and connecting them to the network. The laptops can be locked in the storage room for security and recharging and to avoid the risk of accidental exposure to water or chemicals during laboratory investigations. These laptops will need network cards recognized by the school’s file server. The room would also benefit from having a high-speed printer for reproducing student reports using the laptops.

Laboratory safety

Laboratory safety is the key to reducing injury and illness.  There are many exposures in the laboratory that pose a hazard to your health and you may have never considered them as a hazard before.  It is important to have proper training so you, as the employee, are aware of the potential dangers that may threaten your health or life.

Working in a laboratory can be an exciting experience.  It can also pose many threats and hazards that a traditional classroom does not.  That is why it is important to know your surroundings.  Know where the exits to your room are. There may be more than one exit which could be critical in the case of an emergency.

It is also recommended to be aware of the fire extinguishers in location to your laboratory.  In order to fight a fire one must undergo the proper training. In the event of a fire, the first response is to evacuate the area and notify the fire department!  Any campus phone will initially direct calls to the ISU Police Dept. and from there the fire dept. will be dispatched.  Know where the fire alarm is in proximity to your laboratory.

Know What Hazards are Present in  Lab

Chemicals can pose a significant hazard. They should be limited to the use under a properly working fume hood.  Chemicals can release hazardous vapors which not only harm the environment, but they can be a major health threat. They must be handled carefully and disposed of properly.

When a chemical is in the laboratory, the hazards of that chemical must be communicated to you.  According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) is required to relay information regarding procedures, equipment, PPE, and work practices that are capable of protecting employees from health hazards.

Your supervisor is in charge of providing the information contained in the CHP to you.

Suggested guidelines for Lab Safety

The following guidelines have been established to minimize the hazards in a laboratory setting.  It is important to take responsibility for your actions and to keep in mind that irresponsible acts could have lasting future effects.

Personal Habits

  Do not eat, drink, smoke, chew gum or apply cosmetics, or remove/insert contact lenses while in the laboratory

  Do not store food or beverages in the lab or in chemical refrigerator

  Do not mouth pipette

  Wash hands before leaving laboratory or after handling contaminated material

Chemical Hygiene

Methods and observations used to detect the presence or release of chemicals will be specific to your lab.

A good indication of the presence of a chemical is to rely on your senses.

Some chemicals can only be handled under certain conditions.  It is important to use proper handling procedures and practices as advised.

The emergency procedures for chemical accidents is to first evacuate the area and then notify your supervisor, ISU campus police and EHS office if necessary.

Labeling

It is important to know as much about a chemical as possible.  The most dangerous substance is the one that has no label.  Communicating information is essential in the science field.

MSDS

In addition to labeling in a laboratory, the next most important type of communication regarding hazards is the MSDS.  This is the acronym for Material Safety Data Sheet.  This will communicate the information necessary regarding hazards associated with chemicals and also biological agents.

The MSDS to every chemical in your lab must be available to you.  It may be in a notebook in your labor available over the internet.  Make sure you find the location of the MSDSs in your room.

When to use PPE

Chemical usage poses a variety of hazards.  They can be flammable, corrosive, even toxic just to name a few.  Taking all precautions to avoid physical and/or health problems  is the number one goal.  You can never be too cautious!

Proper Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Knowing how to properly use PPE can be the key to adequate protection.  Not only do you want to make sure it is the proper size for you, but also make sure you are wearing it properly.  If it is too big or too small, it is not right for you! Let your supervisor know if you need a different size.

Safty against “Sharp”

A sharp is defined as any instrument, tool, or item that has rigid, acute edges, protuberances or corners capable of cutting, piercing, ripping or puncturing such as syringes, blades, and broken glass.  Items that have the potential for shattering or breaking are also considered sharps

When using a sharp there is a risk of being cut by the object and possible infection occurring depending on what the sharp was used for.  If hypodermic needles are used, special precautions must be taken to reduce the risk of a needlestick.  After use of the needle do not recap, place directly in the sharp container.

All sharps must be placed into a rigid, puncture and leak-resistant container that is also impervious to moisture.  The sharps container must be labeled either with “Biohazard” or “Infectious Waste”. Do not over fill the sharps container.

When the sharps container is full it must be collected by the EHS office.  A waste pick-up form can be completed and a collection can be scheduled.

Signs and Labeling

Chemical labeling has been briefly touched on earlier One must remember that if any chemical is transferred to a secondary container, this container must be labeled.  If the chemical will be used by the end of the work shift, then labeling is not necessary.  Good science practices would encourage you to label all containers.

Signs

Labs which use recombinant DNA and infectious agents must have a sign posted on the outside of the door.  Before someone enters the lab, they will have the information they need to protect themselves.  Always read the signs carefully so you know what precautions to take.

Biological Safety Cabinet

The biological safety cabinet (BSC) is used as a containment for infectious agents.  The BSC has a HEPA filter in the exhaust system to protect the environment and yourself.

Decontamination

Decontamination is the removal or neutralization of toxic agents or the use of physical or chemical means to remove, inactivate, or destroy living organisms. This includes both sterilization and disinfection.

Decontamination is the responsibility of all laboratory workers.  Failure to decontaminate can result in exposure to infectious agents which can cause great illness.  Most decontamination can be done by chemicals.  This technique is used only when autoclaving is not possible. Continue on to see what would be best for your lab.

Chemicals

There are a variety of chemicals that can be used as an effective method of decontamination.  Depending on the agent being used, the method to use may vary along with the contact time.  For most organisms, a 1:100 chlorine solution for 10-30 minutes is adequate.  The Biosafety Manual has a list of sterilizers/ disinfectants that can be used.

Autoclave

The autoclave is the most effective method to use for decontamination purposes. As a general rule of thumb, autoclave all materials that are considered infectious agent, recombinant DNA, or resemble components of this nature.  When in doubt, AUTOCLAVE!  If a material is not capable of autoclave because of its size, material, or it is stationary, then rely on chemical disinfectant as a second option.

Spills and Accidents

Spills and accidents can pose a serious health and safety threat.  When a spill occurs, an aerosol can be created which can make the material several times more potent.  The best measure to take in order to protect yourself is to be prepared.  There should be standard operating procedures for this type of situation in your lab.

Being able to recognize the hazards, mitigate the spill, and notifying response authorities can be your best defense.  The first response to a spill should be to evacuate the immediate area until the scope of the hazard has been addressed. Seek medical attention if necessary.  Allow sufficient time for the aerosol to settle before considering entering the room.  If you are responsible for clean up, proper training shall be addressed.

When a spill occurs, it must be reported. Report to your supervisor all spills.  If medical attention is needed, it is suggested to go to Student Health Services.  All injuries that are a result of a spill must be reported to EHS.

Waste Management

  Hazardous and biohazardous waste has special guidelines for proper disposal.  It is important to properly dispose of waste to ensure human and environmental health.  EPA regulates the waste that is generated at ISU.

  Waste can be classified as either hazardous or biohazardous.  Let’s take a closer look at the differences.

  Hazardous Waste- This is a waste which contains the characteristics of being any of the following:

  A biohazardous waste is any waste that is considered infectious and/or because of its biological nature it can cause physical or health hazards in humans, animals, plants or the environment.  This includes recombinant DNA and other genetically altered organisms and agents.

Proper Disposal

Waste that is considered biohazardous can be disposed of in regular trash once it has been rendered non-infectious.  If a biohazard labeled bag is used, make sure it is either placed in a secondary bag or a completely new bag that is not red.  Hazardous waste must be disposed of through the Environmental Health & Safety office.

 

 

 

 

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SCIENCE- Nature and Methodology

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V. (P.G) College, Roorkee, India


The word `Science ` is derived from the Latin word termed as “Scientia” which has the meaning ` to Know `. Science can be defined in a number of ways.

Science has been defined as a body of knowledge obtained by scientists. The body of knowledge includes facts, concepts, theories and laws that are subjected to rigorous testing. Scientific information is constantly modified, rearrange and reoriented in the light of recent developments.

According to the Columbia dictionary “Science is an accumulated & systematized learning, in general usage restricted to natural phenomenon.”

According to ‘Science Manpower Project’, “Science is a cumulative and endless series of empirical observation which result in the formation of concepts & theories, with both concepts & theories being subject of modification in the light of further empirical observation. Science is both a body of knowledge & the process of acquiring & refining knowledge.”

According to Griggs, “In the literal sense science means the pursuit of knowledge but it has a wider connotation for our purpose, and can be said to mean a knowledge of nature in the widest possible form.”

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF SCIENCE

Six Criteria of Science: Consistent, Observable, Natural, Predictable, Testable, and Tentative.

1. Consistency: The results of repeated observations and/or experiments concerning a naturally occurring  phenomenon are reasonably the same when performed and repeated by competent investigators.

2. Observability: Evidence of the occurrence of the event, can be observed and explained. The observations are limited to the basic human senses or to extensions of the senses by such things as electron microscopes etc.

3. Natural: A natural cause  must be used to explain why or how the naturally occurring event happens. Scientists may not use supernatural explanations as to why or how naturally occurring events happen because reference to the supernatural is outside of the realm of science.

4. Predictability: The natural cause  of the naturally occurring event can be used to make specific predictions. Each prediction can be tested to determine if the prediction is true of false.

5. Testability: The natural cause  of the naturally occurring event must be testable through the processes of science, controlled experimentation being only one of these. Reference to supernatural events or causes are not relevant tests.

6. Tentativeness: Scientific theories are subject to revision and correction, even to the point of the theory being proven wrong. Scientific theories have been modified and will continue to be modified to consistently explain observations of naturally occurring events.

