A crash course on teaching creatively

Nicholas Horsburgh, author of primary school textbooks, conducting a workshop for school teachers, organised by Oxford University Press, in Visakhapatnam on saturday.—   | Photo Credit: Photo: K.R. Deepak

B. Madhu Gopal

Three-hour class for teachers organised by OUP

VISAKHAPATNAM: Learning can be made a delightful experience for children when teachers understand their feelings and make them overcome their inhibitions.

This would help in fostering two-way communication and promote better understanding between the teacher and the taught, feels Nicholas Horsburgh, an educational consultant and author of primary school textbooks.

He was here to conduct an English Language Training (ELT) workshop for teachers of various schools, organised by the Oxford University Press, on Saturday.

The teachers became his obedient students as he literally cast a spell over them not only with his command over English language and diction but also his knowledge of Telugu, Hindi, Spanish and other languages.

They sat through the ‘three-hour class’ in rapt attention as he made them overcome their inhibitions by lacing his lecture with humour and imitating the mannerisms of students and teachers.

“We used to sweep our classroom, dust the blackboard and open windows. There were no servants in our school and teachers used to act as facilitators,” said Mr. Horsburgh recalling his experience as student of the Rishi Valley School in Andhra Pradesh.

He felt that learning the language could be made more interesting through songs and rhymes. Teachers should think beyond the textbooks and classroom and give examples from day-to-day life so that the students could grasp and recall information easily.

He likened books, encyclopaedias and dictionaries that gather the dust in libraries to a car that was kept in the garage as a showpiece.

Mr. Horsburgh appealed to teachers to motivate their students to read good books and use the library.

He called for attitudinal changes in teachers to sustain the interest of the children in studies.

Learning could be made more fun through card games and children could be taught to play with words. He felt it was unfortunate that teachers were all the time anxious about completing the syllabus and going strictly by the textbooks.

He suggested that children could be made to think of words through gesticulations and actions.

This communicative approach would ingrain the subject into the young minds and help them in remembering it for a long time.

He advised teachers against demoralising students by scolding or beating them in the classroom. Their shortcomings should be shown in a positive way so that they correct themselves.

Senior Territory Manager of Oxford University Press, India, L. Raghuram Reddy was present.