by B.H.S. Thimmappa
We need more professional teacher-researchers as unique role models in the Indian higher education system to transform raw learners into valuable citizens. Specific scientific domain teaching challenging enough to keep teachers interested and to leave an indelible impression in students’ life. A passionate teacher will learn the subject more and inspire learners even when it is not a part of their actual duty in institutions of higher learning. The joy of the learning experience reminds them of further continuation of the noble teaching profession, establishing a special bond with students.
The elementary goal of higher education is to foster lifelong learning in the aspirational learners, incite intellectual curiosity and instill a spirit of scientific inquiry. It is essential to develop higher-order thinking skills and research skills in young learners. We have to reach higher levels in the remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate and create categories of the revised Bloom’s taxonomy. We can effectively increase the multiple learning styles of students through a multi-layered approach involving high-impact teaching-learning techniques in the classroom and other open-source learning materials. An inspirational lecture involves several components such as visual, auditory, and tactile schemes to enhance the students’ interaction with the subject. It is essential to show interest in the subject and a passion for learning and create a safe, supportive, stimulating environment to understand the different topics. It is crucial to encourage the students to ask questions, doubts, clarifications, or confusion. Enhanced teaching-learning interaction would undoubtedly lead to better understanding and improved retention. A combination of PowerPoint and ‘chalk and talk’ techniques could provide a flavor to the teaching-learning process. The courses could range from anatomy to zoology and organometallics to spectroscopic techniques. It is also essential to draw the students’ attention to recently published breakthrough journal articles to know about the ongoing research activities across the world. We need to encourage research activities to enhance the students’ academic growth as global citizens who need proper guidance and extrinsic motivation to reach their full potential. Let us illuminate young learners by sending a strong signal of ideas and ideologies. This teaching philosophy explains why this science teaching profession is essential and why we remain steadfast on this career path.
Innovative teaching and the promotion of a scientific culture are essential to the global improvement of society. We can help the educational institution further its mission of creating a community of lifelong learners with a truly scientific spirit and human values. The four Cs of 21st-century skills, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity, should be inculcated in the learners to prepare academically accomplished, professionally dedicated, emotionally balanced, morally upright, socially responsible, and ecologically sensitive individuals. Innovation and excellence in higher education through high-impact teaching, basic and applied research activities and consultancy services will act as a vehicle to create new scientific knowledge to transform society. Academic freedom, diversity, and equality will provide conducive conditions for furthering its missions. It is an exciting time to be a part of that growth story to consolidate our future of creative individuals and encourage them to do the socially useful productive work.
The primary value added is in teaching specialized subjects and interdisciplinary research activities. We can add value to specialized learning materials and academic laboratory manuals. The policy of pursuing excellence in teaching and research allows us to do our work very sincerely with a great sense of responsibility and expect to contribute significantly in academic positions. We have to use the necessary skills needed to be good collaborators when working in teams, such as holding effective team meetings to get everyone on the same page, setting specific expectations, and using technical tools. The diverse experiences and skills of team members will result in better research outcomes and breakthrough innovations. This way, our research will contribute to solving societal problems. The incubation, development of a sustainable business model, and small-scale operation in collaboration with a colleague or business partner will act as a vehicle for improving the quality of life. We need to prove India’s global competitiveness in several sectors and set new examples for accelerated and sustainable development. The long-term plan is to conduct exploratory and applied research in specialized areas and disseminate the results as they emerge by preparing research reports, papers, and patents. Based on sound scientific knowledge of the sector and training-learning processes, we can create solutions to several societal problems and present alternative approaches to various issues. We can establish a center of excellence that shall carry out research, teaching, and sharing knowledge for the benefit of society.
The teaching philosophy is echoed in the series of articles entitled “Higher Education Perspectives for an Exciting Educational Experience: An Indian Context” [1-7]. We have to adopt high-impact teaching methods in the classroom to ignite student learning and publish several articles on learning materials, questionnaires, design of new courses, and other teaching resources to reach an audience beyond the four walls classroom. In addition to publishing good quality research papers, it is essential to file many patents on applied research outcomes. Good teachers are pleased with the honest comments by students over the years, and being able to be a catalyst for students’ life trajectories is a rare reward indeed. Active involvement in student research projects, publishing popular science articles, delivering invited lectures, organizing and participating in workshops/conferences/symposia, teaching the specialized subject, and academic administration are other associated activities that help sustain the intellectual development of students, challenge them to independent inquiry and motivating them to a productive life. It requires a lot of hard work, understanding, and reaching out to build and maintain a good teacher image. We have the experience and resources to deliver the full impact of our teaching and enhance learner confidence levels through effective communication. The main inspiration and the turning point happen when the students come across a specific exemplary teacher. They feel pretty good about teaching and learning because of the style of incredible teaching with sustained excellence. Thus the multiple roles of teacher-researcher are a movement to bring India’s talent to the forefront, transform an aspiring learner’s dream into reality, and build a human resource pool for the nation (Figure).
Figure: Multiple roles of teacher-researcher in the Indian science higher education system.
The world-class technologies that result eventually are ultimately transferred for the benefit of global citizens. High-value education with high-impact at undergraduate, master (graduate), and doctoral levels with four primary participatory aspects of lecture (fundamentals of science, engineering, and technology), laboratory (firsthand experiences in experiments,) library (preparation of oral presentation and written report) and life (practical examples of products of nature). The three E pillars of research include exploration (new ideas, principles, concepts, and scientific laws), extrapolation (extension of regular scientific study), and exploitation (application development in nano, micro, and macro-levels). The current student profile has a limited attention span of about 10 to 15 minutes and varies according to motivation, mood, perceived relevance of the material, and other factors. They are well informed, well versed with technology, impatient, eager to experiment, and visually oriented. They find stereotype teaching boring. The teachers should develop the belief in learners to burn the midnight oil to master the field they have chosen to study. They should inculcate a deep sense of patriotism and a deeper sense of purpose in life. Spreading scientific knowledge through training can create global thought leaders of tomorrow. The message in a nutshell is that there is a general decline in higher educational standards, a problem that needs to be addressed and a lack of skills to drive performance is a challenge. Comprehensive educational reform is a solution that will result in taking the quality of higher education to the next level.
- B.H.S. Thimmappa, Higher Education Perspectives for an Exciting Educational Experience-Part VII- An Indian Context, Chemistry, 26, 2017, 17-40.
- B.H.S. Thimmappa, Higher Education Perspectives for an Exciting Educational Experience-Part VI- An Indian Context, Chemistry, 25, 2016, 496-513.
- B.H.S. Thimmappa, Higher Education Perspectives for an Exciting Educational Experience-Part V- An Indian Context, Chemistry, 24, 2015, 64-87.
- B.H.S. Thimmappa, Higher Education Perspectives for an Exciting Educational Experience-Part IV- An Indian Context, Chemistry, 23, 2014, 674-696.
- B.H.S. Thimmappa, Higher Education Perspectives for an Exciting Educational Experience-Part III- An Indian Context, Chemistry, 23, 2014, 208-231.
- B.H.S. Thimmappa, Higher Education Perspectives for an Exciting Educational Experience-Part II- An Indian Context, Chem. Education Journal 15, 2013, 1-19.
- B.H.S. Thimmappa, Perspectives on Technology Enhanced Learning and Teaching for an Exciting Learning Experience, Chemistry, 22, 2013, 30-51.
About the Author:
B.H.S. Thimmappa is a writer from Udupi, India