Basis of Science

Science share certain basic beliefs and attitudes about what they do and how they view their work.

The World Is Understandable

Science presumes that the things and events in the universe occur in consistent patterns that are comprehensible through careful, systematic study. Scientists believe that through the use of the intellect, and with the aid of instruments that extend the senses, people can discover patterns in all of nature.

Science also assumes that the universe is, as its name implies, a vast single system in which the basic rules are everywhere the same.

Scientific Ideas Are Subject To Change

Science is a process for producing knowledge. The process depends both on making careful observations of phenomena and on inventing theories for making sense out of those observations. Change in knowledge is inevitable because new observations may challenge prevailing theories.

Scientific Knowledge Is Durable

Although scientists reject the notion of attaining absolute truth and accept some uncertainty as part of nature, most scientific knowledge is durable. The modification of ideas, rather than their outright rejection, is the norm in science, as powerful constructs tend to survive and grow more precise and to become widely accepted

Science Cannot Provide Complete Answers to all  matters

There are many matters that cannot usefully be examined in a scientific way. There are, for instance, beliefs that—by their very nature—cannot be proved or disproved (such as the existence of supernatural powers and beings, or the true purposes of life).

SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY

Fundamentally, the various scientific disciplines are alike in their reliance on evidence, the use of hypothesis and theories, the kinds of logic used, and much more.

Scientific inquiry is not easily described apart from the context of particular investigations. There simply is no fixed set of steps that scientists always follow, no one path that leads them unerringly to scientific knowledge.

Science Demands Evidence

Sooner or later, the validity of scientific claims is settled by referring to observations of phenomena. Hence, scientists concentrate on getting accurate data. Such evidence is obtained by observations and measurements taken in situations that range from natural settings (such as a forest) to completely contrived ones (such as the laboratory

Science Is a Blend of Logic and Imagination

The use of logic and the close examination of evidence are necessary but not usually sufficient for the advancement of science. Scientific concepts do not emerge automatically from data or from any amount of analysis alone. Inventing hypotheses or theories to imagine how the world works and then figuring out how they can be put to the test of reality is as creative as writing poetry, composing music, or designing skyscrapers.

Science Explains and Predicts

The essence of science is validation by observation. But it is not enough for scientific theories to fit only the observations that are already known. Theories should also fit additional observations that were not used in formulating the theories in the first place; that is, theories should have predictive power. Demonstrating the predictive power of a theory does not necessarily require the prediction of events in the future. The predictions may be about evidence from the past that has not yet been found or studied.

Scientists Try to Identify and Avoid Bias

When faced with a claim that something is true, scientists respond by asking what evidence supports it. But scientific evidence can be biased in how the data are interpreted, in the recording or reporting of the data, or even in the choice of what data to consider in the first place. Scientists’ nationality, sex, ethnic origin, age, political convictions, and so on may incline them to look for or emphasize one or another kind of evidence or interpretation.

Bias attributable to the investigator, the sample, the method, or the instrument may not be completely avoidable in every instance, but scientists want to know the possible sources of bias and how bias is likely to influence evidence. Scientists want, and are expected, to be as alert to possible bias in their own work as in that of other scientists, although such objectivity is not always achieved.

Science is not Authoritarian

It is appropriate in science, as elsewhere, to turn to knowledgeable sources of information and opinion, usually people who specialize in relevant disciplines. But esteemed authorities have been wrong many times in the history of science. In the long run, no scientist, however famous or highly placed, is empowered to decide for other scientists what is true, for none are believed by other scientists to have special access to the truth. There are no pre-established conclusions that scientists must reach on the basis of their investigations. When someone comes up with a new or improved version that explains more phenomena or answers more important questions than the previous version, the new one eventually takes its place.

Domains of science

Science as an enterprise has individual, social, and institutional dimensions. Scientific activity is one of the main features of the contemporary world and, perhaps more than any other, distinguishes our times from earlier centuries.

Science Is a Complex Social Activity

Scientific work involves many individuals doing many different kinds of work and goes on to some degree in all nations of the world. Men and women of all ethnic and national backgrounds participate in science and its applications.

As a social activity, science inevitably reflects social values and viewpoints.

The direction of scientific research is affected by informal influences within the culture of science itself, such as prevailing opinion on what questions are most interesting or what methods of investigation are most likely to be fruitful.

Science goes on in many different settings. Scientists are employed by universities, hospitals, business and industry, government, independent research organizations, and scientific associations.

Science Is Organized Into Content Disciplines and Is Conducted in Various Institutions

Organizationally, science can be thought of as the collection of all of the different scientific fields, or content disciplines. From anthropology through zoology, there are dozens of such disciplines. They differ from one another in many ways, including history, phenomena studied, techniques and language used, and kinds of outcomes desired. With respect to purpose and philosophy, however, all are equally scientific and together make up the same scientific endeavor

Universities, industry, and government are also part of the structure of the scientific endeavor. Universities, are also particularly committed to educating successive generations of scientists, mathematicians, and engineers. Industries and businesses usually emphasize research directed to practical ends, but many also sponsor research that has no immediately obvious applications, partly on the premise that it will be applied fruitfully in the long run

There Are Generally Accepted Ethical Principles in the Conduct of Science

Most scientists conduct themselves according to the ethical norms of science. The strongly held traditions of accurate recordkeeping, openness, and replication, buttressed by the critical review of one’s work by peers, serve to keep the vast majority of scientists well within the bounds of ethical professional behavior. Sometimes, however, the pressure to get credit for being the first to publish an idea or observation leads some scientists to withhold information or even to falsify their findings. Such a violation of the very nature of science impedes science. When discovered, it is strongly condemned by the scientific community and the agencies that fund research.

The Nature of Science

The nature of science is a multifaceted concept that defies simple definition. It includes aspects of history, sociology, and philosophy of science, and has variously been defined as science epistemology, the characteristics of scientific knowledge, and science as a way of knowing.

The “Nature of Science” consists of those seldom-taught but very important features of working science, e.g., its realm and limits, its levels of uncertainty, its biases, its social aspects, and the reasons for its reliability. Popular ignorance of these features of science has lead to many misuses, misrepresentations and abuses of science.

Science has its limits; it cannot be used to solve any kind of problem. Science can only address natural phenomena (not supernatural phenomena, as such), and only natural explanations can be used in science. Supernatural or magical explanations cannot be definitively or reliably tested . Natural explanations are testable (open to being disproved) by being shown not to consistently follow the rules of nature. The fact that the most highly credible concepts in science today have survived such critical testing attests to the practical reliability of scientific knowledge and the processes of science that created that knowledge.

Problems that require subjective, political, religious, ethical or esthetic judgment are generally beyond the power of science. Science can be used to shed light on such issues, but it seldom provides any final answers.

Scientific knowledge is inherently uncertain. What we know in science is only with a relative level of confidence – a particular degree of probability. Many ideas in science have been extensively tested and found to be highly reliable, as close to a fact as an idea can be. Others are merely speculative hunches, awaiting suitable testing to measure their respective probabilities.

Science can be done poorly, and it can be misused. There are many variations of medical quackery, false advertising and other types of “pseudoscience,” where unconfirmed claims are presented as “scientific fact” to “prove” a flood of discredited assertions about a whole range of seemingly mysterious phenomena.

Science is a very social process. It is done by people working together collaboratively. Its procedures, results and analyses must be shared with the scientific community, and the public, through conferences and peer-reviewed publications. These communications are critically assessed by the science community, where errors, oversights and fraud can be exposed, while confirmation and consilience can be achieved to strengthen its findings. Being done by people, science is also subject to any of the biases that its workers have, but its openness to critical science community oversight tends to expose those biases when they have been allowed to creep in.

Relating the Nature of Science Education and Methods of Teaching

Science is a body of knowledge developed through the process of investigation that is combined with thoughtful reflections guided by critical thinking skills. In its more restricted contemporary sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific method and to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research. Science and science literacy requires acquiring knowledge about the natural world and understanding its application in society, or in other words, the nature of science. An understanding of the nature of science is an important part of science literacy. The nature of science has four basic themes or dimensions:

1. Science as a body of knowledge,

2. Science as a way of thinking,

3. Science as a way of investigating and

4. Science with its interaction with technology and society

Science is not only hands-on; it is ‘minds-on’ as well. When hands are on, the students are allowed to perform science as they construct meaning and acquire understanding. Similarly minds are on with the activities which focus on core concepts, allowing students to develop thinking processes and encouraging them to question and seek answers, enhance their knowledge and thereby help to acquire an understanding of the physical universe in which they live (NCISE, 1991 and NCTM,.

Reasons for teaching the nature of science

Here are some compelling reasons.

The curriculum requires it

Accurately conveying the nature of science is common to most science education curricula worldwide. There is a clear message that understanding the nature of science is crucial for effective science teaching, for valuable science learning and for responsible participation in society.

Research supports it

Research shows that students often have significant misconceptions about science. Students’ views about science have been picked up from what they learn via popular media as well as from classroom experiences. Science is often misrepresented in the media, and classroom teaching can overemphasize what we know rather than how we know it. Consequently, many students see science as a boring enterprise – the tedious accumulation of facts about the world.

Therefore, we need to include the nature of science in planning and teaching. We want our students to gain an understanding of the nature of science so that they can see how science is  connected to their real world. Science education research over recent decades has also shown that teaching about the nature of science:

  • Enhances students’ understanding of science content
  • Increases students’ interest
  • Helps show the human side of science.

