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Revolutionizing Education: Unleashing the Power of New Age Instructional Techniques

Education and its purposes have evolved. The meaning of ‘knowing’ has changed from remembering and repeating information to finding and applying it. Education helps students identify their critical purpose in life. It is a tool to enable young minds to become lifelong learners. It empowers them to be able to tackle any challenge that life throws at them. The purpose of being an educator is to make the world a better place. Where people are empathizing, caring, and capable of understanding each other. The prime objective of education is to nurture the leaders of tomorrow. To impart quality knowledge and learning so that the young generation becomes responsible future global leaders and citizens. 

Advanced research in education philosophy and brain science has had a tremendous impact on instructional strategies for the classroom. As a result, the educational paradigm has seen a transitional shift in instructional strategies over the past few years. Middle school is all about “the” moment. One of the best qualities a teacher and an educator can have is a willingness to try new teaching strategies and techniques. Educators are now required to step out of their comfort zone of the traditional mode of teaching confined to classrooms. 

Teachers are bound to integrate the new instructional strategies to make a mark in the educational arena. Several different teaching techniques have emerged during this transition and due to this change in education. Some of the research-backed pedagogical practices that are appropriate for 21st-century classrooms are:

Reciprocal Teaching:

Reciprocal teaching is a method in which students in small groups predict, clarify, question, and summarize a scaffolded reading comprehension. It is similar to a small group of students sitting in circles and using a communal constructivism approach to making meaning. Each student takes the role of learner and teacher within the group. This technique allows the students to develop a shared understanding of the text and supports the students who find it difficult to comprehend complex texts.

Student-generated questions :

This technique allows students to work individually or collaborate with peers to generate their own set of questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy template. This technique enables students to go through a rigorous thinking process of divergent and convergent thinking that ultimately ends with a reflection-based task to summarize their learning.

Higher-order thinking questions:  

This technique of instructional learning is a must-have in every classroom. Critical thinking is essential as it allows students to apply the knowledge to a context different from the one that was initially learned. Using this strategy and adding cases and real-life situations to these questions allows children to develop relevance and motivation. 

Reflection questions:

Metacognition – the science of thinking about learning is a potent tool that should be used in every classroom. This allows children to strengthen their understanding and retain the information for a longer period. Questions like the muddiest point today? What were my three takeaways from the last 30 minutes? How would I use this learning to make my day better? And many more allow students to reflect on their learning and evolve themselves as lifelong learners. 

Taking a constructivist approach, these techniques or strategies allow the learners to accommodate and assimilate knowledge. When a teacher uses group work, he/she is leveraging the true nature of learning. This collective activity allows and enables the students to find relevance in the learning environment. Moreover, it will allow learners to have agency over their learning by modelling a real-world situation. Often when a teacher starts using collaborative approaches, various reasons like unequal participation deter it. The classroom space dons a chaotic look, and the teacher has no control. All these have to be minutely dealt with by developing as a facilitator rather than a sage on the stage. Working in groups allows children to develop essential life skills like empathy, compassion, and critical thinking.

Traditional pedagogical techniques, based on a teacher explaining a topic and students taking notes, may still be helpful occasionally. Still, education today revolves more around encouraging students to awaken their curiosity and desire to learn.