Posted by: greatfoundation | February 23, 2010

5 learning lessons

 –  Utpala Joshi  

The role of a teacher comes with a great responsibility. Let me hasten to add that it is also a very rewarding role. It is said that dynan-daan is the best form of daan and the satisfaction gained by teaching someone,  is unparalleled.

It feels wonderful that we have many volunteers who want to come forward to teach school children and make a difference. I have been a volunteer teacher of mathematics for past 1 academic year. I would like to share with you my 5 learning lessons.

1. Importance of preparedness:  Be prepared for the session. Never assume that because of age, experience and personal abilities, you will be able to teach for 50 minutes, unprepared. There are pitfalls, tricky situations for all academic topics and if you want to win the confidence of the students, you must be well prepared. This is not to say, you can’t make mistakes, read my next point for that. 

If you are asked to answer on the spot about a topic you are not well prepared for, deal with the question later by saying so. Tell the class that you will handle the question in the next class and DO answer the question without fail, in the next class. Buying time is a clever management trick and it is no reflection on your teaching ability or mastery over the subject if you buy time. 

2. Assisted learning: Teaching has changed form to become assisted learning nowadays. The teacher need not be a know-all wizard thankfully. The teacher is an assistant, supporter and a guide who gives form to the learning experience. 

So go ahead and enroll assistants from the class. They are happy to be of assistance and enjoy the role. I use this method to learn the Marathi terms for mathematical operations from the children. If you don’t know something, ask the students – you will be surprised by their resourcefulness. 

3. Seek and give feedback: Get feedback from students and teachers about your class and act on it. Also assess the students on what you have taught. Give them individual feedback on their strengths and weakness. 

This means some homework for you but it is well worth it.

4. Goal setting : Set a simple goal such as ‘passing the SSC exam’ and keep working towards it in each class. Count days till the exam, count easy marks to gain to achieve passing grade or show them the book covered so far. Let them all work towards one single goal. Do this without fail in every class. 

5. Active participation : Encourage active participation by asking students to solve questions on the board, act as class leaders or group leaders to assist others. When they are engaged more, they automatically take interest and learn more.  


Mrs Utpala Joshi  




  1. Thank you for sharing this great experience. It is always great to go back to the basics but it was interesting to know how things are changing in terms of assisted learning.

    • Hi Nitin,
      Thanks for your comment. I agree that the scenario of assisted learning is changing. It is not only teachers who are acting as tools to teaching but a number of other intermediaries such as e-learning modules and innovative methods that help improve and enrich the learning experience.

      Please let us know if we could help out on anything.

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