In Teaching

I have sat through enough boring lectures during my college days to feel the pain that a student goes through. So, when I play the role of a professor, I get to change the rules to make it fun to learn.

Here are the photos from my recent teaching assignment at Bharathidasan Institute of Management (BIM, Trichy) where I took a 20 hour Digital Marketing course.

Because I’m a visiting faculty and that I need to travel from Chennai to Trichy for the classes, I can only afford to take off certain number of days from my work. This means that I need to take longer classes (sometimes 6 hours a day). This can be tough on both the teacher and more importantly the students.

I follow the certain techniques to not only overcome the learning fatigue but also to make it fun.

Horse-shoe Shaped Seating:

Among the first changes I make to the class is to change the seating from the traditional theater-style to a big U-shaped, horse-shoe style.

Its important for the students to see each other. The seating change itself gives a refreshing visual appeal and makes the class environment conducive to discussions.

Less Lecturing. More Discussions:

Lecturing is one way. Can be boring. Discussions and debates engages more students. Lessons are usually given as pre-class reading assignments and the class time is spent discussing them. I do a lot of break-out discussion during class. I always tell them its not about me trying to show how much I know but its about them knowing how much they understand. The students appreciate this attitude a lot, not to mention that they are a lot more attentive.

Student Presentations:

I break the class into smaller groups. Typically 5 students in a group. Each group is given a subject to learn, understand and teach the class the next day. Each group comes prepared with a 10 slide presentation to make in ten minutes. Ample time is given for questions and discussions. When students turn teachers, their learning quotient shoots up.

Freedom to Criticize the Teacher: Right at the very beginning, I make it clear that I teach from my experience and not from text books. Students are encouraged to challenge anything that they don’t feel is right. They are free to speak their mind with no repercussions.

The Push-Ups Rule: When anybody sleeps, I’m the one who is responsible for not keeping the class interesting enough. So, I get down on the ground and do 10 push-ups. Since I don’t like to do it alone, every students in the line where the person is sitting, need to join me. All of us do 10 push-ups. There’s smiles and laughter everywhere yet there’s a strong subtle message that demands everyone’s attention in class.

Quizzes are fun:

A great fun way to learn. Students love to compete and this is an excellent opportunity that combines competition and learning

In every class, I also find wanna-be quiz masters. I invite a couple of them to join me in preparing the quiz questions and make them the quiz masters. Every quiz has three rounds. (Written round, Round robin and the Buzzer round). I often step in to explain the answers and a great fun way to learn.

Physical Activities:

Sitting for too long can be tedious for the students. Hence, I always give them a physical activity to do that makes them get off their chairs. Typically its a short game or a group dance activity. Watch this video where the entire class does a Gangnam dance.

Here’s another video where we do the famous Chicken Dance.

It amazingly energizes the students and induces lots of laughter. There’s a combined sense of purpose and a great feel-good feeling. And the students are raring to get started with the next lesson.

Happy Students Learn Better

There’s no doubting that students love to be engaged and they deserved to be respected for their knowledge and enthusiasm. Its important to tap into the bountiful positive energy they posses. Make them happy and they naturally learn better.

Love to Learn from You:

These are some of the methods that I follow. If you are teacher, please feel free to follow any of these techniques. Please also let me know of new techniques that you follow. If you are a student, please tell me about your favorite teachers and what techniques they follow. I would love to add on new ideas.