Changing methods

The article “Beyond chalk and talk” by Aruna Sankaranarayanan (September 4) brings out the totally different lifestyle of children today as compared to how it was decades ago. With access to computers and laptops, students need not look to the teachers for learning and are forgetting that teachers deserve as much respect as one's mother (Matha, Pitha, Guru Daivam). I distinctly remember when I was studying at Board High School, Krishnagiri in1941, we had a Maths teacher by name Krishnaswamy Ayyangar. He had no children but used to love all of us as his children. He taught us Maths in a very simple practical way. For instance, he used to advise us to count the number of trees on the road side while walking to the school, the number of branches each tree had and the number of leaves each branch holds and multiply them mentally, which method helped us a lot in Maths multiplication. He was so human and actually took care of the entire educational expenses of a son of the poor school peon, who ultimately became a veterinary doctor in Madras.

C. Lakshmi Narain

Chennai

The article throws lights on various aspects of our education system. I have been teaching physics for the last 20 years. Being a part of the system I feel today education is percentage oriented. The students' and parents' aim is to score more. Unfortunately we teachers also join hands with them. It is my experience that the student securing 92 per cent may not be aware of the applications of Newton's laws in daily life. Today things have changed. We must make use of the advanced technology available to us in teaching. Visual aids make teaching more interesting.

Shishidar D. Maradi

Gulbarga

With technology making deeper inroads into class rooms, the traditional role of teachers has undergone a sea change. While private schools located in urban areas have readily embraced technology and use it as a potent instrument in the teaching-learning process, schools in rural areas present a dismal picture as they are still found wanting in terms of quality of teaching and infrastructure. Our education system, which emphasises rote learning by stifling the instincts of creativity and innovation of our children, needs a complete overhaul. Our system should be modelled to encourage independent thinking in our children who are the real architects of our country. At the time of board exam results, it is common to hear about students who haven't fared well committing suicide. Is it not a pointer to what ails our education system. It is time we bring in reforms to ensure both teachers and students enjoy and commit themselves in the teaching-learning process.

M. Jeyaram

Sholavandan

Aruna Sankaranarayanan portrays the state of affairs in school education, but the scenario in higher educational institutions is no different and in fact much more challenging. No doubt, technology-enabled teaching tools are available in abundance, but in the present context of varied distractions due to TV, Internet and cell phones, it is a real task for the college teachers to instil emotional stability and maturity among the adolescent students and make them give their full concentration to the regular academic programmes. Apart from expertise in the subjects, it also requires perseverance, planning, and patience on the part of teachers to nurture the creativity of high performers and also to motivate the slow learners. Teachers should reaffirm their faith and passion in their profession and continue to train the student community.

M. Subbiah,

Professor, Rajalakshmi Engineering College, Chennai

Sudha Mahesh's article, “As time marches on” (September 4) , evokes in old timers a nostalgic resonance. We too had in the early 1960s a professor in the mould of Prof. A.L. Krishnan. Velayudhan Nair, our English Professor, was nicknamed Shakespeare Velayudhan Nair by dint of his profound erudition and in-depth knowledge of William Shakespeare. He was capable of profusely quoting from the Bard's plays and sonnets sans referring to the texts. With his towering personality and his stentorian voice, he really recreated the ambience of the amphitheatre while he made exposition of the scenes from “Julius Caesar” in the class room. We can still reiterate from memory the famous funeral oration of Mark Antony thanks to his way of teaching. His classes often were my escape routes from the sterile science lectures.

N. Sadasivan Pillai

Guntakal

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Sunday MagazineJune 28, 2012