Tag Archives: education

Schools of the future: digital, inclusive and empowering

Action Research success stories by accredited teachers were in focus on the second day (3 December 2014) of the Teacher Accreditation programme organised by the British Council in Delhi .

The first session chaired by Dr Angela Cook included discussions on International Learning and Global Education where action researchers addressed global issues in the education domain prevalent in most countries and how they are being addressed internationally. The researchers experienced that kids learn better when they are empowered and given responsibilities, whereby they can interactively mix with other children, be more confident and innovative in their thinking and actions. Not only children but this serves as a learning process for teachers as well.

The other simultaneous session chaired by Arijit Ghosh focussed on discussing digital Innovation in the classroom to enhance learning capacities. Action researchers through their experience learned that digital games are a smart way to teach, learn and map what is being taught to the curriculum. This is not only true for higher achievers but covers children with all abilities. Smart and digital media component attracts students easily and ensures complete involvement as children are always enthusiastic about playing games and in turn learning playfully.

After informal discussion and exchange of opinions over refreshments there were two simultaneous and engaging sessions for mentors and mentees. The former chaired by Karanam Pushpanadam focussed on challenges and opportunities for mentoring Teacher Researchers. The mentors came up with concerns which they face while guiding their mentee for the action research projects. They believe certain level of flexibility in the completion timeframe, regular face to face interaction with mentees for better understanding and communication, multiple review stages, restricted submission size are some aspects which if included as guidelines in delivering the 2 3 4projects would facilitate the mentoring process and enable achieving better and more result oriented outcomes.

The other concurrent session featured action research success stories which centred around projects aimed at inclusion and mainstreaming students and learners with special needs. This session chaired by Rittika Chanda Parruck featured some truly interesting cases where it has been observed that exposing children with special needs to activities is one of the best ways to assess their strengths and weaknesses and act accordingly. This is a positive and good practice of inclusion which makes children happy and gives them a direction. Susan Douglas mentioned a very interesting practice followed in the UK which is a more social rather than medical model of inclusion of children with special needs where a school adopts to the needs of a child rather than the other way round. She emphasized that every child is educable provided they are placed in the right settings which they deserve. The presenters acknowledged British Council’s support and effort to bring a positive change in the lives of children with special needs through their work in action research projects.

The final session of the conference featured a keynote speech from Andy Buck on Schools of the future: Time for change. He pointed out that as teachers their prime responsibility lies in instilling aspirations, resilience and confidence in children to face challenges to be successful as a human being and as a professional. A favourable climate is what he referred to in terms of the learning
environment in a class can immensely impact children to feel included. Teachers should
give their student a voice so that they may take charge and work together towards inclusive
growth. Andy acknowledged the work of all action researchers and their contribution towards
making a positive change in schooling for children.

The Teacher Accreditation Conference concluded with closing comments by the chairperson Susan Douglas who acknowledged the participation of all teachers, teacher researchers and all those who supported to make the conference a success.

Contributed by Ruma Roy.

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Teacher researchers – the agents of change

The Teacher Accreditation Conference being held in New Delhi as part of a week-long series of events around school education began on 2 December at with participants from all over the country enthusiastically contributing through various sessions in the field of action research not only in English but education system as a whole.

Susan Douglas who chaired the conference  and briefed the participants on the context of this  event.

Susan Douglas who chaired the conference
and briefed the participants on the context of this
event.

The programme began with a welcome note from Susan Douglas who chaired the conference and briefed the participants on the context of this event. This was the first time that an electronically operated voting pad was distributed for participants to key in their opinion on Q&A polls held after each session. Instant statistics were generated and displayed, which ensured complete involvement. The result of these polls will eventually feed into a high level roundtable of policy makers to be held on
4 December.

