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Project Based Learning-Importance and Benefits in Pedagogical Perspectives

Project Based Learning; a Real Learning Experience

Project Based Learning; a Real Learning Experience” ” is an integrated learning approach. A project is meaningful if it fulfills two criteria. First, students must perceive it as personally meaningful, as a task that matters and that they want to do well. Second, a meaningful project fulfills an educational purpose. Well-designed and well-implemented PBL—————————–

Project Based Learning; a Real Learning Experience- Introduction

 A systemic teaching method that engages students in learning essential knowledge and skills through an extended, student-influenced inquiry process structured around complex, authentic questions and carefully designed tasks and products.   In other words, a task or problem engaged in usually by a group of students to supplement and apply classroom studies. It is considered as an alternative to paper-based, rote memorization, teacher-led classrooms.

Proponents of project-based learning cite numerous benefits to the implementation of these strategies in the classroom including a greater depth of understanding of concepts, broader knowledge base, improved communication and interpersonal/social skills, enhanced leadership skills, increased creativity, and improved writing skills.

“When teachers and their students are “connected” through project based learning, the “world” becomes an indispensable curriculum resource.”-(NCF 2005)  Teachers are no longer their students’ primary sources of information. Instead, they are the designers of learning who created the conditions for the students to conduct their own inquiries, and advisers to whom learners can come as they create their product. It is in fact, also known as inquiry-based learning /inquiry-based learning, and problem-based learning.  Initially, John Dewey promoted the idea of “learning by doing in ‘My Pedagogical Creed’. It was popular at the beginning of the 20th century and again in the current century. Project-based learning has been associated with the “situated learning” perspective of James G. Greeno (2006) and on the constructivist theories of Jean Piaget.

Today, teachers around the world are designing projects for their students because they ignite a shared passion for learning in both students and staff; they foster a wide range of skills (such as time management, collaboration, and problem solving) that students will need at school, college, university, and in the workplace; and they can be tailored to suit students with a wide range of abilities and learning needs. Fortunately, designing projects help students to master the content which they are required to learn. The best way to do this is by using ‘backwards planning’. (The Teacher’s Guide to Project-based Learning). PBL provides a new life experience for collaborative learning i.e. how to share, care and come out from real situation of conflict (working in group) where a certain number of people is working to achieve a single goal.

 

 Objective of Project Based Learning mentioned in (Project-Based Learning ,  A  Resource for Instructors and Program Coordinators, National Academy Foundation and Pearson Foundation). Project based classroom is dynamic and interactive. Teacher is an active learner and facilitator. It starts with a problem, facts and skills in a relevant context.

 Well-designed projects ask students to:

  • Tackle real problems and issues that have importance to people beyond the classroom. Projects emanate from issues of real importance to students and adults in the community and answer the age-old student question “Why do we need to know this?”
  • Actively engage in their learning and make important choices during the project.

Projects make room for student choice and creativity while still demanding student mastery of essential content, enabling students and teachers to interact as co-learners in the experience, rather than in the traditional student-teacher relationship.

  • Demonstrate in tangible ways that they have learned key concepts and skills.

Projects provide opportunities for students to produce observable evidence that they have mastered rigorous curricular standards as they apply their learning and solve the problem at hand.  PBL empowers students with life skills i.e.  critical thinking, problem solving, decision making, and various forms of learning skills. Projects and exhibitions also provide extensive evidence of process work and self-directed learning. 

