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Friday, November 21, 2008

From rote learning to creative learning

From rote learning to creative learning




WHILE most educationists have their concerns about rote learning, they also agree to the fact that certain subjects do require mugging up concepts. For instance, not all mathematics or physics formulae can be understood and even learning of languages does involve rote methods. Remembering dates in history was never easy, so what is the solution? 


   To this end, a 'memory lab' was recently launched at the Mann Public School, Holambi, which aims to make learning simpler and quicker using 'memory enhancing techniques.' This is the world's 22nd and NCR's first memory lab which was launched recently by Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury, a world record holder for memory and the brain behind the concept. 


   Says Chowdhury: "It is an attempt to shift from rote learning to creative learning. I have introduced concepts, which do not involve cramming. Once students understand our concepts, they will remember them for life." 


   The lab has 15 equipment, which can be used for 27 experiments in various subjects. Students need an initial training for a period of 30-45 days on learning methods to be able to use these equipment. Once they get familiar they can easily 'memorise' concepts. 


   Chowdhury emphasised that the use of colours and pictures helps in better retention. Thus, his equipment makes judicious use of the same. Subsequently the magnetic number system, the history colour system, the geography map grid or even the 3D grid for learning countries' capitals, have all been carefully designed to make memorising easy. 


   One of the important features of memory lab is the 'Neurobic Machine' or the happiness testing machine invented by Chowdhury and B K Atal Bihari Malik, founder of Brain Research Institute, Bhubaneswar. The USP of the machine is that it can test the mental state of a person. The lab also consists of a memory reference library having around 25 books on memory techniques for various subjects and mind methods for good health. 


In a similar attempt, Pradeep Kumar from Magical Methods, a concept based on Vedic maths, is teaching concepts of geometrical shapes to children aged between five to seven years and applied geometry to children aged between 12 to 15 years, using a mathematical hat. 


   Says Kumar: "Geometrical shapes are taught to children from the very beginning but they see it in their books in the form of pictures. Pictures are in two dimensions whereas in real life, most of the things are in three dimensions due to which they find it hard to recognise shapes when they actually encounter them in real life." 


   He adds: "While working with mathematical hat, children can actually feel the shape. They can wear mathematical hat on their head. They can dismantle and join it again. This lets them learn about triangle, rectangle, square, circle, cylinder, pentagon and hexagon. And when they manipulate things themselves, they tend to learn these concepts for life." 


   Kumar has designed four different types of mathematical hats including those for teaching concepts of geometrical shapes and properties of triangles, circles and quadrilaterals. He has also devised various innovative games through which students can comprehend concepts easily. 


Most schools are making use of interactive teaching learning materials (TLMs) as they believe in the theory that students learn better when they can visualise, manipulate and explore rather than passively listening to a teacher. 


   Repeated studies have shown that a multisensory approach enriches internal memory and facilitates recall of information, says Sumitra Ramji, a counsellor. "Using pictures, sounds, music and interacting with students to find out what it feels or looks like, stimulates different senses." 


   She adds: "Creative dramatics or role play activities address the problem situations and helps to re-explore ideas and interpretations among other things. Assisting students with mindmaps and flowcharts facilitates better understanding, gives structure to the topic, benefits recall and summarises important information clearly and concisely. By using different modalities, we stimulate different areas of the brain, which in turn facilitates information processing and recall when needed."



Sunil Sharma


Dil Se Desi Group


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