Sam Freedman, Director of Research, Evaluation and Impact at Teach First

Sam Freedman, Director of Research, Evaluation and Impact at Teach First

Sam Freedman, Director of Research, Evaluation and Impact at Teach First spoke about the value of research in education system. He emphasized on the importance of creating research based professionals, the steps that leads to research based profession and the positive changes that teacher researchers may bring about.

 

A session on action research success  stories

A session on action research success
stories

Next was a session on action research success
stories chaired by Rittika Chanda Parruck
where accredited teachers presented stories of
their successful research for Improving
Mathematics and Science Teaching. The other
parallel session chaired by John Shackleton featured presentations from ELTReP recipients and Connecting Classrooms researchers on English Teaching. There were interactive Q&A rounds after each session for the audience to share their experience and views on action research.

Dr Angela Cook spoke on the GTA programme in India

Dr Angela Cook spoke on the GTA programme in India

Dr Angela Cook, an independent consultant
in the education sector spoke about the
Global Teacher Accreditation (GTA) programme
in India. She pointed out the GTA model is adaptable for all students and this can develop a new level of professionalism and motivation in individuals associated with teaching at various levels.

 

The morning and noon sessions were followed by a round of informal interactions and knowledge sharing over tea while the participants viewed poster exhibition of research submissions by themselves and their fellow researchers. 

6

An engaging session by John Shackleton

An engaging session by John Shackleton

After a round of evening refreshments and discussions was an extremely engaging session by John Shackleton who interactively explained Continuing Professional Development (CPD) framework and how this could help a teacher develop as a professional and evolve into a Teacher Educator to contribute to the teaching profession in a meaningful way.

 

A teacher an award for research

A teacher an award for research

The day concluded with a lot of enthusiasm and positivity over certificate distribution to successful Global Teacher Accreditation Awardees as a token of appreciation and acknowledgement of their meaningful contribution through their research efforts. Participants said they found the sessions engrossing and look forward to many more such effective engagements as this experience enabled them grow as professionals.

Contributed by Ruma Roy.

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Delegates from Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Taiwan visit Indian schools

The British Council is holding a week-long series of programmes around schools education in Delhi which began on 28 November with the international launch of its global publication Innovations in Continuing Professional Development for English Language Teachers followed by a conference on Quality Standards in Education on 29 November.

On the third day of the Schools Week, 27 Inward Study Visit Delegates from Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Taiwan visited Indian schools to observe the Indian curriculum in schools systems. The delegates were first taken to the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) at Karnal which is a government-run residential school. This school, where 75% students are from rural and underprivileged backgrounds, is run by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.

Schools Inward Study Visit Delegates from Taiwan, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia at the JNV School, Karnal.

Schools Inward Study Visit Delegates from Taiwan, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia at the JNV School, Karnal.

 

The delegates were taken on a tour of the school and were explained various aspects the school system and the curriculum being followed through interactive sessions with the school authorities who also acknowledged the Connecting classrooms programme by British Council and its positive impact. The Connecting classroom programme is also a part of their annual report.

Next, the delegates were taken to the DLF School at Ghaziabad which is a recipient of the Global School Enterprise awards. This is a privately-owned school and markedly different from JNV Karnal. The principal of this school presented to the delegates the ways their association with British Council in the last five years has enabled them gain international exposure and build their capacity.

The contrast between the schools covered in the visit gave the delegates a view of the socio-economic range that Indian school system spans and of the adaptable model that runs equally well for rural and urban set-up of the education system.

Contributed by Ruma Roy.

 

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Myths about Quality Education in India

Myth 1: A change in teacher-student ratio will increase quality education 

Right to Education Act (RTE) aims for an ideal pupil-teacher ratio of 30:1 for primary level and 35:1 for upper-primary level. But, the current ratio of 49:1 for primary level and 59:1 for upper-primary level statistically shames us and remains a severe problem in Uttar Pradesh schools. The ratio in Chandigarh reaches to a whooping 80:1.

Interestingly, studies show no correlation between teacher-student ratio and quality education. Also, teaching is not regarded as a preferred career option. So, a simple way of generate interest in teaching is to raise the income of teachers to create meaningful economic opportunities.

