Two months ago, St Andrew’s College hosted a seminar on gay and lesbian literature and invited writers and participants from across India. The seminar, essentially for literature students and not part of the university curriculum, sparked such curiosity that students from other streams too came in.
Mumbai colleges are banking on such non-traditional methods to rejuvenate traditional courses. While management and media courses have interactive projects and internal assessments, regular subjects are textbook-oriented and tend to see lower attendance.
But innovative teaching techniques are now keeping students in class.
“In traditional courses, only the final exam at the end of the course counts. So there is no push for students to do more than just pass the exam. It is up to us to keep their interest and motivation alive,” said Mohini Dias, history professor at Jai Hind College.
In Dias’ classes, lessons are taught through plays and with LCD screens in classrooms, audio-visual presentations are also used.
At Bandra’s St. Andrew’s College, B.Com students are going to present advertisement campaigns in an inter-class competition at the end of the month. “I have given them products like wigs, dentures and hair removal creams. This is to encourage creativity and healthy competition,” said commerce professor Desiree Gonsalves.
Two years ago, Mithibai College went a step further and institutionalised the innovation in a three-year honours programme that helps in personality development and public speaking. Students are taught bridge to help logical thinking, do courses on hypnosis and are placed in organisations to gain experience for a year.
“There is a rigourous selection process. Only those who have good attendance and do well in the course are allowed to take up the honours courses,” said vice-principal Kshama Shah, programme in-charge.