Agile class room concept: Transforming education through Agility

Year by year, the world and technologies are progressing and changing rapidly. Today, many leading companies are moving towards developing an agile work culture and adopting agile methods and approaches. But it is not only companies that should make their mindset more agile. Teachers should also embrace this change. The current education system should be improved using agile approaches to make it more fun. Teachers need to rethink the traditional teaching/classroom concepts and transform them into modern, fun-based concepts. In our previous article, we have already discussed that ”if a project manager can beautify a project, and if a teacher can create the bud for future, then, in [our] opinion, by applying the best project management approaches, the use of agility can also create more beauty in the education system."
When we look at our traditional education system, we think we all conclude that we need to change our teaching style and mindset in a more innovative and creative direction. The following shows how a teacher can make their teaching more interactive and fun by using agile methods.
A classroom with several tables and chairs. On the wall there are two magnetic boards with pictures on them.

Interactive and fun-based teaching in a modern class room

It is the teacher's responsibility to think about how to make lessons livelier and fun. Children need to have fun at school and in class, and if a teacher can make learning fun, children will be more likely to participate and remember the lesson more easily. That would be the real success of the teacher. A teacher should make every effort to make the lesson exciting, for example by including games, giving the children the opportunity to work in groups and encouraging them to move. The children should have the opportunity to take a break, go for a walk or talk to each other inside or outside the classroom, because young children do not like to sit still for long. Unfortunately, this very sitting still is part of traditional teaching and this needs to change because movement is linked to creativity. If you have planned a good lesson with a lot of creativity, movement should not be neglected. At the same time, the teacher should open up to the students' creativity, listen to them and motivate them. The teacher can stimulate discussions by telling stories as impulses and asking the children for their opinions and ideas.
Modern technologies and digital platforms such as TeacherTube, YouTube, Jamboard or Google Classroom are also an important part of a fun and lively learning environment.

Wall of ideas for innovations and cooperations

There are no limits to new ideas and innovations. For example, a teacher can set up a physical wall of ideas in their classroom with different coloured sticky notes. This wall is inspired by a Kanban board. Instead of "To Do", "WIP" and "Done", students can share their doubts, ideas and innovations with their classmates on this board. It is a collaborative and fun teaching method to connect with students and see their imagination and fresh ideas come to life. A wall of ideas for each floor of the school would also be a good thing: teachers can present their individual ideas and brainstorming can take place together.

Co-creating with the students

In agile project management, the team works together to realise a project or product. You could say that they co-create something, and teachers can also do this with their students through active learning. They can also develop a product, such as a craft, or a project like a dance performance. This leads to deep engagement and a close relationship between the teacher and the students and among the students. The joint discussion and common goal help to create an active and fun learning atmosphere. In addition, the children's imagination and creativity are stimulated. By co-creating ideas, teachers can work intensively with their students on a specific topic, and at the same time the students are motivated because they contribute to the result themselves.

Daily circle time

From Scrum we know the Daily Scrum, or the Daily Stand-up Meeting. This concept can also be transferred to education, albeit in a modified form. Teachers can introduce the concept of a daily morning and evening circle with their children. Instead of talking about what happened yesterday, what is on the agenda today and the challenges, teachers can start the daily morning circle with a fun topic. This can be stories, rhymes, dances, songs and other shared activities with the students. Through these classroom activities, the teachers can help their students focus throughout the day by starting the day interactively.

Team discussions

Teamwork and brainstorming help in the exchange of own ideas and their further implementation. Teachers can discuss their ideas and innovations for teaching with their team, i.e., the teaching staff, in order to improve their individual teaching. The exchange with like-minded people can be very beneficial. Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, Daily Stand-up and Sprint Retrospective Meetings are well known from agile project management. Some of these concepts can also be applied to education and teaching. Maybe it makes sense to introduce some kind of Sprint Retrospective at the end of each week? Or start the day with a Daily Scrum to remove obstacles in a timely manner and create a more pleasant learning atmosphere for students and teachers.

Fun-based, modern teaching and learning material

Instead of a simple traditional teaching/learning material, a teacher can develop more entertaining material by considering all modern teaching approaches and frameworks. It is important that students engage with the lesson so that teachers can use the teaching/learning material effectively. However, whether students engage with the lesson depends entirely on the teachers and how actively they engage with their students. I always consider current topics in my teaching/learning materials to grab students' attention and get them to engage with the materials. Before a teacher creates their teaching/learning materials, they must always put themselves in the students' perspective: What do they expect? What do they want? Here, too, a parallel can be drawn with Scrum. In Scrum, user stories are written to find out what the users expect from the product. In this case, the users are the students, and the product is the lesson. You need to figure out what your students want.

Final words

Modern teaching methods and a progressive education system are the evolution of traditional teaching. In traditional teaching, the emphasis is on listening. In modern teaching, on the other hand, the teacher teaches the skills required today that go beyond mere listening. The children become active and creative themselves. With agile approaches, we can create more lively and interesting lessons by incorporating the skills of writing, visualisation or imaginative thinking. So, agility does not only play a role in companies that develop products or realise projects in order to work economically - teachers can also make use of agile approaches and thus offer children an education that they really benefit from.
 
“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see”- Alexandra K. Trenfor

Agile class room concept - Deepthi Mahesh
Deepthi Mahesh is our Indian volunteer in New Delhi, Calicut and Trivandrum, working with our Senior Official Mahesh EV. She is a passionate teacher, researcher, writer, constant learner and a loving mother. She has gained experience in national and international educational platforms over the past 7 years. She has experience in leading teaching methods such as Montessori education, early childhood development, reflective teaching methods, Jean Piaget model, Froebel methods, John Dewey education and Reggio Emilia approaches.
 
She is a graduate of the University of Birmingham and holds a British Council certificate. She also works with various international platforms as a volunteer/student coordinator.
Agile class room concept - Mahesh EV
Mahesh EV is our Senior Official for the Metropolitan Regions of New Delhi, Calicut and Trivandrum. He has been working as a project manager for more than 11 years. He has hands-on experience in procurement and construction of projects through methodical planning, scheduling, application of appropriate project controls, monitoring of costs and risks and optimum utilisation of resources. Further, he has demonstrated his skills in successfully planning and executing several projects from kick-off to handover in various industries such as thermal power plants and renewable energy projects across India.

Keywords: Project Management, Tips, Agile Classroom

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