|Year : 2014 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 100-103
Melioration in teaching: An aptitude or an attitude
Seema Hallikerimath1, Anil Ankola2
1 Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, KLE VK Institute of Dental Sciences, Belgaum, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Public Health Dentistry, KLE VK Institute of Dental Sciences, Belgaum, Karnataka, India
|Date of Web Publication||7-Jan-2015|
Dr. Seema Hallikerimath
Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, KLE VK Institute of Dental Sciences, Belgaum, Karnataka
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Introduction: Teaching is a process that facilitates learning by encouraging learners to think, feel, and do. Teaching-learning mechanism plays an important role in institutions in determining the effectiveness (quality) of the output in health care profession and not the efficiency (quantity) alone. The learning process should never cease, as in the present era of information explosion teachers have to keep themselves updated with the newer trends in science and technology. However, with vast technological aids advancement and material science available to us, we still stand in dilemma at times introspecting as to "How refined is our teaching and is our professional education appropriate to bring about changes effectively and efficiently." Hence, this paper aims at amalgamation of transformations that have taken place in teaching-learning and the effectiveness that is bought about in teaching.
Materials and Methods: A questionnaire study is planned in health science institutions mainly medical and dental by using specifically designed validated questionnaire that has both open and close ended questions. Teachers in academics for more than 5 years were included.
Results: About 98% of teachers said that they prioritized their teaching according to the learners group. Though oral communication has been the mode of teaching and interacting, 38.9% of them use a combination of different aids while teaching. About 76.1% felt that teaching is what the students should be able to do rather than what the teachers can do. Moreover, 94% of teachers were of the opinion that the traditional role of teachers has changed over the years.
Conclusion: Teaching is a skilled professional activity carried out by a complex being (i.e. teacher) for more complex being (i.e. learners) in complex situations (i.e. classrooms, wards, OPD and hence planning is critical irrespective of the number of years and hours that we have put in teaching and the mode by which we are teaching.
Keywords: Learning, teaching, teaching aids
|How to cite this article:|
Hallikerimath S, Ankola A. Melioration in teaching: An aptitude or an attitude. Indian J Health Sci Biomed Res 2014;7:100-3
| Introduction|| |
Teaching-learning resources are "man, material, money and minutes" or stated more properly as human resource, hardware and software, finance and time. For effective teaching-learning mechanism in any system, the appropriate balance of above-mentioned resources is a must. Teaching-learning mechanism plays an important role in institutions in determining the effectiveness (quality) of the output in health care profession and not the efficiency alone (quantity).  Teaching is a process that facilitates learning by encouraging learners to think, feel and do. The learning process should never cease, as in the present era of information explosion; teachers have to keep themselves updated with the newer trends in sciences and technology. However, with vast technological aids, advancement and material science available to us, we still stand in dilemma at times introspecting as to "How refined is our teaching and is our professional education appropriate to bring about changes effectively and efficiently." Hence, the present study attempts to uncover the amalgamation of transformations that have taken place in teaching-learning and the effectiveness that is bought about in teaching.
| Materials and Methods|| |
A questionnaire study was carried out in medical and dental institutes. A specifically designed validated questionnaire which had 13 open and close-ended questions was used. Teachers in academics for more than 5 years were asked to participate. Out of 100 questionnaires distributed, 76 were duly filled and were statistically analyzed for the answers (study matter). Drop out analysis was carried out, and 76 was a sufficient number for study purpose.
| Results and Discussion|| |
An analysis of demographic data suggested that 73% were males, and 27% were females. The teaching experience ranged between 5 years and 31 years with a mean age being 13 years 8 months. When mean teaching experience gender wise was calculated, it was seen that the male participants were in teaching for 14 years and females for 12.5 years.
About 98% of teachers said that they prioritized their teaching, and it varied for undergraduate and postgraduate training. For undergraduate's students, oral communication that is, didactic lectures followed by group discussion, and team teaching was the priority and for post graduate training it was group discussion and team teaching with oral communication being the least.
