Going beyond the textbook, venturing new concept of teaching

Art in any form, as we all know is a creative expression of our thoughts. What can be a better way to deliver our teaching of different subjects integrating art in the teaching-learning process.

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Aptly said by one of the prominent genius of the world that education is not merely learning facts but the training of the mind to think.

In this dynamic world, where every hour things keep on changing, or rather developing, it has become paramount to us to change our system of education which in turn also indicate to change our pedagogy of teaching. Teaching a whole set of young vibrant minds merely with facts or just content to score marks will not be justified. As a teacher, one has to set the goal to transform children of today into an enigmatic personality of tomorrow with an insightful mind. This is possible if we equip our students with knowledge, confidence and mental ability to face challenges of life courageously. This is where we have to integrate art in our teaching of varied subjects. Art in any form, as we all know is a creative expression of our thoughts. What can be a better way to deliver our teaching of different subjects integrating art in the teaching-learning process.

Integrating art in education

As each child is gifted with a beautiful mind of creativity, we need to explore their minds through the medium of art, hone their inner potentials in their own pace, so that school education becomes a platform for them to showcase their talents along with understanding of the concepts in their textbooks. This new era students are go-getter who have extreme level of potentials to pursue their goals and ambitions from a very young age. Everyone aspire to become all-rounder to reach the pedestal of success in life. Therefore, with new age students, teachers also need to evolve or rather I would say enrich themselves with advance knowledge on varied subjects to cater the needs of our students.

Many years ago, Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore pioneered the idea of a relationship between arts and learning. Even at that time, through research it was found that teaching learning process by the medium of art develops the creativity and critical thinking ability of the learners.

Role of a teacher

As a teacher, I personally feel, only enabling our students to score good marks is not enough. No matter what subject we are teaching, it should be our prime concern to mould our students into a wise being who can overcome all challenges of life efficiently. Hence, it’s time now that we should work upon our learning outcomes when we prepare our lesson plans. Without clear understanding of learning outcomes, planning is vague. We should be precise as to what we want our students to learn as well as how we can hone their skills.

Art for skill development

When it comes to skill development, art in any form play a pivotal role. When any subject is taught via medium of art, be it visual or performing, it always leaves an impeccable impact on the child’s mind. Many years ago, Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore pioneered the idea of a relationship between arts and learning. Even at that time, through research it was found that teaching learning process by the medium of art develops the creativity and critical thinking ability of the learners. Art encourages the learners to use their mental imagery, thought process and critical thinking in a way by which they can apply their knowledge and solve their problems skilfully. In fact it further leads to holistic development of the learners. It helps the learners to go beyond the text, keeping their mind engaged in constructive thinking to explore what they learned in their syllabi. Learning through arts aims at the development of cognitive (thinking, recalling and reflecting), affective (social and emotional) and psychomotor (use of body and movement) abilities of the learner.

When the entire world is under the grey cloud of malady because of the novel corona virus pandemic, we as educators, lets join our hands to give a better future to our young generation where they can use their knowledge constructively to make this world a better place to survive.

Experiential learning trough art

The recent emphasis of NCERT to integrate art in the teaching – learning process is basically to promote experiential learning. Let’s throw light on the concept of experiential learning which is intertwined with learning through art. For instances, if a teacher simply explains the lesson, discusses the questions and answers, goes to the extent of giving practice worksheets and taking assessment, will that suffice the students to get deeper knowledge of the content? I personally don’t think so, it will basically be preparing the child to score marks for exam rather than making the child understand the content and apply the knowledge in real life situation. Another aspect to be considered is that integrating art in formal schooling will also help in long run to retain our cultural identity in its richness.

Hence, we need to widen our horizon in regard to our teaching pedagogy as well as in framing our learning outcomes. We have to transform our classrooms as laboratories, no matter what subject we are teaching, give our students hands on experience activities to understand the concepts taught in the class in depth and make their knowledge applicable to real life situation. For instance, while teaching the poem ‘Trees’ by Adrienne Rich, it came to my mind why not my students perform a dance drama on the theme of the poem, while they also recite a poem composed by them on the same theme using appropriate poetic devices. When I witnessed their performance through my online classes, I was on seventh heaven and felt satisfied like never before. Therefore, I can confidently say now, that every content taught must further be encouraged to think critically on it and we can witness that students can come up with new derivatives from the lesson learned.

Art in teaching-learning process

Integrating art in the teaching-learning process also relate to cross-curricular process of educating the students. The term ‘cross-curricular’, however must not be amorphous. Teaching of core academic subjects must not be fragmented, in fact it should be related. Moreover, teachers learn a lot, if they can go for collaborative teaching or co-teaching when they can relate their subjects and enable the students as well to see the connectivity in all spheres of the curriculum.

When the entire world is under the grey cloud of malady because of the novel corona virus pandemic, we as educators, lets join our hands to give a better future to our young generation where they can use their knowledge constructively to make this world a better place to survive. We need to pull up our socks now and get ready to brainstorm on our teaching pedagogies to make schooling or education a truly interesting or dynamic platform where our young minds can explore their creativity to give something special and new to this world but not let them feel blue under such circumstances. With this note one song reverberate in my mind ‘We shall overcome someday, Oh deep in my heart I do believe we shall overcome someday’.

Sanchita Das Singha, a passionate, motivated and a dedicated teacher, has eight years of experience in the noble profession with some of the best schools of NCR. Presently working with Global Indian International School, Noida campus as PGT English. She has trained her students in dramatics, public speaking, creative writing and poetry recitation where they bagged numerous prizes.