Reasons for the individual

We live in an increasingly scientific and technological society in which many personal decisions involve scientific understanding.

The relevancy of scientific knowledge is based on

  • how reliable the knowledge is
  • how the knowledge was generated
  • the limits of the knowledge
  • how much confidence we can have in that knowledge.

To be able to make use of science in their daily lives, students need to have an understanding of the nature of science.

Reasons for society

A fundamental reason for teaching about the nature of science is to help our students to think for themselves and reach their own explanations and conclusions in ways that consider the scientific dimensions of socio scientific issues.

The cultural argument

The modern world would not be modern at all without science. Science is deeply woven into our daily lives. The ability to think with a scientific point of view helps students to appreciate science as a major element of contemporary culture in the same way that they can appreciate art or music as cultural achievements.

The Scientific Method:

The method or procedure which the scientists use in the pursuit of science may be termed as scientific method. Basically scientific method is a problem solving method. In other words it is a method of solving problem scientifically and systematically. This is the one of the important contributions of science and students should be taught and well trained in the method of attacking a problem.

Scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena and acquiring new knowledge, as well as for correcting and integrating previous knowledge. It is based on observable, empirical, measurable evidence, and subject to laws of reasoning.

Steps of scientific method:

1. Sensing the problem : The teacher should provide situations in which the students feel the needs of asking some questions. The teacher may also put such questions which require reflective thinking and reasoning. the teacher should take into consideration the interest of the students, the availability of the material on the problem and its utility to the students in promoting reflective thinking ant training in the method.

The problem fit in to the school curriculum and should appeal to the majority of students in the class. This will foster group work which makes for greater reflective thinking.

2. Defining the problem :  Soon after the problem is noticed students are to be encouraged to define the problem. The problem has to be defined in a concise, definite and clear language.

There should be a keywords in the statement of the problem, which may help in better understanding the problem. The teacher should help the student in stating the problem. The students may be asked to write down the statement of the problem and read it in the class for discussion. The most appropriate statement should be accepted.

3. Analyzing the problem : Immediately the problem has been defined, the problem has to be analyzed in bits. The keywords help in finding out the required information. Here the general concepts are divided into the specific concepts. In this stage teacher becomes a guide.

4. Collecting the data : The information about the analyzed concepts are to be collected. the teacher suggests references on the problem. It is good opportunity for the teacher to guide the students in developing a verity of skills and techniques. The teacher calls upon the students to use devices such as experiments, textbooks, models, pictures, fieldtrips etc. which require special technique and skill.

5. Interpretation of the data : Here both the teacher and student should work together for the manipulation of data collected. this stage involves reflective thinking. the teacher must guide children in arranging the information in a logical and sequential order.

6. Formulation of Hypothesis: Hypothesis is an intellectual guess or a tentative solution expected to the problem. Here in this step the teacher must encourage the students to guess the probable solution for the problem defined and analyzed. there is no restriction to formulate the number of  hypothesis.

7. Testing the Hypothesis : Out of many hypothesis formed, few appears to be most appropriate for the solution formation. such hypothesis have to be selected and tested through experimentation. This testing must go till the satisfactory results are obtained by rejecting others. the generalized idea must be applicable and accepted by all in similar conditions.

8. Generalization  : The generalization can be made by arranging a set of experiments, which also show the same conclusion already reached at. usually in science the generalization are written in the form of a theory, law, statement, formulae, derivation etc.

9. Application: The students should apply the generalization to their daily life.. Here children are to be trained to apply the learnt scientific knowledge in the class room to the new situations of the similar condition.

10. Conclusion: It involves a definite and set procedure of attacking the problem, finding out its solution, inductively and testing the adequacy of generalization by deductive approach.

Process Skills in Science teaching

Observing - using the senses to gather information about objects and events; more precisely, taking information about all things around, using the senses as appropriate and safe; identifying similarities and differences; noticing details and sequences; ordering observations

Classifying – grouping or ordering objects or events into categories based on properties or criteria. There are several different methods of classification such as serial ordering, binary classification and multistage classification.

Measuring - using both standard and non-standard measures/estimates to describe the dimensions of an object or event. A measurement statement contains two parts, number to tell him how much or how many, and a name for the unit to tell him how much of what.

Using spatial relationships – identifying shape and movement. It is also important because the position of an object or the occurrence of a phenomenon (event) can only be observed, measured or predicted if we know time. Accurate measurement of time is important to conducting scientific investigations.

Communicating - using the written and spoken word, graphs, drawings, diagrams, or tables to transmit information and ideas to others. Sometimes, arbitrary scales are considered to use when instruments are not available.

Predicting –making educated guesses about the outcomes of future events.

Predictions are based on both what students observed, and also their past experiences and the mental models they have built up from those experiences. So, predictions are not just guesses. Sometimes, they must be based on observations and measurements of space time relationships recognition of trends and patterns.

Inferring – suggesting explanations or making interpretations for an event after they have been observed or measured using critical thinking and scientific principles.

Formulating hypotheses - making educated guesses based on evidence that can be tested. A hypothesis links two variables in a measurable relationship and is based on some kinds of observable, reliable and repeatable evidence.

Experimenting - investigating, manipulating variables and testing to determine a result. It involves planning, designing, carrying out an investigation, and evaluating the result of the investigation. Example: The entire process of conducting the experiment on the effect of the length of the vibrating string, on the loudness of the sound.

To be effective instruction, teachers need to understand how children develop intellectually and learn. Thus, learning theories developed by psychologists have broad implications for what should be taught, how it should be taught, and the sequence in which it should be taught.

Training in scientific method

Student of science get training in the use of scientific method by performing experiments themselves in the laboratory; and by observing experimental demonstrations arranged by the teacher for them. The scientific method involves:

• The appreciation of the existence of a problems and a desire to solve it.

• The accumulation of the facts and data which are pertinent to the problem.

• The formation of hypothesis as partial explanations, their testing and their acceptance and rejection.

• Logical interpretation of the data supported by adequate valid experience.

As a result of science education, the student should habitually and skillfully employ sound thinking habits, in meeting problem situations in the daily life. He should be able to adopt following steps in solving a problem in any sphere of his life.

Many teachers accepts it as an important contribution of science. It involves reflective thinking, reasoning and results from the achievements of certain abilities, skills and attitudes.

Critical Appraisal

The following considerations about the nature of  scientific method should be evaluated.

The scientific method imposes operational limitation on science. It does not help us to make aesthetic or value judgment. For example, frequency of the colour of paintings may be determined but there is no scientific method to label the paintings of two artists as great or not so great. . Besides intuition, informed guesswork, creativity, an eye for an unusual occurrence, all play significant role in developing new theories, and thereby in the progress of science.

Scientific method is not a prescribed pathway for making discoveries in science. Very rarely the method has remained a key to a discovery in science. It is the attitude of inquiry, investigation and experimentation rather than following a set steps of a particular method that leads to discoveries and advancement in science.

People keep floating all kinds of theories. Often they couch their arguments in scientific terms. This confuses a large number of people, and hoodwinks them, but we should remember that a theory is valid only if it passes the test of experimentation, otherwise it may just be a matter of faith. The theory of evolution advanced by creationists is not based on scientific argument and is not consistent with scientific method; it is based entirely on faith.

Sometimes a theory may suggest a new experiment; at other times an experiment may suggest a new theoretical model. Scientists do not always go through all the steps of the method and not necessarily in the order we have outlined above. Investigation in science often involves repeated action on any one or all steps of   the scientific method in any order. Many important and path breaking discoveries in science have been made by trial and error, experimentation and accidental observations

The validity of a hypothesis depends solely on the experimental test and not on the prestige, stature, faith, nationality or any other attribute of the personality of the person who proposes the hypothesis. There is no authority in science that tells you what you can criticise and what you cannot criticise. In this sense, science is a highly objective discipline.

A scientific method with its linear steps makes us feel that science is a ‘closed box approach’ of thinking. However, in practice science is more about thinking ‘out of the box’. There is tremendous scope of creativity in science. Many times in science, an idea or a solution to a vexing problem (a problem that causes lots of discussion) or an interpretation of observation appear to arise out of creativity and imagination. Following scientific method does not ensure that a discovery can be made. However, the skills learnt in making observation, analysis, hypothesis, prediction from a hypothesis and its testing by experimentation help us in developing scientific attitude.

All of us will benefit immensely if we imbibe the spirit of scientific method in our personal lives. The scientific method tells us to be honest in reporting our observations or experimental results, keep an open mind and be ready to accept other points of view if our own view is proved wrong. These values form what is called the scientific temper or scientific attitude, or rational thinking. The adoption of these values is very important for an individual as well as for a society to get rid of superstition and prejudice. In fact, it will make the world a much better place to live if individuals and societies often examine their beliefs and prejudices in the light of the modern scientific knowledge and try to get rid of those beliefs and prejudices which are not in consonance with this knowledge.

Scientific method is a logical approach to problem-solving and repeating or replicating other scientist’s work. We should be sceptic and accept something only when we are convinced that it is logical or has passed the test of experimentation.  We should keep our ears, eyes and minds open. We should be ready to appreciate others’ point of view. We should try to convince others or get convinced by them without rancour and ill feeling.

Accept an idea only when we are sure that it is logically sound. If you do not have the expertise, you could consult experts or reliable scientific literature on this matter. The point is that we should not accept anything uncritically without investigation/verification/convincing argument in its favour. Persons possessing scientific temper think rationally and do not fall easy prey to superstition and prejudice

According to the Radhakrishnan Commission (1948-49),

“The most important and urgent reform needed in education is to transform it, to endeavor to relate it to the life, needs and aspirations of the people and thereby make it the powerful instrument of social, economic and cultural transformation necessary for the realization of the national goals. For this purpose, education should be developed so as to increase productivity, achieve social and national integration, accelerate the process of modernization and cultivate social, moral and spiritual values.”

