They say, good teaching is learnt

They say, good teaching is learnt

Teaching is a profession that thrives on change. And, the key element in any change or development is accepting the challenge to change. A good teacher knows that there is always room for improvement and that there is such a thing as resting on past laurels for too long. For, a smart class needs a smart teacher. One may have years of teaching experience but there is always the danger of redundancy if one does not upgrade. Therefore, it is imperative that a teacher takes up training programmes or workshops to learn new teaching methods and improve on the job.

How’s it done?  

The first step is to identify the need and adapt to change. Professional development is vital in all fields. It helps an individual recognise changes in the work environment and learn to fit into a system. Because change is the only constant, professional development is an ongoing process throughout an individual’s career span. Therefore, the purpose of teacher training should be to aid in adopting new technological tools to enhance classroom lessons and to be able to deliver in a language that the present generation understands and appreciates. Teaching requires one to be aware that the profession deals with young minds, and a classroom comprises students from a variety of backgrounds with different learning abilities, therefore it is vital that the teacher is innovative and is able to cater to all students properly.    

Keep up with trends

As a teacher, if you want to make a difference and develop your own skills, as well as ensure quality teaching, then it is important to incorporate the latest research and practices into each unit of the lesson. That apart, there will also be a desire to grow and move up the academic and career ladder, rightly so. It helps if the teacher takes up different workshops and courses which not only help him or her improve subject-knowledge but also improve the ability to teach in an effective manner. Eventually, the teacher will be equipped to teach higher grades and be eligible for a promotion too.  

Empathy is key

It is imperative that an educational institute contributes to the holistic development of a student as against merely disseminating knowledge. Schools and colleges should be equipped to deal with the challenge of teaching students who learn in different ways and paces. That said, there is also an increasing need to keep stress levels of both teachers and students in check, from kindergarten to the undergraduate level.

How does it help?

Professional training of teachers has many advantages. To begin with, the various programmes act as a skywalk, connecting the existing know-how and newer trends in technology, the system and the society.  Training makes one efficient on the job. It also helps the teacher focus on self-improvement and thereby, makes it easy for him or her to identify the hidden talent and potential of a student. There is also the opportunity to lead by example. Being aware of the skills required in the workforce in the current day and age will help you teach the same to your students and thereby, equipping them with the required skills as well. 

Soft skills & personality

Personality development programmes including education in fair practices and sound values are always a good base to build on. There are also other programmes such as classroom management, differentiated instructions, basic child psychology and adolescence psychology that can be explored, as they add value to the entire teaching process. Besides, gaining popularity is leadership training and teaching English to non-English speaking students. Equipped with the knowledge from various workshops, the teacher will be comfortable in a multicultural environment and be able to handle learning disabilities and a host of other challenges that arise in a classroom. 

Any classroom has three dimensions to it. The first is the material order of things; the second involves the human
actors — the teachers and students; and the third dimension is the social interaction between the actors. What is important here is the goal of education, which is to provide equal opportunities and social justice, and to ensure economic and technological progress of society. A recent welcome move towards this end was the introduction of smart boards in 500 classrooms in government-aided schools across the state. However, the need of the hour is to train teachers and facilitate a quality learning environment. With technology on the front seat, each day is a challenge with newer inventions which render the old tools obsolete just when one is comfortable with them. As a result, the learning process never stops, neither for the students nor for the teachers. 

Also, to make the job easier, some international schools insist that their teaching staff undergoes a special training programme to teach, assess and evaluate the students in a class. This makes the entire process organised and effective. 

What’s in it for colleges?

So, what do the college lecturers stand to gain from specially formulated development programmes? An educationist in a college is a lecturer, a professor, a dean or director, because of his or her expertise in the specific subject or experience in guiding and counselling batches of students year after year. That being said, every educationist will agree that they enjoy attending conferences, seminars, webinars and workshops because at the end of the day they take home something new — a learning that has perhaps helped to remind them that to motivate others they have to keep their passion for their subject and job alive.   

Nitika, a young lecturer who is doing her PhD in Principles of Teaching, had this to say.  “I did a value addition programme to help rethink my teaching strategies and to help some really brilliant students combat their fears and low morale, which I found was stifling their self-expression.”  There are a number of online professional development courses which are neatly categorised to narrow your search to a specific subject and a specific branch of specialisation.

Earlier, programmes like bachelors and masters in Education, a pre-service requisite, were the main determinant of how teachers performed in a classroom. Today, the approach is more professional. We have technology-driven classrooms and the teacher education curricula have undergone a transformation. All educationists are invested with the power to connect learning to real-life situations, to motivate and to guide the youth to become instruments of change.