Posted on : 22-03-2010 - Author : V.Prathyusha
Lets balance theory and practice
If a question arises as to how many of these students are equipped with enough skills to deliver to their job from day one, the answer is very disappointing. The reason is a lack of correct balance between theoretical and practical education. That Indian education system does not give practical exposure to its students has been a much lamented fact. Practical learning includes lab work, project work, case studies, field trips, industrial visits and application-based teaching. None of the above mentioned practices finds a place in the methodology of teaching of a lot of educational institutions in the nation. Most Indian schools do not give due importance to practical learning because of three reasons. The first and the most common reason is the lack of basic infrastructure like labs and libraries. This problem persists in every level of education, starting from primary education to university level. The second reason is that boards of education do not give enough weightage to practicals. The third reason is that many of the teachers either do not have the knack of incorporating practicals into education or the system does not give them the freedom to do so.
One common complaint from students is that in a lot of schools the way of teaching does not differ from subject to subject. A lesson in the first war of independence and a lesson in Newton's laws of motion are often taught in the same drone which is the most efficient way of killing interest in students. Lessons can be more appealing to the students if projects or casestudies are made a part of the teaching process. It instills imagination and brings out the inherent creativity of the students. Also, students tend to remember something more easily if they are shown a working-model. My friend recollects an incident where she was not clear with concepts related to diffraction and interference in Optics, despite having been taught several times by her teacher theoretically. "When the same topic was explained through an experiment using a ripple tank, I understood it completely and the concepts have been implanted in my mind ever since", she avers. Laboratory-work has been another neglected aspect. Labs give a hands-on experience to the students. Labs give scope to make mistakes and learn from them. The recent times have also seen a rise in the number of so called corporate colleges aimed solely at achieving meritorious results in competitive exams. Such colleges conduct labwork for the students once at the end of every academic year just for namesake. Such practices are not advantageous and also develop a negligent attitude among the students. "A haphazard way of conducting practicals does not help. Theory and practicals relating to a lesson must be done at the same time; it helps in consolidating the knowledge of the students. Lab exams must be conducted with the same strictness as a theory exam", opines Mr. M.Bhanu Prasad, a lecturer in physics. An industrial visit is another way of imparting practical education. Such visits give the students an insight into the real-time applications of the concepts learnt in class.
How practical are our practicals?
Practicals also help in developing a keen interest in students on any one subject, thereby making it easy to choose a particular field for further studies without any ambiguity. "Practicals increase the thirst for knowledge in a student and help in orienting the student's mind towards the research field", says Mrs.P.Purnima, a school-teacher. Project works and field trips also inculcate team-spirit and bonding among students.
Source : The Times Of India