Prioritization of our teaching according to the learners is must because; it depends on the type of and level of students with whom we are interacting for effective teaching-learning mechanism. At postgraduate level, it requires more of group discussion as a text book knowledge alone is not sufficient and it is more of one to one communication but while addressing a larger group of undergraduates' we follow oral communication as it could be pertaining to specified syllabus.
As discussed in the book of Medical Education Principles and Practices, it is important for us to know that, for facilitating the choice of educational media, four priority levels can be used. The sensory input of different priority is
- Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste (in real life situation)
- Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste (in a critical situation)
- Sight and sound (in video tapes and motion films)
- Sight and sound (in still pictures and lectures).
Priority levels (1) and (2) place the learners in an active role and these levels use either real life situations in involving patients and field trips (priority 2). In priority levels (3) and (4), the learners are passive and they either see and hear someone else in an active role as in video films (priority 3) or merely see and hear a description as in a lecture aided by visuals. (priority 4). Although the priority (1) is essential for effective learning, experience should proceed from priority (4) upwards for considerations of safety of patients and also for the ease of learning. 
Oral communication has been the dominant medium for teaching and learning since time immemorial. It was the main educational medium before the invention of the modern printing process by John Gutenberg of Germany in 15 th century. Even afterwards, oral communication has remained one of the most popular media. However, the use of oral communication alone has several limitations. The registering of spoken word by the mind is not efficient. It has been shown that only 20% of what is heard is remembered, but >40% of what is seen could be retained in memory. The retention in memory is >70% if something is both seen and heard. Therefore to overcome the limitations of oral communication as a teaching-learning medium, a variety of other media have been developed to facilitate teaching and learning.
37.3% of the teachers said they used only A-V aids, 11.9% by visual aids, A; V aids, models and simulators, written aids, 38.9% of them use a combination of different aids. This indicates a changing trend in teaching with the help of different aids. These could be non-projected visual aids like overhead projector, slide projector visualizer, audio aids like public address system, audio tape system/written aids/patients and real objects/three dimensional representations like simulators/audiovisual aids like video tape system, LCD panel, virtual reality/mass communication media like radio and television.  Resnick (1987) suggests that the only way of making tacit knowledge explicit is through "bridging apprenticeships." This kind of training involves the use of simulations, tutoring, coaching and case-based teaching to contextualize the learning and make it more relevant to what happens in the workplace. 
For maximum and lasting learning, realistic teaching-learning experience is essential and therefore the use of realistic T-L media becomes desirable.  Study conducted on students at University of Bergen in Norway, by Ulvik in ICT and active learning processes as challenges and possibilities in teacher education concluded that active learning processes seem to support important aims in teacher education, and the use of ICT provides a positive supplement offering something else and will not replace other ways of working. 
About 10.4% of teachers felt that teaching-learning activities is what teachers can do and 76.1% felt that it is what the students should be able to do and 13.5% of teachers felt it is both. It appears that in the recent years, the teachers have been appreciating student's choice in their education and it is about the student doing more than the lecturer and describes the shift in the power relationship between the student and the teacher.
As discussed by Barr and Tagg, the paradigm shift away from teaching to learning, has encouraged power to be moved from the teacher to the student.  The teacher-focused/transmission of information formats, such as lecturing, have begun to be increasingly criticized, and this has paved the way for a widespread growth of "student-centered learning" as an alternative approach. It appears to relate primarily to the constructivist view of the learner and the importance it places on the activity, discovery and independent learning suggested by Carlile and Jordan.  The constructivist view of activity is related more to performing physical activities, for example, projects, practical's. Changes in education and attainment of global standards have encouraged the teachers to give more importance to the outcome of teaching.
89.6% of the teachers felt that the teaching-learning process is complimentary to each other whereas 10.4% of them felt that they were independent of each other. Teaching and learning processes should go hand in hand that will involve both teachers and students otherwise the process often turns out to be a one-sided activity which will not be able to analyze the teaching process.
