No more four walls classrooms

Anu Manhotra
Often at seminars and workshops I am asked about “Student-centered Learning” which is a positive sign that we are shifting the spotlight from the teacher and the books towards the learner.
The first thing that comes to my mind is the “Concept of 3 walls” which is no longer confined to the closed four walls teaching, which limits the learner’s ability to the books and the teacher’s explanation.
When we want to connect what is being taught to the real world, it is then that the concept of 3 walls comes into existence.

No bookish knowledge is prearranged as a way of instruction by the teacher rather in 3 walls, there exist no teacher but a facilitator, who believes that every student carries their own kit.

So what is this ‘Kit’?

Well, in simple words this kit is the special and unique talent, creative inclination and loads of questions that every student carries, which is not just appreciated by the facilitator but they also help them to explore it further.

The best ways used to encourage and know the Kit is through various simple tools, which are:

1. Socratic method of learning

Also known as elenctic method or Socratic debate, which encourages asking questions and leading students to solutions that nurtures students’ natural curiosity and is recommended over simply providing them with answers, which usually teachers do, because when they see that students are not able to answer the question, they simple give them the answer and move on, however in 3 walls method, the teacher will encourage and guide them to rethink from another point of view to get to the answer.

2. Let the students fail

walls concept is all about giving the liberty and sometimes it also means giving chances to the students to “fail”.

Well, allowing one to fail is nothing but another term for suggesting them to attempt it more often. This also means if student is willing to go on a path not yet explored, he/she shall be allowed to go, experiment and then bounce back in case they feel they are not going on the right track.

So a facilitator is actually not warning them of any danger ahead rather they allow them to face the danger themselves and make the students more practical and strong.

Let the students explore things themselves and let them get in to the uncomfortable spots so that they will try hard to come out of it. Facilitators shall not be too eager to correct them as this will not allow them to grow and when they are not supported the students become adept in problem solving and many other life skills.

3. Students are never compared

If we see, 3 walls clearly appreciates and believes that every student carries his own kit. Hence every child is unique so there is no room for comparison at all in this style of learning process. No one size fits all works here and the facilitator designs the curriculum which is flexible and helps them understand everything through the real world context.

4. Role plays

This not only brings the element of entertainment, it actually helps the student learn faster and adopt better than we can even begin to think. Even a boring class like History comes alive and students enjoy the role play and participate with whole heart.

5. Collaboration

Basic principle of learning is “Collaboration” and in three walls method, facilitator really understands the importance of “Collaboration”, as in any social environment, students feel more capable and open to discussion, sharing and understanding hence knowledge gaining is faster in such environment so, cooperative learning and collaboration should be encouraged.
Having said this I believe the 3 walls concept also prepares the student for “Here and Now” moment and situations.

Well, in theatre or drama every student is taught that no matter how much we rehearse and prepare for a scene of a drama, sometimes we might forget and then only our quick wittedness will help us face the audience which is known as “Here and Now” and this is the same case with the real life, no matter how much we study, prepare ourselves and plan for a beautiful future, life might not give us what we expect hence being prepared for that unexpected moment is the power of knowledge and I hope that 3 walls concept or way of learning shall make every student a real winner.

Let the students explore things themselves and let them get in to the uncomfortable spots so that they will try hard to come out of it


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