An urgent need to increase teacher effectiveness in India.
"The status of teachers reflects the socio-cultural ethos of a society; it is said that no people can rise above the level of its teachers". It is with the objectives of raising the professional status of teachers, developing among them greater commitment to society, their students and their profession, increasing their professional competencies and performance skills and empowering them to face new challenges that the National Council for Teacher Education has brought forth a document. The young today are facing a world in which communication and information revolution has led to changes in all spheres: scientific, technological, political, economic, social and cultural. To be able to prepare our young people face the future with confidence purpose and responsibility, the crucial role of teachers cannot be overemphasized. The changes that took place in schools have changed the roles of teachers, too. In the past teachers used to be the major source of knowledge, the leader and educator of their students' school life. Nowadays, teachers provide information and show their students how to tackle them. Although they are still considered to be a kind of leader in the class, they can be thought of as facilitators in the learning process. If we focus on the teaching process, we still realize that there are a great number of changes in this field as well, and all of them have an influence on the role of teachers. Curriculum design is a task teachers have to be prepared for, although the present generation of teachers has been growing into making up syllabi for years. Another difference between the past and present tasks of teachers is represented by the technical background they need to be able to use and handle effectively (computer, photocopier, power point, projectors, etc.) Instead of teaching chalk face, they need to be an information technology expert, a technician or/and a photocopy master.
One of the biggest challenges for teachers is that their role in the school management has also changed. The school needs them as individuals, who can make decisions and cope with the stress of the changing world of schools. At the same time teachers need to be able to work in teams, co-operate with colleagues and parents. A teacher has to generate that energy in oneself and handle it in one's work of educating children. He or She has not only to instruct but also to inspire the students. The most accepted criterion for measuring good teaching is the amount of student learning that occurs after all a teacher's effectiveness is about student learning. However, all teachers realize that what a student learns is not always within the teachers' control. Teachers also have limited control over many of the most important factors that impact students' learning, including students' attitudes, background knowledge of the course content, study and learning skills, time, students will spend on their learning, their emotional readiness to learn, and on. Thus, as teachers are critical in shaping learning outcomes there has to be efforts to lift the overall quality of education to consider ways to improve teacher effectiveness.
Measuring Teacher Effectiveness
The Government agencies need viable approaches to measure the effectiveness of teachers. They should provide an effectiveness rating to each individual teacher, and should use those ratings to inform professional development, compensation, promotion, tenure, and dismissal. The experts and education leaders have increasingly come to see current teacher evaluation methods as inadequate, largely because they fail to differentiate between teachers with varying levels of effectiveness. The challenge of measuring teacher effectiveness applies to both new and incumbent teachers; and, in at least a few cases, standardized teacher testing has been used for both. However, unlike new teachers, experienced teachers have other ways of demonstrating their effectiveness. It seems reasonable to argue that incumbents should be judged on what they do in the classroom, not on a test score. A commonsense procedure is to have expert observer's rate teachers on their classroom practice. Ideal assessments of teacher quality would involve directly measuring what teachers contribute to student learning. It is evident that most teacher evaluation systems currently do little to differentiate teachers who are performing at different levels. Even currently effective teachers may need to retool their approaches in order to teach effectively to students. It is important to devise better systems to assess teachers' needs, government intervention.
Challenges faced in improving Teacher Effectiveness
In India high rates of teacher absence and low levels of effort have long been recognized as having a major deleterious impact on school learning (PROBE, 1999). Although teacher absence rates seem to be declining, they remain relatively high (ASER, 2011). From above, it appears that there is a major difference in teacher attendance and observable efforts between public and private schools, which largely reflect differences in employment rules. Where the regular public school teachers are normally employed by state governments on permanent contracts, teachers in private schools are employed at the school level on contractual basis. Evidence on the impact of contract or "para-teachers", which have been recruited in large numbers by some state governments to fill shortfalls, is consistent with evidence on the effectiveness of private school teachers and further reinforces the importance of effective accountability mechanisms. Para-teachers are recruited locally, normally on a fixed-term contract, to work in public schools. Part of the rationale for recruiting para-teachers was to assist regular teachers but in practice para-teachers often perform the same function as regular teachers, despite being paid a fraction of regular teacher salaries. The teachers in public schools get paid 3-4 times those in a private school (more than 70% of the public education budget is spent on teacher salaries), and the salary structure is seniority-based and not performance-based. Hence the teachers have no motivation to perform well in school, and there is no one to monitor them. It is reported by researchers that contract teachers are more effective than regular teachers. Moving away from permanent contracts and increasing monitoring for public school teachers would likely have a significant positive impact on teacher effort and ultimately the quality of education. Politically, however, this is likely to be very difficult. There has been a long debate about paying the government teachers (and public sector employees, in general) as per their performance. It has been argued that problems like high absenteeism, lack of teaching when in school, and abysmal quality of teaching might be alleviated if the teacher salary is made conditional on outcomes reflecting their performance.