If we can understand well this message and can convey to the growing generation about the significance of it then the development of science and technology and acquisition of the proper education is not far away from us in the country.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Project Work in Context of Teaching

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V. (P.G) College, Roorkee, India


A project is a good way to provide extra, stimulating work for the science-centered child who can stay well ahead of the class in his formal science study and is ready for new opportunities. The project must be so safe that the child working by himself is in no danger. It must be on a level at which success is probable. Even the most ambitious and hard-working child can undertake too much, with the strong probability that frustration will soon end the project.

Project work is a wonderful tool to make pupils imbibe the concepts. The student will choose a topic for the project under the guidance of a teacher. The topic so chosen gives scope for fieldwork, to study in the library and to collect and interpret the data. Thoroughness, diligence, discipline, analytical and presentation skills – all these will be put to test in the process. And such a grind makes the student an expert and spurs him to probe further.

A curriculum that is broad based, that encourages original work and independent thinking and that which puts a premium on going beyond the curriculum to explore the vast ocean of knowledge would enable the children to excel in whatever they do. And that is the purpose of education

For the children it is an avenue of exhibiting their creative skills. It also provides variety to the mundane school homework and daily routine. Project Work as an instructional approach offers an opportunity to create innovative learning environments. It affords students with working in teams, engaging in meaningful activities such as problem-solving, analyzing, evaluating, collaborating, reporting and presenting over a significant period of time, in order to create a product, realistic and relevant to the learners. Project Work creates a logical link to content based instruction, now a major goal of education. Teachers’ conceptions of teaching and learning are the key factors for the effective project work.

Project Work- Salient Features

The salient features of Project work are as follows:

1. No limits are set to the eventual scope of the subject being studied.

2. There is always an element of research in a project. This research usually arises from a desire to inquire more deeply into facts which have been observed or acquired previously.

3. Many or all the conventional subjects may be put to use in order that the subject matter can be adequately studied.

4. The teaching time required to complete projects, is usually measured in weeks.

Characteristic 0f projects:

  • A project is a real life activity, a project is an activity in a natural setting, a project is an activity in a social setting, a project is a cooperative activity,
  • A project is a whole hearted activity, a project is an activity which results in concrete and positive success a project is a purposeful activity,,
  • A project is a problem centered activity, a project is an activity which provides an integrated view of a subject, a project is an activity through which a solution of a problem is found out by the pupils themselves,
  • A project is a new way of teaching the child to live, a project seeks to encourage individuals to understand life in its unity, a project provides a lot of freedom to the child.

A good project has the following qualities:

1. A project has its proper aims and objectives,

2. A project is useful and applicable and related to the lives of the students outside the school,

3. It incorporates the vocational interest of the students,

4. It is to be completed in time,

5. The learning experiences in a project are applicable,

6. The knowledge gained from the project encourages further knowledge,

7. The students remain cooperative in a group project,

8. Before starting the project work, environmental and seasonal factors are keptin mind,

9. The project is designed in such a way that the students keep themselves active both physically and mentally and

10. The work of a project is not imposed on the students. They are free to work according to their own interest, ability and attitudes.

Project Work-Significance in Teaching Learning Process

The project method and the project work are presented as a distinguishing feature of the activity and core pattern of curriculum. This view arose as a reaction against the traditional methods of teaching, which creates monotony, laziness and kills not only the interest but also ignores the natural instinct of the students in general. The project work helps to achieve the various outcomes of science teaching and thus the teaching-learning takes place in broad framework of network. It involves-

1. Non-verbal learning in Science: Many a learning science is kinesthetic, i.e., they come to the students through the muscles.

2. Value of tangible experience in Science: Many aspects of learning tend to be abstract. In Sciences, the students often have an opportunity to see something happen, unfold and develop. They can explore with the materials and exert a measure of control over their experiences.

3. Development of critical judgment: It entails evaluation. This is an essential factor in a student’s developing maturity.

4. Value of working with others: The students have an opportunity to share their ideas and to broaden their perspective when they work with others. Project work stimulates the interest in science and helps in developing personality traits like persistence, self-confidence, cooperation, leadership, emotional stability and problem-solving ability. It is a compound method, which can lead to effective teaching and learning.

The importance of project work is manifold in the context of teaching learning, especially at higher secondary level. It helps in:

  • Achieving motivation to learn, increasing fun in learning.
  • Arousing interest and stimulating curiosity, developing functional understanding.
  • Increasing learning, reading readiness, developing heuristic attitude .
  • Introducing the students to the ‘world of work’, increasing skill proficiency, increasing creativity.
  • Logical development, assessing learning outcome, enhancing research mentality.
  • Promoting independent thinking, increasing decision making based on experience.
  • Training in ‘scientific method’, developing scientific aptitude and scientific attitude.

The values and purposes of encouraging project work in learning are to:

  • As has been demonstrated time and again, the students choose their own projects, integrate knowledge as the need arises and thus motivation and learning follow naturally.
  • Develop individual skills in cooperation and social interaction. Develop student skills in writing, communication, and higher-level thinking and doing.
  • Foster student engagement, independent learning, and thinking skills. Optimize personal meaning of the learning to each student by considering, valuing, and accommodating individual interests, learning styles, learning capacities, and life experiences.
  • Provide opportunity `for students to become intrinsically motivated to learn because they are working on topics of personal meaning, with outcomes and even time lines that are relatively open ended.
  • Provide opportunity for each student to become especially knowledgeable and experienced in one area of subject content or in one process skill, thus adding to the student’s knowledge and experience base and sense of importance and self-worth.
  • Provide opportunity for students to make decisions about their own learning and to develop their skills in managing time and materials. Provide opportunity for students to make some sort of a real contribution.

Project Work-Steps

How to select the projects is a crucial step. Preferably those projects ought to be attempted, in which there is a reasonable chance of success. And they ought to be of the type which can be completed within the stipulated time. An attempt should be made to find projects that include everyone throughout the work.

Before taking up any activity in the school, the authorities must make sure whether the project is within the comprehension of the group concerned and a practical one? Will it be interesting to students and encourage initiative and originality? Will it enlarge students’ horizon and develop responsibility? Will it help to develop cooperation with schoolmates and teachers?

In collaboration with the teacher, students select a topic for the project.  The students are allowed to choose whether they will work alone, in pairs, or in small groups. If they choose to work in groups, job descriptions for each member of the group should be delineated. For project work, groups of four or less students are usually preferred to groups of more than four. Even if the project is one the whole class is pursuing, the project may be broken down into parts with individuals of small groups of students undertaking independent study of these parts.

The students are promoted to sharing. The students are insisted that they share both the progress and the results of their study with the rest of the class. The amount of time allowed for this sharing will depend upon many variables. Careful planning and steady guidance are essential for teaching through project work for both students and the teacher. The students with the guidance from the teacher decide what project to do and how to do it.

The steps in the implementation of a project work

The various steps in the implementation of a project work in any school organization are:

Providing a situation (by the teacher),- Problems are ought to be according to the interest of the students.

Selection and objectives (i.e., selecting with appropriate objectives, where the teacher works as a guide to help the student/s for selection),-  The teacher provides a situation in which some problems are focused. These selection of a project with appropriate and clear objectives is very important. It is the centre round which a project moves. Therefore, the teacher helps the student in selecting the project in order to achieve the aims and objectives. The project should be a definite need to the students. In case of a wrong selection, the teacher helps the students to select another project clarifying the reasons for the change.

Planning (by the student/s),- Planning is a scheme for accomplishing a purpose or a scheme drawn up beforehand or a scheme of arrangement. It is also a very important step. Good planning leads to better results. With the cooperation of the teacher the students draw out a blue-print of the given project. The teacher encourages his students to give their suggestions. The resources which are available with the students should be considered. Through discussion different alternatives should be suggested to make a good plan. The suggestions of all the students should be critically examined and properly utilized.

Executing the plan (by the student/s),- Execution is the longest step and requires more time. The whole project is completed through the cooperative efforts of all the students. According to the interest and ability of the students, the activities of the whole project are equally divided among the students. The teacher provides proper guidance to the students in the process of execution of the project work, so that desired objectives could be achieved. The students keep themselves busy in collecting, organizing, tabulating, interpreting and analyzing the data.

Recording (by the student/s) – At the recording stage, all activities concerned with the project work are maintained. The students note down all the details of the different steps. Planning of the whole project is recorded for future reference and guidance.

Evaluating (by the students and by the teacher)- The students and the teacher make evaluation of the whole work when it is completed during all the steps. The students review their work. They learn a number of lessons from the committed mistakes in the various steps of a project. The students make self-criticism on their own work. It is a valuable form of training. The students  see whether the desired objectives have been achieved or not. The success of a project depends on the achievement of desired aims and objectives made by the students before executing the project work. It is submitted to the teacher for the final evaluation.

Project Work – Types

The project may be as simple as an investigation into a class problem, with a short, oral report, either to the class or to the teacher. It may be the construction of a model that will help explain or illustrate a class activity. Whatever the project is, the initiative is of the child’s. The value of the project increases as the student delves more deeply in his research. The teacher acts as guide and merely refers the student to the appropriate school and community resources.

