A classroom will only come alive if its students are actively involved. The title “Making the Classroom SMART” might give the opinion of the use of technology; while this being true, I prefer to look at it in-terms of how human involvement could also make the classroom “SMART”. A student holding a paper qualification alone will not make it out there in the red or blue ocean, but a student groomed to be “SMART”, will.
How do we make a classroom SMART? Only way to do it, is to focus on it as a process. Making a classroom SMART is not a one-time job, but a continuous process that keeps focusing on 5 basic attributes that would make each and every student “SMART”.
by somehow finding a way to give each student a chance to speahead a project or group-work, you are cultivating the leaderships skills in them. The business world needs leaders who truly know to lead. They need leaders who are ready to go that extra mile. This begins in the classroom. We shouldn’t focus on the right or wrong answers, but on cultivating the leadership skill in each student. Train students how to spearhead a team, focusing on essential leadership skills. After all, if each student is trained to spearhead, then they will become SMART leaders that organizations would benefit from.
“I’ve known students who were not interested in listening to a lecture or even attempting home-work, but when given the chance to lead a team in a group activity, they always shine and present the best of work”
If I’m not motivated to do something, then I wouldn’t give even a second of my time to it. So I don’t think my students are any different. Therefore, I know that my students would only do something if they are motivated. Motivation also should come from within. So I train them to be motivated by getting involved. We celebrate each moment with a reward. Small things like pat on the back for trying, sharing pizza for a birthday, enjoying jokes while attempting questions, organizing module related games, allocating time for group discussions and brainstorming, and most importantly, appreciating and accepting each and every attempt at trying, goes a long way. Letting every student give an opinion itself is a motivation. There are no bad ideas in my classrooms, but only ideas that can be refined, or good ideas that can be made greater. This trains them to be self-motivated which is a key attribute to making a SMART classroom.
“In my classroom, the best practical answers or solutions to problems were provided by students who were self-motivated. This is because they always try to be better than they were before.”
I wouldn’t focus too much on the grade of a student as long as they are attentive to the skill they could take home. After all, a student who wants a good grade will definitely work towards it. Most importantly, the students need to be directed to have attention to what they can use at a workplace. Therefore, I groom students to stop memorizing theory but to grasp the gist of it all and apply to a practical scenario. It is important to train them to focus on how to do just that. These students will then develop the skill to always be attentive even at the workplace and get the job done.
“I recall a time when I lectured a very talented class. Majority were extremely book SMART. Therefore, with little motivation, it was easy to get them to focus on the important aspects that would help them in an organization, although they would always relate to theory as well. However, there was one student who simply didn’t care. Nothing I tried would make this student pay attention or participate in the class; at least that’s what I thought. However, when assignment submission time came, it was always a pleasure to mark this student’ paper because the approach was always practical. Although I thought the student wasn’t attentive, results showed that the student had grasped all the key skills I was trying to train them on. This student also was the very first to get a job from the entire batch, even before graduation.”
Train students on how not to be inside a box to begin with, so you don’t ever have to think out of the box. Train them from the beginning to be revolutionary. Help students to understand that they can innovate and invent things if they want to. Help them to break away from standard ways of doing things. If students have the skill to figure out new and innovative ways of solving a problem or doing a task, that’s the type of workforce an organization would aim for.
“I’ve always encouraged students on innovations and entrepreneurship. Every module I taught them therefore, got them thinking in different aspects. I remind them that there not just one best method but many different ways to solve a problem. Students who developed this skill started their own ventures or climbed the corporate ladder fast.”
a student who knows to work with different personalities becomes an asset to an organization. Therefore, train students to be team-oriented. Train them to listen, empathize and work with different ideas that come from different personalities. Train them to become team-players.
“Using group work and activities have always helped in making my classroom SMART. Students who know team-work eventually become exemplary team players in their roles in organizations.”
The SMART attributes are intrinsic that don’t have to be openly discussed with students. But are attributes to be used when making the lesson plan, delivering the lecture and interacting with a classroom. These attributes being part of everyday interaction with students will create a habit in them which becomes rooted in them. Therefore, a classroom can only be made SMART by students who are trained to be SMART.