Twelve principles of effective teaching and learning suggested by Tiberius and Tipping, indicate that teachers who know their subject matter thoroughly can be more effective and efficient at or gaining the subject matter, connecting the subject with the students' previous knowledge, finding useful analogies and examples, presenting current thinking on the subject, and establishing appropriate emphases. Learning is an active process which requires that the learner work with and apply new material to past knowledge and to everyday life. Some of the methods that encourage active learning in the classroom are: Discussion, practice sessions, structured exercises, team projects, and research projects. In the words of William James: Teaching without an accompanying experience is like filling a lamp with water. Something has been poured in, but the result is not illuminating. 
Moreover, 98% of teachers said that they evaluated their lectures, and only 2% of them do not. Among them, 31.3% of them evaluate their teaching by feedback forms 14.9% by self-evaluation, 11% by peer review and feedback and 42.8 by other combinations. Individual teachers can apply the "input - process output" model to systematize his/her own teaching.
In order to change certain aspects of teaching we also need to undergo teacher training programs. 100% of teachers said that they had undergone training programs.The numbers ranged from 1 to 10 with mean being.  23.9% of teachers attended these programs at college level, 23.9% at university level, 28.4% of those which were organized by both college and university, 23.8% at other places. 76.4% of teachers felt that they were very important, 22.4% important and 1.5% felt that the teacher training programs are not important.
A discussion on microteaching by N. Ananthakrishan put forward that medical teachers, unlike most other teaching professionals, are unique in that no special prior or in-service training in pedagogic techniques is considered necessary for their recruitment as teachers or for their continued efficient performance in that capacity. Under these circumstances, their ability to teach is largely dependent on
- Observation of their teachers
- By a process of filling up the lacunae while, we teach
- Teacher training methods. 
About 94% of teachers were of the opinion that the traditional role of teachers has changed over the years. 23.9% of them felt that the role of teacher is only mentor, 23.9% of them felt that they play a role of teacher, researcher and mentor, 20.9% as researcher and mentor while the remaining 31.3% feel that they play a role of combination of all. The traditional role of the teacher has been to act as a source of information and to transmit this information to the learner. With the recent emphasis on the active role of the learner, the teacher has become less of a transmitter of information and more of a facilitator of learning. Although the role of a teacher in teaching-learning interaction has diminished, his overall responsibility and in teaching, learner interaction has diminished his overall responsibility and functions in the educational process have increased tremendously. The function mainly is a managerial function apart from a communicator, self-learner and research worker. This is perhaps the most important function of a teacher in the current educational context. Managerial function consists of planning, implementing the plan and controlling the educational process.
As we all know, any learning experience includes two major variables: Teachers and students. Now the emphasis is on the students and on increasing their potential to contribute to educational excellence. In addition to their conventional role as recipients, students are the raw materials for education. If we look upon the learner's side, today's generation knows more about technology than do their teachers. Youngsters get boarded if they are doing only one function at a time. They need multiple stimuli. For example, they watch their computer screens, listen to music through headphones and carry on conversation, all at the same time. The students literally have cerebrum and cerebral part of the brain acting in co-ordination to bring about their cognitive functions, to help them use their audio visual aids and function in the class which includes perception, face recognition, object recognition, memory acquisition, understanding language, and emotional reactions. They experience a technologically saturated environment. On the other side, in the new scenario, the teacher has become a facilitator "The teacher is no longer the sage on the stage but the guide on the side." 
| Conclusion|| |
The degree of success of any activity largely depends on the amount of planning and execution of the plan before performing that activity. The same is true for all educational activities including teaching-learning activities. Teaching is a skilled professional activity carried out by a complex being (i.e. teacher) for more complex being (i.e. learners) in complex situations (i.e. classrooms, wards, OPD and hence planning is critical irrespective of the number of years and hours that we have put in teaching and the mode by which we are teaching.
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Ulvik M. ICT and Active Learning Processes as Challenges and Possibilities in Teacher Education. 31 st
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Tiberius R, Tipping J. Twelve principles of effective teaching and learning for which there is substantial empirical support. Toronto: University of Toronto; 1990.
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