How Effective Are Our Teachers?
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”– William Arthur Ward.
Presently, India has more than 1.5 million schools with over 260 million students. Similarly, Maharashtra has 1.10 lakh schools with 7.68 lakh teachers having an enrollment of 225 lakh students. However, according to the various educational surveys like the National Educational Survey (NES) and ASER, the students’ achievement level is shown to be quite low. Hence, quality education is a serious concern of all stakeholders. Also, there is an increase in the number of students attending private schools, dropping out from the Government schools where free education is available.
It is a fact that the curriculum, textbooks, infrastructural facilities, government, management and parents all directly and indirectly contribute to the quality of education. But, the teacher remains the key factor to decide the quality in the classroom situation and consequently in the educational system.
A teacher has to fulfill expectations from students, parents, principal, management, and government. Accordingly, a teacher today has to play multifarious roles to meet these expectations. Hence, s/he needs to possess different sets of competencies and skills. Apparently, a teaching of the academic subject is perceived as enabling students to learn the contents given in the syllabi and textbooks. An effective teacher attempts to inculcate and enhance the different thinking abilities among students like creative, analytical, critical, divergent and lateral thinking while doing day to day teaching. Any process becomes successful if there is clarity in setting goals, in other words, the setting of objectives which provide direction. Every subject has significance in terms of some specific learning objectives or learning outcomes or competencies to accomplish. For example; in learning languages, competencies like speaking, listening, reading and writing skills are developed. Mathematics develops logical thinking, accuracy, and ability to use mathematical concepts in day to day life. History teaches us that the past causes the present, and so the future. Similarly, reasoning, innovative thinking, curiosity are nurtured through the teaching of science. A teacher having awareness of goals of teaching adopts suitable teaching methods with appropriate learning material like audio-visual aids, and digital stuff to make learning meaningful and joyful. A teacher also ascertains whether all expected learning objectives have been acquired by all students and so through questioning, assignments, and tests, students are evaluated. The teacher is also expected to provide additional guidance to the students who are lagging behind.
There are many other tasks that teachers need to do besides routine teaching-learning such as the organization of curricular/ co-curricular activities and events which include elocution, sports, cultural programs, excursions, picnics and different competitions.
Though a teacher today needs to be techno-savvy, s/he should have emotional intelligence and sensitivity to understand his/ her students and deal with them effectively.
Keeping in view that everyone is a life-long learner, it is essential to introduce learning skills such as exploration of sources, observation, application, and problem-solving so as to become independent learners. The teacher has to make conscious efforts to make their students good learners.
Very often, students perceive their teachers as their role models. Hence, the personality and behavioral traits of teachers influence young minds of students. So the teacher not only needs to be conscious of his performance but also his personality.
A confident, cheerful, enthusiastic, caring teacher is appreciated by all students. Considering all these aspects, the main criteria to measure teacher effectiveness can be briefly stated as –
Students’ all-round progress including academic achievement
Teachers’ professionalism i.e. command on subject, teaching and evaluation skills
In the context of these factors, capacity building of teachers is of prime importance. The government conducts massive training programs for teachers regularly. To strengthen the ongoing efforts of Government, a philanthropic organization like ‘Navneet Foundation’ has come forward for this quality improvement program by conducting about 84 teachers’ training workshops. Since the last two years, Navneet Foundation has trained about 7,000 teachers successfully. In this academic year, teachers will be trained in English and Marathi languages and Mathematics. Also, Navneet Foundation is intending to conduct ‘Leadership Program’ for School Principals.
Appropriate training will enable teachers to face many challenges such as – changing and heavy syllabus, the additional workload of non-academic duties, and the policy of ‘No detention’, ‘No punishments’. Though difficult, it is possible to become an effective teacher if s/he resolves the issues with competence and collaborative efforts of the other fellow teachers and principal.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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