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Achieving Excellence in higher education through quality teaching & learning

Theme : Active teaching Involve to Evolve

Tripti Dhote ( Faculty Marketing) Swarnalata Philip ( Faculty Finance) INC Nagpur

Contents :
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Abstract Acknowledgement Expertspeak Introduction Active Teaching: Meaning, Scope and Relevance The stages& components in Active teaching Distinctive Features of active teaching The methodology & approaches Limitations 10) Conclusion 11) References & bibliography

Abstract for Paper on : Achieving Excellence in Higher Education through Quality Teaching & Learning.
Submitted by : Tripti Dhote Faculty ( Marketing)/ Swarnalata Philip- Faculty ( Banking and Finance) A cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage without education Mark Twain A brilliant way of highlighting the relevance of better education. However simply being a cabbage may not help. It requires a dash of the right kind of spices- Value added education to be precise.

Step into a typical Management school & you invariably observe students striving to equip themselves with the 3 Cs thats Concept, Confidence & Communication- A definite value addition for their Curriculum Vitae. So Case Study analysis it is for concept reinforcement, while Group Discussions & Power points are the preferred tools for that well - rounded persona. The approach is conventional and narrow and the onus lies on the teaching methodology. Today employers are on the look out for a balanced blend of KSA (Knowledge, skills & application) with the right mix of attitude. A student who applies his domain knowledge to real life situations is preferred to a meritorious aspirant who is perfect on his Kotler but falters in his or her application. The message is absolutely clear. As a teacher its time for some lateral out of the box thinking on every aspect & getting experiential in approach rather than relaxing in the comfort zone of Conventional, Run-of the mill, tried & tested and Black & White teaching methodologies. This calls for moving beyond sheer academics & getting more interactive. The solution lies in A Multi-Perspective teaching approach that separates the bookish orientation of the undergraduate classroom from a more exploratory orientation at the higher level.

We express a deep sense of gratitude towards Dr Ravindra Aher (Regional Head) & Mr. Arvind Pande (Center Head) for their constant support & encouragement. The blessings & learnings from our revered seniors Prof. R. Prasad ( Hon. Director)and Prof. Bhaskar Rao, have been an inspiration to invest hard work, overcome obstacles, be result oriented & strive for perfection. We are also indebted to Dr Ushoshi Guha, Dr Shashi Wanjari, Dr Ashutosh Paturkar, and Mr. Mahesh Jagdeo for their selfless co-operation and invaluable views on the subject . The degree of perfection, patience & sensitivity, which was essential in undertaking this research paper, would not have been achieved without the contribution & tolerance of our co faculties for which we are grateful to them. Last but not the least a word of gratitude for all our students of SEM IV & SEM II especially Apurv Mishra & Abhinav Roy for being an inspiration for this Paper.

Swarnalata Philip Tripti Dhote Faculty INC Nagpur. Faculty INC Nagpur


Dr Ushoshi Guha (H.O.D Cyber law Department of PGTD law, Nagpur University)

Active teaching especially in higher education is integral to achieve excellence. It needs to be in slots leaving learners to themselves at times. A contemporary method like - Research through dialogue ( in case of law Jurisprudential solutions) between a researcher and a panel of experts in varied subjects facilitates active evolution through involvement ranging from short-term to long term.

Dr. Shashi Wanjari (Reader and Head Department of Education Nagpur University)

Everybody speaks about quality in education, but I personally believe that teaching to be active one has to inculcate manner, spirit and methods to develop professionalism. Both students as well as teachers need to understand that professionalism breeds quality.

Dr Ashutosh Paturkar (Dr. Ambedkar Institute Of Management Studies and research, Nagpur University)

Active teaching is all about encouraging students to stretch their imagination, Initially the students may be clueless & the response may not be encouraging. But gradually they acquire creative thinking. The role of the faculty here is to Kick -start the process of discovery. "

Mahesh Jagdeo ( Alumni IIM (A); Head Trainer Nozomi InfoTech solutions- Nagpur)

For active learning you need to have practical assignments. Live Case studies is one way to
enable students to work upon varied perspectives. This is because problems are dynamic& Perspectives become obsolete with time. Hence a teacher needs to emphasize and encourage current scenario application because decisions are based on them. Involvement has to be everywhere. If Not you are a non-active teacher.

