Teachers must timely update
In a sense, teachers are students throughout their lives. The moment they stop considering themselves students, they cease to be teachers. They need to keep on acquiring and updating knowledge of what they teach in classrooms, periodically, keeping up with the changing world.
Winds of change blowing from one decade to another, from one era to another, bring new concepts to old theories and ideas. The teaching community must keep themselves to pace on this path of change to implement new or modified methods of teaching-learning process to suit the requirements of the day. This is how teachers must develop or update themselves. This development of teachers can be broadly classified into three areas viz. Personal (Self- Centered); Professional (Student-Centered); and Social.
Personal: Self-Centered Development
Teachers can attain this development in two manners – Formal and Informal. Formal methods include: attending conferences, workshops, webinars, seminars, symposiums with a view to enlightening teachers on latest developments in the field of education, which help them update with latest concepts that are required for professional development. Writing articles/books, material production, publication of research papers, etc also help a lot in this form of development. Action research that draws out conclusions at the end of experimentation and investigation can also be helpful in the development.
Under the Informal manner, teachers must develop their portfolios to illustrate their personal works, professional growth and abilities. Attending in-house training sessions are advised, preparing lesson plans and using critical incidents for informal research boost the development. Additionally, there are further benefits of these practices/ methods. Teachers acquire knowledge that was unknown to them in planning their dayto- day lessons and develop a perspective for interaction in classroom with learners. It helps teachers to expand their vision and horizons about their role as ‘professional teachers’ and about their subjects or contents.
It creates awareness about new issues in the field of education; and it ultimately helps in enhancing the creativity of teachers as they learn different and innovative methods of teaching through the curriculum. In a nutshell, this self-centered method can be defined as development of teacher in learning new techniques of teaching, methods of assessment and evaluation or new concepts of testing the learners.
Professional: Student-Centered Development
Teachers, in order to let learners learn in the best possible ways, have to adapt to the changes from time to time. Learners live in a different setup as compared to teachers. This gap can be bridged by teachers only when they reach out to the mental level of the learners. Over a period of time there have been tremendous changes in the setup of our education system. Teachers have to have demonstrate that they posses some special characteristics to handle the changing times and trends in education sphere.
According to National Curriculum Framework (2005), teachers have basic responsibility to develop basic capabilities of students. They (teachers) have the responsibility of developing language formation for students helping the young minds in sustaining relationship with their friends as well as teaching staff. It has to be found out that student achievement is directly proportional to the quality of teaching provided by the teacher in the classroom.
Research shows that students receiving instruction from more effective teachers in the classrooms have come up with better results. It has also been that if students are to increase their learning, teachers need to have more exposure to enhance content of subjects taught in classrooms.
There should be a strong correlation among the school, district education office and other state level government agencies to keep track of latest updates on curriculum, methods of testing, rules of promotion and other such instructions issued from time to time. There is a need to increase schools’ collective capacity to network with others in order to maximise teaching-learning through both external and internal collaborative interactions. In order to facilitate such change beyond only marginal improvement in achievement, schools must be re-cultured to apply the systems and to work collectively as professional communities of learning.
Today, students want to achieve everything in shortcuts, without wasting time. They want fast food, fast money, fast enjoyment, quick recognition and they are accustomed to live life in a fast lane. They are not ready to accept the fact that every living being coming to life on this earth has to undergo a gestation period. Similarly, they have to undergo ‘a waiting period’ before they achieve their goals. It is imperative for them to invest judiciously in actions that will fetch them rich harvest.
Now-a-days, extensive accessibility to internet helps students tremendously in keeping themselves abreast of all ultra-modern facilities and trends in various fields, including ‘education’. In view of this, if teachers are proved to be ignorant they are likely to be looked down by students. Not only that, there is tendency for students to show disinterest towards the subjects they (teachers) teach.
In the long run, it may hamper holistic development of students. In order to meet the pace of such changing scenario in education system, teachers’ exposure to all these aspects is very essential. In this way, teachers will be able to establish a balance between the changes in education system and the attitude of students towards the system.
Man is a social animal and so is a teacher. His needs do not differ from any other living creature. But since he is entrusted with the job of ‘shaping the future of a country’ as stated in Kothari Commission, he has to live a life of austerity and limitations. He has to constantly reflect upon his actions as a teacher and make necessary changes to suit the need of the hour.
In conclusion, I’d like to remark that if a school or institute keeps track of records of every teacher, apart from their routine teaching, it can also be a barometer to assess to their development. It is a must for teachers to have undergone some development in certain period of time ever since they joined the profession in order to make better teaching-learning sessions for the generations to come.
Today, teachers need to be on the e-learning platform to get them accustomed to this revolutionary technology. For instance, e-campus is a virtual environment that gives access to all facilities of the school at the click of a mouse and students in this age like to enjoy their space which they can do so through such e-learning facility. In this context, teachers need to update themselves to adapt this situation and allow students to go along, without any hindrance.
Ajit Thosar teaches English at St Joseph ET High School, Bilimora, Gujarat. He has been working as key resource person (KRP) in several workshops on different subjects arranged by different government agencies. He is a writer, reviewer and translator of several projects by Gujarat State School Textbook Board and a member of ELTAI and IATFL. He was awarded Best Teacher Award 2010 by Knowledge Olympiad Society, Hyderabad