Even in the scorching heat in summer, the green campus of JMIT appears like an oasis. Whenever I come little early to college, I never miss an opportunity to take a walk around campus viewing Ficus, Croton, Jacaranda and tall bottle palm & Cycus palm trees. Such a treat to mind, body & soul! It reminds me of good old days, when our teachers used to sometimes conduct classes in the open. Every semester I have this dilemma whether to take my class outside or not because being outside also means being distracted, both by nature and passers-by. It really pains to say straight NO to the students requesting for a class outside. But if you think of breaking a monotony of classroom teaching, interacting with nature, understanding our connectivity with cosmos and engaging the students in active learning then there could be no better idea than this.
Recently I was reading an article in “THE WEEK”, where Professor John Varghese, Principal of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi mentioned that sometimes their teachers hold classes in different ambience like in Qutub Minar or Industrial setting which gives different exposure to learners. One of the professors of Vanderbilt University says, “Instead of letting the outdoor be distraction, perhaps our true distraction is our own notions of what a classroom can or should be. If we redefine our notions of classroom, we can find new pedagogical tools to meet students where they are at.” Classroom outdoors is an experiential learning which broadens the horizons of self, others and nature. It aims at improving survival skills, problem solving skills, reduce recidivism, encourage team building and develop respect for nature. I remember my first meeting of creation club at multi- purpose hall, the second one in café and third one in amphitheatre of the campus. In the last two meetings the students were more chirpier, the ideas were flowing free, their energy level was high and their body language showed the swings in their moods. Perhaps it was the ambience or their comfort zone, which they naturally identify with or the openness of the place which opened their faculties of mind.
Where most of the educational institutions stick to the syllabus, prescribed by the university, the elite colleges offer unconventional approach towards teaching methods. At Sri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi most of the lectures are not based on books. The professors discuss the business strategies of large companies and how they are designed and implemented. SRCC has an entrepreneurial innovation cell and the college takes up many projects in order to boost entrepreneurship among students. “In one of the projects, the students helped puppeteers to showcase their puppet show at corporate events”, said the principal, Dr. R.P.Rustagi. “This initiative got the puppeteers more exposure and handsome money.” The aim of going beyond classrooms and books is to raise the critical thinking skills, decision making skills and problem solving skills of the students so that they can think, interpret, analyze and evaluate any situation.
Ms. CHARU SINGLA