Achieving excellence in higher education through quality teaching & learning

Theme: Active teaching Involve to Evolve What students need is not new and better curricula but access to more and more of the real world; plenty of time and space to think over their experiences, and to use fantasy and play to make meaning out of them; and advice, road maps, guidebooks, to make it easier for them to get where they want to go (not where we think they ought to go), and to find out what they want to find out."

John Holt~ Teach Your Own

The word Teaching in the common parlance essentially stands for Tell, Educate, Advise, Coach and Helpt. The teaching for higher education however must essentially rise above the conventional concept of instruction. It calls for an ability to elicit Attention Interest Desire and Action from the students and in order to achieve this, the focus needs to be shifted from Monologue to Dialogue, Dogmatic to Pragmatic and from Generic to Generative. When we talk of higher education the student has entered into an advanced phase & is heading towards specialization. Therefore, there has to be a transition form one-way Pedagogy to interactive Andragogy. In todays Parlance Teaching can be redefined to represent Trigger, Energize, Accelerate Activate, Co opt (collaborate) and Hone. At this crucial juncture of initiation a deeper level of study, the teacher is expected to assume a more demanding role; that of a catalyst who initiates the process and facilitates transformation rather than being a Buffer who provides everything on a platter. In short, teaching must be active- in the sense that it is dynamic and characterizes a high degree of interaction between the teacher and the students, among the students as also the students with the exogenous sources. The Paper aims at gaining an insight into the concept of Active teaching as an effective tool for excellence in higher education by applying existing laws and principles from diverse disciplines to arrive at potential methodologies, which provide ample scope for triggering active learning.

Active Teaching : Meaning, Scope and Relevance The great aim of education is not knowledge but action -Herbert Spencer

Active or Interactive Teaching, which is being increasingly recognized as an effective delivery mechanism is hailed as a novel approach to teaching. But when we look at the history of education, right from the Vedic period, teaching in the olden days was highly creative and interactive and practice-oriented. With the broadening of the knowledge sphere and invention of paper and print other methods started evolving and standardization resulted in order to facilitate a systematic assimilation of ideas. This gave rise to theory-oriented teacher-centric methods of teaching. Recognizing the drawbacks of conventional teaching, Good (1983) an American Educator has prescribed active teaching as a wider concept that explains an ideal way to teach. According to him teachers whose students learn effectively

Are Active in presenting concepts, providing appropriate engagement and practice activities and monitoring those activities carefully. Actively look for ways to determine whether their students understand what they are doing Actively assume partial responsibility for their students learning and are prepared to reteach when it is necessary to do so.

Active teaching to be fruitful necessitates continual innovation and creativity and is more of an approach than a methodology which is essentially learner centric as against teacher-centric. It comprises of several strategies, which encourage interactive learning involving student in each phase namely planning, learning, evaluation and control. (fig 1.1), The focus is on turning engaged time into effective academic learning.


Fig : 1.1 Active teaching Process

Teaching strategies which are learner-centric and requires maximum participation by the learners are a quite a few like group work, discussions, case studies, role play etc. These methods have been used by faculties and have been found to deliver satisfactory outcomes. The following model (Fig 1.2) from Huddleston and Unwin (1997 ) and adapted by gives a comparative outline of generic and generative teaching.

What makes active teaching more relevant is the fact that higher education is a gateway to the prospective careers. Employers are on the look out for a balanced blend of KSA (Knowledge skills & application) with the right mix of attitude. A student who applies his domain on to the real life situations is preferred over a meritorious aspirant who is perfect on his Kotler, but falters in his or her application. This is exactly what active teaching needs to achieve. Its time for some lateral out of the box thinking by the teaching fraternity on every aspect getting experiential in approach rather than relaxing in the comfort zone of the conventional, run-of the mill tried and tested, Black and white routine. The solution lies in a multi perspective teaching approach that separates the bookish orientation of the undergraduate classroom to an exploratory orientation at the higher level.

