In the current scenario of education, merely attending lectures is no longer a viable learning technique. Active learning is much more effective and helps the student decipher even complex concepts. Students those who actively participate in classrooms and approach experiential learning are found to grasp the topic with ease than students who do have similar approaches. Simulations or role-playing are one type of experiential learning applied in educational institutes and settings. In this type of learning, the students indulge in knowledge and learn from each other rather than just simply listening to the lecture.
A very effective technique to understand the art of teaching and learning is through simulated teaching. It is a powerful educational and developmental strategy that helps student-teacher through role-playing in a non-stressful environment. Through this, individuals improve their problem-solving abilities. An artificial but similar classroom environment is created, and students and teachers participate as a method to eradicate misunderstandings and misconceptions related to learning. Experiential learning improves the quality of education, improves complex problem-solving, promotes analytical skills, enhances self-directed understanding and removes learners' misconceptions.
The main aspect of simulated teaching is that the student role-plays as the educator with costume and lecture notes. The student presents the prepared topic to the class like a genuine and sincere teacher would. This way, the student teaching the subject understands the concept better through experiential learning. The rest of the class learns from the student assuming the role of a teacher. According to this technique, simulated teaching is a powerful tool for a more realistic and immersive learning experience.
Characteristics of Simulated Teaching
The main three characteristics of simulated teaching are:
1. Simulated teaching provides an analysis of teaching setting and challenges from a learners’ point of view
2. It is the essence of the real situation with the non-stressful setting
3. Simulated teaching relies on empathy and understanding of real teaching situation
Features of Simulated Teaching
· Simulated teaching allows complex problem-solving
· Simulated teaching provides the learner with an immersive experience
· Simulated teaching acts as a bridge between traditional lecture based-learning and practical applications.
· Simulated teaching enhances classroom communication skills in teaching assistants.
· Simulated teaching is a great exercise and extremely beneficial for teachers in training.
· Simulated teaching aids teaching assistants to decipher and respond to student behaviour.
· Simulated teaching provides with various teaching techniques
· Simulated teaching provides trainees or teaching assistants with a different form of experience and practice through role playing
Purpose of simulated teaching
· It is designed to mimic real-life classroom settings as closely as possible.
· Students assume the roles of teachers to gain immersive learning experiences.
· Students acclimatize to the changing situation and scrutinize their choices and decisions with the progression of the simulation.
Due to its various benefits, simulated teaching has proven to be more efficient and successful than the traditional lecture-based teaching style. As a result, it enhances creativity, vivaciousness and overall personality.
Mechanism and steps in simulated teaching
In this orientation, the instructor charts out a comprehensive introductory session to explain the technique, its significance in education, the roles and actions required in the method, the responsibility of trainees and assistants, and create a safe and secure environment for the simulated teaching practice.
After the introductory session, the educator in charge presents a demo class to explain simulated teaching further. The students and trainees observe and scrutinize the demonstrated lesson to grasp every aspect of simulated teaching.
Once the demonstration is complete, the teacher-in-charge forms group according to the classroom strengths. This team consists of a teacher and learners. There are also monitors who ensure that the simulated teaching runs without interruption and appropriately.
Once the groups are formed, the instructor assigns the role of a teacher to the student. All students are encouraged to participate in this immersive learning experience. Teachers in training and assistants are made to participate if required.
Discussion of social skills:
The next step is to select certain social skills and make them the topic of discussion. The related issues are discussed and practised. Of course, the chosen topics should be deemed as socially "fit".
The next step is to decide who should initiate the simulated teaching, who will say the highlights, who will conclude, who will interrupt etc. Hence, those roles need to be decided beforehand.
In this step, the observation technique is decided and discussion regarding it is carried out. It involves obtaining various types of data and its detailed analysis and interpretation. This step is extremely important since this step is related to the procedure of evaluation.
First Practice Session:
Once all the preparations are done, the first practice session is organized. The student assumes the role of a teacher. The session is noted and required changes should be made. The session is continued until everyone gets their turn. At the end of the session, feedback is provided to all the participating student-teachers regarding their teaching work and role playing. If the need is felt, required changes can be implemented for the next session.
After analysis and feedback of the first session, required changes are made in the procedure and technique. Sometimes, the topic too is changed, and the observation technique is also altered according to necessity. The second session consists of all the changes, and students keep participating in the simulation. The simulated teaching practice continues until all the student-teacher is trained.
Simulated teaching is an effective technique that provides learners with an immersive experience and creative changes that extend well beyond the usual classroom setting. It gives the student to experience a role and responsibility of a teacher. Through this new position, they learn through doing and making decisions in a safe, secure and non-stressful environment. This exercise in the classroom will immensely benefit the students and encourage their cognitive development. Simulated teaching inculcates a sense of purpose, confidence and authority in students. It is also extremely effective and beneficial for teachers in training as well as a commonly used method in the B.Ed programs. Not just the exercise but conversation and honest feedback during and after the simulation are highly encouraged. The aims of the discussion are to employ the right methods of managing and implementing simulated teaching and then offer honest feedback for improvement in teaching and behavioural aspects. The strategy should be conducted as planned (treated as a lesson), include various important social skills, give closure for the exercise, and focus on an immersive learning experience. Thus, discussion allows students to express their experiences, identify and rectify mistakes, examine the ideas and topics presented in the simulation, and link these applications to real-time situations. It is significant and highly encouraged for educational institutes to include simulated teaching in their curriculum for the overall personality development of students.