Lokmani has been in the teaching profession since 2003. Currently, he teaches at Laxmi Adarsha Secondary School, Pokhara. He teaches Mathematics to grade eight, Science to grade nine and ten, and Contemporary Society to twelfth.
Out of 24, Lokmani was one of the teachers from Community Schools of Pokhara to attend a three-day training on Core Skills including an in-depth training on Creativity and Imagination conducted by the British Council under its Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning Programme.
What does Core Skills mean to you? What Core Skills did you learn from the training?
For me, the Core Skills are the combination of the skills such as cognitive, delivering, learning and expressing in new and innovative ways.
I have learned about Creativity and Imagination skill in this training. Apart from that, the British Council briefly introduced us to its own list of six core skills to improve learning outcomes in students.Those key skills are: critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration and communication, citizenship, digital literacy and student leadership and personal development.
What did you learn in the training?
The training was an advanced course. It pressed on ways for teachers to create conducive learning environment for students and encourage them to think creatively. Not only that, it also focused on professional development of teachers. It helped teachers like me to understand the importance of innovative teaching methods and adoption of student-centred learning in schools. I learned that a proper planning in teaching is a key to promote engagement of students in the lesson and foster creative imagination in them.
To add, the videos we saw in the training provided us more clarity and idea on how creativity, imagination, critical thinking and problem solving can be incorporated in day-to-day classroom teaching.
What is your teaching approach in the classroom? Do you want to change it?
My teaching style is no different than a teacher-centred pedagogy. Though I am always trying to encourage students’ participation in the class activities, I find it difficult. We have an average of 55 students in a classroom that is not spacious enough. Due to inadequate space, it becomes difficult for us to manage and engage all students in the activities at the same time. But I am thinking of changing my teaching style now. I will try to implement what I have learned in this training and incorporate student-centred techniques in the teaching. I cannot change it overnight, but I will slowly but surely change my teaching approach.
For example, Science has lots of practical lessons. But we have been teaching it as a non-experimental subject. I will now try to focus on providing more experimental learning opportunities to students. I am thinking of using creative models, making resources available for practical and using multimedia to conduct the classes.
How are you going to encourage students to think critically and creatively to solve the problems?
I am thinking of creating mixed groups of students. Each group will have all category of students from smart, average to weak so that the students can teach and learn from each other. When it comes to imagination, I believe every student has ability to think in a critical and innovative way. They might not know how to deliver their ideas precisely, but they have the potential. So, in the coming days, I will first teach and encourage them to think out of the box and then put forward their ideas fearlessly. I will focus on learning by doing.
Why do you think it is important to promote critical thinking and problem solving and creativity and imagination in students?
Students of this generation are more informed. They are up-to-date with new technologies, trends and are open for new experiments . So, it is important for them to understand and analyse the things in a critical and innovative way. This will not only help in developing their cognitive skills but also motivate them to become independent learners.