TEACHING teachers

The emphasis is on practical knowledge

The emphasis is on practical knowledge  

ONE CANNOT underestimate the need to train teachers in a rapidly changing economy. If a student has to be trained professionally, a prerequisite is professional training of teachers. Fine-tuning the skills of a teacher is not an easy task considering cultural differences, but the International Academy for Creative Teaching (iACT), part of the Jain group of institutions in the city, is making a laudable effort in this regard.

Set up in April 2002, the Academy, an unconventional teacher training institute, is offering state-of-the-art training to aspiring teachers — students who may or may not have an education degree. The training is practical and prepares one for real classroom environs. Emphasis is on communication skills and value-orientation, the latter to be part of a course on moral and spiritual education.

Workshops on school management, teacher training, and student motivation, project work, and journal writing are important aspects of the training. The Academy's one-year Diploma in Creative Teaching (DCT) hopes to produce vibrant teachers, and importantly, guarantee placements in India and abroad to trainee teachers.

The Academy's programmes are customised to suit the needs of the participants. An in-house counselling centre for students, parents, and teachers offers assistance in psychometric and aptitude testing, career guidance, and the like. It further offers a support package to educational institutions that includes aiding recruitment of teachers, conducting periodic workshops, and providing assistance in the creation of efficient institution management packages.

Gururaj Karajagi, Director, iACT speaks of the Academy's philosophy: "When the ego symbolised by the alphabet `i' becomes small, the actions of the individual become lofty," he says, referring to the way the Academy's name is spelt.

Gururaj Karajagi: Making IACT world class

Gururaj Karajagi: Making IACT world class  

An educationist, he holds a doctorate in inorganic chemistry and has worked as the principal of the Vidya Vardhaka Sangha College for Women for over 16 years, an experience that has imbibed in him the value of reciprocity in teaching — give and take, and its general value in social life. Dr. Gururaj says that it was his teacher, Laxman Rao, who inspired him to take up the challenging task of training teachers. "He demonstrated the essence of teacherhood by going beyond the call of duty," he recalls fondly.

He appreciates the Japanese system that makes "mentoring an integral part" of the education system. He says he was surprised to know during his visit to Japan that the principle of non-violence had been made part of education in primary schools. "I was overwhelmed by a passer-by's remark that not a single child born after 1948 could be violent. The Japanese were witness to the ghastly bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But they have used the practice of mentoring so beautifully. The teachers have the power to create a positive and lasting impression on young minds."

Dr. Gururaj is optimistic about the future of teaching professionals in the country, a community he believes has not received its due. "But icons change with time," says the man who dreams of making the Academy a global research institution. "If I have inspired one student and made a difference in his or her life, then I believe I have lit one lamp."

The Academy's governing and academic council includes luminaries such as Raja Ramanna, U.R. Ananthamurthy, and Roddam Narasimha. It is perhaps appropriate that such eminent personalities are part of an institution that believes in Chenraj Jain's observation that if education were to be the esoteric essence of a civilised life, then teachers are the engineers who cement the foundation of civilisation.

The International Academy for Creative Teaching can be contacted on 3545246-8.

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