Teaching competencies

Instrumental Mutual respect and open communication.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Educational institutions are engaged more in delivery of measurable outcomes rather than abstract ones. Measuring knowledge acquired through written examination is easy, while the skills such as decision making, critical and logical thinking, diagnostic skills, problem solving skills, creative ability are difficult to measure.

A wide chasm exists between the expected and actual competencies of faculty members, in enabling students to face challenges in the industry and in society. Equipping students with 21st century skills entails an additional set of competencies in faculty members. The faculty dwell in a dynamic environment that demands that they constantly acquire new knowledge, skills and attitude. To develop the 21st century skills in students the faculty members are expected to possess the following competencies:

Personal efficiency: The faculty members are expected to establish a strong trust bond among the head of the institution, fellow faculty, students, parents and other stakeholders. The credibility-meter must show highest reading so that a strong influence on the students and others is possible so as to bring out the expected outcomes. The values of faculty will have strong influence; especially on the students. Traits such as kindness, empathy and the ability to counsel and offer remedial measures will have a strong impact on the students.

Communication: Delivering the curriculum in an impactful manner requires strong communication skills on the part of faculty members. The faculty need to constantly inspire and motivate students to attain the expected outcomes. The teacher remains the central source of power from which the students draw energy during the course and after the course completion.

Fostering conducive environment for learning: It is the responsibility of the faculty to effectively use the physical environment. Team and social responsibility need to be instilled in the students as these values are relegated to the back seat in the current scenario. A climate that promotes fairness and mutual respect makes learning a joyful and meaningful experience for the students. Establishing the right classroom rules and procedures will make all processes sail smoothly.

Organising the curriculum: Defining the expected outcomes is the primary step in the process of effective learning. Once the outcomes are defined it is easy to completely rivet the entire teaching–learning process around it. The faculty is expected to demonstrate thorough knowledge in the subject and prepare material diligently to support the learning. “Known to unknown” and “simple to complex” are the universal rules for effective learning. Organising the curriculum in tune with the rules stated will enable you to attain the set goals of learning.

Continuous learning: Learning is a continuous process for anyone. Developing new skills and acquiring new knowledge in tandem with the demands of the industry is a tenet for success and it is this rule that applies to teachers. Only faculty with updated knowledge and skills can make students industry and society-ready. A few institutions have considered the issue seriously and encourage the faculty to go for industry internships and organise faculty development workshops, while most others are yet to begin work in this area. Also, the laboratories in many institutes are obsolete and very few institutions have made investments in the latest software to train their faculty members and students in the same.

Effective learning experience: Completing the syllabus and making the students exam-ready is the central goal for many institutions. However, understanding the background of the students, learning their interests and goals needs to be the prerequisite for designing the learning process. Supporting and helping students to set meaningful goals will help them get fully involved in the process. Setting short, mid and long-term goals will help them work towards their goals in a meaningful way. Understanding the same, it becomes easy for the faculty to organise the teaching material accordingly.

The writer has served as Regional Head, ICFAI, Hyderabad and Academic Director, Bharath University, Chennai.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 11:40:32 PM |

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