A camp where teachers turn learners

Participants at an interactive workshop on innovative teaching methods at Aikiyam School in Auroville. Photo: T. Singaravelou  

Summer camps are not just for children. In a reversal of role, a group of teachers attended classes at a summer workshop to keep abreast of innovative and modern teaching methods.

The Azim Premji Foundation came up with an innovative project called Puducherry Teachers’ Circle for teachers who are passionate about the cause of quality education for all children and are keen to continue learning.

The summer workshop addresses the important areas of schooling — education, society, learning methods for children, curricular planning, teaching effectively and assessment.

If the enthusiasm shown by teachers to learn new things is any indication, the camp was more than worthwhile.

One of the “students” was C. Sasikumar, primary schoolteacher, who had come down from Karaikal and knuckled down to the task of learning innovative methods to attract his students.

“For me a teacher should constantly update his knowledge. The old chalk-and-talk method is redundant. The innovative training is very much essential to keep children engaged in extended sessions,” said Mr. Sasikumar.

The teachers will be able to try out the lessons learnt and resources in their classrooms, share their experiences with teachers across the district.

K. Adhirai, primary schoolteacher of Kirumambakkam said, “Teachers have more responsibilities than the parents. Students should learn the lessons through simple and easy ways. For that, we need to equip ourselves to keep them attentive during the class hours.”

The teachers receive personal copies of the resources developed by the group and have access to additional teaching, learning resources- books, periodicals, lesson plans, assessment activities and worksheets, audio video. Teachers can also book resources for use in their class room- projectors, video cameras, audio players and science equipment.

The Azim Premji Foundation is working in close to 50 districts across eight States including the Union Territory of Puducherry.

Explaining the goal of the foundation, Gurpreet Sethy, Puducherry District Institute, Azim Premji Foundation, said the foundation believes that universal access to quality education is extremely important for fulfilling its vision of our society.

Ms. Gurpreet said, “This is one of the voluntary forums we are creating for teacher’s professional development. Even after a rigorous certification process, medical professionals go through a number of continuing development opportunities. This helps them sharpen their own practice and contribute to the collective understanding of the profession. We need similar systems to help teachers reflect on and refine their professional practice.”

“As a civil society player, we are also contributing to this endeavour of making teacher professional development efforts more relevant. Given the complexity of a teacher’s role, a once-a-year training approach doesn’t serve the purpose. Round the year forums are required to support the cycle of planning-doing-reflecting and replanning, adds Salai Selvam, a resource person.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 4:28:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/a-camp-where-teachers-turn-learners/article7172699.ece

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