For the last few years, many colleges in Mumbai have been transforming their classrooms and replacing the chalk-and-board teaching method with activity-based learning. Colleges hope such innovative teaching methods will reduce stress on students.
The new teaching methods that place students at the centre of the academic process attract active participation of each student in the class. Some of the methods include experiential learning, animated videos and a syllabus infused with humour theatre. Some city colleges even use role play, which involves the dramatisation of certain topics in syllabus as a learning tool.
Graduates from the Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay and St. Xavier’s College, Fort, launched a learning aid called Laugh Guru for schools and colleges. Students can enjoy animated lessons, summaries and worksheets featuring voice overs and characters from familiar cartoon serials.
Antara Telang, BA graduate from St. Xavier’s College and a member of Laugh Guru, said, “Our memorable lectures are those filled with humour. When we use humour to help students learn, we speak to them in their language and create a stress-free environment. We started it for Classes 5-8. We plan to take it to colleges.”
Snehal Donde, principal of Wada College and Management, conducted a study on stress levels in commerce undergraduates with respect to the credit based exam system. Students complained that assignments, projects and theory exams are highly stressful.
Many colleges use theatre to enhance the learning experience of their students. Students of Bachelor of Arts (BA) in psychology of Jai Hind College, Churchgate, use theatrics to learn about emotions, psychological disorders and therapies. They are divided into groups and assigned topics, which they enact along with a power point presentation.
Jyoti Thakur, executive coordinator and vice-principal, Jai Hind College, said, “Teaching methods in colleges should change with the time. Active participation by students is important. These methods help them understand a topic in a practical manner and reduce academic stress. All colleges should adopt such methods.”
At Xavier’s College, Fort, life sciences subjects are taught through animated videos. “The videos help us understand a topic better. They help during revision before exams, as studying notes and textbook is strenuous,” Adithya Sarma, second year BSc student, said.
Somaiya Vidyavihar has an experiential learning centre for engineering and management students. Siddhi Rathi, third-year student, Asmita College of Architecture, Mira Road, said, “We visited Walvanda to study Warli architecture. We met locals and learned about the technique. The field trip was enlightening.”