University of Madras will soon give its teachers a crash course to improve classroom skills
Beginning next month, the University of Madras will train its teachers in student psychology and ways to adopt the best possible teaching methods. This is part of an attempt to enhance the quality of teaching in classrooms, by getting teachers to understand their students’ learning patterns.
University of Madras Vice-Chancellor G. Thiruvasagam said teachers will have to complete the mandatory 15-day crash course, conducted by the Academic Staff College at regular intervals, in different batches. The courses will start in mid-October.
“We see that teachers complete the curriculum and expect students to study and get the degree. All that the student does is absorb what is taught and reproduce all that in the answer sheet. Where is the value in this?” he asks.
While for the first ten days, the teachers will be acquainted with various teaching methods and student issues, the remaining five days will see participants conducting classes using the new methods.
The university also plans to start a postgraduate diploma course in teaching methodologies for aspiring college teachers. The course will help candidates learn different teaching methods, understand student psychology and master technical interventions that are to be part of the pedagogical process.
The proposal will have to be cleared by the university’s academic council when it meets on September 25. “The board of studies has already framed the curriculum. We are waiting for the proposal to be verified,” said Prof. Thiruvasagam.
“Newly-recruited teachers have to approach the university for verification of their qualification. Soon, the approval will be granted only after they have finished the course,” he added.
The focus of the teaching methodology crash course and the postgraduate programme is to adapt to the varied socio-economic backgrounds of students “A teacher must be sensitive to all that, and must adopt teaching practices most suited to their students,” said Prof. Thiruvasagam. Panel discussions, group discussions and seminars will be encouraged as part of classroom activity.
“The plan is also to allocate certain periods in a week, where students will be divided into groups and asked to research topics and discuss them in classrooms. This will also help them gain interest in self-research,” he added.
The initiative will also acquaint teachers with modern ways of imparting knowledge that include video conferencing technologies and open access libraries and shared resources.
“Smart classrooms, power-point presentations and audio visual teaching – we have been using these resources, but they have to percolate into every classroom and even to students,” said the Vice- Chancellor.