Columnists Features

Effective transfer of knowledge makes one stand out

SOME students who enter college or university to pursue a teaching career are sometimes sceptical about how they will manage to effectively and efficiently handle a class once they join the profession. As they begin their course, they know they will acquire the relevant knowledge and skills, but what unsettles them in the initial stages is just the issue of how they will practically deliver lessons so that pupils fully understand the materials.
As they progress in their studies, however, they increasingly become confident, especially through academic activities such as group discussions and tutorials, among others. Teaching practice, which is the last part of the students’ three- or four-year programme at higher learning institutions, crowns the whole process of teacher training at that level.
As one completes his or her course, they must have the ability to transfer the knowledge they have acquired to the learners at the lower levels of the education system. If, on the other hand, one has all the knowledge but fails to communicate to his or her pupils in a manner that they should fully comprehend, then that is bad enough. What actually helps an excellent instructor to stand out is their ability to make others truly learn.
Therefore, there are certain fundamentals that teachers must be aware of, so as to make the teaching/ learning process a complete success. Since student-centred learning is at the core of the whole academic arrangement, teacher learning is of vital importance. Teachers just have to be ‘well-rounded educators’.
Besides their deep understanding of the subjects in which they are specialised, they are expected to have the ability to help learners relate ideas to one another, solve and address problems and misconceptions. Teachers need to demonstrate to their pupils how ideas connect across fields and in everyday life (Shulman, 1987). This is the kind of education that today’s increasingly complex society and a rapidly changing technology-based economy demand.
Effective transfer of knowledge to young people requires an understanding of child development and of how to support growth in different areas of one’s personality, i.e. social, emotional, physical and cognitive.
Teaching in a manner that connects with pupils also requires a good understanding of certain differences which may exist as a result of varied cultures and family experiences, among others.
In today’s world of technology, it is important to make deliberate efforts to connect young people to sources of information and knowledge that enable them to explore ideas, synthesise those ideas and learn to solve problems.
To achieve this, a teacher should know about collaboration; being able to structure meaningful interactions among pupils is a great and inevitable skill. This must be complemented by one’s ability to collaborate with other teachers, as well as creating linkages through which they must work with parents to fully support children’s experiences both at school and home.
What is desirable in the teaching profession – in these changing times – is the need to acquire knowledge and develop a practice that is different from what teachers themselves experienced when they were in school. Today’s teacher does not simply read and talk, but he or she is involved in intense studies and deeply reflects on the subject(s) that one teaches. They ‘look’ closely at the students and their own work and share what they see with their colleagues. Such are learning opportunities on the part of the teachers that interpret knowledge into practice.
These education experts (teachers) should know what types of learning experiences work best for their pupils at any given time.  Children need an environment where lessons are presented in a context that is meaningful to them.
To be continued

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