To improve learning inputs for qualitative education, here are a few cost-efficient strategies:

Increasing teacher’s incentives: 

This remains a government versus teacher propaganda. Consider a system that equates a teacher’s pay to his or her student’s attendance. The method remains fair to both the parties as teachers individually attempt to address each pupil and understand their ability. There isn’t a necessary track-down over individual teaching skills as it remains evident in pupil’s attendance.

Teaching according to a child’s ability:

Grouping students according to their ability and not by class or age have experimentally proven that a student’s learning improves impressively. This implementation needs patience, understanding and tolerance.

Volunteering for educational programs:

Volunteering during non-teaching hours for educational initiatives like field trips, research on curriculum been taught and summer camps are pure sources of effective increase in quality education. Recognition over participation and volunteerism is in abundance within local societies.

Myth 2: Physical structure increases quality education

Recent statistics provided by the Voice of People, an organisation working on RTE which conducted a survey on 255 schools covering 18 districts, shows that:

  • only 9 per cent of the upper primary schools have proper furniture
  • merely 8 per cent schools have a separate room for library
  • more than 50 per cent of the schools have no proper usable toilets. 9 per cent have no toilet facilities.
  • 38 per cent of schools have no boundary fencing while 9 per cent of them have damaged boundary walls.

Many other shocking statistical data denotes poor physical infrastructure of the common patshaala in India. But an improvement in such physical structure too has shown no correlation to the betterment of education output. Here is one strategic method with regard to improvement in physical structure which surely increases not only quality education but is also an efficient way to manage physical infrastructure.

The minimum required classroom area is about 300 square feet but in case of smaller classrooms which still exist in India, here is a technical formula:

PTR (Pupil Tutor Ratio) = (Area of the classroom in square feet-60/8)

This also highlights the futile emphasis on decreasing the PTR, and proves a relative relation between the size of a classroom and PTR. Such an initiative has been adapted by the Gujarat RTE and has done wonders. Technical methods such as these which attack the crucial core of the problem and not the external physical significance are cost-efficient as well as very simple to implement.

Myth 3: How about implementing some more initiatives?

The Midday Meal Scheme is currently implemented in almost 85.6 per cent schools but the scheme remains one of the most corrupt malpractices in India. A simple solution is that the quality of food under the MDM scheme must be checked on the spot and a detailed report regarding the lack of content must be submitted at the earliest.

The MDM scheme is an impressive initiative to widen the educational structure and surely has significant benefits in acting as a ‘supplementary nutrition’ for children. However, another problem within this scheme is that, most of the school activities exist before lunch time. So, MDM may not really feature itself to be ‘nutrition’ for learning students.

Solution:

  • Provide beneficial nutrition in the morning before students engage in their school activities for the day.

IIT Madras on monitoring this scheme has provided a notable quote, “one fruit and one glass of milk for every child every day.”

Implementations of initiatives aren’t necessary, but improvising the existing ones using low-cost and effective methodology will provide a better path towards quality education. Being one of the largest providers for elementary education, RTE fails to deliver quality education. Once the improvements are made, we can move ahead and implement extra-curriculum, ‘going beyond the usual textbook’ debate, vocational training and guidance.

Education is the stem that reaches every part of the nation’s output, be it societal changes or economic growth. As the saying goes, Padega India, tabhi toh badega India! 

 

 

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Need for Better Educational Services and Policies

“But Where Is The Education?” [Part 1]

In today’s India, ‘education delivered’’ continues to remain a national crisis. The curriculum of education is still more theoretical than knowledgeable, thus failing to increase qualitative technical skills for the industrial sector. This inversely proves to be a reason for the lack of investment on human capital in India. Cost-effective methods for student learning have never come into thought and we continue to face extremely poor policies, increased rate in the number of drop outs and leniency in enforcement of Right to Education Act, 2009. The question which arises is, Where have we really gone wrong?”

