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Sunday, September 27, 2020
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TEACHER CAPACITY BUILDING – A CRUCIAL NEED OF THE HOUR

Dr. Monique Kamat - Chief Executive Officer, Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation
Dr. Monique Kamat – Chief Executive Officer, Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented situation for the entire world. It has changed our work space, family life and the way businesses are conducted as we have to adapt to the new normal. One of the sectors in our country that is undergoing a fundamental change right now is the education space, which is moving towards online lectures and digital classroom teaching modalities. Technology and Internet are both playing a pivotal role in this transformation.

On the occasion of Teachers Day, it is important to revisit teachers’ capacity building aspect within the Indian education spectrum. Quality of teachers and teaching has a significant impact on students’ learning. The pandemic should be taken as an opportunity to consider digital classroom and online education as an evolution in Indian education system rather than a mere interim arrangement.

Currently, higher educational institutes are preparing their teachers in this journey. Right now, the focus has been on making technology like laptops and digital whiteboards available to the teachers while also training them to use technology enabled digital tools like MS Teams, Zoom, Webex, Gsuite, etc.

However instead of merely training the teachers on these, the aim of the training programs should be to put more emphasis on capacity building of teachers learning on different effective online pedagogies; finding the right balance between synchronous and asynchronous learning; and developmental assessments of students and necessary remediation.

Online teaching is currently heavily synchronous, i.e., online lectures and video streaming is used more often by the teachers for learning. One of the disadvantages of this model is rigidity in the schedule and technical challenges like low bandwidth internet especially in India where digital divide gap is wide.

Asynchronous learning methods like creating self-paced and guided modules on certain topics, peer learning, discussion groups, virtual libraries, etc. should also be given equal importance. The advantage of this learning method is the flexibility it offers and it helps instil curiosity and motivate students to learn remotely. Further, such methods also give more space for the teacher to innovate in preparation for lectures and learning the course material before delivering it to the students.

There are several teacher training organisations that focus on holistic teacher training methods to adapt to digital teaching, learning effective online pedagogies and achieve excellence in learning. And foundations like Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation are committed to supporting such training programs, enabling a new journey for teachers and for the entire higher education space, making the process more seamless.

The foundations is also committed to help education institutes set up comprehensive Learning Management System that will help teachers in finding the right synchronous-asynchronous mix.

Happy Teachers Day!

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