New Roles For The Teacher and Relevant Methods
Relevant to Teacher Education
It is noteworthy that the role of the teacher is sought to be determined during the recent decades not only in the context of providing the dimension of values in our system of education but also in the context of providing more effective methods of education. These two contexts are not mutually exclusive, and they tend to lead to conclusions that converge upon the important point, namely, that the role of the teacher is not merely that of a lecturer.
According to one extreme view, the method of lecturing should be eliminated altogether from our educational system. It has been suggested that teaching should be done through teaching machines or through such devices which involve methods of self-learning.
Against this extreme view, it has been argued that the method of lecturing is indispensable, not as an exclusive method, but as an integral part of the totality of various methods. It has been argued, for instance, that lecturing is a practical demonstration to the students of how a complex and rich mind operates while dealing with a subject in question. It has also been held that lectures are or can be useful under at least five circumstances, namely, (a) when a new subject is to be introduced; (b) when a panoramic view of a given topic or subject is to be presented; (c) when collective awareness regarding a subject matter needs
to be created; (d) when a discussion on a given problem is sought to be stimulated and conducted; and (e) when some general information is to be provided for any collective purposes. It has also been urged that lectures are effective instruments when results of a recent research or discovery are to be communicated, particularly, when no written material is as yet available. Finally, no one seriously disputes the tremendous value of an inspired speech, particularly when it flows from profundities of knowledge and experience.
At the same time, it has now come to be increasingly realised that the most essential and indispensable role of the teacher is to try to understand his students and to help each one in his growth and development. In this view, the first thing that the teacher should do is to observe his students at work and at play, with deep insight and sympathy. The second step should be to provide to the whole group of his students as also to each member of the group the necessary stimulus in the right direction. This stimulus could be in the form of a lecture or in the form of a conversation or a suggestion or a demonstration or a general or intimate remark. That a given teacher should be a good lecturer is understood, but it is increasingly felt that he should also be capable of formulating short and striking words and ideas which can be communicated briefly and effectively. He should also be capable of knowing when a personal or individual explanation to a given student would be useful and fruitful. There are occasions when silence is more eloquent than a speech. And, above all, the teacher should by his enthusiasm and his own uplifting
example, provide a stimulating atmosphere that would inspire his students to work, joyously and eagerly, towards excellence.
It is admitted that these are difficult things, and that we are led to demand a great deal from the teacher. But it is argued that the changes that are coming over the entire human race, and the exigencies of the crisis through which mankind is passing today impose upon us an imperative to demand from our teachers qualities and capacities which are not so common. It is, therefore, urged that teachers have to play roles which are largely new and which are admittedly difficult.
As noted elsewhere, The International Commission on the Development of Education, established by UNESCO, submitted its report in 1972 under the title: Learning to be. In this report, certain far-reaching recommendations have been made in regard to teachers and teachers' training programme. It has been. for example, pointed out:
One of the essential tasks of educators at present is to change the mentalities and qualifications inherent in all professions; thus they should be the first to be ready to rethink and change the criteria and basic situation of the teaching profession, in which the job of educating and stimulating students is steadily superseding that of simply giving instructions.1
It has been further pointed out that the present day divisions between formal and informal, school and out-of-school, child and adult education are steadily fading. Therefore the conditions in which teachers are trained should be profoundly changed so that,
1 Learning to be p. 216 (UNESCO, Paris, 1972)
essentially, they become educators rather than mere specialists in transmitting pre-established curricula. The teaching profession will not be in a position to fulfill its role in the future unless it is given, and develops itself a structure better adapted to modem educational systems.
It needs to be pointed out that widespread and efficient use of new technologies in education is possible only if sufficient change takes place within the system itself. Therefore the teacher training programmes should be so modified that teachers are equipped for the different roles and functions imposed by new technologies.
The qualities, capacities and skills that should be aimed at among teachers should include:
new learning materials including worksheets, workbooks, programmed books, test papers with auto-correcting components and other materials required for vocational guidance;
As a practical measure the methods which are currently employed in the teachers' training institutions should be so changed that the trainees would have the opportunity of first hand experience of new methods and techniques of learning during their training programmes.
A working model could be described as follows:
a. Teachers under training should at the outset be provided with a document explaining the new roles for the teachers as also various new methods and techniques involved in the learning-teaching process;
b. Trainees would be required to indicate their willingness to employ new methods of learning in their own training;
c. Trainees would then be advised to study their various subjects, as far as possible, through the process of self-learning (it should be made clear that the burden of completing the course of training will be on themselves, and that they will be free to progress at their own pace);
d. Educators of the trainees would be available for consultation, as and when needed, for shorter or longer duration, by prior appointment, or at certain hours of the day, without any prior appointment;
In order that the candidate is allowed freedom to direct his own training programme he should be free to take or not to take any particular test during the training programme, except when in the view of the educators he is unable to use his freedom intelligently and prudently and is therefore in need of compulsory compliance with the advice and directions of the educators.
At the end of the training period, the candidate would have the possibility of taking a Public Examination, provided that he obtains from the head of the training institution a testimonial that he has shown during the training period qualities of regularity, punctuality and diligence in work as also disciplined behaviour.
The Public Examination should consist of a written test and an oral test.
The written test will consist of several papers. Of these, some will cover the programmes that have been suggested as the foundational programme, which would consist of six main topics, divided into various sub-topics. The six main topics would be: (1) General Knowledge (ii) Fundamental Duties; (iii) Value-Oriented Education; (iv) Skill-Oriented Education (v) Indian Culture; (vi) Introduction to core programme, special Global World; (vii) Philosophy of Education and
Life; (viii) Education for Integral Development and Personality. In the emphasis should fall on achievements of Indian culture, national struggle for freedom, ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, and the theme of Unity of Humanity. The next two papers would pertain to any combination of subjects that the student might have chosen to specialise in.
In the oral test, each interviewee would have the opportunity to explain the reports of the project that he might have submitted earlier, on completion of the training period, as also of personal development. In addition, the interviewee will be tested in respect of the depth of knowledge of subjects of his specialisation as also in respect of the general attainments of the development of personality and dedication of serious thought and to high ideals,
One of the serious maladies of the written tests is that of cheating practiced by a number of students. Various suggestions have been made to cure this malady. Our own suggestion would be to arrange the written tests on the following lines:
on one side only. The other side of the slip would be blank and the slip would be so folded that only the blank side would be visible from outside.
Similar methods, now developed by NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling), could also be employed.
Candidates who would be declared successful at this Public Examination would be entitled to appointment, on a competitive basis, to a teaching post in any secondary school. He will similarly be entitled to appointment in any higher secondary school, provided that he has the requisite postgraduate qualifications as well.