At a prominent school in Gurgaon, our team was in the middle of an engrossing discussion with their teachers on how to make their labs better and more effective.
“ Mam, what kind of practical issues you face, which if resolved shall boost regular usage of your labs?” asked one of our team member.
“Although the students love going to the labs but we aren’t able to take them often. We need more training for ourselves!” she replied.
Another one added, “Its hard for us to remember the steps of every experiment ourselves. Every time when I teach a topic that can be done practically, I first dig out the connected experiment and check whether I know it myself or not. Even if I have the manual, I have to prepare before every session and that takes a lot of my time”
She had made a valid point. It is indeed difficult for the teachers to train themselves and try all the activities before conducting them. Another teacher told us, “ For me, the most difficult part of the lab session is to communicate the steps clearly to every child! The other day in my math lab session with grade 5, I explained the entire experiment to them and when I asked them to start, half of them had blank faces. I had to brief their groups individually. Half of my time and energy goes in giving instructions to them. How do I bring the required productivity to my labs?”
As we heard them, we could clearly connect with our earlier such discussions at other schools and outline two common issues faced by these teachers:
- Repeat and Regular Training
- Instruction Delivery to Students
Wrapping up the discussion, we came back and started brainstorming around this. What could actually solve both of these and ease up their life? Economically, it is not possible to send a trainer to the schools repeatedly for training programs. Even if we did, it may slightly improve the level of retention among teachers, but still not completely address their issue of being training dependent. As for instructions delivery to students, we could see that although we had given detailed step-by-step manuals, but still the teacher had to verbally communicate the instructions to students, which in itself took majority of their time.
During our discussions, a thought came to our lead trainer, “If a physical trainer cannot visit the schools regularly, maybe we can give them a virtual trainer who stays with them all the time and even helps them deliver instructions! We could get what he was hinting at. And the experiment began. We shot extensive, detailed videos on every single experiment in every grade’s curriculum for our math lab to begin with. The videos explained every step of every experiment demonstrated live by our best trainer, in principal becoming an anytime, anywhere, virtual trainer at their service. We linked the videos in an easy to use interface as per the lab curriculum, and the new experiment video software was offered to the schools as a lab update.
And…………….. the teachers just loved it!
The lab experiment videos served a dual purpose beautifully. They became a great way for teacher training, much more effective than in-person training due to flexibility of repetition and standardization of experiments. The teachers could train themselves anytime and even on a single experiment, whenever they had time or they felt the need for it! A Great boost to their confidence! Also, it became the best medium for the teachers to deliver clear and easy-to-repeat instructions to every child. With a projector and speakers in the lab rooms, they could simply play the experiment video to the students before every experiment, repeat it if they would want, pause it wherever they got stuck and therefore be able to deliver very effective instructions at the click of a button. Wow!
As the schools started using our upgraded labs and achieving greater usage and effective outcomes, we knew that our experiment had opened up a completely new way of teacher training and lab usage. Today all our labs come with the best of experiment videos for every topic, grade wise. They make it just so easy for the teachers to use, and so much more fun for the kids.