“Learning experiences outside the classroom are forms of experiential learning – John Dewey”
Humans are the most intelligent species on this planet. They have the ability to learn, to reason and solve problems. The situation emerged due to the spread of COVID-19 gave a big jolt to the education sector. Students are not able to attend their schools physically. Almost all educational institutions whether government, private or public adopted the alternative way of the teaching-learning process in the form of Tele-Classes to overcome the academic loss of the students.But, this mode of teaching process has a limited scope. It could not fulfill the academic needs of those students who lack such facilities which are pre-requisite for this process like availability of smartphone, or laptop, or palmtop etc. it has been realized that a large number of students remained unattended. Then a smart idea came out from the smart teacher who assembled the students in the open field and started to teach them in his neighborhood.This initiative gained a lot of popularity not only among the people but it has been also appreciated and well received by the concerned department; order has been issued in this regard to arrange community classes at the local level in favor of those students who can’t afford smart phones, Palmtops, Laptops etc.
In this connection, when I received the phone call from my immediate officer (Headmaster), I got excited to be the part of this process and to see my students face to face after a long gap. Next day when I attended my school to deliver the lesson to my students, the whole scene became very much emotional.The headmaster had already briefed the students about new rules pertaining to the community class. All the students who became the part of this process were sitting under the shady tree within the school premises, maintaining the proper social distance, wearing colorful masks. That whole scene recalled me the Vedic period of education system (Guru- Kula System) when the Guru (teacher) and Shishy (Student) used to sit in the nature’s lap; keeping themselves away from the daily hassle and bustle. Anyway, whatever may be reason in the introduction of such classes but it is beyond any doubt that this mode of teaching learning process covers academic needs of those students who could not avail the benefit of Tele-classes because of so many reasons. While comparing this mode of teaching process with that of virtual or tele- classes, I found this mode of teaching learning process more beneficial than the former one (Tele-classes). In such situation, where the students can’t afford to have smart phones and when the slow internet speed hampering the Tele-Classes on regular basis, this mode of teaching learning process enlarged its relevance. At least, a teacher and the students are connected with a natural voice. There is no issue of audible or non-audible voice, no issue of internet clampdown.
The educationists like Rabinder Nath Tagore, John Dewey who was the staunch support of naturalism believed that teaching-learning experiences that take place outside of the confines of the classroom walls have a range of benefits for both students and teachers. It gives the practical and first-hand knowledge to students. According to John Dewey “Learning experiences outside the classroom are forms of experiential learning”
Let us take this prevailing situation as an opportunity rather than a misfortune and try to utilize the concept of naturalism while impacting the education to our students. Let us make it more joyful and student centric process by involving more and more students under the umbrella of this ‘[community class room’ so that it enhances the learning and foster the personal and social development of a child. We can make this mode of teaching process more interesting and meaningful by following ways:
(Author is a Teacher and columnist)