Quality Education: According to the 2011 census, we may have almost reached the threshold literacy rate of 74.04 per cent due to the implementation of free and compulsory education, but yet, institutes across the nation fail to obey some of the many norms prescribed by the Right to Education Act. Moreover, questions have been raised about implementing ‘Right to Learn’ over ‘Right to Education’ since the RTE norms fail to mention a single point regarding ‘learning’ which is the crux of the entire issue.

A prophecy regarding the so-called ‘quality education’ in India, is that statistically it does no good. Quality education is a socio-economic boon, a justified postulate. Lack of quality education leads to deficiency of skilled labour in the industrial sector and eventually diminishes the economic output. This is purely evident in India as 83 per cent of the total working population for the construction industry remains unskilled. But at the same time, labour in India is low in both quality and capital.

Let us question “What are we really learning?” rather than “How many are we educating?”

At the Indian level, 52 per cent of Class V students are unable to read a Class II textbook whereas 72 per cent of them are unable to do basic arithmetic division. Also, a teacher’s duty today revolves more around ‘punctuality’ and ‘attendance’ of a student rather than his or her achievements. Mere aim to complete the syllabus has now turned into a priority.

With the rise in number of private schools and institutes, education has turned into a thriving business. Students of the elite and middle class families successfully avail seats, leaving behind students from poor sections of the society who fail to meet the needs for quality education at local schools. Now the myth revolving around quality education is that it is only to be found in private institutions. This continues to remain a hoax since private institutions deliver a mere gain with respect to quality. The truth enlightens us when studies reveal that on comparison of test scores between public and private institutes; only a marginal difference exists.

Yet, lack of quality education has raised another deeper subject. Parents today enforce children to join coaching institutes and private tuition’s which eventually turn to be ‘supplements’ for quality education. However, educationalists fear that private tutoring has turned into an alternative to institutional schools. This was clearly evident in Bengal recently where nearly 73 per cent of the students took recourse to tuitions instead of schools. The RTE Act prohibits teachers from conducting private tuitions but no initiatives have been undertaken to track down these teachers who abide against the law. RTE also fails to meet the norms required for minimum’ quality education for any school. The need for norms over such a grave issue which serves as the main source for entire educational output is a must.

In the upcoming articles of this series, we will discuss the myths revolving around quality education in India.

Post By :

Achilles Rasquinha

 

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Misplaced Priorities of Our Society

I have a bleak memory of what happened with a friend of mine seven years back. It was 2006 when we gave our 10th boards. Being in a city like Patna we did not enjoy the liberty of choosing streams in 11th. We do as we are told.I had a friend who was excellent in calligraphy and painting and was interested in arts and aesthetics. I took Commerce, but he was ‘advised’ to opt for Science. Two years later, before our 12th boards results were out, my friend bought the entrance form of NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) with his savings. Although I was sure that he would crack the entrance, but his father was totally appalled by the very idea. His final verdict for my friend was that he must become an ‘engineer’.

In Bihar, if you fail an exam, the world ends for you and at a time when one needs family the most, it discards you. Fortunately for me, based on my result, I got through the Delhi University and opted for Literature, but my friend had flunked in his Physics exam.I quite remember that a year later the same friend appeared for AIEEE and IIT entrance exams but could not crack either, and his father called me and asked about the best private engineering colleges.”  Now even though my friend got through one of the colleges in Jaipur, he is still trying to clear his last semester exams. A talent wasted.

The bigger question: Why is our society obsessed with dictating a teenager’s career choice? At an age when you are eligible to choose the leader of your country, you are not allowed to choose your own career. Dual standards, surely.

I have immense respect for my friend’s father and also know that he wanted the best for his son, but what I don’t understand is the obsession with ‘engineering’? This is a complex question and cannot have a simple answer. They belonged to a middle class family and we live in an era where financial pulls are so strong that they decide everything. The obsession with financial security increases competition and our society produces a generation of young people who are part of a rat race throughout their productive years.

