Importance curriculum, relevance of Research based in competitive world

Ms. Jasmine Gandhi, Director of Kangaroo kids, Billabong High International Noida and Sanchetna

 

Traditional education has been under considerable research for years, as changes in technological advancements and job ecosystems have resulted in ever-expanding knowledge. Over the years the conceptual approach to education has emerged as an innovative curricular framework designed to manage information overload, engage students in an active learning environment, develop their logical reasoning skills, and fully prepare them for an increasingly competitive landscape.

During the discovery learning movement of the 1960s the Inquiry-based learning was developed as a response to traditional forms of instruction – where people were required to memorize information from instructional materials. The beliefs of the learning process finds its precursors in constructivist learning theories, such as the work of Piaget, Dewey, Vygotsky, and Freire among others.

By the late 1970s, many education researchers tuned in their focus on developing a theme of study that reflected the combined influences of science, technology, and society. The theme based study was expected to generate curiosity, pose inquiries, questions, problems or scenarios—rather than simply presenting established facts and there by developing inquisitiveness among learners.

Stimulating discoveries in neuroscience and continued developments in cognitive psychology have made new insights about the brain, the human neurological structure more accessible to us and even the attendant perceptions and emotions that contribute to learning. What we learn from these researches, theory and experiences is what helps educators to guide students in becoming lifelong learners and attaining the level of literacy that’s critical for their successful future.

The latest relevant researches that are then synthesized into a dynamic curriculum and other learning manifestations, to enable children to learn in a way that is most effective as well as engaging.

Educators today are fascinated with the implications of connecting knowledge about how the brain works with teaching and learning in the classroom. Conclusions as to how the brain works are based on basic research of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Mathematics is a subject which is linked with every other subject with one or another way. While teaching Principle of calorimetry to grade 8 and heading towards how heat lost by a body is equal to heat gained by another body suddenly in the mid of discussion, one student out of excitement stands up and says “Ma’am, is it not a linear equation” . The moment is fascinating as student managed to connect different terms of different subjects.

Terms like ray, lines and parallel lines can be made understood using different hand postures. To make these terms clearer, we can ask students to construct maps of their colony or society using parallel lines, lines, segment, intersecting lines and ray.

Tools like Base Ten Blocks, Table Shapes, Time Snap Cards, Abacus, Clock Face Tracers, and many more are used to make mathematics learning more meaningful, collaborative and competitive.

A child is born with approximately 100 billion brain cells or Neurons.

It is not the number of brain cells but the ‘number of connections’ that are made between those cells that determine usable intelligence. These connections are called ‘synapses’ or neural wiring.

Short-term memory involves the ability to hold and manipulate information for use in the immediate future. Information is held in working memory for only about 20 minutes. The challenge students’ face is to move information from their working memories into their long-term memories. If they do not do this in about 20 minutes, that information can be lost. To keep this newly learned material from slipping away, it needs to enter the network of the brain’s wiring.

Research-based curriculum has always been at the core of our teaching. Fundamental to this is the purpose to ensure that our learners gain highest benefit from a shared understanding of the rationale.

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During early childhood, children develop many more synapses / connections than they do as adults. These connections are pruned or lessened when they are not used. Therefore the more ways something is learned, the more pathways are made.

For example Global Warming is conveyed through Life Skills again by apprising them of healthy habits that lead to a developed and a prosperous nation. Carbon Footprint is introduced at this level. And even various spheres are taught in consideration of the endangered and extinct species.

Children research about Dodo bird and its cause of extinction. The learners recently presented some amazing poster on saving animals through which they spread the message ‘Curb your Greed, Let animals breathe’.

Another example would be, when learning about ‘cats’: when we see a cat, it goes into the visual image region of the brain. When we see the word C-A-T spelled out, that information goes into a language-association region. After learning about the characteristics of a cat, the association is made with members of the cat family like the tiger. Later we build associational memories with the cats we have seen around.

Because the information about cats is stored in multiple brain areas, and cross-referencing occurs among these areas when we think about cats, connecting networks of dendrites (connecting cells) sprout among these memory storage areas. This circuitry permits multiple cues or stimuli to call forth all our ‘cat’ knowledge instantaneously. Just seeing the word “cat” will put our recall systems online to provide all the stored data we have connected pertaining to cats. We may not need all that information, but because the associations activate these circuits, any of the stored information that we do need will be rapidly and efficiently accessible.

Environmental Sciences also consist of an enriched integrated curriculum. The aspect of life skills is also introduced by asking students to write one paragraph on “how you can bring light in someone’s life”.

During the study of the revolution of the earth, when the learners are taught about revolution and months of the year, they also study about how different months got their names in form of a story. While the study of the moon and its phases also caters to review of the various festivals related to the moon like Ramadan, Chinese Moon Festival, Eid, etc.

The learners are also exposed to words and philosophy of legends like Dalai Lama who believes earth as beautiful and bountiful.

That is the reason for teaching important material through multiple learning pathways such as several senses (hearing, seeing, touching) as well as through several subjects (cross-curricular topics) at Billabong High.

The highlights of our curriculum are encapsulated in the ‘what’ and the ‘how’.

‘What’ refers to the explicit & implicit content. Explicit content is what people see, hear, and the books they read. Implicit content teaches students a variety of skills and helps them develop a level of awareness.

 

For example, in class when children are studying about world leaders, they not only learn history but also understand the attributes of leaders. They introspect and emulate the qualities of a person of eminence.

‘How’ refers to the various methodologies used to engage all the senses of our students. We adopt within the curriculum varied research on evolving a high level of learning effectiveness. And that there are many theories upon which we base these methodologies.

We use resources to make topics to be easy to learn and understandable for students. For instance divide students into group of each 3 students. Ganit Rack is another tool used by us to develop number sense in primary level. This little frame is a powerful tool to deepen number sense by providing structured counting experience.

Effective teaching at Billabong High international School uses strategies to help students recognize patterns and then make the connections required to process the new working memories so they can travel into the brain’s long-term storage areas.

Learners who experience multiple intelligence learning triggers improve significantly with respect to Social and emotional skills; Attitudes about themselves, others, and school; Behavioral adjustments; Achievement test scores and school grades; All round performances. These positive impacts do not come at the expense of performance in core academic skills, but rather enhance academic achievement.

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