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Enabling teachers to perform better

Anitha Ramachander, Dec 6 2017, 20:33 IST
There is an emerging focus on raising the standard of teaching through teacher learning. REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE

There is an emerging focus on raising the standard of teaching through teacher learning. REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE

A Business Management programme is designed to impart business and management skills to groom students into effective leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs in today's competitive economy. The academic standards set by educational institutions provide information on instructional approaches that have proven to be successful in complementing the students' learning. These approaches are student€“centric and reflect new views of the learners. In traditional settings, teachers in this domain assume an active leadership role and operate as decision makers, planners and collaborators who are more reflective, responsible and empowered, besides being specialists in the subject.

With growing universal importance of student achievement standards and greater emphasis on performance-based assessment within education, edification seems more receptive to a range of corporate-sector strategies. The teaching profession comes with tremendous challenges as it demands teachers to go beyond the traditional role to provide promising alternatives.

The faculty plays a pivotal role in the amelioration of academic standards by implementation of reform ideas. The reform movement affords an opportunity for faculty members to re-examine and analyse teaching and learning in the light of newer perspectives on educational practice. There is an emerging focus on raising the standard of teaching through teacher learning while retaining focus on student improvement.

Professional development

In addition to specific professional development strategies, effective opportunities for learning should be considered in education. High-growth organisations have flexible structures that promote informal learning. This is an educational strategy for faculty and students that implies consideration of alternative teacher roles. In an informal learning context, faculty members become facilitators, mentors or resource providers.

Teacher preparation and professional development need to be made industry-relevant. Professional development for faculty covers learning situations like attending conferences and being involved in research besides the full range of intellectual discipline, from conceptual understanding to the practical application of knowledge.

In view of the emphasis on student achievement standards, institutions must ensure that the professional development of the teacher is aligned with individual and organisational needs and goals. Teacher evaluation should be strongly performance based. Corporate companies evaluate work effectiveness in terms of results and performance. Similarly, faculty members need to be evaluated against stipulated performance standards and on an ongoing basis. The evaluation should be based on teacher's content knowledge and student amelioration.

Such performance-based evaluation entails assigning tasks to faculty members based on their demonstrated level of skill and recommending appropriate remedial strategies to address weaknesses. Knowledge management in education leaves a lot to be desired. Faculty members have limited access to data and requisite training which in turn hampers their personal performance and that of their students.

Thus, as teachers learn more about content, pedagogy and reform, they develop self-confidence and self-worth. Challenges need to be faced to avoid becoming irrelevant. So, the need of the hour is to hone up one's skill-sets. Influence of collegiality, collaboration, and professional learning communities on teacher and student success is highly valued and promoted across all levels of education as positive avenues of constructive learning.

Authentic learning experiences

The job description of a teacher includes developing and implementing innovative teaching techniques, preparing teaching materials, lectures and student assessment, among others. Growing emphasis on providing authentic learning experiences to faculty members has resulted in augmented teaching and learning.

The faculty members' success in making coherent instructional decisions depends on developing a position or stance on professionalism, collaboration, knowledge, and instruction that is focused on learning and the learner. Any institution capable of imparting the skill sets necessary for effective teaching should be eligible to participate in teacher preparation. If faculty members can demonstrate their ability to perform well in the classroom, the length and path of their preparation should be irrelevant.

There is recognition that faculty members are a critical link between reform ideas and improved student learning. As views of educational leadership encompass new understandings from the corporate world, the relationship between college administrators and faculty members is evolving.

(The author is director, Adarsh Institute
of Management and Information
Technology, Bengaluru)

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