A project may be either an individual or class planned undertaking designed to compile information, collect objects, construct materials, or create something. As group enterprise, a project might consist of such real-life experiences as purchasing and preparing food for a class luncheon or creating a class newspaper. As an individual learning opportunity, projects might involve painting a mural, writing a story, making clothing or collecting and mounting different plant or animal specimens.

Knowledge is applied instrumentally to assist in the completion of the following main types of projects:

A. Practical tasks such as the construction of a useful article—“to embody some idea or plan in external form;”

B. Appreciation of an aesthetic experience-“to enjoy some experience,”

C. Problem Solving-“to solve some problem” and

D. Mastery of a skill or knowledge—to obtain some action or degree of skill or knowledge.

Kilpatrick. William, H., (1871-1965) mentions four types of projects:

(i) The Producer type,

(ii) The Consumer type,

(iii) The Problem type, and

(iv) The Drill type.

In addition to this there are five main types of science projects. It’s easier to choose a project idea once it is determined what sort of a project is interesting.

1- The experiment or investigation is the most common type of project, where the scientific method is used to propose and test a hypothesis. After acceptance or rejection of the hypothesis, conclusions are drawn about what had been observed.

2-The demonstration usually involves re-testing an experiment that already has been done by someone else. Ideas can be obtained for this type of project from books and on the internet.

3-In the research project, information is collected about a topic and the findings are presented. For example, a research project can be an excellent project if the data is used to answer a question.

4-The model type of project involves building a model to illustrate a concept or principle. It can be an incredible high school or college project by building a model of a new design or a prototype for an invention. In its best form, a project with a model illustrates a new concept.

5-The collection project often displays a collection to illustrate the understanding of a concept or topic

Project Work–Advantages

The following laws of learning lead the merits of the Project Work:

A. Laws of Readiness: The students get ready to learn through motivation. The project method provides the situation to make the students ready to work.

B. Law of Exercise: The students learn through practice to make learning more effective and permanent. The project method provides opportunities of ‘learning by doing’ to the students.

C. The Law of Effect: According to this law if learning is effective and permanent, it leads to satisfaction and happiness. The students get pleasure when they manipulate their own activities.

On the basis of these laws of learning stated above, the merits of the project work are:

  • Meaningful and purposeful activities provide practical and permanent learning which is quiet related with the daily life of the student. The students get opportunities to be aware of themselves with the real life problems,
  • It promotes the habits of thinking for community welfare among the students, It develops the power of tolerance among students. It develops a sense of cooperation,
  • It transforms the students to become the resource person as they collect different information regarding their project work,
  • It inculcates democratic learning because the students select, plan and execute a project themselves. It promotes the students to understand the dignity of labor and respect for all types of work,
  • It initiates the habits of constructive and creative thinking.  It enhances the power of interaction among the students.  It helps students to solve other related problems based on the same project,
  • It provides freedom to the students as they work with their self-chosen projects. It solves the problem of indiscipline as they are all busy,
  • The students get joy and take pride in their finished product.  It is a playful and natural way of learning. It encourages the students become self-dependent to complete their work,
  • An added advantage of the project work, besides learning, is that these various activities afford enjoyment, relaxation, satisfaction and recreation to the student community. These activities bring in activeness in the entire school environment.

Project Work-As a Means of Individualized Instruction

An element of flexibility should be provided in the instructional programs of Science for the school children. Project work is an ideal way to build the necessary flexibility. Such work challenges the individual or a small group to think independently and to make decisions.

If the project is undertaken by a small group, individuals learn to cooperate and to work together. This in itself is no mean feat. The teachers must work with small groups in such a way that certain individuals do not continuously dominate the work of the group as a whole.

A science project is an investigation. It involves good research techniques at the child’s level of maturity and development. In fact, the child may not be discovering something new for humanity, but, to the child to whom the items of information are unknown, there may be a pressing need for discovery and enlightenment. The element of personal discovery which is always involved in such instances is as unique, creative, as it would be if the phenomenon were happening for the first time in the history of human race.

It is through “research projects,” that an opportunity is given for the individual to pull ideas together, to make associations among ideas, and to bring to bear all the resources at his disposal in the acquisition of knowledge. Such work provides an excellent opportunity for the individual to be involved in situations that require maximum thinking.

Project work undertaken by individuals or small groups encourages children to be creative and to answer their own questions. One project often leads to another.

Project Work –The Role of a Teacher

Although the teacher may not appear to occupy the center of attention in some aspects of the problem method, yet the teacher is an important cog in the machinery of project work. The tendency is to individualism in problem solution. Whatever the direct approach, the degree to which the teacher himself is a master of problem solving will bear a somewhat direct relation to the effectiveness of his direction of others in this process. Therefore, the role of a teacher in teaching involving project work is given as under–

  • Asking the students to identify and select the problem/topic, Discussing the basic idea of the project,
  • Providing students with a simple chart showing types of data and possible ways of analyzing them,
  • Asking the students to collect and record the data. Keeping a mental record of the progress of the student/s,
  • Acting as a mentor, monitor, adviser, assist, facilitator, Providing extra help for struggling groups and encourage between group’s interaction, dialogue and sharing of ideas,
  • Discussing the protocol of presentation and criteria that will be used for evaluating project reports,
  • Providing the students with a template/format for report writing and discuss rules of scientific writing.

In nutshell it can be said that a  teacher who has the ability to see problems clearly, the power to analyze with a keen discernment, and the facility to synthesize and draw conclusions with an uncanny accuracy, will be a rare help to the students in their mastery of the difficult technique of problem attack. Guidance in problem solving is in reality training in “how to study,” and, it might be added, in “how to think.”

 

 

 

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Language Laboratory

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V. (P.G) College, Roorkee, India


Good communication skills are indispensable for the success of any professional. If one wants to reach out to people, he has to speak their language. The English language, in particular, has become essential in the lives of young people who aspire to advance their careers anywhere in the world. English language learning has therefore become a must for any Indian student today.

Language learning is quite different from learning any other subject. It is not limited to writing an examination paper and getting marks or award. The four skills: listening, speaking, reading, writing have to be put into practice since having the ability to communicate well is the central purpose in learning any language. Communication entails the student’s capability to listen attentively to the exact meaning and to respond with appropriate words and with clear pronunciation.

There are several components necessary to master a language. It is not just about being able to read and understand certain words. It also entails mastery of the spoken language. There are language learners who learn how to read and write fast. However, if they are asked to talk, they could barely pronounce the words right. This is true especially in learning the English language. This is the reason why  language laboratories are essential.

In the current digital age, we are all connected regardless of the geographic distance. Advancement in technology has metaphorically brought the world into our living room in the form of TV or internet which allow us to watch events happening in other countries or talk to friends and family living in another continents via internet. As a result, we are exposed to different languages, cultures and traditions of people from all over the world. As we live in multilingual and multicultural world, language lab can greatly help students to learn language of their choice, as it will allow students to learn at their own pace. They can record and assess their performance to make sure that they are paying attention to all aspects of phonetics.

The language lab provides access to native-speakers via audio-video aids so that they learn correctly. Given large number of students pursue higher studies outside their home country; language lab would help them in studying the language of the country where they are planning to pursue their higher education.. As strong communication skills are essential in almost all of the professional careers, language lab can help in acquiring this important skill.

Language Laboratory

The language laboratory is an audio or audio-visual installation used as an aid in modern language teaching. They can be found, amongst other places, in schools, universities and academies.

According to American Heritage Dictionary , language laboratory is: “A room designed for learning foreign languages and equipped with tape recorders, videocassette recorders, or computers connected to monitoring devices enabling the instructor to listen and speak to the students individually or as a group”.

Actually language laboratories are environments designed to enhance foreign language learners’ skills. Generally equipped with analog and digital hardware, and software (tape recorders, videocassette recorders, or computers), they provide practices in listening comprehension, speaking (listen and repeat), with the goal to reinforce the grammar, vocabulary and functions (grammatical structures) presented in class.

Characteristics of a good Language Laboratory

There are different features of language lab, which make the students to have interactive session. Few are summarized here.

Attention : Attention on subject is increased resulting in better retention of the concepts. As the language lab allows the student to listen to the program stimulus individually, each individual student’s attention is focused on the program material being studied, ultimately increasing the attention span of the student and teaching the student to listen and analyze the content of the lesson.

Acoustics: It provides equal opportunity to all the students to hear the instructor irrespective of place where they are seated. There will be less miscommunication because of direct nature of the sound transmission. The language lab provides all students no matter where they are seated in the room with equal opportunity to hear the instructor and to be heard by the instructor. None of the lesson material is misheard due to the direct nature of the sound transmission   Each student can listen to the lesson material at a level set by themselves for their own comfort.

Building Student Experience: Students can build on their existing experiences and gain further knowledge of computers while learning in the computer language lab. Practicing with systems, software and new applications enhances exportable skills. The more experience students have with computer technology, the more successful they will be in the “real world”.

Developing Listening skills : Listening skills are an essential element in becoming linguistically fluent. The language lab helps students develop good listening skills and aids the process of communication.. Furthermore, it develops the listening and communication skills, since they hear correct pronunciation through their headphones.

Excitement: Students become excited when using learning lab systems. The student’s attention is heightened and the boredom of repetitive learning is lifted. Learner will show more enthusiasm and excitement in learning lesson because of learning lab system.

Efficiency: The teacher can monitor individual students (and talk to them) much more efficiently than in a regular classroom. Usually in a regular classroom all other students stop speaking when the teacher communicates with an individual student. In a lab they will continue working without interruption.