I see myself in contrast to my friend. I was never questioned by my family about my choices. I chose commerce at intermediate level, Literature during graduation, Journalism and International Politics for my Post Graduation, and finally landed up doing theatre. I belonged to the same society, same middle class family. However, today I may not have achieved what I wanted to achieve in the long run, but I am responsible for my own decisions and blunders. My family supported every decision of mine. As a result I have my share of learnings and a broader perspective. This experience has enabled me to accept failures and encourages me to remain optimistic, whatever the turn of events.

The act of deciding for ‘your children’ is not new and is a distinct feature of middle class families in almost all the developing nations and also in a few developed societies. It is high time we realise that this results not only in creating a disoriented lot of people that has no understanding what direction they are moving in, but in the process also creates a dissatisfied society with unsatiated desires.

People may debate my take on the issue. But I think of my friend who still paints beautifully, but has lost the touch of innocence in his brush. His soul is wandering to fight the forces which stopped his dreams from being realised, but alas, he cannot see his enemy. It will be wrong to consider his father an enemy because he was also a product of the same society- a society with misplaced priorities.

Post by : Nihal Parashar 

 

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Unfinished Lessons:How the Lack of Practical Exposure Weakens our Education System

I understand why you’d think the pen is mightier than the sword, but not when you’re out on the battlefield. There you can’t toss scriptures of fighting tactics into the enemy’s face. You wouldn’t be able to do without a certain amount of dexterity with the sword. Extending the same thought on to knowledge, it is important to understand that knowledge doesn’t guarantee or beget skill, practice does. Practical application is often just as important, if not more, than the written word. Books need to be revered, and we all know that, but cognizant as we all are of changing realities, we should realise that education also needs to equip students with practical exposure as much as theoretical knowledge.

Exactly what the science laboratories were meant for in school. We needed to get in there to know just how the chemicals changed colour. Sitting in our classrooms, we could have only struggled with the textbooks. Application not only clears doubts but makes sure lessons are learnt for life, and not just the next exam. It helps de-emphasize the unfortunate stress a lot of us tend to lay on rote learning.

Sadly, for most of us today, and that includes our institutions, education is something one needs to hastily get over with. This is why there is no planned framework for how kids could take topics from the textbook out into their lives. Especially in college, when more often than not, you’re doing what you intend to pursue all your life, you can’t rely on a five hundred page spiral notebooks (that most people sit down to read only a couple of days before the exam) to equip you with all you need to know. More concrete initiatives need to be planned and implemented. Watching a movie on rural India is not sufficient for development communication, a field trip to the nearest village is. Mugging-up theories is not important for psychology, researching with a specific subject is.

Education needs to focus more on vocations in this job oriented era. There is a need for better planning and a sea change in our ideas and definitions of knowledge. Application, exposure and experimentation will definitely prove to be akin to life support for the dwindling sheen of our education system. Not only will they annihilate fear from the minds of those who have the potential but hesitate to test it, they will definitely clear a lot of misconceptions for those who think they know it all. I was one. I thought I knew exactly how everything worked till I got to the lab.
Making mistakes will always remain important in life. Science, art, commerce or vocational studies, education should fulfil its rudimentary goal of helping students think for themselves. Important lessons will be learnt once they test themselves, falter and discover.

All of us realise that our schools and universities can’t really boast of the resources to help us spread our wings, and learn through practical exposure. But really, it’s like asking students at NIFT to sketch on paper and never get around to actually stitching. It’s that basic an issue.

Phenomenally talented people from our country go out into the world today and manage to make a name for themselves. It’s not always a choice. And we as a country, owe them the infrastructure and motivation to feel free to dream and fly right here. Brain drain doesn’t just happen, it’s rooted in the unfortunate inadequacies of our education system. The lack of stress on practical exposure goes a long way in shaping our sensibilities towards a particular subject. It’s incomplete knowledge, a lesson left unfinished, consequences of which we shall carry with us for a very long time to come.