Six dimensions of Active Teaching :

Active involvement of various stakeholders in the entire process makes active teaching a treasure hove of opportunities and discoveries and if expressed in terms of Newtons Law every action ushers in reaction and the chain reaction leads to generation of more new ideas 1.Exploratory Instead of getting explanations as it would have been under the conventional methods, the students are allowed to explore and discover theories and establish relations between concepts. 2. Generative

The process of learning is generative in the sense that it sows the seeds for critical and analytical thinking that will lead the students to discover and build up on theories by intriguing them and arousing their inquisitiveness. 2. Integrative The process enables cross-pollination of ideas through brain storming of all the stakeholders namely the faculty and students throwing up new vistas, which can be effectively translated into actionables. 4. Collaborative and cooperative: This approach necessitates collaboration among the learners. The teachers can make the sessions as multi-disciplinary by involving faculties of other disciplines or practicing experts from the field. 5. Constructive and creative: More stress is given to strategies that encourage constructive ideas and provide ample space for the manifestation of creative skills of the students. In short latent talents are canalized into constructive ideas. 6. Holistic The integrative and collaborative nature of these sessions moulds the overall personality of the students developing the much-needed qualities of confidence, expression power, teamwork and other soft skills.

The Stages and components:

Teaching, like any other activity involves many stages. Since interactive teaching demands a high degree of resourcefulness; Streamlining and Synchronization become vital. The major areas can be best identified as 1. Planning 2. Execution 3. Evaluation 4. Adaptation . Planning : The right plan will enable in deciding which tools & techniques a faculty can utilize to make the session a purposeful one. At this stage the first step essentially has to be preparing a blue print for the overall classroom delivery mapping the total session content and the level of Involvement of students and teachers in the planning of the curriculum in the given set of time and content constraint. The peculiar needs may vary from subjects to subjects and also for different courses. The approach adopted for higher learning in a specialized field e.g. Post- Graduation in Physics or economics would essentially be different from that of a higher learning in a field like Management since the students are non-homogeneous in the latter.

Phase I The Action Plan The first phase in planning would also involve participation of students. From the first session itself students are made a part of the process of designing the lesson plan. The objectives of the sessions would be set up and an overall plan for achieving them. This will allow them to ideate (Trigger) & generate innovative ways of learning and make them discover where they fit into the delivery process. A feedback collected on certain parameters immediately after a session could be a ready guide to improve upon the subsequent sessions. At the same time a feedback from the faculty or an encouragement for even a small but appreciable idea from the students would energize the session. The feedback should essentially be a two way process where students again are an active part of designing for evaluating the performance of one another as well as the effectiveness of the session. Phase II : The Activity Plan Activity is by far the best way of getting clarity on even the toughest of theoretical concepts. The students would participate in planning of the types as well as execution of activities, which they would like to conduct throughout the year to Accelerate the learning process in doing so Cultivating confidence and personal development of the students. This way the faculty assumes the role of a consultant & facilitator and Harvests a more independent, self motivated student

This will encompass all the activities that are directed towards academic learning. Depending on the activity, the responsibility of the faculty varies from assigning roles to each student or groups to ensuring that the sessions proceed in the direction of the objectives of the session. This will entail a dynamic facilitation by the faculty who would be required to navigate the sessions by closely observing the proceedings and interspersing them with leading and loading inputs and also ensure that while encouraging lateral thinking the subject matter is not lost.

Teaching is not, and cannot be, complete without the assessment of the session. The level of students understanding needs to be evaluated. This step is a crucial one as it will decide whether or not the overall objectives of the session are met with and the session plan is proceeding in the right direction. This calls for a two- pronged strategy. The First deals with the involvement of students in designing the evaluation parameters, self-analysis and peer assessment; A guided reciprocal peer questioning could be made an integral part of this phase. A CHEAT method of testing which gives the student complete freedom to open references, discuss with peers and come up with a solution. The test in this case will be such that the questions are either very complex and tough or a number of questions that need to be solved within a time frame with

negative marking for the wrong answer. This will make the evaluation process more transparent. The Second phase of the strategy should essentially entail a regular feedback from the students immediately on completion of the session, such that the necessary improvements are incorporated in the next session. An Inquiry method consisting of Guided Inquiry, Bounded Inquiry, and Open Ended Inquiry could be applied for the purpose.

Control ( Reengineering) Drawing inference from the recent commercial of Microsoft (Wedding horse), which implies the use of the original software for the correct results, one should ensure that the techniques applied are appropriate. In order to adapt to the peculiar needs of the class and make learning more active a periodic review is vital. This will enable modifications wherever applicable, also the adequacy of the teaching methodology can be verified and corrective steps thereof can be implemented.

