“First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.” ― Aristotle
We change as per the changing times and technologies. We change the methods we acquire and share the knowledge with others. Is it not the time for us to change the current teaching tools and techniques as per the changing times and needs and rising aspirations and expectations of students? Welcome to the new concept of Meka’s Method which overcomes the current drawbacks in teaching and explores an innovative teaching pedagogy to ensure effective takeaways among students.
What is ‘Meka’s Method’?
I have coined - ‘Meka’s Method’ in 2007 which is a structured and methodical style of teaching where the content is delivered on a platter as per the context and situation to ensure effective teaching outcomes. It is a democratic method of teaching where the teaching is by the students, for the students, and of the students as this teaching method involves students’ participation, cooperation, interaction, communication, collaboration, summarization, and contribution. The teacher serves as a facilitator and moderator and ensures that the students are actively involved in the teaching process and are assured of teaching outcomes. It is also a situational teaching as the teacher moulds his/her teaching style as per the learning styles and profiles of students and changes the style from time to time within the classroom by gauging at the mood and grasping level of the students.
As outlined in Figure 1, the teachers must adopt four-step process of researching, innovating, updating and taking feedback constantly to excel as effective teachers. They must use their body animation, voice animation, facial animation along with interaction, questioning, and involving students’ participation, taking feedback from their body language, and molding the teaching strategy as per the situation.
While teaching, usage of whiteboard is essential as it provides effective visual effects and the human brain remembers more when presented with visual pictures rather than with auditory effects. In fact, some students are auditory learners and some are visual learners. Studies unfold that most of the students are visual learners rather than auditory learners. Hence, even if the students fail to understand the oral language, the writing material on the whiteboard will help them understand and retain the information effectively. While using the whiteboard the teacher should not spend too much time looking at the whiteboard as s/he loses connectivity with the students.
Apart from visual and auditory effects, the teacher should question the students about the topic in the middle of the teaching. Guy Claxton, Professor in Education and Director of CLIO Development University of Bristol rightly said, "Good learning starts with questions, not answers." Hence, the teacher must pose both the close-ended and the open-ended questions to keep the students glued to the teaching process. In order to ensure successful flow during the teaching session, the teacher must use close-ended questions such as ‘Do you understand me?’ ‘Am I clear to you?’, ‘Is that clear to you?’ and ‘Does it make sense?’ If the teacher finds that the students’ body language is not positive the way s/he expected, the teacher may ask open-ended questions to a few students by giving break to teaching process such as ‘Can you explain what I said?’ ‘What did you understand about the topic?’ ‘How can you apply the discussed ideas in your real life events?’ It keeps students alert as they become proactive with open-ended questions and listen more attentively as the teacher asks questions. It helps them think through the topic and improves their thinking skills. It widens their mental faculties and helps them relate theory with practical events.
The teacher must touch upon the topic systematically and chronologically by arousing curiosity from the beginning to the end of the session. S/he must maintain high levels of energy and enthusiasm throughout the teaching session. S/he must ensure students’ mental presence in the class by referring relevant case studies, conducting role-plays, narrating personal examples, sharing anecdotes or telling stories.
While delivering the content the teacher must repeat the key ideas thrice as in every classroom we come across three kinds of students. The first kind of audience is of above average, the second kind is of average, and the third kind is of below average students. When teacher emphasizes the key ideas and concepts three times s/he connects with three kinds of students equally thus doing total justification to teaching.
At the end of sharing knowledge, the teacher must call a few volunteers in the classroom to summarize what was taught in the classroom. It helps reinforce the takeaways. In addition, the poor listeners and students with low intelligence levels will benefit from such summarization. The teacher must also encourage the students who are introvert by nature or non-participant due to shyness to summarize key essence of the content.
The teacher should be flexible in his or her body movements and move around freely with a friendly smile to encourage students’ participation. The teacher must possess humor quotient and include humor in the teaching process. There are innumerable advantages with humor as it breaks the ice with students, relieves them from the listening stress, refreshes their minds, and connects quickly with the content. The teacher must interconnect and apply diversified tools and techniques as per the situation to make the teaching process a pleasant and memorable one. This entire process of teaching where the teacher uses audio, visual, storytelling, humor, interaction, and questioning by engaging students, repetition of key ideas, and summarization of the entire content in the classroom to achieve effective teaching goals and objectives is known as Meka’s Method of teaching.
Mode of teaching
While teaching or training, educators must ensure that their talking time is limited to around 60 to 70 per cent of the session. The rest of the time should be spent on role-plays, activities, team presentations and exercises. If the talking time falls below 50 or rises over 80 per cent, students will not enjoy the session.
In teaching and training, there is no quick-fix content or methodology. Everything depends on the profile and maturity level of the audience, the prevailing time factor and the duration of the session. Besides, we need to look at the post-lunch and evening sessions where the intake of inputs will be lower, as participants are likely to feel sleepy and tired during this time. Hence, it is essential to engage the audience in role-plays and experiential learning and include humor in the session.
More of lecturing and imparting of knowledge is better appreciated during the pre-lunch session, as this is the time where students can absorb maximum theoretical aspects and concepts. As the day stretches on, it is ideal—and essential—to include experiential learning and activities.
The role of teachers has widened as previously teachers taught students the art of catching the fish to enable students to become competent and independent. However, the present day teachers must not only teach the art of catching the fish to their students but also show the location of the fish to benefit them.
Presently students have high expectations and aspirations. They discard the old things, appreciate new things. Previously the teaching strategy was based on ‘chalk and talk’ which doesn’t work in the current context. Hence, there is a need for creating new teaching tools and methods to carry forward education from one generation to another generation successfully with value addition. To conclude, teachers must remember that if they give more than the students wanted, they will get more than what they expected. Hence, adopt Meka’s Method, teach from the core of your heart to impact, influence and inspire your students to stand out as an academic leader.
I acknowledge the contribution of my two sons, Meka Ganesh Sai and Meka Ramakrishna Sayee, to the development of the innovative teaching and training tool, Meka’s Method.