Teaching Tips: Teaching Complex Subjects Simply

Teaching Tips 101

Technology, media and a resultant virtual society has opened a Pandora ’s Box which have information so wide that the overall level of academic learning has risen.

This has pushed the teaching sector to become a dynamic entity discovering and solving diverse problem areas. Complexity of thought is a direct product of human civilization and the teacher’s job is to transmit every bit of the complex information to the learner as simplistically as possible.

Thankfully, problems lead to potential solutions. A few ideas to aid in simplifying complex subject matter are listed below:

  1. Background- To simplify complex concepts the teacher must create a foundation which usually comes with a back story to the concepts. For example before explaining Einstein’s Relativity Theory, talk about whom Einstein was and what made him come up with such a theory.This makes the subject more relatable to the student’s personal space and sets the stage for the actual content.
  2. Fragmentation- This is one of the more commonly applied techniques which ensure a through and through understanding. Break the complex subject matter into parts and make a list of the terms that come under it.As a teacher, start by giving definition of these terms first. This makes for an integrated learning. One the student is familiar with the technical jargon and lexicons of the concept all that is left is arrangement of the basics into a narrative. This considerably simplifies the subject.
  3. Audio visuals– This would be the more entertaining way of easy comprehension even when the subject matter is tough. Again, the concept of audio-visual learning is a well known area and it has been established by the personal opinion of students around the world.We remember what we see much well than what we only hear. However, even with the wide spread of technology, traditional teaching methods in India do not include visual learning; development Indian tutors especially need to incorporate in their job.
  4. Educational trips:  If the complex course matter is being taught at a formal institution it is quite possible for the teacher to organize a trip to centers which specialize in the matter so that the student learns  much through experience as he does through lectures.For example, if the student is being taught about hydroelectricity, they may be taken to an actual powerhouse where such electricity is produced. They can perhaps interact with the workers for a more practical understanding.
  5. Practical application– This is usually done for subjects like science and geography at the school level. In subjects like English, practical would include play enactments; history could have visits to archeological sites, etc. A practical assignment would help the student relate to the subject and arouse curiosity.

The aim of the teacher is not to tell the student what to study but to give him the golden rules of how to study. Simplifying complex subjects is not an easy task and requires much effort on the teacher’s part. But understanding concepts is the key to development of the intellect.

Pratyasha Ghosh


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