Key Points of Project Based Learning:-

  1. A project is meaningful if it fulfils two criteria. First, students must perceive it as personally meaningful, as a task that matters and that they want to do well. Second, a meaningful project fulfils an educational purpose. Well-designed and well-implemented Project Based Learning (PBL) is meaningful in both ways.
  2. In terms of making a project feel meaningful to students, the more voice and choice, the better.
  3. Teachers should design projects with the extent of student choice that fits their own style and students. On the “the more the better” end of the scale, students can decide following points:
  4. What product they will create?
  5. What resources they will use?
  6. How they will structure their time?
  7. “PBL integrates knowing and doing. Students learn knowledge and elements of the core curriculum, but also apply what they know to solve authentic problems and produce results that matter.” Markham (2011)
  8. ‘PBL refers to students designing, planning, and carrying out an extended project that produces a publicly-exhibited output such as a product, publication, or presentation.
  9. PBL emphasizes learning activities that are long-term, interdisciplinary and student-centered.
  10. PBL differs from traditional inquiry by its emphasis on students’ collaborative or individual artefact construction to represent what is being learned.
  11. PBL organizes around an open-ended driving question or challenge.
  12. PBL project plan should include the essential curriculum content for the project.
  13. PBL promotes critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and various forms of communication, often known as “21st Century Skills.
  14. PBL promotes students to use technology in meaningful ways to help them investigate, collaborate, analyze, synthesizes and presents their learning.
  15. PBL is an effective strategy for teaching complex skills such as planning, communicating, problem solving, and decision making. ( Dr. John W. Thomas, 2000)
  16. PBL can help increase student attendance, attitude, and self-reliance. For teachers, PBL can help increase professionalism and collaboration. ( Dr. John W. Thomas, 2000)
  17. Role of student is to ask questions, build knowledge, and determine a real-world solution to the issue/question presented. PBL allows them to think rationally on how to solve problems. PBL forces students to take ownership of their success.
  18. Collecting information
  19. Developing question
  • Exploring material and discussing outcome with peers
  1. Reflecting on the result
  2. Role of teacher Project Based Learning is that of a facilitator. The instructor regulates students and ensures that students should remain focused and have a deep understanding of the concepts being investigated. The students are held accountable to these goals through ongoing feedback and assessments. We always face challenges while implementing a concept and learning new things. PBL is students’ friendly learning approach under kind guidance of a teacher to involve students in working on tasks. However, there is several questions arise for implementing PBL in real life teaching learning situation. We can also see the teachers’ role in following areas.
  3. Offer guidance on subject/theme/topic
  4. Formation of different types of learner and their performance level
  • Holding meeting for further course of action
  1. Facilitating learners in different layers of project

Teachers can also meditate on following points:-

  1. Will this project engage my students?

The Learning Futures schools use a checklist to gauge the likely engagement of students in any given project idea. We call it ‘the Four Ps of Deep Engagement’. Before going too far with an idea for a project ask yourself whether the project is:

  • Placed – is it located in a place that is important to students (e.g. their home, community, town, city or virtual environment)?
  • Purposeful – will it result in a product, service or body of knowledge that others will make use of? Will the process seem authentic to students?
  • Pervasive – will students be sufficiently engaged in the project’s activities that they’ll want to voluntarily take the learning outside school and school hours? Is it likely to broaden students’ horizons?
  • Passion-led – Does the project tap into students’ passions?
  1. Will this project engage me?

It’s important that facilitator is personally curious and involve about the project’s outcome, that s/he will learn new things from it.

  1. Will my students learn something meaningful from this project?

It’s a good idea to make a list of the things you expect your students to have learned: this should include subject content, skills, as well as attributes to be developed (e.g. confidence, resilience, and resourcefulness).( The Learning Futures school)   

During the project planning phase, teachers must make sure that the project will result in student-generated evidence of learning that aligns closely with intended skill and content standards. (National Academy Foundation and Pearson Foundation)

 Integration of Inter- Disciplinary Subjects

PBL promotes integrated learning approach in this fast growing world where technological integration requires at every step of learning. It is combined learning approach where we can integrate different subjects into one project work i.e. a language teacher asks students to prepare a project on ‘bird migration’. He enquirers other subject teacher that, is there a lesson related to nature/environment or other interdisciplinary theme or not in respective subjects. He finds several correlated lessons in different subjects. He finds that students can get good ideas from subject English (unit –Environment), Science (Diversity in Living Organism), Social Science (Natural Vegetation and Wild Life) and Mathematics (Statics). (PBL, CBSE) Teacher guides his students to collect the material/content from different subjects, students collect ideas which help student to work on the given project. This activity increases not only interest of students to read other subjects but also to give equal importance to all subjects.   PBL approach provides opportunity for the teacher to become a facilitator in real sense. He becomes the torch bearer in developing tools and techniques on how to examine and analyze issue, the information they need to collect, planning, organizing the framework of the project. The projected action will be initiated by the students.

