One of the important pre-conditions for an individual to grow into a healthy personality is the interdependence upon social webs within which one operates. The life and soul of social interaction is communication. Communication is largely a means for breaking down barriers to human interaction and building up of society, its units and sub-divisions to create a harmonious global world. Owing to the technical nature of sophisticated communicative devices, parts of the world that are geographically remote are remapped both sociologically and psychologically. In other words, communication is a ‘glue’ that keeps people together while relationships grow and strengthen into channels of mutual support, productivity and satisfaction. Any teaching-learning process is essentially a process of communication.
Questioning, the heartbeat of teaching and learning
Let’s begin with a question. Why do we learn? There can be several answers: to imbibe knowledge, to understand better, to be self-reliant, to satisfy our curiosity and so on. Learning is by nature, curiosity.”, said Plato.
The National Education Policy 2020 requires learners to be active questioners in the classroom. Albert Einstein once said,’ The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing’. Questioning is a key skill in the communication cycle. It is a powerful tool in the teaching-learning process. Asking the right kind of questions by the teacher can test learners understanding, dispel misconceptions, fuel the imagination, ignite their critical thinking and problem solving skills, keep interest and motivational levels high, besides promoting a positive self- concept. Effective teachers ask a variety of questions to engage their learners in stimulating discussions and dialogues, The more number of high quality questions a teacher asks, higher is the learning attainment of the learners. Encouraging learners to explore out of the box is the pathway to building thinking minds and successful global citizens.
Questioning and Project-based learning
Project-based learning is a sub set of experiential learning or learning by doing with reflection that encourages learners to be active participants in the process of exploration and discovery. Questioning plays an important role in project-based learning. Learners ask challenging questions to solve authentic problems, participate in simulations, undertake investigations, conduct case studies and develop real-life solutions in order to bring about change. They explore multi-disciplinary connects, work collaboratively and within groups using 21st century skills of communication, critical thinking and creativity leading to learning that is deep and long-lasting.
Leading educationists recommend Project-based Learning because it discourages rote learning, kindles the curiosity of learners and equips them to acquire 21st century skills for successfully contributing to a highly evolving global society.
Understanding that flexibility, adaptability, collaboration, communication, problem-solving and innovation are the key skills to succeed in today’s dynamic society, Macmillan Education, India, in partnership with Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer, IIT Delhi, has launched a blended learning solution, Altura– Advancing Learning and Teaching using Resources and Assessments, for Grades 1 to 5. The learning resources follow the experiential-learning approach, are discovery oriented and discussion and analysis based leading to the development of 21st century skills. As educators, it’s time for us to encourage our young learners to dive in and embrace new ways of learning and thinking.
Ms. Shashikala Meenakumari
Director – Publishing