Learning is said to be a continuous process, whatever be the field, including teaching where it evolves every day.
A B.Ed or an equivalent teaching training degree is not sufficient to pass on knowledge to children year after year. That is increasingly why schools are empowering teachers through training sessions, workshops or an extended programme spread over a year.
Call it a business with social purpose for organisations that are offering such teacher empowerment programmes or a way to engage teachers on pedagogical understanding, but schools, more than higher education institutions, seem to be realising the significance of reorienting their teachers.
In the last six months, Meera Gopi, head of the primary section, TI Matriculation Higher Secondary School, has attended at least three teacher empowerment workshops. “If I represent the school at a workshop, I am expected to pass on what I learn to my colleagues. In fact, the post-learning process is more important, where one is expected to show how the learning can be carried out or how it can be linked to subjects,” says Ms. Gopi.
Thanks to the entry of several players in the field of teacher training, for some schools it is the first exposure they are getting after teaching batches of children. The Centre for Montessori Training, Chennai, for instance, recently completed montessori training for about 61 KG teachers of Corporation schools. While it was reluctance in the case of some teachers with around 12 years experience, for a majority it was the first time that they could re-invent teaching methodologies.
Corporates such as Wipro and IBM have also entered the segment to upgrade the role of teachers.
While organisations say that awareness has increased, the challenge remains in terms of time and resources the school can spare and give.
Educational services organisation EZ Vidya’s Continuous Improvement Model is designed for teachers from primary to middle school, where it offers experimental models of teaching.
“Over the last few years awareness has increased with everybody wanting their teachers to improve, but then the system does not give time,” says Chitra Ravi, founder and CEO, EZ Vidya. She also feels that schools should give time to understand the outcome of such teacher empowerment programmes because, in the end, it is self-motivation and continuous improvement for their role as teachers.
The timing of such classes also determines the interest it gets.
“While such programmes also bring about an attitudinal change in teachers, it needs to be seen how much space is there in schools to implement it,” says Uma Shanker, director of the Centre for Montessori Training, Chennai. About the expenditure involved, teachers say everything is worth it if at the end you gain and give back to students.