Teaching is a noble profession. Yes indeed, it is . I was and am a great admirer of my teacher who taught me Biology in class VII, who was inspirational in my pursuing teaching as a career. As early as 1970s when technology and media were not implemented in instructional delivery in schools, my teacher used print media and created her own innovative techniques to bring Biology live into the classroom.
Today with about quarter of a century’s experience as a teacher, I would like to share my experiences and observations of students from Class IX to XII. The child’s social, mental and emotional attitude undergoes a steady change from age 15 to 17.
Many teachers think their students’ use of entertainment media has helped them multitask and find information quickly. I quite agree with this. Students, I find are tech savvy and are of great support to the teacher. I recall an instance where I had to conduct an hour’s session for a group of adults on handling expectations. My power point presentation had stories, situations videos, images …… I approached my senior school students for suggestions and immediately they helped me with the hyperlink and a lot of effects to make it a great one.
Entertainment media does give opportunities for children to experience visually stimulating learning and to find information very quickly. I observed that social awareness flourishes with students being aware of worldwide issues through YouTube and FaceBook. This was explicitly experienced in a class room discussion on the effect of cyclone Vardha on Tamil Nadu, wherein students of my class were able to quote statistical data on the extent of loss of green cover of Chennai including the names of species of flora. The biggest gains my students have shown is in their abilities to absorb textual information and to multi-task.
The instant rewards of video games have made activities that require depth of commitment much harder for the kids. I am very concerned about the violent games that are available to the age group that I teach. There is definitely a social change, especially among the boys. There have been days when I have had to indulge in casual talks just to get these boys out with their emotional highs. That’s when a boy came up to me and said he was hooked on to a challenge game. It needed the boy to trust me help him come out of it . This I think and feel is the greatest achievement in all my years with students. It is great when you hear a student say they went home and did more research on something we talked about in class. It is dismaying when they come to school and brag that they spent five hours playing a video game.
Due to technological development ,reading habits are changing. When I asked a student to read aloud a paragraph on natural disaster affecting the ecosystem there was a struggle to read . Students are adept at the SMS language than in the conventional language leading to umpteen number of errors. Gave students of class IX an extended activity involving reference work at the school library, pat came the reply “Ma'am please tell us the url.” I immediately responded that I want them to browse through the books on the rack number fifteen in the school library. There was a wee bit of hesitation to refer books from the library and the reasons for the same was it takes more time than googling.
In my opinion, the use of media has made students think in short bites. They are unable to sustain their thinking or attention for longer than 10 minutes. I would also opine that students lack in social/play skills because they are so busy with media use that they do not know how to interact face to face with others or think on their own.
In my opinion, the use of media has made students think in short bites.
Addiction to entertainment media has lead to lack in social development. Today’s teenagers are not very comfortable while communicating verbally. There is a lack of eye contact as they spend their leisure time with electronic gadgets, games, texting, etc.
Today, every student has a personal mobile phone which is not accessible by parents . A lot of texting and exchange of thoughts, websites amongst peers which may well be beyond their age causes serious concerns both for parents and teachers. The change in behavior is evident at school and at home . A healthy network between parents and teachers is an apt tool to elevate our dear children from the clutches of addiction to forbidden websites. Today’s teenagers are the nation builders of tomorrow. Let us all, the teaching fraternity join hands and educate our teenagers academically, emotionally and socially.
I end my essay with a quote by Malcom X. “The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
About the Author:
Mrs. Radha Ganesh: I had my schooling at Kolkata,Chennai and Secunderabad. I experienced different cultures and different methods of teaching. This gave me a wide exposure both to the process of learning, teaching and social skills. From a city as small as Secunderabad we moved to the busting city of Mumbai (then Bombay), where I studied from Class XI to M.Sc (Botany) with Plant Physiology as my specialization. I am an alumus of Khalsa college, S.I.E.S college and Institute of Science all in Mumbai. I started my career as a primary teacher in the year 1987 at T. I Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Ambattur, Chennai as a fresher and then went on to pursue my B.Ed (Annamalai University) followed by M.A in Child care and Education and finally pursued M.Phil (Botany) in the year 2006. From being a primary teacher I moved up to the Middle school and the Higher Secondary Section. Teaching has always been my passion. Over the years I have evolved to a facilitator than a routine teacher and also become a part of handling additional responsibilities such as co-ordinator for science at the primary and middle school level and as a Controller of Examinations and also in charge of Career Guidance for the senior students. I firmly believe "Trust begets Trust” and apply the same while handling the adolescent group of students and of course colleagues. I enjoy reading books on self development, spiritual books, listening to old melodies both Hindi and Tamil, viewing select programmes on the television, browsing the web and also engage myself in hand embroidery. My family comprises of my husband who is an Entrepreneur and a son who is a Marketing Professional based at Mumbai.