Thursday, 4 July 2019

Importance of a Teacher

Importance of a Teacher

Objective: Ensure that all students at all levels of school education are taught by passionate, motivated, highly qualified, professionally trained, and well equipped teachers.

It is through teachers that our children are imparted with values, knowledge, empathy, creativity, ethics, life skills, and social responsibility.

What makes for outstanding teachers and teaching?

Teachers must be passionate, motivated, and well qualified, and well trained in content, pedagogy, and practice.

It is important that teachers relate to the students whom they teach, and are invested in the communities in which they serve.

To ensure that they perform well, teachers must be valued, supported, respected - happy teachers and students make for excellent teaching and learning! In particular, the everyday working environment of teachers and students must be safe, comfortable & inviting.

Teachers, and their schools, school complexes, and classrooms, must be well supplied with the learning resources that they need for effective teaching.

Teachers should not be overburdened, especially with non-teaching activities, or with the teaching of subjects outside of their expertise.

What makes for outstanding teachers and teaching?

Teachers must have the autonomy to innovate and teach in the style that best suits them and their students.

Teachers must have robust opportunities for Continuous Professional Development, and access to learning the latest advances and ideas in both pedagogy as well as subject content.

Teachers must feel part of a vibrant professional community.

The schools in which teachers work must have a caring, collaborative, and inclusive school culture, which encourages excellence, curiosity, empathy, and equity. A large part of this school culture must be set by school principals, school complex leaders, and School Management Committee (SMCs) and School Complex Management Committee (SCMCs).

Finally, career management and progression of teachers (including promotion / salary structure, and the selection of school and school complex leadership positions) must be based on outstanding performance and merit, through clear standards for evaluation of the same.

Primary issues affecting teachers and teacher education today?

Few initiatives that explicitly aim to recruit the best performing students, or those that have the most talent for teaching, into the teaching profession. (Current teacher recruitment does not involve any interviews or classroom demonstrations that assess motivation and passion; written examinations such as the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) often have little correlation with teaching ability.)

Teacher education is severely lacking and indeed in a crisis (There are approximately 17,000 teacher education institutions in the country, of which over 92% are privately owned. large proportion of these teaching colleges are not even attempting to provide a good education; instead, many are functioning as commercial shops where even the minimum curricular or course requirements are not met, and where degrees are essentially available for a price.)

There are severe shortcomings and suboptimal practices in the deployment of teachers. (According to government data, the country faces over 10 lakh teacher vacancies - a large proportion of them in rural areas, issue of lack of teachers in schools across the necessary subjects-particularly language teachers)

Another issue that is currently faced in the deployment of teachers is the often unfortunate and unpredictable transfers

Primary issues affecting teachers and teacher education today?

Many schools lack sufficient infrastructure, resources, and supplies (safe drinking water, working toilets, electricity, lack of adequate learning resources and supplies is common, including a lack of human resources such as social workers, counsellors, and remedial instructors)

Teachers are often asked to spend large portions of their time on non-teaching activities (midday meal preparation, electioneering, or various administrative tasks)

Quality professional development opportunities are not sufficiently available. (lack of opportunities for increasing teacher motivation through the sharing of ideas and best practices with peers)

Salary, promotion, career management, and leadership positions in the school system and beyond tend not to have any formal merit-based structures, basically based on lobbying, luck, or seniority

What can be done to help restore the high prestige of the profession, and to ensure high quality teachers and teaching across the country?

The structure of teacher education, recruitment, deployment, service conditions, professional development, and career management must be completely overhauled in order to restore the high status of the teaching profession, and to ensure that teachers are maximally productive and effective in their efforts.

The draft Policy envisages a complete overhaul of the teaching profession in these key areas, so that the seven key issues listed above, currently affecting teaching are fully addressed, and so that the ten above mentioned goals required for outstanding teaching may be achieved.

5.1 Effective teacher recruitment and deployment

Merit-based scholarships to encourage outstanding students to enter the teaching profession

Teacher recruitment process

Achieving desired Pupil Teacher Ratios

Ensuring both local teachers as well as diversity

Deployment of teachers to a particular school complex

Incentives to teach in rural areas

Halting / slowing teacher transfers to ensure continuity of teacher student-community relationships

Stopping the practice of para-teachers

Induction of freshly trained teachers into schools

Teacher-requirement planning

5.2. School environment and culture that is conducive to quality education

Adequate physical infrastructure, facilities, and learning resources

Caring and inclusive school culture

Ensuring that teachers are able to teach with full dedication and at full capacity - no non-teaching activities

Remedial education

Rejuvenating academic support institutions (State Council of Educational Research and Training, Block Institute of Educational Research and Training, District Institute of Educational Research and Training, Block Resource Centre, Cluster Resource Centre, College of Teacher Education, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education)

Community connect

Materials for teachers in Indian languages

5.3. Continuous professional development

Flexible and modular approach to continuous professional development for teachers

Revamping continuous professional development

Self-directed personal development of teachers

Online resources for continuous professional development

In-school teacher development processes

Recognising outstanding teachers

5.4. Career management

Tenure track system of hiring teachers

Parity in service conditions across all stages of school education

Professional progression via promotions and salary increases

Professional standards for teachers

Periodic (annual or higher frequency) performance appraisal of teachers

Professional progression via vertical mobility

5.5. Approach to teacher education

Moving teacher education into the university system; the four-year integrated B.Ed. Programme

The different tracks that teachers will be prepared for in a B.Ed. Programme will include:

a. Foundational and Preparatory school generalist teachers;

b. Subject teachers for Middle and Secondary school;

c. Special education teachers;

d. Art teachers (including visual and performing arts);

e. Teachers for vocational education; and

f. Physical education teachers.