Appropriate use of time: The language lab makes most efficient use of time, improving the teacher/student time ratio and allowing the instructor to maximize the use of time in a given lesson. Efficient use of time and learning efficiency is much more than usual classroom learning.

Improve discipline: The instructor can improve the discipline of the class by privately conversing with individual students who are being objectionable. By utilizing a system of seat management, any equipment faults or acts of minor vandalism can be reported by the next student entering the booth. If not reported by the student, they become the target of the investigation when the next student enters the booth. Students have great difficulty talking to each other when wearing headsets.

Individualization: Labs provide the capability for dividing the class into several groups. These groups can be listening to different programs on varying subject matter and at different levels of interactivity. This set up fosters more interactive session between students and teacher.

Internet access: The new generation of multimedia systems allows the students to be connected to the World Wide Web and to be able to access information on a global basis.

Native speaker/ Different voice: The lab provides the students with a variety of model voices rather than just the voice of the teacher (who is often not a native speaker). All modern systems have a Model Voice feature allowing a native speaker to converse and be used as a model voice subject for the rest of the class.

Overcoming shyness: Lab systems tend to make students more anonymous. Language labs motivate students to talk freely and lose the shyness when talking in front of their friends.

Oral testing: Oral test features allow instructors to test students with a question or stimulus and only record the student’s answer. Instructors can then play back the recorded answers at a later time for grading, without having to listen to the questions.

Privacy: It also provides the privacy that encourages the shy students to speak without any hesitation. In addition instructor can speak to individual or group of students in privacy without interrupting rest of class. The headset/microphone provides students with a psychological privacy that promotes their speaking ability. It reduces the inhibitions felt in normal classroom situations.

Provide feedback: The instructor can easily generate records of attendance, grading and oral responses to true/false or multiple choice taped tests. An automated record keeping process can save much time. . The student’s progress can also be monitored regularly so that teacher can provide feedback based on individual pace and ability.

Record/Comparing: The students have the ability to record their own voices along with the master stimulus. Each student can be working interactively on different segments within the same program or be working with completely different program material.

Role playing exercises: Using the random pairing/random grouping feature that all advanced modern learning systems incorporate, instructors can generate a variety of exercises structured around role-playing. Students can be paired or grouped together in small numbers and hold conversational practice with each other.

Self-pacing: The students may work through the lesson material at a pace suited to their ability. The lab is for them a personal tutor. Thus allowing the classroom as student-centered approach. The students can access digitally stored programs, exercises and tests that can be completed at their own pace and at a time they decide is appropriate.

Teacher monitoring: Since the teacher is not concentrating on producing the next question or drill, he/she can concentrate more on the student responses. The instructor has more time to produce materials and oversee class activities due to the automatically, rather than manually, controlled instructor console features. Teacher can look after each student, which is not possible in case of the regular classroom. In a lab instructor can communicate with many students by pressing a mouse key in order to talk with students

Varity: The language lab provides variety from regular classroom situations. The teacher’s role is changed and the students are more active for longer periods of time. The use of visual stimulus coupled with selective audio materials increases the attention span of the students. The language lab brings variety in teaching learning process instead of boring verbal centered teaching.

The Basic aims of the language Laboratory

Many of you may have already used a language lab as a student or perhaps as a teacher however you will see that the language lab has changed for the better. The opportunities and learning potential that a new Language lab can offer is vast however you may be pleased to hear that some things stay the same.

The basic aims of the language lab are the same as they ever were and they are;

v  To improve listening skills – classroom and individual with high quality audio

v  To improve speaking skills – individual, paired, groups

v  To present and demonstrate language skills – both screen and voice in seconds

v  To monitor and guide students – discrete monitoring and intervention as required

v  To Increase the number of students taking languages

v  To attract more boys to study languages

v  To significantly improve the Speaking Test results obtained

v  To encourage peer-assessment and parental involvement

The general Layout of Language Laboratory

We live in a multilingual as well as in a multicultural world, which is getting smaller to the size of a village as a result of the expansion of science and technology. The language laboratory was established to help one to use technology efficiently to communicate. It has a considerable role in improving listening skill by obtaining a sensibility to the sounds and rhythm of a language

Wilson and Thayalan (2007) highlighted some of the features language laboratory are given below:

  • A tool designed for teaching any language.
  • Effective communicative training programmes for the general public, private and corporate sectors, junior and senior level officers can be given through the lab.
  • Efficient teaching programs of communication for the students.
  • Experts are able to use the language laboratory for creating and editing technical resources for teaching language.
  • General documentation, software documentation and all forms of technical documentation can be done.
  • It helps students to be familiar with the different aspects of the language like pronunciation, accent, stress and all other aspects of the phonetics of a language.
  • Online lessons and oral examinations can be carried out through the language laboratory .
  • Web-content creation, the setting up of in-house news magazines, corporate publicity and identity, and teaching materials can be generated through the language laboratory.

Considering the above referred features the general lay-out must provide the following:

The layout of language laboratories formed from a teacher’s console and students’ booths. The teacher’s console has the managing functions and the student booth equipped with facilities that permit him/her to receive the recorded lessons and to listen to them. The focal features of a language lab are the following:

Evaluate :Students can listen to their pronunciation and do a review evaluation to measure their advancement as well as evaluate their language with that of the teacher.

Listen: Absorbing language skills faultlessly by listening to the normal pronunciation.

Monitor & Guide :The teacher can supervise each student separately without disturbing other students and direct him/her directly.

Record : Through a direct comparison of the learners’ voice with the teacher’s one, all ambiguous aspects of the spoken language can be picked up easily.

Respond : Repeating the lessons and having them evaluated by the teacher.

The Features of a Teacher’s Console

A console is the desk like part of an organ that contains the keyboard, stops, and a central control panel for a mechanical, electrical, or electronic system, in other words, a console is a keyboard or a panel for keys of an electronic or mechanical equipment.

Teacher’s console is a desk like part in the language laboratory which is endowed with a broadcasting system that is utilized to control the teacher and students’ talks, it makes the communication between the teacher and a precise student, individually possible with just a button blow, in addition to a headphone, and a microphone. In some laboratories the teacher’s console is provided with a computer which can be used for supervising students’ work and activities.

The teacher console acts as a control board enables the teacher to:

ü  Enables the teacher to interact with students in private without disturbing others.

ü  Encourage the students separately, as well.

ü  Gives the role of the moderator of the group discussions.

ü  Giving instructions to individual student with personalized attention

ü  Listen to the student’s voice independently.

ü  Permits the teacher to include a wide range of language learning materials and activities

ü  Prevent actions at a selected student’s booth for giving instructions.

ü  Provide options for listening to the native speakers

ü  Supervise the activities of students while they practice the lessons.

Features of Student’s Booth (console)

Booths are small semi-private enclosed spaces where learners seat to receive and listen to the lesson directed by the teacher. In general, there are ten to twenty booths in a language laboratory. In a language laboratory each student has: earphone ,a microphone, a booth and a tape recorder. Students’ booths enables the student to:

v  All the contemporary activities in the student console could be paused if the teacher tries to communicate with students, and could be sustained after teacher finishes the communication.

v  Private Interaction would be possible because every students is connected to the teacher separately. Allows the students to speak and being corrected at the same time in the language lab’s time session

v  Self-evaluating, a student could assess his/her pronunciation by recording his/her voice and comparing it with that of the natives (Language Lab Software).

v  Students can listen, repeat and compare the repeated lessons any number of times using student console. Repeat the lesson determined by the teacher, record, and replay, can be part of a group discussion .Repeats what he hears in pauses. Ready to play back the recording of his own repetition in alternation with the native model

v  Enables them to self – evaluate themselves.Listen to pre-recorded material spoken by native voices,Listen to the native speaker’s records and pronunciations.

v  Students can look for the help of teacher by sending him a call using the call teacher facility. Permits to recite simultaneously and receive correction in the laboratory period”. Transport or carry pre-recorded lessons from the teacher’s console

v  Students can receive and listen to the determined lesson. Repeats what he hears in pauses. Ready to play back the recording of his own repetition in alternation with the native model

Procedure of the Use of Language Laboratories

A language laboratory can be utilized for teaching or learning through a teacher’s console. The functions of a teacher’s console are staying in control, reinforcing learning, teaching with software that is approachable, and ensuring the best learning results.

a. Staying in Control:

Staying in control includes various activities, like monitoring students’ work and activities; locking cursors and keyboards to focus attention on a given task; shutting down, logging off, or restarting student computer sets; etc.

b. Reinforcing Learning:

Teachers can use communication tools that are familiar for their students, such as text messaging or chatting. They can also communicate with them in an engaging way by creating more opportunities to interact in the target language. Learners can reinforce their language in various activities. They can revise pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, sentence structures, and conversations.

c. Teaching with Software that is approachable:

Approachable software is one with which teachers will be perfectly at ease in their teaching activities. It is used as the interfaces which are easy to use and activity-driven. No specialized Instructional technology skills are needed for this interface.

d. Ensuring the Best Learning Result:

The best learning result can be reinforced by the existence of language learning software. The language learning software gives learners access to resources for independent or supplemental learning and study. This unique learning-on-demand feature creates additional learning opportunities and reinforces classroom activities. It is possible to carry out tests, practice tests, and get results in individualized manners.