 Difference between “Activity” and “Project”

There is much confusion among teacher about the difference between ‘activity’ and ‘project’ in regular teaching learning process. Project based learning guide developed by National Academy Foundation and Pearson Foundation clearly mentioned the difference i.e.

ACTIVITY PROJECT
Students in a history class study Westward Expansion for three weeks, culminating with a “Frontier Feast” where students dress in period costumes and eat typical western fare from the era.

 

Students in a history class spend three weeks focused on the essential question “How did Westward Expansion impact our community?” Students learn about the period, research local connections, and design a museum exhibit featuring historical artifacts, primary source documents, and expert commentary from local historians. The exhibit is mounted in the community center lobby, and students serve as docents to the general public.

 

 Advantages of Project Based Learning:

  1. Rivet & Krajcki, 2004 and William & Linn, 2003 state that “research has demonstrated that students in project-based learning classrooms get higher scores than students in traditional classroom.”
  2. PBL develops responsibility, or ownership among students for their learning, their self-esteem soars. It also helps to create better work habits and attitudes toward learning.
  3. Project-Based Learning students also learn skills that are essential in higher education.
  4. PBL allows pupils to expand their minds and think beyond what they normally would.
  5. Project-Based Learning students learn skills, in fact, more than just finding answers.

 Disadvantages of Project Based Learning:-

Unplanned lessons can result in the wasting of precious class time. If the project does not remain on task and content driven the student will not be successful in learning the material.

 Assessment in Project Based Learning:-

 Assessment isn’t just about the final product.  In fact, final assessment will focus on the products that students have produced, and how they went about producing them (the process). Despite this, it is worth enough to remember that not everybody needs to produce the same product in order to demonstrate their learning. Questions that final assessment should address are followings:-

  1. Does the product meet or exceed the criteria we set at the start at the project?
  2. Has the student developed the skills required for the execution of this project?
  3. Has the student learned the curriculum content required for this project?

Ron Berger rightly states that real assessment take place when a teacher is minute observer and observes his students holistically. Teachers often mistakenly presume that a project’s final product is the only thing they should assess, which leads them to assume that they should be able to tell whether the kids learned what they needed to learn by looking at the final product.

Actually, assessing what kids know is ongoing throughout a project. The product is the motivation for learning the material, but it won’t demonstrate that they learned it all. For example, in the physics standards project, each kid only demonstrated one physics concept, so how do you know that they learned the rest of the material?

The answer to this question is that the book isn’t the assessment. You can assess what they’ve learned before the book comes out, and afterwards. In Physics Standards they gave all the students a physics test with all the concepts in it. You need to do assessment throughout the project so that when they’re doing great artistic stuff, you know that they know what they need to know. You can’t leave it all to the end.

(Ron Berger, Chief Programme Officer, Expeditionary Learning)

Conclusion:

Blumenfeld et al. says that, “Project-based learning is a comprehensive perspective focused on teaching by engaging students in investigation. Within this framework, students pursue solutions to nontrivial problems by asking and refining questions, debating ideas, making predictions, designing plans and/or experiments, collecting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, communicating their ideas and findings to others, asking new questions, and creating artefacts. Projects vary greatly in the depth of the questions explored, the clarity of the learning goals, the content and structure of the activity, and guidance from the teacher.

 The core idea of project-based learning is that real-world problems capture students’ interest and provoke serious thinking as the students acquire and apply new knowledge in a problem-solving context. The teacher plays the role of facilitator, working with students to frame worthwhile questions, structuring meaningful tasks, coaching both knowledge development and social skills, and carefully assessing what students have learned from the experience.

