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Educating The Educators…

It will be annual diary time for teachers soon. There will be records to fill up; lists of textbooks and duties, methods of teaching to be detailed, workshops attended, special measures for bright students, remedial measures to improve the weak and of course, most important of all, an overview of what inspired the teacher most during the past session.

There are indeed two levels at which a school operates, much like the mythical system of consciousness levels. The surface is represented by its public interface. There is the school diary, website, speeches made on official functions, the school magazine, assembly addresses by school heads. One hears of the school being a tree of knowledge, a centre for learning, the nursery that nurtures leaders and aims at an all-round development. There is another level however, at which young lives singe and burn in the cauldron called school life. It is not obvious to the eye but there are daily glimpses in student aggression, in creative graffiti, in groupism, in exclusion of others, in bullying and risky behaviour. As a teacher, you would wish for a horizon where these two worlds converged.
It has to start with the question of what schools are trying to do. The staff, the resources, the central board, the related paraphernalia; do we have a system that focuses on empowering a student or eliminating him at various levels? Do we celebrate or crush differences? Are we building young people who are force multipliers or are we churning out force dividers?
 At the moment, there is a focus on a version of discipline based on a strong sense of shame. The measuring scale has been marking only one unit: test scores. There is an ocean of untapped original talent that has been drying up for lack of attention and recognition. While we could be learning from students who have things to say, we line them up for scrutiny under glasses tinted with pre conceived notions. And the outcome is legions of young who leave schools feeling an odd mix of grief and relief.
The “continuous and comprehensive evaluation of students that covers all aspects of their development” may correct that by forcing teachers to look at their students more closely. We keep bemoaning their lack of attention in class. It is we in fact who need to pay them more attention. For without attention, there cannot be life and vitality.
The author is a Resource Center-in-charge at the Junior Wing of Air Force Bal Bharati School. A teacher with a background and training in media, she has worked in advertising, public relations, documentary film making and feature journalism. Her interest lies in the role of motivation, an all-round exposure and multiculturalism in education. A regular contributor to the ‘Teacher Plus” magazine and a blogger with a keen interest in the evolving social dynamics and their influence on young people, she maintains a blog at http://confessionsofanambitiousmother.blogspot.in/

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1 Comment

  1. Sudhees Sukumaran Sudhees Sukumaran
    March 26, 2013    

    Teaching Illustrated by a Teacher. The stand point makes it relevant !

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