While the process of learning is expected to evolve with the changing times, teachers in the government schools of India are stuck with the archaic methods. It is sad that many teachers still do not know how to use the teaching-learning materials. Interestingly, most of the students in these schools are asked to "read loudly" the chapters discussed on the previous day. Teachers reportedly ask students to mark the answers to the questions of back exercises in the book itself. Many dedicated and brilliant school teachers are serving in various schools of the state. They limit their lives in the remote isolated village having no road connectivity and short of all modern amenities. Because of these teachers, our society survives and is progressing. However, we can't deny the fact that with passing of time such dedicated, determined and sincere teachers are diminishing. Worst features of dilution of quality teachers are that many of school teachers in our country are unable to speak and write single correct English sentences.
The Times of India dated 5th Sept 2013, in an article "Teachers Prove Poor Students" stated that only 3% of the 1.5 lakh teachers who appeared in the 'Teacher's eligibility Test' (TET) 2012 could secure pass marks in Gujarat. This is indeed an alarming sign; that only a Bachelor's Degree in education (B.Ed) does not equip teachers to do justice with the learners. What is required at the war front is the long term professional development of teachers in the form of in-service teacher training programmes. Thus, what is required is the Capacity Building of teacher competencies. It is all about developing the skills, knowledge, and the capacity of teachers to respond to challenges in school. In Capacity Building each teacher can take more integrated partnering role, bringing together their combined commitment and strengths in order to create a better work environment. This can involve coordinating, organizing, or as fundamental as helping other colleagues, dealing with a workplace problem, to find the help they need. It is about each person doing their part to make a positive impact in the workplace.
Some Suggestions to raise Teacher Effectiveness
* The teachers should coordinate their academic activities for enhancing the performance of the overall institute and keep up the team effort. The management can also initiate to conduct intersectional competitions annually for the teachers that help to improve their team effort and coordination.
* Teachers should be provided sufficient training to use appropriate pedagogy in the class room and thereby enhance their classroom behaviour. It should be made mandatory that teachers should attend and undergo in-house and external training.
* All the teachers must update their knowledge by working on Action Research or participating in workshops. This will make them competitive and enhance teaching efficiency.
* The commitment to the profession is lacking among the teachers. unless the teachers are committed, the students will not benefit academically.
* Teachers should give students multiple informal opportunities to give feedback throughout the semester, thus practicing their feedback skills. This is also an effective way to improve teaching practice.
* Teachers need to be assured that ratings are a formative method of evaluation and that assistance to improve their teaching will be made available to them.
In many states, teacher effectiveness is assessed by focusing on results from a single measure, typically class room observations or based on the students' achievement. It is concluded in researches that by analyzing the attributes of teaching effectiveness help to indicate the important ways in which teachers contribute to the success and well-being of the students. As such there is no single measure that provides valid information on all the ways teachers contribute to student learning and growth. Hence multiple measures to measure different aspects of teaching effectiveness must be employed. In conclusion, it can be said that effective teaching involves influencing the minds and attitudes of learners to search for knowledge. Sound knowledge, effective communication and interpersonal skills and an ability to motivate are the essential characteristics of an expert teacher. They have a repertoire of instructional strategies and are good at using the appropriate one in a particular learning environment. Also, a good teacher does more than teaching by contributing to the emotional and cultural development of the students for enabling them to become responsible citizens.
Mohanty, J. (2003). Teacher Education. New Delhi: Deep and Deep Publications.
Rao, V.K. (2007). Teacher Education. New Delhi: APH Publications Corporation
Sharma, Shashi Prabha. (2005). Teacher Education, Priciples, Theories and Practices. New Delhi: Kanishka Publisher, Distributors
Robert Gordon, Thomas J. Kane, and Douglas O. Staiger, (2006). Identifying Effective Teachers Using Performance on the Job. Washington, DC: The Hamilton Project
Singh, Y.K. (2005). Teacher Education. New Delhi:Kulbushan Nangia APH Publishing
Walia, J.S. (2008). Development of Educational system in India. Jalandhar: Paul Publishers
Swaleha Sindhi & Adfer Rashid Shah
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|Author:||Sindhi, Swaleha; Shah, Adfer Rashid|
|Publication:||The Tibet Journal|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2013|
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