 Researched and Prepared by

Rajeev Ranjan

Principal

B.Ed(English)

Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English (PGDTE)

English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad

&

BA & MA (English)

Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

www.rajeevranjan.net

Email .Id: rajeevbhuvns@gmail.com

 References and resources for further reading:-

Article, 7 Essentials for Project-Based Learning(John Larmer , John R. Mergerndoller, In Educational Leadership, Buck Institute of Education)

The Buck Institute for Education (http://www.bie.org/)

Using Project-Based Learning to Increase Student Engagement and Understanding March 2012(TEXAS INSTRUMENT)

Project-Based Learning,  A  Resource for Instructors and Program Coordinators(National Academy Foundation and Pearson Foundation)

PBL is consistent with best practices in instructional design. To learn more, visit ASCD’s Understanding by Design Exchange. (http://www.ubdexchange.org/default.html)

PBL as an instructional strategy to create rigorous and relevant learning experiences by Dr. John W. Thomas’s (http://www.bobpearlman.org/BestPractices/PBL_Research.pdf)

Stanford University’s School Redesign Network includes links to many resources that help define and understand PBL. (http://www.schoolredesign.net/srn/server.php?idx=850).

The Small Schools Project boasts an amazing collection of resources to assist those educators creating small learning communities and small schools where PBL can thrive. (http://smallschoolsproject.org/)

The High Tech High network features schools designed to support PBL in the classroom.

(http://www.hightechhigh.org/)

Project Examples

PBL at NAF, Digital Storytelling for Academy Students and Instructors

(http://pearsonfoundation.org/NAF) The NAF/Pearson Foundation Digital Storytelling Project is modelled on exemplary PBL principles.

What Kids Can Do (http://www.whatkidscando.org/index.asp) This national nonprofit organization focused on student voice has links to several outstanding projects in their “projects and products” section (under “Student Work & Voice”).

STEPs (link to http://itd.usd259.org/steps/pbl.htm) The Standards for Teachers through Educational Projects site includes video downloads of exemplary projects.

Edutopia – The George Lucas Educational Foundation (http://www.edutopia.org/) The George Lucas Educational Foundation’s includes video clips highlighting exemplary projects.

Great Student Work (http://www.bobpearlman.org/BestPractices/StudentWork.htm)  Educational reform expert Bob Pearlman offers links to exceptional project examples and assessments from around the globe.

Best Wishes

 

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Critical Thinking – Teaching Techniques for developing critical thinking skills

Critical Thinking – Teaching Techniques for developing critical thinking skills

Critical thinking is an act of learning. Thinking can also be processed and developed. It is nurtured. Individual grows in each and every moment of his life.

Critical thinking as the “intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.  (The U.S. National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking)

Important Tools and techniques for developing critical thinking skills

Understanding of fact/formula is a good act of learning; however our goal of learning should be to know the ways/means/methods/techniques/reason (“why” and “how”). Everyone knows the formula for the area of a triangle – half into base into height. But why it is so? Millions of people might had seen the falling a fruit from a tree but minute observer Newton noticed and developed a desire to know “ why” and “how”.

Educator instigates spark of learning “why” and “how” and helps learner to taste himself/herself the “essence of learning”.  Let us learn to think “why” and “how”!

Questioning/Inquiry based learning:

Sensible student asks rational questions to self, surrounding and teacher. The moment a student inquires about something; it means s/he is interested in it. When we relate ourselves with situation, then we enable our self to explore the best possibilities. Sensible student considers all the factual and fictional possibilities.  It takes us to right place.

