Thursday, December 17, 2009


How Does Issues-Based Lesson Look Like?
An Experiment with a Prototype Lesson.

Issues-Based Approach (IBA) to curriculum transaction is a novel and unique one in the history of school curriculum development in Kerala. This approach is a clear departure from the traditional ‘knowledge transmission’ models of curriculum transaction and focuses on ‘knowledge generation’ by the learners. The IBA aims to sensitize the learners about the numerous issues faced by our society through the learning material itself. These issues are developed and sensitized using various discourses which provide a linguistically rich environment in the classroom.
Being a novel one, the IBA poses a number of challenges to facilitators with respect to the preparation of teaching manual, lesson transaction, learner assessment etc. in the classroom. It is really a hard task to the facilitator to bring in various social issues in an appropriate form into the framework of formal education. The challenge of the facilitator is to generate contextualized knowledge in developing and transacting IBA lessons. Let us address this challenge by exploring the problem in detail with the following question.


Student teachers are requested to
1) Generate Contextual knowledge on each issue domain discussed in the teachers’ handbook;
2) List out micro-issues related to each issues domain
3) Elaborate and contextualize each micro issue
4) Develop (in small groups) a unit plan on a r topic in IBA
5) Prepare, individually, a proto-lesson in IBA
6) Transact the lesson in the school or in informal settings.
7) Reflect on the experiences.

The banking concept of education

The banking concept of education views students as empty vessels to be filled by the teacher. According to Paulo Freire in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, education is traditionally framed as "an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor" (Pedagogy of the Oppressed 58). In this framework, the teacher lectures, and the students "receive, memorize, and repeat" (58). Freire explains that banking education is generally characterized by the following oppressive attitudes and practices:
• the teacher teaches and the students are taught;
• the teacher knows everything and the students know nothing;
• the teacher thinks and the students are thought about;
• the teacher talks and the students listen-meekly;
• the teacher disciplines and the students are disciplined;
• the teacher chooses and enforces his choice, and the students comply;
• the teacher acts and the students have the illusion of acting through the action of the teacher;
• the teacher chooses the program content, and the students (who are not consulted) adapt to it;
• the teacher confuses the authority of knowledge with his own professional authority, which he sets in opposition to the freedom of the students;
• the teacher is the Subject of the learning process, while the pupils are mere objects

What is Constructivism?

Constructivism is a philosophy that views learning as an active process in which learners construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world through action and reflection. Constructivists argue that individuals generate rules and mental models as the result of their experiences with both other human subjects and their environments and in turn use these rules and models to make sense of new experiences.

Three important concepts emerge from this definition:

  1. Knowledge is socially constructed. It is not something that exists outside of language and the social subjects who use it. Learning--obtaining knowledge and making meaning--is thus a social process rather than the work of the isolated individual mind; it cannot be divorced from learners' social context.
  2. Learning is an active process. Students learn by doing rather than by passively absorbing information.
  3. Knowledge is constructed from experience. Students bring prior knowledge into a learning situation, which in turn forms the basis for their construction of new knowledge. Upon encountering something new, learners must first reconcile it in some way with their previous ideas and experiences. This may mean changing what they believe, expanding their understanding, or disregarding the new information as irrelevant.

In this framework then, learning is not a process of transmission of information from teacher to student, a model which positions the student as a passive receptacle, but an active process of construction on the part of the learner that involves making meaning out of multiplicity stimuli.

In practice, educators use active techniques (experiments, real-world examples, problem solving activities, dialogues) to introduce students to information and issues and then encourage students to reflect on and talk about what they did and how their understanding is changing. The teacher makes sure she understands the students' preexisting conceptions and guides activities to address and build on them. Constructivism also often utilizes collaboration and peer criticism as a way of facilitating students' abilities to reach a new level of understanding.

Ref: retrieved on 17/12/09

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Few Tips on Learner-Centered Approach.

Assumptions of the Learner-Centered Model

1. Learners are distinct and unique. Their distinctivenessand uniqueness must be attended to and takeninto account if learners are to engage in and takeresponsibility for their learning.

2. Learners' unique differences include their emotionalstates of mind, learning rates, learning styles, stages ofdevelopment, abilities, talents, feelings of efficacy, andother academic and nonacademic attributes and needs.These must be taken into account if all learners are tobe provided with the necessary challenges and opportunitiesfor learning and self-development.

3. Learning is a constructive process that occurs bestwhen what is being learned is relevant and meaningfulto the learner and when the learner is activelyengaged in creating his or her own knowledge andunderstanding by connecting what is being learnedwith prior knowledge and experience.

