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If you were to look at a programme list on any university website, you will see how the field of education has evolved. It can be safely inferred that educators have realised that there is more to offer than the traditional arts, commerce, and science. Keeping in mind the relevance of the subject in today’s world, colleges and universities introduce courses every year.
Studies have shown that different methods have varying results on students’ engagement. One method that is considered as a key strategy by the faculty is Contextualised Teaching and Learning (CTL).
CTL is a set of instructional strategies that are developed to integrate academic content with applications in a specific area. With CTL, it has been seen that students tend to retain content longer and learn better when concepts are taught in context. Besides context, spatial factors have also been considered while developing, implementing or modifying pedagogies. Regular evaluation in terms of tests and exams for students is an indicator of the level of learning that has taken place. Evaluation of teaching methods in the form of student feedback would definitely help teachers understand how effective their methods have been and where a little modification might be needed.
So how does CTL help students learn better? Students are encouraged to think, come up with ideas and see the relevance of what they have learnt in the real world; students learn to work in teams while solving interconnected problems and instructors use varied approaches to help students understand and learn concepts better.
While drawing up modules, educators must bear in mind the following objectives: improving the mindset of the students to be creative and self-reliant, strengthening their ability to recognise and seize opportunities, encouraging new start-ups, and their role in the society and the economy.
Faculty staying up-to-date with their subjects is as important as designing the course. Training programmes must make use of methods to identify the teacher’s capacity and ability to understand the subject in its entirety whether it is concepts, creativity, technology or project management. They should help educators to work on their skills and experience and encourage them to exchange ideas with their peers.
While designing approaches and strategies, trainers should keep in mind the following practices: Choose a strategy that is most suitable to the subject(s) they wish to teach; Design activities that will help learners understand procedures and processes as well as how and when to use skills and knowledge in a given context; Design approaches that help learners understand the ‘big picture’ and the steps to get there, as well as enable them to see how they can work on each of those steps.
Trainers should design strategies keeping groups rather than individuals in mind because in the real world, learners will be interacting with other individuals and groups. Hence, knowing how to deal with issues that may crop up in a group set-up is important. Assessments should be done on the learner’s command over skills and ability to apply his/her knowledge in real-world tasks and situations.