Merits of Active Teaching

In order to measure the efficacy of active teaching we need not look too far. A classic case of active teaching is INCs one - month Faculty Training Program (FTP) module; where faculties are put into the shoes of students & undergo all the rigors, which predominantly demand a high degree of active involvement in learning. The end result is a more energized faculty. Active teaching not only offers benefits for the learners, but also aids the faculty in enriching classroom delivery. Benefits For the teachers: The teachers are in a better position to assess whether the students have absorbed the concepts. The specific needs of the students can be identified and the teaching methods can be re-modeled. The feedback from the students not only helps the teacher to assess the effectiveness of the sessions but the teachers themselves can be benefited by acquiring different dimensions of the student psychology and response mechanisms which would enrich the teachers future course of action

Benefits For the learners

The learners can identify areas of their difficulties under the active participation methods. This leads to reprocessing of the content, which deepens their understanding and increases the retention . The learners can feel how their active role is contributing to their improvement. The rate of improvement is faster as compared to the one-way process of conventional teaching. Methodology & Approach Apart from the existing and quite effective methods of research projects, case studies, role-play etc, the following methods can be used to introduce variety and to energize the learning process.

Semantics (Look-Think-Act): Use of pictures headlines or titles to establish relations and building up concepts. (using a news item or a photograph to trigger multi-disciplinary applications) 2 Walk on a tight rope: pack up an array of progressive activities to be completed on the spot within a rigid time frame. (supply key words 3 Stretch your imagination: Logics will get you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere Einstein (Example: in business studies, movie like Lagaan will be used to make the students think beyond the obvious encouraging originality. 4 Heuristic ideation technique: Identifying numerous facets of a specific problem, mapping them and picking up the optimal combination. (ex: Raising rupee) 5 Synectics and brain storming 6 Strictly weird : Defy logic, Encouraging humor, spur lateral thinking (negative marking) 7 Theatrics, Simulations and atmospherics: improvisation and Simulation (a mock stocktrading session, or boardroom, Corporate-speak, etc) encourage a different classroom arrangement for different concepts. 8 .Mix-N-Match ( adapted from Vaughns FCB model high involvement Vs thinking and feeling)



Feeling ffective Objective: To stimulate creative as well as practical application. Media : Confluence of information and application (e.g. developing a case study or a strategy or a solution or creation of a problem)

nformative Objective: To trigger rational thinking.

M edia : A short yet informative lecture/ demonstration and inviting of inputs. Reinforce
Objective: strengthening concepts & encouraging responsiveness React

Media : Competitive quizzing, Discussions/ Reading seminars

Objective : To get a Feedback and evaluation for identifying weak links and facilitate corrective action. Media : Brain storming Synectics Framing Questions

Limitations : The size of the class: Larger the class size greater is the diversity leading to dysfunctional student groups hence more will be the chances of deviation from the objective of the class.

Too much of a learner- centric approach might block a students exposure to a facultys know-how and expertise. Some of the stakeholders may think that learning is an independent activity, which is fuelled by individual thinking and efforts and may be reluctant to take an active part in the sessions.. They may consider active teaching and learning methods as diluting the quality of learning Active teaching comparatively takes a longer time and it may not be possible to allot sufficient time to cover all the concepts. There may be strict constraints in the organization and the right learning environment may be lacking. Lastly, like the proverbial horse, the process may end- up as heavily dependent on the faculty if the students do not respond in the expected way.

Conclusion: While being experimental for a teacher, active teaching is an experiential means, which provides a sense of responsibility to the students in their advancement. The students progressively discover As they do so they learn. The drawbacks not withstanding, active teaching can be instrumental in achieving excellence in higher education if a teacher bears in mind that the students should be so molded that are prepared to learn, unlearn and relearn. The Mantra is Involve to evolve. References and Bibliography 1 article on Active Teaching and Learning by Jocelyn Robson 2 Active and Generative Teaching 3 Interactive lectures by Steve Drape 4 Source: Charlene D'Avanzo. July 2000. Evaluation of Course Reforms: A Primer On What It Is and Why You Should Do It. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, Volume 81, No. 3, pp. 206-209. Source: Charlene D'Avanzo. July 2000. Evaluation of Course Reforms: A Primer On What It Is and Why You Should Do It. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, Volume 81, No. 3, pp. 206-209. 5 ICFAI Text books