Rajani Maharjan

Learning with Fun

Rajani Maharjan*

In context of Nepal teaching learning activities have been matter of stress and conflict between learners and teachers. Teaching and learning of the subjects that are considered difficult among students such as English, Science, Mathematics are frequently reported to be more painful. This has led different incidents violence in academic institutions. Though, there is increasing concern of the pedagogues and other stakeholders including different stakeholders of the education, this has not been sufficient in order to change the existing trend of the academic practices. In this context, this paper reflects the rays of hope for those who are struggling hard to initiate learner friendly teaching.

Most of the time academic practices in Nepal have made an impression on school children of a punishment given for a serious crime- the crime of being innocent and helpless child/learner. That must be the reason once it has been said that if adults are to make losers it is the child.  It has been like a punishment given by the jailers who indeed are teachers. Books have been like stones, bags are porters’ load to be carried, and students have always been bounded in schools as prisoners in cell. Students sitting on the same seat for the whole day from ten to four and 45 minutes long lectures followed by one another the regular business, with a short break in between around mid-day. Learning has always been matter of tedious and memorization regardless of its implication and connection in real life. It is not uncommon that most of the students love not to attend such lesson, they make a celebration when a teacher is absent. Teachers’ absence is the most pleasing moment for the students.

There is a huge gap between the teachers and students, teaching and learning, curriculum and achievement, students and schools. Many students are de-motivated to go to school; they found learning boring and monotonous, at school level the dropout rate is very high, average success rate of the students is university examination has remained below fifty. 

The gap however is on the process of being filled. This gap however is now bringing students and schools together. It is making schools not the station for punishment but

Many schools in Nepal are changing their teaching techniques from traditional method to new progressive methods known as child friendly. The higher level institutions are also looking for making the learning more fun and engaging and connecting it to the real life problems. The attempt to maintain variety in learning process so as to make it more interesting and less monotonous are going on. Some teachers are trying to use the technology in their classes, while others are looking for the audio and video materials relevant to their lessons. Some others are trying to involve the students in some creative and engaging project work.

Educate, entertain and engage: The principle of learning with fun are being adopted. Students learn by doing things, playing games, and doing self exploration. The core idea of learning with fun is not the teachers working hard to find the best answers but engaging the learners to find good answers to the problems and involving them in the process of improvement of those ideas. It is not about the giving the readymade answers and asking the students to learn by heart but creating the environment for learning. Basically learner friendly is about educating, entertaining and engaging. These there Es in learner-friendly teaching are central to learning process. Classroom management with comfortable and appropriate classroom management with comfortable and appropriate sitting arrangement is another aspect.

Maintain variety: There must be use of teaching learning materials; such materials not only facilitate the learning process but also bring variety in learning process leading to entertainment and engagement. In English class, such materials can the use of Audio-Video technology. For example while teaching I have a Dream by Martin Luther King the use of the Video of the speech will not only create the fun in the classroom but also the real social emotional engagement of the learners to the text and message being delivered. Likewise, engaging the students’ in games, rhymes, warm up, icebreakers, group work, pair work, and buzz group discussion, etc according to the level can also be equally engaging. This not only provides the learners opportunity to express themselves in the group but also encourages them to explore the relevant information independently. A simple collage making activity using the images from the used newspaper can provides a real life like situation with information gap to use variety of language functions a vocabulary.

Create ample of opportunity for communication: expose Also, teachers’ and students’ talking time should be balanced. Both parties should have equal and balanced talking time. Students should be given more time to express themselves. But the teacher should maintain the quality of the talk. Teacher talking time and students’ talking time should produce quality talking time in balanced way. Mutual respect is another important dimension of learning process. This has clear linkage with the misconception that teacher is always right and what teachers says is always correct. This increases dependency and stops learning process. As a teachers, we should be able to accept that we are not perfect, there might be better solution than the one I am sharing with you. The solution we work out in group is likely to be better than my own readymade ideas imposed.

Trust and friendly behaviour: Beyond these all components of learning with fun, the major thing that comes is attitude of a teacher. A teacher must have very positive and friendly attitude along with the trust on the students. This nurtures the confidence and responsibility among the students. S/he should have an attitude to be better prepared learning with fun demands a lot of preparation. A teacher must contribute his or her time and effort to manage and create learner friendly learning process, friendly and loving behaviour of a teacher always essential and adds value in the learning process.

(* The author is life member of NELTA and recently working for an Education Project at Global Action Nepal as the project management staff and teacher trainer. She has keen interest in child friendly teaching and learning without fear.)

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