4. Learning occurs best in a positive environment, onethat contains positive interpersonal relationships andinteractions, comfort and order, and in which theleaner feels appreciated, acknowledged, respected,and validated.

5. Learning is a fundamentally natural process; learnersare naturally curious and basically interested inlearning about and mastering their world. Althoughnegative thoughts and feelings sometimes interferewith this natural inclination and must be dealt with,the learner does not need to be "fixed."

Key Characteristics of Learner-Centered Classrooms.

In learner-centered classrooms, the teacher

* Organizes learning activities around themes that aremeaningful to students.

* Provides complex and challenging learning activitiesthat promote conceptual and analytic thinking.

* Helps students develop and refine their understandingthrough critical and higher order thinking skills.

* Provides opportunities for students to choose theirown projects and work at their own pace.

* Provides opportunities for students to collaborate withpeers of different ages, cultures, and abilities, andincludes peer teaching as part of instruction.

* Uses a variety of instructional strategies and methodsto match student needs.

* Includes learning activities that are personally andculturally relevant to the students.

* Encourages shared decision making and student autonomy,and gives students increasing responsibilityfor their learning.

* Listens to and respects students' points of view.

* Monitors student progress continually and providesfeedback on individual growth and progress.

* Uses standardized and alternative forms of assessment,and allows competencies and achievement ofeducational standards to be demonstrated in a varietyof ways.

Source: McCombs, B., & Whisler, S. (1997). The Learner-centered classroom and school. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

* Uses heterogeneous grouping practices that promotecooperation, shared responsibility, and a sense ofbelonging.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How reflective journal is different from a daily diary?

Many a times it is asked that how reflective journal is different from a daily diary;

  • Reflective journal involves reasoning whereas daily diary is descriptive;
  • Reflective journal is focused on problem solving whereas daily diary is focused on identification of problem;
  • Reflective journal is analytical whereas daily diary is narrative;
  • Reflective journal is all about raising questions related to individual concerns whereas daily diary signifies sequence of events etc
  • Reflective journal deals in taking initiatives for further learning whereas daily diary deals in depending on others
( retrieved on02/12/09)

What is learner cetered approach in education?

"Learner-centered education means putting students at the center of their own learning. Hence, the responsibility of learning is placed on the students while the teacher becomes the facilitator. In a learner-centered environment, students are actively engaged in creating, understanding and exercising control over their learning. Therefore, learner-centered education is grounded in a constructivist perspective where teachers center their planning, teaching and assessment according to the different capabilities of students. So, instead of the teachers being the sole instructors, they become collaborators with students in creating knowledge."

Ref. Tiny08 in Education, November 24, 2008 retrieved on 02/12/09

School Trip is a unique component of Kerala University B.Ed. Program

"School Trip" is a unique component proposed in the
restructured curriculum of Kerala University B.Ed. programme.
The major purpose of this component is to help student teachers
get acquainted with the school environment.The curriculum describes the details of this component as follows.

School Trip

Purpose: to ‘see’ and ‘understand’ the school and the students

Discussion: Student teachers discuss with the school staff.

Place: The school in which the student teacher is proposed to do teaching practice.

Preparing a plan for the trip: A plan for the visit may be discussed and finalized by the teaching staff of the college by consulting the Headmasters/Principals of the practising schools .

An outline for guidance is presented below:

Day 1 (i) Meeting with Headmasters/Principals and teaching staff of participating schools to get an overall acquaintance with the schools and their day-to-day work.

(ii) Observe in small groups the classes of the subject teachers

Day 2. (iii) Meeting the students; free talk for a short period of time to collect information about their family learning environment. Inquire about their interest in learning and also the difficulties they are experiencing in learning.

(iv) Learning facilities and resources provided.Curricular provisions for less able students and more able students.

(v) Provision for internal evaluation.

(vi) Supervision of classes by the Head and inspection by Educational Officers

The full programme need not be discussed in detail. Give freedom to student teachers to decide what information they should collect from students.

Day 3 Work in small groups as Apprentices with the school teacher.

Day 4 (in the college) Reflection session.

The student teachers of each subject will reflect on their experiences under the leadership of the subject teacher in the presence of the Principal and other members of the staff and student teachers of other subjects.

Note: Student teachers should maintain journal/diary to record their experiences.

Friday, November 27, 2009



How Do Philosophies Influence Curriculum Reforms

and How Do People React to It?

The Kerala school education system has been witnessing continuous up gradation of curriculum for more than a decade. These reform attempts have currently reached the university stage. Started in the middle of nineties with the Learner- Centered Approach, the school curriculum has embraced dimensions like Activity-Oriented Approach, Constructivist Approach, Social Constructivism, Critical Pedagogy and Issues-Based Pedagogy. Different sections of our society like teachers, parents, media, and students’ organizations responded to these reform attempts in a variety of ways.