If s/he asks questions, then it is great sign for possibilities of better learning. S/he clears her doubts before considering the outcomes. S/he knows where to reach because her objective is clear. Student asks questions to reach the center. Student inquires to fix the problems and find out the solutions. A sensible student asks following questions to questions to self, surrounding and teacher. Sensible teachers only sensitizes learner to (Handwritten Picture)

  • What are the possible reasons for this events/accidents/result etc?
  • What were the important factors?
  • Why these factors became so crucial/game changing?
  • What can be other best possible options?
  • How did you come to know these factors? Would you like to mentions some of them?
  • What do you think? (Open ended questions)
  • Do you think so? Support your answer with illustration

How to Draw Best from Within

  • Asks Question
  • What is this —-
  • Why is it important—
  • How does it help ——-
  • Why does it happen –
  • Is it relevant —–
  • What are the difficulties ——
  • What are the ways to overcome difficulties—
  • Can we modify —–
  • What are the points which we can add or delete or modify —–

We should consider all questions before taking some initiatives and while performing a task.

Consider two situations:-

If you were the Indian NSA Ajit Doval, then, how would you solve the dispute of International Border Line “Doklam” between India and China, where third country (Bhutan) was also involved?

Mr. Ram Niranjan is newly appointed District Magistrate of ‘Mor’ district of Bihar. India Metrological department warned a heavy rain fall, which may bring a sudden flood. A large number of people stay in lower area. Mr. Ram has only 24 hours to make necessary arrangement. If you were Mr. Ram, what decision would you like to take for saving thousands of life?

Educator: – Facilitator of Learning

  • Educator should instill the habit of “learning to think” the process, ways and means for exploring the facts.
  • Give them opportunity, help them, and motivate them to become a wise critical thinker.
  • Encourage them and support them for shaping a fine human being, who can think wisely. Each individual has potential to think, analyze, evaluate and conclude concretely.

  • Help students to form right attitude for   minute observation and evaluation
  • Provide students a number of problem solving activities related to personal life, school life, and professional life
  • Brain game and puzzles
  • Lead learners to have intensive discussion and debate based learning

Give him Time

We should respect the dignity and integrity of individual. We should nurture his nature to come out from within. If we ask something, we should give him time to come out with several relevant points.

Listen to him

Human beings are habituated to talk much and listen less. We should listen individual’s ideas, view points, suggestions with patience. Give him the space to think and share.

Trust him

Better result comes when we trust individual’s ability.

Better result comes when we allow him to lead the show.

Each and every individual sees the world in his/her unique way. Parent, siblings, society, teachers, principal, boss, head of institution should trust the ability of an individual to see the things in a unique way. We should at least listen sometimes or other.

Elders/Seniors’ faiths make individual’s self esteem strong. I hope, we will not loss anything if we listen someone’s idea. It is in our hand to accept those points, use some of good points, modify them, and indeed, reject those points in a mild way.

A number of world’s great achievers achieved high however, at earlier phase of his life or career his views/ ideas were rejected or ignored by colleagues and seniors.

Facilitate him

 We grow in every moment of life. We are learners. Proper guidance, proper training and proper facilitation lead an individual to walk on right path.

Give respect to individual’s opinion

Share existing knowledge

Widen individual’s horizon to make out the things

Help individual to identify most relevant pros and cons

Help individual to find out various alternates

Review the Essence of Critical Thinking Skill

Critical thinking is at the core of most intellectual activity that involves students learning to recognize or develop an argument, use evidence in support of that argument, draw reasoned conclusions, and use information to solve problems. Examples of critical thinking skills are interpreting, analyzing, evaluating, explaining, sequencing, reasoning, comparing, questioning, inferring, hypothesizing, appraising, testing and generalizing.

http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/generalcapabilities/critical-and-creative-thinking

Rajeev Ranjan

Indian Educationist

References

 

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Life Skill Teaching Techniques for Teacher

                                        Life Skill Teaching Techniques for Teacher

Life skills develop right attitudes to think smartly, act smartly and to live consciously.  Life skills enhance strength of a person to survive in 21st century fast growing virtual world.

Life skills are the personal, interpersonal and cognitive psychosocial skills that enable people to interact appropriately manage their own emotional states and make decisions and choices for an active, safe and productive life.