Post by -Lata Jha

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Culture Connection: understanding and respecting differences

Unlike the mainstream schools where education is easily accessible, Bandhyali is a school on the outskirts of Jaipur which caters to the children for whom school is a palace and education a dream. Bandhyali School, in Bandhyali village, is a primary school for 325 children, 201 girls and 124 boys. All these children are from educationally, socially, and economically disadvantaged communities from the surrounding villages. Bandhayli is a free school. No fee is charged, and all books, notebooks and stationery are provided by the school.

This school is run by an organisation called Digantar which aims to develop educational opportunities for children from the nearby villages. The purpose of education is to make every child a self-motivated and independent learner with the ability to think critically. Digantar strives to develop educational opportunities for all children based on this idea. Every child is capable of learning to live in the society, defining his / her goals for life, finding ways of achieving the chosen goals, taking appropriate action, and of being responsible for the actions taken.

Children at Bandhyali School had never visited another place outside their village. They were hesitant to ask questions and make any decision. They lacked creativity and had never shown interest in learning English language.

Nobody had ever envisaged that a visit by a group of teachers from the UK in 2004 would change the classroom environment and improve the quality of education in Bandhyali School. This group of teachers was led by Mr. Paul Whitcombe, Head teacher of Lord Scudamore Primary School, Herefordshire who proposed the idea of partnership with Bandhyali School. Both schools were formally partnered under the Global School Partnerships programme.

The staff  at  Bandhyali were excited with the prospects of this alliance as it would not only give an opportunity to the students to engage with contemporary issues but also enable the teachers in developing new skills among the students. The aim of this partnership was to primarily evaluate and improve teaching-learning practices, and this was truly in line with the philosophy of education at Bandhyali. This wide-ranging aim would provide endless opportunities for integrating new forms of expression, creativity, exploring diversity and other global issues and supporting formative assessment.

The Global School Partnerships programme, managed by the British Council has provided an opportunity to both schools to work collaboratively in raising awareness about both countries and develop a strong global dimension in the primary curriculum. The programme has benefitted 759 students.

Interaction, creativity and empowerment are the three cornerstones of this six-year old partnership between Bandhyali, a rural school in the Jagatpura district of Rajasthan and Lord Scudamore Primary School in UK. The partnership has come a long way since then; it has laid the foundations of the education dream for the wider school community.

Teachers from the UK school worked on various subjects with the students at Bandhyali. Interaction with teachers from the UK has motivated the students to develop an interest in English language. Various activities were conducted which resulted in improved skills in speaking and writing. The teachers also planned dramas and poems which has improved students’ creativity skills.

Activities in subjects like history and geography has increased children’s knowledge not only of their own country but of UK as well. Locating their partner country and knowing about the geographical conditions taught the students to use a map. They learnt about the similarities and differences between each others’ culture.

The staff at Bandhyali, during their visits to the partner school in UK, learnt a lot about new teaching-learning practices and inter-disciplinary approaches to curriculum transaction; major part of the curriculum is now thoughtfully designed around major seasons, festivals and other events.

The children are now so confident. They are always curious to know more about things around them. They don’t stop questioning until they are satisfied with the answer. They enjoy studying. They don’t shy away in exploring and expressing themselves creatively.

The programme has also benefitted the teachers. The exchange visits have helped in teachers’ professional development, taught them to bring creativity in to the classroom and to make optimum use of each and every resource available.

This partnership has had its positive impact on the community as well. Parents of these children have now become open-minded. They once never agreed to send their daughters to school, are now ready to send them to the UK.

Abdul Gaffar, Senior Academic Co-ordinator, Bandhyali School reminisces asking a parent of a student – “until a few years ago you didn’t even want to send your daughter to school, and you now want her to visit England?’ Prompt came the reply, “I want to give the best education to my daughter and I want her to see the world…”

The mind-set of women in the village has radically changed. They are no longer scared to ask questions and are actively involved in discussions on topics like why men don’t undertake household tasks and why women do more work than men?

