In this method a particular topic is started in a particular grade and finished over there only. Thus topic marked for particular grade must not be touch in other grade. The selected topic becomes the centre of correlation. It is opposite of concentric method. Concentric method involves the breaking up of a topic into suitable portions, whereas topical method aims at keeping it intact. In topical method a topic is taken as unbreakable unit. It is based on the principal that any topic when begun should not be left half done. It should be finished in its entirety, before the next topic is taken.
‘Topical method’ is more a system of arrangement of subject matter than a method of teaching. Its adoption depends on a suitable organization of the syllabus. The topic is to be taught at as stretch, without a break or a gap. The other approach to this method is that a topic is selected and is made the basis many other topics. The selected topic becomes the centre of correlation.
For example: While dealing with the Unitary method, the students can be acquainted with time and work, simple interest, average, percentage and even extended to simple equation of algebra.
Merits of Topical method:
- Continuous teaching of topic not only save the student from divided attention, but may ensure their full and whole – hearted concentration on the topic. A natural link and sequence will exist in the day today work in class room. The student’s complete attention, ability and capacity will be directed exclusively to the topic under study for a sufficiently long time.
- When a topic is treated as centre for other topic, it facilitates the learning process. It illustrates the advantage of correlation.
Drawbacks of Topical methods
- Keeping psychological reason in view, it will be foolish to take a topic like area in grade 4 and try to finish in at one stretch. The student may be able to understand the elementary portion, but will certainly not be able to attempt its most difficult question.
- The interest of the student may go away within a month, if we focus on only on a particular topic.
- This method does not provide any opportunity for year to year revision.
The method or system does not possess any significant advantage. Moreover, there is a better substitute in the form of Concentric method. The only advantage of this method is that a topic is made a centre of other topics, which can provide good step towards correlation. As a method, it is only an idea, which should be kept in mind to be used only at the appropriate opportunity.
This method implies breaking up of topic into different subtopic and the portion is allotted to different grades. This is a system of organising a course rather than a method of teaching. It is, therefore, better to call it concentric system or approach. It implies widening of knowledge just as concentric circles go on extending and widening. It is a system of arrangement of subject matter. In this method the study of the topic is spread over a number of years. It is based on the principle that subject cannot be given an exhaustive treatment at the first stage. To begin with, a simple presentation of the subject is given and further knowledge is imparted in following years. Thus beginning from a nucleus the circles of knowledge go on widening year after year and hence the name concentric method.
A topic is divided into a number of portions which are then allotted to different classes. The criterion for allotment of a particular portion of the course to a particular class is the difficulty of portion and power of comprehension of students in the age group. Thus it is mainly concerned with year to year teaching but its influence can also be exercised in day-to-day teaching Knowledge being given today should follow from knowledge given yesterday and should lead to teaching on following day.
Merits of Concentric Method
(i) This method of organisation of subject matter is decidedly superior to that in which one topic is taken up in particular class and an effort is made to deal with all aspects of the topic in that particular class.
(ii) It provides a framework from course which is of real value to students.
(iii) The system is most successful when the teaching is in hand of one teacher because then he can preserve continuity in the teaching and keeps his expanding circle concentric.
(iv) It provides opportunity for revision of work already covered in a previous class and carrying out new work.
(v) It enables the teacher to cover a portion according to receptivity of learner.
(vi) Since the same topic is learnt over many years so its impressions are more lasting.
(vii) It does not allow teaching to become dull because every year a new interest can be given to the topic. Every year there are new problems to solve and new difficulties to overcome.
For the success of this approach we require really capable teacher. If a teacher becomes over ambitious and exhausts all the possible interesting illustrations in there introductory year then the subject loses its power of freshness and appeal and nothing is left to create interest in the topic in subsequent years.
In case the topic is too short or too long then also the method is not found to be useful. A too long portion makes the topic dull and a too short portion fails to leave any permanent and lasting impression on the mind of the pupil.
It is a good method for being adopted for arranging the subject matter. It should be kept in mind, by the organisers, while organising the subject matter no portion is too long or too short. It would also be much useful if the teacher teaches the same class year after year so that he can reserve some illustrative examples for each year and thus can maintain the interest of the students in the topic.
Source: The Teaching of mathematics by KULBIR SINGH SIDHU (Sterling Publisher Pvt Ltd)