Teaching Biology in the digital age!
The knowledge of biological science has really benefitted mankind. Hence the role of Biology Teachers is vital in developing interest and gives utmost clarity with various teaching methodologies like the discussion method, practical method, use of ICT, graphic organizers, project method etc.
A scientific attitude in students may lead to new discoveries or inventions in biology. Some of the areas which have shown development of human race in the study of biology are – food, health, population, improvement in domestic and wild animals, conservation of natural resources etc.
Importance of Biology Lab: Biology is fundamental to our world and is an incredibly fascinating field of study. It plays a vital role in every ones lives and touches almost every aspect of our existence in some way. It provides new solutions to problems in health and materials. Hence the inputs in to teaching-learning of biology to enhance greater performance by the students should be of great concern and usage of laboratory to have clarity, develop interest and experimental skills in biology is essential in schools and colleges. Observation of slides, preparation of slides, sampling techniques, specimens study, food test, etc. is like exploring the biology concepts.The proper use of laboratory and demonstration of experiments are the indicators of student performance. The absence of biology lab or the poor utilization can lead to mass failure by students in biology examinations in most cases. The teachers efforts at improvisation and utilization of biology lab apparatus will endear the subject of biology to students.
Biology is connected to life and its surroundings. The study of plants, microbes, animals and other life forms constituting biosphere is a part of the study of biology. To understand the complex organization and functioning of human body, students need to learn the biological concepts.
Biology in everyday life: Biology is connected to life and its surroundings. The study of plants, microbes, animals and other life forms constituting biosphere is a part of the study of biology. To understand the complex organization and functioning of human body, students need to learn the biological concepts. For example, skeletal system, respiratory system, circulatory system, digestive system etc. The importance of other life forms is studied in biology. The study of environment which is inseparable from living organisms is an important study. Development of biology helped us to understand the importance of cleanliness in life, take preventive measures, study of disease-causing germs helped to find the treatment methods and research in pharmacology have given scope to many medicines ,which is a part of biology. Different stages in life, environment, health & hygiene, natural resources, agriculture, medicine are few branches of biology which helped the welfare of mankind and it is vital for the Biology Teachers to explain this to their students.
Role of ICT in Biology: Biology as a subject has both theoretical and practical components. ICT has opened new avenues like visual learning, online learning, e-learning, e-coaching, e-journal etc. It has provided opportunities for the learner to use maximum senses to get the information. Learning Biology is made easier by integrating ICT tools in instructional strategies for teaching biology. For example, structure and functioning of organ systems, pictures of cells and tissues, osmosis and diffusion processes in cells, etc can be easily explained. Drawing on the board and explaining the concepts along with the usage of ICT will make the concepts clear and have long term memory. Generally, cells and tissues are shown as slides in labs but, all cannot be shown and few like cold virus, E.coli, cells of the body, functioning of complex tissues in plants etc. can be shown using a projector, which gives great aspect of learning and satisfaction. Modern branches of biology like genetics, biotechnology, topics like endocrine system, reproduction can be well explained using ICT.
The vast syllabus of biology makes children feel exhaustive and difficult to learn, this can be made easy by giving a few concepts in the form of flow charts (e.g.-Taxonomy, bio-geo chemical cycles), tabular form (e.g.- cell organelles & their functioning), concept mapping, etc.
The projects given in biology and model making must be encouraging for the children to be independent and easy to complete the task. Model of paramecium using slipper, plant cell model made by baking a cake, model of complex tissues using vegetable are few independent and creative ideas of students.
By framing ‘mnemonics’, many concepts in biology can be learnt easily like the four stages of Mitosis can be remembered in the order like “p-mat”( prophase, metaphase, telophase & anaphase),human skull bones can be recollected as “stepof”(sphenoid, temporal, ethnoid, parietal, occipital & frontal), hierarchy of classification is “kpcofgs”( kingdom, phylum, classification, order, family, genus, species) etc. and students can be encouraged to frame their own mnemonics to have long term memory.
Biology in environmental education: Biology teachers play a vital role to increase awareness about environment issues, explore possible solutions and motivate in the active participation of students in the protection of environment. The subject includes topics like “Natural Resources”, “Our environment”, “Techniques of crop production and improvement” etc. Most of the schools involve students in activities like planting trees, conservation of power, setting up compost pit etc and they are guided by Biology Teachers .These result in inculcating concern or values towards environment.
Biology as a career: Biology study offers many careers both scientific and non-scientific. They apply scientific method, setup experiments and use scientific equipment. Biology majors know how to organize and analyse data, understand scientific concepts and master scientific terminology. As a result, Biology majors sharpen their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Various careers which biology students can choose are pharmacist, lab technicians, doctors, teachers, scientist, Attorney (areas of law that draw on scientific knowledge and reasoning like drugs, environmental policies etc.), nutritionist, environmentalist, physiotherapist etc.
The projects given in biology and model making must encourage children to be independent, and should be easy to complete. Model of paramecium using slipper, plant cell model made by baking a cake, model of complex tissues using vegetable are few independent and creative ideas of students. Inculcation of scientific attitude, research, observation etc. in students is done in schools and colleges & it mainly depends on the role played by the teachers. It helps the individual to apply the important concepts like nutrition, health, natural resources and pollutions for betterment of his existence.
Surekha Nayani (M.Sc., B.Ed.) is working as Academic Co-ordinator and Head of the department for science in Delhi Public School, Secunderabad from past 13 years. She has a total teaching experience of 19 years in CBSE curriculum and has been teaching science to secondary school students. Sheconducts workshops forteachers in the areas of Teaching-learning processes and CBSE compliances. She is a recipient of Teacher Excellence Awards twice in Effective Lesson Planning and Innovative strategies in Teaching Resources organised by S. Chand & Progressive Teacher in the year 2016 and 2017 and also Global Teacher Award in the year 2019 by AKS educational society.