Learning Dzongkha has been challenging for many. That’s perhaps why it couldn’t be a popular medium of instruction in schools. But learning of the language could be made easier and more effective.
As part of transformative pedagogy, Ministry of Education has translated 13 of more than 200 teaching structures of Dr Spencer Kagan, otherwise known as Kagan Structures. More than 40 Dzongkha teachers were trained to be trainers of the structures last week, who are now in 16 centres to train more than 1,000 Dzongkha teachers.
This is a good initiative. A group of 11 members, including experts, educationists and teachers, translated the structures. Classes will be made interactive. This can certainly help children develop multiple skills. More importantly, it can make learning Dzongkha both fun and effectual.
When something new is being implemented, misgivings will be there as to whether the change will really work. Some participants were of the view that Kagan Structures that were developed in English might not work for teaching Dzongkha. There is no reason why the structures should not work. At the core of the structures lies the development of skills necessary for effective learning.
Kagan Structures are content free and are used successfully at all grade levels and with all contents. They ignite cooperative learning by promoting teamwork and by making learners feel accountable for their individual contribution. The structures allow students to participate equally.
The structures will ensure that students cooperate and make independent contributions. This means students cannot hide. Voluntary participation as in the traditional learning method leaves out many students. That’s perhaps why many students could not take full advantage of the teaching and learning activities in schools.
There are also those who think that adopting the structures would mean extra work for teacher. It would certainly be cumbersome in the beginning while learning the structures. However, teaching could become by much easier and effective once teachers have learnt the structures.
The good thing about adopting the structures is that they will help students increase academic success along with other allied skills. The structures are designed to help develop thinking skills, social skills and character virtues, among others, which will help schools better prepare students both for job and life.
For education ministry, and Dzongkha learning in particular, this is an important milestone.