Steps for Improving Listening in the Language Laboratory

There are six stages that can  improve students’ listening skills in the language   laboratory:

a. Understanding the Setting: After the first listening, students should be able to understand the location of the recording. Thinking about the setting encourages students to go on to guess about the contents of what the speakers are intending to say or will say.

b. Pre-teaching Unfamiliar Words: Teachers may choose to introduce the setting before the students listen. This provides an opportunity to introduce and explain the sort of language that might be heard in that setting. This language is listed on the board and students listen and mark what they actually hear.

c. Focusing on Listening: the teacher should line up a number of Listening tasks before the students listen so it gives them a reason for listening and focus their attention on.

d. Comprehending: Each student has a different level of comprehension from another student. The teacher gives students a number of questions equally to groups of students after listening, students share their answers for comprehension.

e. Analyzing: After students have understood the general idea and some important details of a recording, they can analyze it in more details and examine the way in which the speakers have expressed their ideas.

f. Giving Graded Listening Tasks: Teachers often teach listening by ranking comprehension from understanding generally to identifying specific information. They   can also grade the listening tasks from easy to more difficult by the forms of the questions. They use and evaluate them based on the kind of production by the learners in the form of writing or speaking.

Model of the Language Laboratory Lesson Suggested by Dwyer, T. P

In his book Teaching and Learning Dwyer(2010) stated: Lessons in the laboratory must be planned in such a way that the overall objective of the lesson is to bring about a transfer of any mechanical skill taught in the laboratory to a functional context reflecting the way the student has to use that skill outside the classroom in real life.

According to him the model lesson proposed can be drawn up in this way:

a. Input: teacher’s demonstration of the skill to be learnt in a communicative situation (done away from the laboratory booths).

b. Practice: modeling practice of the specific skill(listening in our case), Self- practice by the students, following a given model, Performance monitored by the teacher (done in the laboratory booths)

c. Application: students’ demonstration in a communicative situation of the skill learnt (listening in our case), open dialogues, group work, role play. The teacher acts as adviser, offering encouragement.

Kinds of Language Laboratories

The language laboratory assists educators in delivering foreign language instruction, and has been through many developmental stages over the years.

Few kinds of laboratories are being focused on here

Traditional/Conventional laboratory.

This is the earliest form of language laboratory developed. It makes use of a recorder and cassette tapes to help language learners. The tape usually contains texts or stories read aloud by a native language speaker. There are also listening and speaking exercises that follow in each chapter. . The teacher plays back the tape and the learners listen to it and learn the material

Here, the teacher’s console is located in front of the array of booths, Distribution switches enable the teacher to determine which students will hear which source.

Lingua Phone Laboratory

A lingua-phone laboratory is like conventional laboratory, with a little modernization . The students are given a headphones to listen to the audiocassettes that are played back. As regards to the conventional laboratory, the distractions in this laboratory are less so there is certain amount of clarity in listening There is also a modernized lingua phone laboratory available today, which uses an electronic device that works as a cassette player with all the features of a normal cassette player on the left side, and as a repeater on the right side that helps one to record one’s voice and replay it for comparison.

Computer Assisted Language Laboratory (CALL)

There are two brands of this laboratory: Computer Assisted Language Laboratory (CALL) and Web Assisted Language Laboratory (WALL).

The first one that is CALL uses the computer to teach language. Computer Assisted Language Laboratory. This is one of the most modern speech laboratories available today. The entire course module is already stored in the computer.  The language course resources are already downloaded on the computer and are presented to students according to the features available in the system.

The development of CALL has been gradual, and this development has been categorized into three distinct phases: Behavioristic CALL, Communicative CALL and Integrative CALL . They can also practice different types of exercises to avoid boredom. Most of all, they can listen to different speakers when practicing the language. In fact, they can also learn grammar and other language skills with this modern laboratory. Though the development of CALL has been gradual, its acceptance has come slowly and unevenly.

Compared with CALL, WALL is almost the same as CALL with one difference that is, in WALL system, computers are connected to the internet. In WALL, the teacher as well as students can browse any resources from the internet during the teaching learning process. (Wilson, & Thayalan, 2007). There are many and different other kinds of language laboratories like The Dial Access Lab, Mobile Lab, Wireless Lab…etc.

Mobile Lab:

This is basically a console on wheels with storage spaces for headsets. It is best used within a single building where it can be moved from one room to another.While the advantage of the mobile lab is that any classroom may be turned into a lab, the drawback is that the equipment is heavy and hampers free movement. It requires time and energy to set up.

The Dial Access Lab:

needs more spaces than the Conventional Lab. It also needs more technicians at any given time. It is basically a broadcast operation. Depending on the size of operation, any number of students can access a particular tape at any given time. Usually, a number of rooms are used to provide space for the different programs mounted; video and /or computer interface may be added again, depending on the size of the operation, The student needs a minimum of equipment, namely, an activated headset, a dial or touch-tone selector, and controls for a remote selector.

Wireless Lab:

The wires connecting the sources to student headsets are replaced by radio transmission in a wireless laboratory. The console contains a small transmitter that serves this purpose. Monitoring and intercom are NOT possible with this lab. It combines well with the Mobile Lab, though the important functions of monitoring and intercom are forfeited.

Remote Controlled Lab

This arrangement enables students to control specific tape decks located elsewhere at remote locations. The actual equipment installation is similar to that of a conventional laboratory room. The electronics are relatively more complex, though. Here, the student can; start, stop, backtrack, and rewind at will, without actually including combinations e.g. Listen,Respond, and Record.

Both library operations are available. The student is freed from handling tapes. Maintenance problems are reduced as students cannot damage tape decks. Semi-automatic operation of the lab, without much supervision, is possible. Remote decks may be permanently loaded with the current tape enabling students to go to certain booths and immediately work in library mode.

Advantages of Language Lab

Using a language lab has many benefits:

Gets into deeper side of language -This application gets into deeper side of language rather than covering its outer layer, which are mostly seen in the year old teaching practices. The practical sessions provide the chance for understanding the clear concept regarding right pronunciation, different accent and other aspects of language learning too.

The language lab is available in many standards-The language lab is available in many standards which can be used for teaching the people in different sectors. The language lab does provide additional assistance like producing documents, editing, creating documents for teaching, students’ reference etc.

Language labs allow for diversity in the classroom-Language laboratories provide teacher attention to students, especially in the case of schools with different levels because as interactive courses, language labs are tailored to the individual needs of students.

A language lab is practical-Language labs provide practice in an entertaining and interactive way to acquire the 4 main language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students learn more comprehensively through a language lab.

Students learn much faster in the language lab-Language labs’ interactive courses help students learn much faster than in a regular classroom setting. The methodology of the classroom language network uses a progressive model to promote natural learning, where students learn the different concepts of language in an intuitive way.

The teacher takes on a more important role in the language lab- The structure of the language lab courses also facilitate the work teacher puts in when preparing lessons and allows them to prepare them in less time and with a greater volume of interactive resources.

Labs foster communication in the classroom-Language labs also encourage communication student-teacher as well as student-student with activities and exercises essential to oral communication and the understanding of the language.

Learning the language without a time constraint.-It gives different and rare experience for the user to hear the English Language distinctly and precisely. While using the language lab the students get the advantage of listening and learning the language without a time constraint.

Assess and improve the speech in English through the self help features.- This features include model pronunciation of words, also the students can use it in record and playback mode that counterpart the user in self assessment. The best part of the laboratory is that it gives the users the freedom to learn the language according to their convenience without an instructor.

Allows learners to pronounce certain words correctly- It allows learners to pronounce certain words correctly. Small details like accent, stress and blending of words can also be corrected. Kids and adults suffering from speech disorders can also use the laboratory to minimize the problems.

Auditory Oriented:- The direct sound transmission gives step by step guidance from the teacher to the heads of the students with crystal clear clarity.  The Lab software is more attention enthralling for the students, where they are engaged with individual systems.

Comprehensive quickly: -The Lab increases the pace of comprehension as students coaching is purely based on the level of study. The Lab regulates the language through the different thoughts created in the mind of the students.

Effective learning, Focus Veracity- By using text, audio and video can easily be integrated with  actuality in every day situations. The lab provides to learn the foreign language practice in a focused setting that eliminates the feelings of self-consciousness.

Have the self evaluation:

The students can do a periodical self evaluation to measure the progress as well as evaluate his/her language with that of the expert. The students can record their own voice and play back the recordings, interact with the each other and the teacher, and store the results. The automated learning environment removes one’s fear and creates a happy learning situation.

Listening skills are primary in becoming fluent.- Even Level II language labs (the simplest type of system) help develop listening skills, allowing the students to focus on the spoken word and therefore enhancing their ability to repeat and understand the spoken language.

Provide Individualistic Learning -The ability of each student to speak at the same time and yet be audibly isolated from each other allows efficient use of time and a higher degree of practice and learning.

Disadvantages of Language Laboratory

Although of the various advantages of the language laboratory, it has also a few disadvantages or let us say difficulties, which are related to the high cost, it needs skilled instructors, and it makes unsuccessful instruction in some cases.

  • The language lab requires a high cost to be built in the university and to be kept on going. It is very expensive to set up the language lab and country like India there is no lab syllabus and usually language classes are conducted as theory.
  • The language lab would not let the teaching-learning process be effective if there are some troubles with the technology of it. Worse even, it becomes useless when the electricity is off.
  • The language laboratory needs an qualified teacher to be able to activate all the technology provided in it.
  • Has to employ technicians who would keep the equipment in the language laboratory always in a high-quality conditions.
  • As the teacher listens to students randomly the response can be unorganized and ineffective as there are many students to attend to.
  • The teacher should be well trained in executing the language lab effectively. Given the nature of teaching, a language teacher may need an assistant in taking care of the technological part while teacher attends to the instructional components.