The two-year B.Ed. programme for lateral entry into teaching

Specialised instructors for specialised subjects

Closing down substandard standalone teacher education institutions

Pedagogical aspects of the four-year integrated B.Ed. Programme

Specialist teachers
Detailed strategies for improvement

Recruitment and Deployment

A large number of merit-based scholarships will be instituted across the country for studies at outstanding four-year integrated Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) programmes, specially for rural areas.

Special merit-scholarships will be established that also include guaranteed employment in their local areas after completion of 4 years

Incentives will be provided for teachers to take up teaching jobs in rural areas

Key incentive for teachers being deployed at rural schools will be the provision of local housing

The harmful practice of excessive teacher transfers will be halted with immediate effect

(TETs) will be strengthened through improved test material correlated to capacities of outstanding teachers, both in terms of content and pedagogy. For subject teachers, suitable NTA test scores in the corresponding subjects will also be taken into account for recruitment.

In order to gauge passion and motivation for teaching, a classroom demonstration or interview will become an integral part of teacher hiring

In order to ensure an adequate number of teachers across subjects, particularly in subjects such as art, physical education, vocational education, and languages, teachers will often be hired to a school complex (a conglomeration of local area schools consisting of one secondary school and a number of pre-primary through middle schools - see Section 7.2) rather than a specific school; such teachers could then be shared across schools in the complex as needed.

minimal degree requirement for all permanent tenured teachers will be the four-year integrated B.Ed. degree. However, to promote local knowledge and expertise, schools and/or school complexes will be permitted and, indeed, supported with suitable resources to hire local eminent persons or experts as “specialised instructors” in various subjects, such as traditional local arts, vocational crafts, entrepreneurship, agriculture, or any other subject where local expertise exists, and would benefit students and help preserve and promote local knowledge.

Service environment and culture

The primary goal of overhauling the service environments and cultures of schools will be to maximise the abilities of teachers to do their jobs effectively, and to ensure that they are part of vibrant, caring, and inclusive communities of teachers, students, parents, principals, and other supporting staff, all of whom share a common goal: to ensure that our children are learning.

Adequate and safe infrastructure, including working toilets, clean drinking water, clean and attractive spaces conducive to learning, electricity, computing devices, and internet, will be important to provide to all schools

The creation of the school complex as the smallest viable unit of governance will help create vibrant communities of teachers

School complexes will also share counsellors, social workers, technical and repair staff, and remedial instructors to further support teachers and help create an effective community environment for learning

Teachers will not be allowed any longer to conduct government work that is not directly related to teaching (except for rare events that do not interfere with their class work); in particular, teachers will not be involved in electioneering, cooking of midday meals, and other strenuous administrative tasks, so that they may fully concentrate on their teaching-learning duties.

To help ensure that schools have positive learning environments, the role expectations of principals and teachers will explicitly include developing a caring and inclusive culture at their schools, for more effective learning for all, and for the benefit of all in their communities.

Teachers will be given more autonomy in choosing finer aspects of curriculum and pedagogy, so that they may teach in the manner that they find most effective for the students in their classrooms and communities. Teachers will be recognised for novel approaches to teaching that improve learning outcomes in their classrooms.

Continuous professional development

Given constant opportunities for self-improvement and to learn the latest innovations and advances in their profession

A modular approach to CPD will be adopted.

Developmental opportunities, in the form of local, State, national, and international teaching and subject workshops, as well as online teacher development modules, will be available to all teachers

Each teacher may be expected to participate in, say, 50 hours of CPD opportunities every year for their own professional development.

Leaders such as school principals and school complex leaders will be have similar modular leadership / management workshops and online development opportunities

Career Management

(Career management of teachers is an important area of reform to restore the prestige of the teaching profession.)

A robust merit-based promotion and salary structure will be developed

A system of multiple parameters for proper assessment of performance will be developed for the same (based on peer reviews, student reviews, attendance, commitment, hours of CPD, and other forms of service to the school and the community)

Vertical mobility of teachers based on merit will also be paramount

Approach to teacher education

Teacher education will gradually be moved into multidisciplinary colleges and universities.

By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a four-year liberal integrated B.Ed. degree that teaches a range of knowledge content and pedagogy, and includes strong practicum training in the form of student teaching at local schools.

The two-year B.Ed./D.El.Ed. (now to be referred to only as B.Ed.) programmes will also be offered, by the same multi disciplinary institutions offering the four-year integrated B.Ed

the two-year B.Ed. will be intended only for those who have already obtained Bachelor’s Degrees in other specialised subjects.

B.Ed. programmes may also be replaced by suitably adapted to one-year B.Ed. programmes for those who have completed the equivalent of four-year multidisciplinary Bachelor’s Degrees or who have obtained a Master’s degree in a specialty and wish to become a subject teacher in that specialty

All such B.Ed. degrees would be offered only by accredited multidisciplinary higher educational institutions offering four-year integrated B.Ed. programmes.

All B.Ed. degrees will be housed in the multidisciplinary colleges and universities.

Special shorter local teacher education programmes will also be available at BITEs, DIETs, or at school complexes themselves, so that eminent local persons may be hired to teach at schools or school complexes as “specialized instructors”, for the purpose of promoting local knowledge and skills, e.g. local art, music, agriculture, business, sports, carpentry, and other vocational crafts

Secondary shorter post-B.Ed. certification courses will also be made widely available, at multidisciplinary colleges and universities, to teachers who may wish to move into more specialised areas of teaching, such as the teaching of students with special needs, or move into leadership and management positions in the schooling system.

Substandard standalone Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) across the country will be shut down.


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