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‘Chalk and Talk’ education fuels the cycle of poverty


Written by Naveed Anwar

The lack of a good education is one of the biggest causes of poverty across the globe.  Having an educational infrastructure (i.e. schools) is only half the battle. Teacher training is crucial and often the missing element. In order to get a good education children need to have teaching methods which motivate and offer them freedom to learn while in school, and this is where the “chalk and talk” teaching fails.

“Chalk & Talk” is a formal method of teaching with a blackboard and the teacher’s voice as its focal point. This method is used in classrooms across the world. However, this formal and somewhat unimaginative teaching method has come under scrutiny, with many people suggesting that teachers should not rely solely on this technique if they want to engage and inspire their students. Another criticism is that this method of teaching tends to go with the pace of the fastest learner and can leave a lot of children behind, particularly if they have had no pre-school learning.

Through using no teaching aids the “chalk and talk” method fails to stimulate many students’ interests in learning. Education needs to be more practical, should allow children to express themselves and learn independently at their own pace. Montessori education is an alternative approach to the traditional “chalk and talk” which allows children to shape their own learning and develop sensory, numeric, language and practical skills. Montessori education is hands on and keeps children stimulated. With “chalk and talk” some students are not attentive in class and do not naturally have the motivation to learn. With no utilisation of teaching aids, charts, slides and pictures, teachers are unable to capture the imagination of their students. The failure to enthuse students has resulted in many young people leaving school without the knowledge and skills to help them aspire and do well in the future.

In this regard “chalk and talk” fuels the cycle of poverty, which refers to a set of factors by which poverty, once started, is likely to continue unless there is outside intervention. Poor families become trapped in poverty for many generations due to having limited skills to break the cycle.

So what needs to be done to tackle this problem and create greater opportunities for young people? Several charities such as TVF and Futurelab believe that teachers must alter traditional teaching methods and adopt more activity-based approaches as well as class participation between the student and the teacher. Learning becomes more interesting and significant when students are actively involved. Having a school infrastructure is only half the battle; teachers need to be trained so they are fully equipped to maximise both the facilities and the opportunities for their students.