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Parami’s Approach to Teaching and LearningOctober 28, 2021
Parami takes a student-centered approach to learning which represents both a mindset and a culture that incorporates teaching and instruction methods that focus on the learner. Teachers create a learning environment with learning opportunities for each student with their own learning style, learning preferences, and educational backgrounds. Student-centered learning is an ideal learning approach for a diverse classroom that engages students in their learning process and gives them more autonomy to work on the skills they need to succeed and contribute to society.
The learning approach encourages students to consciously and actively engage in the learning process and to take responsibility for their own learning, for example, by vigorously and meaningfully contributing to class activities, studying independently outside of contact hours to prepare for or reflect on the class sessions.
A Parami student from the previous module, William Tin, shared how he managed to do self-study, saying that “I take notes, reread them, and put them in the Notion with paraphrasing. You get to study it again, and you are saving it for future use. You can revisit your Notion revision before the exam.”
At Myanmar's government schools, most students became used to the traditional teacher-centered approach to learning. Teachers pass on the information and teach students to learn by heart and recite rather than engaging students through discussion, activities, and other ways of applying knowledge.
Consequently, some students who attended courses at Parami explained that they found it challenging to adapt to the new learning environment and engage in the class activities in the first few class sessions. For example, they tended to only listen to the lecture and could not catch up with the course concept as they failed to read assigned reading materials before the class.
“The learning environment is non-judgmental, and people are willing to hear your thoughts. I have attended basic education and university. It’s passive, and no discussion is involved. Even asking questions, some people [in the class] would judge you for asking questions,” Zaw Zaw Aung, one of the Parami students from Fall semester modular period 1, discusses his experience and thoughts on the learning approaches.
As they became used to the new teaching style and methods at Parami, students described their learning experience as active, engaging, and critical thinking fostering a learning environment.
In addition, the student-centered learning approach helps students improve their communication and collaboration skills, advances their ability to think and study independently, and increases their interest in coursework and activities.
Dr. Romina de Jong, Director of Academic Affairs, is in the process of developing a Learning Framework built on Parami's philosophy of education of student-centered, student-activated learning in Liberal Arts and Sciences. To ensure that Parami's educational theory and practices guide the combined use of computer hardware and software to facilitate learning, she works closely with Zaw Htut Aung, Parami's Educational Technology (EdTech) Officer.
“With blended learning, which we practice at Parami, different modes of delivery of lessons (synchronous, asynchronous) complement each other in an interactively meaningful learning environment. This might sound easy enough in theory. However, to make it happen in practice, we need a clear framework that guides and supports both teachers and students. I am fortunate that Parami has appointed Zaw Htut Aung as EdTech officer to work with me to develop and implement this work.” said Dr. Romina de Jong, Director of Academic Affairs.
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