Through this practicum we are looking into the dynamics of curricular reform attempts. What really prompted these changes? To what extend Educational Philosophy influenced these reforms? How do people look at these changes? How do these reform efforts affect the lives of their wards? In a broader sense let us focus our enquiry on this essential question;

How Do Philosophies Influence Curriculum Reforms and How Do People React to It?

Student teachers are requested to start their enquiry on the following lines.

I. Search online and library resources for understanding the philosophical foundations of the various approaches mentioned above in the problem scenario. How do these new approaches differ from other schools of philosophy?

II. Meet various sections of our society and collect their opinion about the recent curricular reform efforts

School Textbooks and Teachers Handbooks will be a good source for first hand information.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009



Theoretical Base of Education - Philosophical and Sociological

The major objective of Theoretical Base of Education is to build up the efficiency of student teachers to start their career by applying the philosophical and sociological theories and principles. The following specific objectives are formulated for the study of this subject:
The student teachers:
1. Realize the scope of educational philosophy and how it determines the entire system of education
2. Apply, during curriculum transactions, the major philosophical systems and the educational ideas of great thinkers in the world.
3. Study how education can bring in desired social changes
4. Understand the significance of education for conscientization of people, and
5. Plan their teaching to develop students’ skill to work in future for the welfare of the society and social cohesion by achieving economic stability and creating new knowledge.
Unit-I. Relationship between Philosophy and Education
1. Scope of educational philosophy
2. How philosophy determines the education system.
Unit-II Major Philosophical Systems
1. Views of Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Rousseau, Buddhists, Dewey, Tagore,
Mahatma Gandhi.
2. Features and educational implications of Idealism, Realism, Naturalism,
Pragmatism and Humanism
Unit–III Contributions to Education by Great Thinkers
Pestalozzi, Herbert, Froebel, Rousseau, Comenius, Montessori, Dewey, Paulo, Fraire, Mahatma Gandhi
Unit–IV Relationship between Education and Society
1. Interactive role of education and society.
2. Factors that threaten the relationship
3. Ways of improving the relationship
Unit–V Education and Social Change
1. Nature of Indian society
2. Factors influencing social change
3. Major changes occurred in the Indian society
4. How social changes take place
5. Role of education in promoting desired social change
Unit-VI Conscientization
1. Role of education for conscientization of people
2. Areas where conscientization is needed.
Unit-VII Education and Welfare of the Society
1. Education for peace and coexistence
2. Education for economic stability
3. Education an instrument for Intellectual Property and inventions and discoveries for the welfare of the society

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Teaching Plan for 2009-2010

Suggested titles for PBL scenario for 2009-2010
As with the previous batches,I will adopt PBL approach in my transaction this academic session also.

I plan the first practicum as follows.
How much Resourceful is the Internet in Learning Educational Philosophy?A Comparative Study of Digital and Traditional sources.
Plan of Action.
Student teachers will work in small groups and each group will concentrate on a particular school of educational philosophy of the contributions of an educational philosopher.Student teacher are expected to search,identify, find,retrieve, share both digital and print materials available to them.They will be helped to use various online interactive tools to enhance their reach and interaction.
Each group will share their learning experiences on a day to day manner to the whole group.
There will a final presentation by each group using presentation softwares
Te final products expected from each student teacher are a report of their learning experiences in black and white and a CD containing all the digital files they downloaded.
The duration .
1 st November to 15 th Dec.2009.

The titles of the other three practicums will be as follows.Details will be given later

2.How do teachers cope up with curriculum change?A study in the context of recent curriculum changer in the state.

3.How does education initiate changes in the society?A microscopic study of a village community in Kerala.

4.Reflections on the philosophical and sociological issues of ICT enabled education in Kerala

On the Eve of the New Academic Session

This is a new Blog created just now.
The new academic session will commence from tomorrow. I just wanted to reflect on my experience in the previous session. This new blog will be used for student interaction during the new session.
Last year I tried, to a great extend, to integrate ICT in my day to day teaching.The result was not very enthusiastic. There are a number of of reasons for that, the major one being the lack of access to ICT for student teachers.The other ones are hectic academic activities, apathy of a small group of student teachers,lack of my ICT skills etc. Luckily I got two opportunities to enhance my ICT skills, a week long 'Intel Teach Programme' and again a week long Orientation in Informatics organised by the KSHEC. Both progammes,I hope, will enhance my ICT skills. Therefore during the coming session I will try to integrate ICT tools in a more efficient manner in my day to day teaching.