India with its teacher-training infrastructure, one of the largest in the world, ranks inordinately low when learning outcomes are assessed. Indeed, the government schools are the ones which are annually assessed by certain agencies with dependable credentials.
Private schools are obviously ahead and their teachers are not the beneficiaries of the government-sponsored teacher training programs once they pass out of the teacher training institutes with their degrees in Education.
The attributes that make a successful teacher are not constants they vary from the age of the pupils to the socio-cultural factors to the discipline they are teaching. However, there are certainly desirable traits that define a 21st-century teacher which we are presenting in this article.
Constant learner: It is not mandatory that a teacher had been an excellent student. Mediocrity as a student does not bar an individual from becoming an excellent teacher. The element that makes his possible is the openness to learn. While refreshing the subject or the discipline that one teaches is obviously important learning is not limited to that. Learning implies inculcation of adaptability to the educational environment of not only the institution but of the changing times. The dynamism of the times affect the students and their mental image of a teacher; it is expected of a teacher to be receptive to the new ways of engaging students through the use of teaching aids, technology and if possible, charisma.
Strength to be non-discriminatory: It is pertinent to point out that it is essential for a teacher to be watchful of sub-conscious fondness for the bright and well-behaved ones. This will not have a deleterious effect on the majority of the class that sees the inclination of the teacher towards a set of students as an impetus to be marginally participative. It is not to say that the teacher stops encouraging discipline or proactivity of the disciplined or the proactive but it is necessary to be attentive to the needs of the ones who tend to lag behind. The teacher must find ways to be as inclusive as possible as this requires courage of conviction.
Innovativeness: Not being innovative might not necessarily imply being boring but it does imply that the teacher has created a zone of comfort and is consciously or sub-consciously reluctant to step out of it. Teaching can be entertaining but teachers are not entertainers. They must innovate and break the stereotypes. They must experiment with their ways of teaching and become adept in assessing the learning outcomes right there in the classroom.
Leadership: If the teacher succeeds in being inclusive it becomes easier to lead the class with students, not as reluctant followers but willing ones. It is through leading not disciplining that the teacher can inspire the students to explore and push their limits. It requires the strength of character and becoming a role model by making dedication apparent. It might require a teacher to be an artist who sees pedagogy apart and invents styles that appeal to a set of students with varying capabilities.
Art of narration: Simply put, it is about telling a story without the essence being lost on the students, the listeners. While making sure it is interesting enough that everyone listens the teacher has to make sure that the narrative remains a means to an end not an end in itself. Every subject or discipline has a story which lay hidden in its history. If the teacher is able to extract it from the debris of time and pages, which of course requires committing time, it will create a story that will bring out the interest in the most uninterested of students.
If the aforementioned are followed by any teacher it is very improbable that the result does not change considerably.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.
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