Conclusion

The language laboratory is a very helpful tool for practicing and assessing one’s speech in any language. It provides a facility which allows the student to listen to model pronunciation, repeat and record the same, listen to their performance and compare with the model, and do self-assessment. Since the language laboratory gives every learner of any language freedom to learn at their own pace, it is flexible and does not necessarily require a teacher all the time. At the same time, it is possible for teachers to provide assistance individually and collectively. The language laboratory allows every participant his or her privacy to speak and listen.

References

Barson, J. & Debski, R. (1996), Calling Back CALL. Honolulu: University of Hawaii.

Richards, J. (2001), Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge: CUP.

“Bharathiar University Plans Syllabus Revision”, The Hindu. Coimbatore: p.4., 11/9/06.

“Colleges should have Language Laboratory on Campus”, The Hindu. Coimbatore: p.4., 25/9/06.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Concept of Evaluation

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V. (P.G) College, Roorkee, India

The terms measurement and evaluation assessment are sometimes used interchangeably; The  word  ‘evaluation’  is  often  confused with assessment, testing and measurement.  Testing is only a technique to collect evidence regarding pupil behaviour. Measurement on the other hand, is limited to quantitative description of  the student  behaviour.  Evaluation is  a  more  comprehensive term  which includes  testing  and  measurement and  also qualitative description of  the  student  behaviour. It also  includes  value judgment regarding the  worth  or  desirability of  the behaviour measured  or  assessed.

Considering the importance of this relationship, Gronlund   has  indicated this relationship  in the following equation:

Measurement  = quantitative description of pupils (measurement) + value judgment

Evaluation = qualitative description of pupils (non-measurement) + value judgment

Thus,  evaluation  may  not be  based  on measurement  alone  but  it  goes beyond  the simple quantitative score.

Thus Evaluation is a concept that has emerged as a prominent process of assessing, testing and measuring. Its main objective is Qualitative Improvement. Evaluation is a process of making value judgements over a level of performance or achievement. Making value judgements in Evaluation process presupposes the set of objectives. Evaluation is the process of determining the extent to which the objectives are achieved. Concerned not only with the appraisal of achievement, but also with its improvement.Evaluation is continuous and dynamic. Evaluation helps in forming the following decisions

Definition of Evaluation

Tyler  defined evaluation as “a systematic process of determining the extent to which educational objectives are achieved  by  pupils”. This definition indicates that evaluation is a systematic process, and  it  omits tile casual, informal or uncontrolled observation of the pupils. The definition also implies that objectives of education  has to be  identified in  advance. Without  predetermined  objectives,  it is  not possible to judge the progress, growth and development of students.

Crombach  defined evaluation as “the collection and use of information to make decisions about an educational programme”.

Wheeler  defined evaluation as a more general judgement of the outcome of a programme, which involves the use of observations, various tests, questionnaires, interviews, etc.  His emphasis was on the processes of educational evaluation.

Thus Evaluation can be conceptualised in the following manner:

1) Evaluation is an act or a process that allows one to make a judgment about the desirability or value of a measure.

2) Evaluation is a process of delineating, obtaining and providing useful information for judging decision alternatives

3) The word evaluation refers to the act or process of determining the value of something.

Accordingly evaluation is  providing information for decision making. Thus   evaluation  is  a systematic  process  of  collecting evidence  about  students’  achievement in  both cognitive and non-cognitive areas of  learning on the basis of which judgments are formed and decisions are made.

Evaluation in teaching and Learning

Evaluation is an integral part of any teaching and learning programme. Whenever a question is asked and answered evaluation takes place. Thus, both teaching and evaluation overlap and merge into each other. In fact, it is not possible to have teaching and learning without evaluation.

Both teaching and evaluation are based on the instructional objectives which provide direction to them. Instructional objectives are those desirable behaviours which are to be developed in students. It is for achieving the instructional objectives that instruction is provided and it is to see whether the instructional objectives have been achieved and to what extent, that the evaluation is made. The interrelationship of objectives, instructional process or the learning experience and evaluatiot in a programme of teaching can be expressed more clearly through the following diagram:

The above diagram illustrates that the three components of teaching and learning constitute an integrated network in which each component depends on the other. . Thus, through evaluation, the teacher not only assesses as to how far the student has achieved the objectives of teaching but also judges the effectiveness of the learning experiences, methodologies, means and the materials used for achieving those objectives.

Purpose of Evaluation in Education

Evaluation  serves    numerous  purposes  in  education, Some  of  the important  purposes are to grade, rank, classify,  compare  and promote the  students, It is  also used for certifying the completion of a course, selection of students for admission or scholarship, and for predicting their future success in different endeavours.

The sole purpose  of  evaluation    has been to bring about  quality improvement  in  education which  it  does  by providing  feedback regarding students’ learning, classroom teaching,  effectiveness  of curriculum  and  course content, It  also helps bring about all round  development of the students’ personality when  it is  used for developing their non-cognitive capacities.

Characteristics of a Good Evaluation Programme

The meaning, types and purpose of evaluation lead us to arrive at the following characteristics of a good evaluation programme in educational institutions.

Evaluation is a Dynamic Process

Evaluation is based on learning experiences, it also provides evidence about the effectiveness of that learning experience. Thus, evaluation keeps validating the whole teaching-learning process through regular feedback. Thus evaluation programme brings in dynamism and leads to continuous improvement in the entire educational process.

Evaluation is a Cooperative  process

, The teacher alone cannot gel all the evidence required about student’s growth. To collect evidence regarding social relationships, emotional behaviour, initiative, scientific attitudes, social attitudes, likes and dislikes, etc. collaboration ofthe student peers, parents, other teachers and all those who watch him/her grow and develop is necessary.

Evaluation is an Objective-oriented Process

. It is for the achievement of the instructional objectives that the instruction is given. evaluation is made  to confirm whether the instructional objectives have been achieved and to what extent.    The selection of evaluation techniques and tools is also based on the objectives to be evaluated.

Evaluation is a Continuous Process

Continuous evaluation is, therefore, essential for getting reliable evidence about student’s growth and development.

Evaluation is a Comprehensive Process

Aa good evaluation programme should evaluate both the cognitive and non-cognitive aspects of learner growth. Apart from evaluating all possible objectives, comprehensive evaluation involves the use of multiple tools and techniques to procure information on different aspects of personality growth.

Evaluation is a Decision Making Process

At every step of the teaching-learning process evaluation is a must . Before the instruction is started, it is necessary to determine the entering behaviour of students to decide the strategies, learning material and even appropriate objectives of teaching. Evaluation helps the teachers to make judgments and take decisions at different stages in a pupil’s educational career.

Principles of Evaluation

As Evaluation is a means to an end, not an end in itself. There  are  certain  principles which may  provide direction to the process of evaluation  and may also serve as the criteria for  adopting a  particular device or technique  of  evaluation to yield the desired positive results.

1.  Determining and Clarifying’ What’ aspect of the Evaluation

. The classroom teacher or evaluator should always be perfectly clear in bis mind about what he is aiming to achieve i.e. what to evaluate and how to evaluate

2.  Selection of Appropriate Evaluation Techniques

There  are  a  number  of  evaluation techniques.  Out of  them  one  technique  is appropriate in some cases which may  not  be so in  others. Therefore,  the  evaluator needs  to  select the one which serves  his/her  purpose best.

3. Determining Comprehensiveness of Evaluation  Programmes

It means to. assess pupils’ progress in all areas. Educational evaluation, apart from testing knowledge , should also bring about student’s originality and his ability to use the ideas, and his ability to think and apply the knowledge and skills already achieved.

4. For Comprehensive Evaluation  Combining  a  variety  of  Evaluation  Techniques be adopted

Therefore, to  make  evaluation comprehensive, different  types  of  evaluation procedures should be  adopted depending on their suitability . Moreover,  use  of a  variety  of  techniques provides  an evaluator  sufficient evidences of different aspects of pupil achievement on different objectives, because more the evidence better the evaluation.

5. Treat Evaluation as a Means to an End, not an End in itself

In  the teaching-learning process, evaluation should be done with  a purpose, and not  for  the sake of evaluation only. Administering  a  test,  scoring  the  scripts and   collecting the data  without  making  any  use  of  this information  for  the  pupils  is  a   waste  of effort

Functions of Evaluation :

1) Diagnosis:

(a)   To locate and identify the weaknesses and strength in learning on the part of a learner.

(b)   To pinpoint areas where remedial measures may be desirable.

2) Modification:

To provide a basis for a modification of the curriculum, syllabus or courses.

3) Prediction:

To bring out the inherent capabilities of a student, such as proper attitudes,  habits, manipulative skills, appreciation and understanding in addition to conventional acquisition of knowledge.

4) Selection:

To select suitable persons ofr a particular course or career.

5) Motivation:

To motivate pupils towards better attainment and growth.

6) Teaching :

a)      To improve instruction.

b)      To ascertain how far could learning objective be achieved;

c)      To provide the empirical evidences about the effectiveness of teaching strategies, tactics and aids.

7) Guidance :

a)      To assist a person in decision making about a course or subjects within a course and careers;

b)      To enable a learner to know his pace of learning;

c)      To make provision for guiding the growth of individual pupils;

d)      To provide a basis for the introduction of experiences to meet the needs of individuals and groups of pupils.

8) Testing:

a)      To test the efficiency of teachers in providing learning experience and the effectiveness of instruction and of classroom activates;

b)      To help in developing a comprehensive criterion test.

9) Grading:

To assign rank or grade to the learners of a give group. ( Example : The unit test)

10) Feedback:

To give reinforcement and feedback to teachers and learners.

 

 

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