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Art and Science of Teaching



Abstract

Teachers are the flag bearers of humanity. They spend their entire lives making next-generation wiser and more productive to society. Demands from the roles of teachers have been increasing with the growing vastness of the subjects. Mere knowledge is not sufficient to be a good teacher. It is an art to make the subjects lucid and interesting enough to get through the restless younger generations; it is a science to keep the learning process more objective and accurate. Teaching is perhaps the most perfect example of the amalgamation of science and art into one.


Introduction

Our ability to think and process information is what sets us apart from the monkeys. Humans are the only species who have benefited from the number of years of their existence because they accumulate knowledge and pass on to fellow human beings. We do not need to take pain of learning to light fire or make wheels, because our forefathers did it for us thousands of years back! And some of them took the responsibility of teaching this skill to their next generation and the same has been being passed on ever since. Unless there were responsible teachers in each generation, this power of humanity would vanish.

Role of a Teacher

A teacher is the most important person in our lives after our parents who kindles the life of others with his knowledge and make them humane and productive. One cannot really learn things without having a teacher in his life- formal or informal, but a teacher is must to learn anything. Scriptures across the world sing of the praises of teachers. In fact one Hindi proverb even goes to say that the teacher is even more respectable than God himself.
Of course, the subjects to learn have gotten more and more complicated over time. Early teachers like Aristotle and Chanakya could have afforded to teach all the subjects ranging from political science to philosophy to mathematics to science to economics. But now the subjects have become much more complex. One person may really need to spend his entire life to understand probably just one concept of one subject! Therefore, the job and qualifications demanded of a teacher has become more complex.
A good teacher needs to have sufficient professional or specialized knowledge in a particular subject. As Brad Henry once said “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning." Teachers need to accumulate knowledge and invest this in their students to pave path of a good future to them with widen up thinking and absorbing ability giving sense about the truth of life, and thus making them a more productive member of society.
The teacher has to act as a mediator between books and students and try to make ease their way of understanding subjects.  He has to encourage and build a friendly environment to facilitate learning, encourage Q&A. He builds up a student confident enough to face the society, confident enough to put their knowledge to test in the real world.
Therefore, behavioral training is also a part of teaching that grows reciprocity and cooperation among students. The teacher has to teach moral and ethical values to students.

Is teaching a science or an art?

Good teaching has to blend emotions and feelings with objectivity of observations, measurements and the precision of language. To make learning effective, the process has to be interactive and objective. Without the use of the scientific method, the learning may not have necessary impact. Therefore, it is essential to scientifically proven processes like- discussions, active learning, distance learning, and case studies, to facilitate learning.
But identifying the correct set of tools to facilitate learning and perfect delivery of the tool is actually an art. Creating a healthy environment is important for having the desired impact of these techniques.
 Therefore good teaching is the perfect blend for art and science.