Bandhyali School has had an exemplary involvement with the community. The village folk now freely interact with the visiting teachers. The village elders help students with their projects on understanding the changes in lifestyle, education, industry and agriculture practices. The village community has done some significant fund-raising to set up temporary structures for classrooms while a new building for the school is being constructed.

The literacy rate in the surrounding areas in 1992 was 14% for men and 2% for women which has now shot up to 47% for men and 38% for women, as per the survey done in 2008. There is now a long waiting list of students wanting to seek admission in Bandhyali. There are about 197 children waiting to seek admission in this school.

Children of both schools now feel interconnected with each other. They have an urge to visit their partner school in UK. This partnership has developed a holistic perspective among the students of both schools. The activities have helped in develop social ethos and respect and understand the culture and traditions of another country.

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Policy Implications for English Teaching and Learning

Hello everyone

It was a pleasure watching the conference sessions live online yesterday. I urge those of you who wanted to attend the conference but could not, to use this facility provided by British Council to watch it live and even take part in it by adding comments. You comments may get discussed.

I tuned in for some of the sessions. Some- like, ‘building skills for employability’- were gripping as well as hilarious. Especially the speech by Manish Sabharwal; was it eloquence epitomized!  Some were eye openers–Policy implications for English teaching and learning. It was quite informative.

‘Policy implications for English teaching and learning’ dealt a lot with scenario in schools in different parts of India. I guess good English teaching and learning in schools will lead to ‘building employability skills’ in the long run!  This points to the lacuna we have in India in this area.

Isn’t that one of the reasons that makes ‘building employability skills’ a necessity now? I have heard private school principals lamenting about the difficulty they face in recruiting good teachers. They have to place the good teachers in high school so that the 10th grade results are not compromised. So most often the worst teachers end up in the primary section.

Rod Bolitho, Academic Director of Norwich Institute for Language Education (NILE), raised many questions which I felt are very relevant.

Some questions, about the shortage of English teachers in India, are listed below.

  1. How attractive is teaching as a career in India in general?
  2. What is the reason behind the English graduates choosing fields other than teaching as profession?
  3. Is there any appropriate formulated initiative in India to raise the number of English teachers in training?
  4. Has the government decided what the probable number of teachers required to be trained is in order to meet the demand in, maybe, the next 10 years?
  5. Are there enough institutions training teachers?

      Some others, about the quality of English teachers/education, are below.

      1. What is the minimum qualification for school teachers? Is there any standardisation of qualification for the primary school teachers teaching English across India?
      2. In some states the minimum qualification set for the teachers of English is far lower than the others. So is bad English being perpetuated through the system?
      3. What type of pre-service training do they undergo?
      4. What kind of training is going on in pre-service level and how practical is it?
      5. Are the pre-service training institutions calibrated completely against the needs of the teachers?
      6. Are the skills of the teacher educator the skills which are needed to produce methodologically and linguistically competent teachers?

        What is your opinion on these issues? Please write in your comments, would love to hear your ideas.

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        Activity Based Learning

        In this session entitled ‘Managing the Silent Revolution’ the audience watched a video which showed how Activity Based Learning (ABL) has been implemented in schools in Tamil Nadu.  We saw the teacher in a non-traditional role, not as the teacher standing as an authoritative figure at the front of the classroom, but as a facilitator of activities in which children were able to participate much more freely.  Children were encouraged to work in groups and help each other, as well as monitor their own progress.  The classroom scene was a refreshing change from visions of children sitting in rows listening to a teacher; here the role of the child is very much a participative one in which confidence and motivation are key to the learning process.

        The film was a great start to the session on ABL, and will truly motivate teachers in other areas to learn from this project.

        How could other schools implement ABL?

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