The United Nationals Children’ Fund (UNICEF) focuses on developing a child as an integrated human being. “Life skills education is an important vehicle to equip young people to negotiate and mediate challenges and risks in their lives, and to enable productive participation in society. (UNICEF)

Life skills “may be defined as abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. (WHO)

As the WHO states: “Skills that can be said to be life skills are innumerable, and the nature and definition of life skills are likely to differ across cultures and settings.”

Life skills are acquired when we provide a platform or an opportunity for them to learn and practice. Individual learns life skills through awareness, alertness and by providing him required training i.e “it may happen”/right techniques to tackle”

 

UNICEF’s ‘Life Skills Learning and Teaching: Principles, concepts and standards’, for instance, states that “alongside literacy and numeracy, life skills are essential learning outcomes of quality education. (United Nations Children’s Fund, Life Skills Learning and Teaching: Principles, concepts and standards, UNICEF, 2010)

Role of a Teacher

Only a wise and a skilled educator can provide real life skills learning experience to a learner otherwise an individual even learns something from a rikshapular, a beggar or a layman!

We should sensitize our learners to identify importance of life skills. We develop life skills by providing proper training. We encourage 4G learners to explore and investigate the fact, analyze situations critically and present themselves in a creative manner supported by human values. Learners’ expertise in different life skills help them to become an integrated human being.

 

We cannot assume that individual learns each and everything which is delivered in the classroom/taught outside the classroom. The best method is to provide continuous training for better learning. Educator provides a homely learning environment for his learners. He ensures better involvement in the learning. Teacher initiates joyful and comfortable learning culture for developing different life skills i.e. self awareness, problem solving, decision making, creative thinking critical thinking and other essential life skills.  Lets us consider some of the points while developing different life skills among learners!

Encourage discussion and cross questioning in the groups

Two ways communication helps students to participate in learning. It ensures active learning. When a teacher asks a question to his students, students reflect on the relevant answer and participate in learning. Teacher modifies, correct and guide students on the spot. Students share their views, ideas and concept with their peers comfortably. It boosts up students’ confidence.

Focus more on process than product

Educator should focus on product. Positive learning outcomes have a life long experience. Teacher facilitates students to develop a positive attitude towards life circumstance.

Life Skills: – Activities for students

 Life skills involve dynamic teaching –learning process. Educator uses following teaching techniques to inculcate life skills among students.

  • Role play
  • Brainstorming
  • Games
  • Pair work
  • Group work
  • Open discussion /Debates

Field work is one of the best teaching techniques. Filed work is an opportunity for learner to involve directly, and investigate the fact in real life situations. Students directly connect themselves with different types of people. They collect data. They conduct interview and have first hand life experience. Students design questions for fulfilling study and ask questions to elder member in family.

Social work is second great opportunity for learners to learn essential life skill. It integrates different life skills i.e. decision making, interpersonal, intrapersonal, creative thinking, critical thinking etc. Students develop effective communication skill during performing several tasks in the field.

Teacher helps students to feel real life learning experience. Teacher organizes tours for their students i.e. visiting different places, hospitals, labs, factory, bank or required places related to topics.

Teacher helps students to prepare a set of questions. They form different group of students. A group of students meet famous person of the society. They conduct one to one session with them. Experience people share their story of struggle with students. Students learn so many life skills during this active session with good people (from different walk) of local area. Students learn different techniques to manage their emotion and passion to achieve something great in life. Students learn how to overcome from struggle having proper communication with experienced and expert people of different field. We would like to quote statement of Mr. C. William Pollard, Chairman, Fairwyn Investment Company, “Information is a source of learning. But unless it is organized, processed, and available to the right people in a format for decision making, it is a burden, not a benefit”.

Wise educator develops various ways, means and method for developing different life skills among students. Educator, society and student can create triangle of learning. Everyone has to learn, relearn and always try to learn. We need to train ourselves & discover ourselves for the betterment of learning. We will analyze and learn through great statements.  First, “The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one”.  Malcolm Forbes

Hope for the best! Surely active participation of educator, parent, student and society will ensure learning of “Life Skills”.

