With the Tamil Nadu Curriculum Framework committee working with several stakeholders towards developing a revamped curriculum for State board schools, the focus will not only be on students but on teachers as well with plans to initiate training programmes for their development.
“The training of teachers is a very important part of the curriculum revamp and we are currently discussing how teachers should be acclimatised to the new curriculum. We will be defining specific principles with regard to both teaching and evaluation, which will be put in place as part of the new curriculum,” said M. Anandakrishnan, chairman of the TN Curriculum Framework Committee.
Performance trends analysed by the Centre for Teacher Accreditation (CENTA) and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation of nearly 6,000 teachers from across the country who took up the Teaching Professionals’ Olympiad (TPO) indicate that the subject expertise of the teachers has emerged as one of the biggest areas of gap.
“In both pre-service and in-service teacher training, we see a lot of focus on pedagogical practices and not just on subject expertise. The teacher training initiatives, which could be put in place as a part of the new curriculum, could be seen as a good opportunity to address the need for training in subject expertise as well ie. conceptual understanding and how pedagogical practices apply in the context of the subject,” said Ramya Venkataraman, founder and CEO, CENTA. Over 1,000 teachers from Tamil Nadu took up the Olympiad last year.
She further said that modular teacher professional development programmes could be used to address various aspects such as the usage of technology in education, content development, teamwork, interpersonal aspects such as parent and community engagement, classroom management techniques and policies, and students safety, which would contribute towards strengthening professional development.
R. Ramanujam from the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, who is also a member of the TN Curriculum Framework committee, said they were looking to bring about a system which would ensure that pedagogy-curriculum-knowledge is enhanced on an ongoing basis.
“At any point of time, there should be continuous teacher support available which will contribute to their long term professional development,” he said.
Mr Anandakrishnan too said that as part of the new changes, they plan to rope in universities and colleges from across the State to undertake the responsibility for updating and training in-service teachers.
“We realise that once teachers begin working, there is a need for the periodic updating of their abilities. In this regard, both pedagogical methods and classroom management, as well as expertise in the subject content, are equally important,” he said.
Apart from the training initiatives which the committee is suggesting, teachers’ guidebooks, which will be available in both print and e-book formats for every class and every subject, are in the works as well. “Textbooks equip teachers with very less content with regard to a subject and through guidebooks, we hope that they get an idea of the different approaches they can take in the classroom,” Mr Ramanujam added.