Over the past couple of quarters, it is clear to see that the Indian economy has been witnessing green shoots of recovery. Plans have also been laid out for the specific recovery of various sectors. The education sector in particular witnessed two major disruptions in the year 2020.
Firstly, the coronavirus pandemic that led to mass digitisation within the sector and secondly, the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 which is likely to evolve the entire education landscape of India.
NEP 2020, approved by the Union Cabinet of India, is a comprehensive framework for elementary to higher education which includes vocational and skill training. The policy aims to create a national curricular and pedagogical framework through the use of different teachers’ and learners’ tools, digital tools and global associations.
In fact, one of the features proposed includes quality learning environment using ICT tools for training and an experiential learning.
We need to implement some new ideas and concepts in the field of teacher training to step their skill set and the need for further training of educators continues to be of prime importance considering the current bleak education scenario:
- To create value engagement
Teachers and professors are expected to interact with different kind of students at all given points in time which include international students, non- urban students, working professionals and so on and so forth.
The educators need to understand the requirements, skills, experiences, and challenges etc. of each student and then develop content and a teaching method that is relatable and understandable for all.
- Play dynamic multi-functional role
The Covid-19 induced lockdown forced a lot of sectors to go digital, and the education sector was not an exception. Exams, lectures, assignments and grading had to be digitised. In turn, teachers are required to be continually trained in different learning systems and education of all schools and colleges that continued unabated across the world.
Teachers also had to don multiple hats of being tutor, coach, mentor, counsellor, instructor, friend and more to play more dynamic role in means of learnings not just academic but also the mind-set of learners.
- Continual vivid content creation
As learning switches to digital mode, the demand for constantly evolving and engaging content continues to remain a priority. The pandemic led overall chalk and talk mode to behind the screen mode which demanded new format of content generation overnight and course of delivery also needs to alter in tandem of the renewed content.
Thus, training teachers was imperative to cope up with new-age content creation and add value to the future hybrid classroom environment envisioned by the Government.
The government, in fact, has had the foresight to provide teachers and students with several online platforms that provide valuable resources in the field of education.
Along with portals which help students, there are several portals like e-Shodh Sindhu, Vidwan, NDLI and many more which help educationists by providing research material, references and data-bases for improving the curriculum and overall quality of teaching.
- Global par excellence standards
As a part of its vision, NEP 2020 emphasised the objective of making India a global knowledge superpower. In fact, there are regulatory mechanisms in place that allow dual degrees, joint degrees, twinning arrangements among others that foster academic collaboration with foreign higher educational institutions.
Educators are too being encouraged to build relationships and learning through these tie- ups to help understand and adopt global pedagogies and R&D methodologies for the learner community.
However, in the socially deprived world of today, it is impossible to meet and discuss teaching techniques, methods and plans with senior or junior educationists.
To facilitate a good output in such a situation, tele-mentoring is a viable option where senior educationists and knowledgeable resource-persons can come together to mentor a group of teachers.
These sessions help guide the teachers to plan better and also give a good opportunity to reflect on the teaching practices in use to improve them as per need.
- Enhance vocational skills
NEP 2020 emphasises equally on honing better vocational skills as much it does on academics. Educational Institutes and schools are now expected to add experiential learning through creative and logical reasoning skills, vocational skills, mathematical thinking and skills such as data science and coding.
Educators, thus, are trained to create more holistic learning experience for students which would include components of digital literacy, scientific temper and computational thinking.
Furthermore, education and teaching needs to foster entrepreneurship and global associations to create a fusion in teaching pedagogies that redefines the roles of teachers, professors and educators.
The philosopher and educationist, John Dewey once said “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself”. It is further important to train the trainer as they are expected to mold and nurture the learners.
And through their efforts to keep sailing through the Covid-19 tsunami educationists have learnt and unlearnt quickly adapting to the new normal way of learning and teaching and inspired so many young minds to stay motivated and unstoppable.
We must appreciate and acknowledge educators, in India and outside, at their adaptability and perseverance to be able to continue providing education to the youth in spite of the odds!
(This is a slightly modified version of an article originally published in India Today. The original article can be found at https://www.indiatoday.in/amp/education-today/featurephilia/story/why-teachers-and-educators-need-to-be-trained-in-the-current-education-scenario-1798707-2021-05-04)