Wait ! We will altogether discuss next time “Life Skills” in detail.

 Rajeev Ranjan

Indian Educationist

References

World Health Organization, Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, <www.who.int/hpr/NPH/docs/ottawa_charter_hp.pdf>, WHO, 1986.

14 World Health Organizations, Life Skills Education in Schools, WHO Programme on Mental Health, WHO, 1997.

National Curriculum Framework( NCF,2005)

Bond ( Tim ) , 1986 , Games for Social and Life Skills , Hutchinson Co Ltd,

Teach 21 http://wvde.state.wv.us/teach21/

http://www.unicef.org/lifeskills/index_resources.html

Heckman J and T Kautz. 2012. “Hard Evidence on Soft Skills.” NBER Working Paper 18121.

www.rajeevranjan.net

http://www2.ed.gov/offices/OVAE/AdultEd/OCE/LifeSkills/intro.html

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Decision Making Skill: Tips and Techniques-Real Story-4 Young Girls of Class 5th Made a Difference

Decision making is a life skill. Skill helps us to grow. Decision making involves thousand of factors. Educator integrates students’ subject knowledge i.e. facts, fiction, situations, illustrations and correlates them to real life situation for developing decision making skill. Educator nurtures each individual’s capacity to take a wise decision.
Real story: 4 Young Girls of Class 5th Made a Difference
Four students of class 5th approached the principal to organize a cultural programme to celebrate ‘Teachers’ Day’ in the school. They were highly motivated and wanted to do something great for their teachers. Principal inquired minutely about the programme details. He decided to develop decision making skill among them. Principal asked them to chalk out everything related to the programme i.e. programme schedule, details of programme etc. The group decided everything minutely. Principal suggested girls to take help from educator for necessary modification. He deputed two teachers as observers. Group of 4 students took help from other students of their class, assigned duty and instructed them wisely. They organized programme exceptionally well.
It was a risk to give opportunity to a group of junior girls (5th class) to organize a cultural programme for almost 1000 students and more than 70 staffs; however he identified the calibre of students and took the risk for giving a golden opportunity for them. The principal identified, analyzed, evaluated their calibre, and trusted them, which resulted in a good cultural programme. Educator helps students. How we can do that?


1. Evaluate the calibre of students
2. Trust them, “yes they can”
3. Illustrate best possible alternatives
4. Sensitize them and lead them to the best possible point
5. Guide them to take decision carefully and deliberately
6. Give them space and time to think, to plan and to execute
Educator should sensitize students about the process of decision making. We can help them to work on the process. We can make them alert about the essential characteristics and ways of decision making. Ultimately an individual has to make decision while considering, time, situation, problems, facts, other related circumstances and consequence; moreover educator empowers individual to make an independent decision.
SEVEN-STEP PROBLEM-SOLVING, DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
1. Identify (recognize/define) the problem. 2. Gather information (facts/assumptions). 3. Develop courses of action (solutions). 4. Analyze and compare courses of action (alternatives/solutions). 5. Make a decision; select the best course of action (solution). 6. Make a plan. 7. Implement the plan (assess the results).
http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/army/rotc_dm_ps.pdf

Educator should help students to understand the importance of decision making and decision making process to lead an integrated life. We have to accept the universal truth that “Nobody can decide anything for us. Of course, others can help us to do so, but the decision has to be ours. I am accountable for my destiny. It is “I” who has to take right decision at right time. We remember quotes of French philosopher, René Descartes (1596-1650) who proposed a ‘truth’: Cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am).

Educator should nurture the students to avoid a situation of “to be or not to be”. In fact, if a decision takes too much time then it is always inadequate. We cannot stop the right moment/right situation for our decision. Educator should instill the habit of taking right decision at right time. Of course a rational decision making situation needs time but what will be use of that decision if  situation/things/professional deal goes beyond our reach. Educator nurtures each individual to take decision at right time and at right place.

(Indian Educationist)