It is well said that when a teacher ceases to be a student he/she begins to be irrelevant. To a competent a skillful teacher it is inevitable to be connected with the process of learning- updating one’s knowledge and refining one’s professional skills. In-service teachers, although having professional degrees like B.Ed./M.Ed., are supposed to have their continuous professional development as the system of education keeps on witnessing updation in content knowledge, change and innovation in teaching methodologies, reformation in assessment schemes, the emergence of new demands and challenges thereof. Besides change, updation and formation of policies, schemes and guidelines demand teachers to keep themselves abreast with and adapt their teaching-learning process accordingly. The training programmes are aimed at enhancing the professional skills of teachers, boosting their knowledge, and equipping them with attitudes and behaviours that are required for the effective teaching-learning process in academic institutions.
In conformity with previous policies, dispatches, commissions, and other legal provisions National Education Policy 2020 has duly emphasized the importance of teacher professional development. The policy suggests, “Each teacher will be expected to participate in at least 50 hours of CPD (Continuous Professional Development) opportunities every year for their own professional development, driven by their own interests. CPD opportunities will, in particular, systematically cover the latest pedagogies regarding foundational literacy and numeracy, formative and adaptive assessment of learning outcomes, competency-based learning, and related pedagogies, such as experiential learning, arts-integrated, sports-integrated, and storytelling-based approaches, etc.” As such the policy envisages a minimum of 50 hours of training per year for each teacher for his/her professional development. The Policy also suggests “Teachers will be given continuous opportunities for self-improvement and to learn the latest innovations and advances in their professions”
To ensure such professional development of the teachers, J&K’s school education department has been conducting teacher training programmes, organising workshops, holding orientation and induction programmes etc. Besides providing these trainings through the premier training institute that is State Council of Educational Research and Trainings (SCERT) and associated District Institutes of Education and Trainings (DIET) the department has been roping in different NGOs for the purpose. Moreover, various training programmes are offered through online platforms such as NISHTA, LMS CIET-NCERT etc.
Besides content knowledge the training programmes are organised on themes such as pedagogical skills Assessment Reforms, Leadership Qualities, School health and wellness programmes, Child protection and safeguarding, school safety, disaster management, life skills etc. and all such themes are aimed at directly or indirectly contributing to the holistic development of the students Striving for all-round development of the students, achieving defined learning outcomes, taking recourse to innovative pedagogical practices, ensuring competency-based teaching/learning, developing effective classroom management skills, ensuring the inclusion of Children with Special Needs (CWSN) in normal classroom, implementing new policies and schemes in letter and spirit etc. are some of the major goals of teacher training programmes.
These training programmes, although designed to transform the classroom transaction process, fail to yield to the extent desired. The factors that contribute to inefficacy in yielding the desired results and improving the learning process in the schools include:
§ Inadequate and inefficient follow-up mechanism. The training, being a means to an end and not the end in itself, is at times given for the sake of training only. The trainees are not made accountable with regards to implementing what is being imparted in the training. Moreover, the impact of particular trainings is seldom assessed systematically as such there hardly remains the provision of review and reinforcement.
§ The training action plan, more importantly, takes into consideration the financial implications and the number of teachers to be trained and the expected outcomes are rarely fixed and quantified.
§ The superficial knowledge of the content and lack of requisite pedagogical skills in the Trainers or Resource Persons also affects the efficacy of the training.
§ Lack of continuity and consistency too results in poor impact of the training as the teachers seldom know when they will be trained and what they will be trained about.
§ The predominant theoretical part of the training often makes the trainees unable to cope with the practical situations in the classroom. At times the content of the training is too hard or too irrelevant and the teachers find it very difficult to implement it practically.
§ The casual approach of the teachers towards updating their knowledge and skills oftentimes makes the objectives of the training fall flat
§ Infrastructural bottlenecks or lack of resources in a few of the cases become hindrances in implementing what the teachers learn in the training
So in order to enhance the efficacy of these trainings and make them reform and reorient the teaching-learning process in academic institutions the measures that are suggested for consideration at appropriate levels are as follows:
· Training Needs Analysis (TNA): Training Needs Analysis is a systematic process of identifying which kind of training is required and providing the details related to training implementation. Training Needs Analysis of all the teachers should be done and it should be ensured that each teacher is given training as per his/her needs and interests. To this end, the education department should design a robust mechanism and classify the teachers as per TNA and make the training programmes long-term goal-oriented.
· Well-defined Training Outcomes: The department as of date prepares the teacher training action plan on the basis of budget and the number of teachers to be covered under different trainings during a particular time. The department, on the pattern of fixed learning outcomes for the students, should design the defined training learning outcomes for the different levels of teachers as per their needs and interests, and ensure the outcomes are achieved by the teachers and implemented in their respective classrooms/schools.
· Teacher Training Database: A database should be prepared at least at the DIET level reflecting therein the training attended by each teacher, and the programmes that the teachers are supposed to attend in future. Each teacher should have access to his/her personal training details and the selection for different training programmes should be made on the basis of the previous personal training details of each individual teacher.
· Follow-up Mechanism: Follow-up mechanism should be made more systematic and robust. To this end, Cluster Heads, Zonal Education Officers, and DIET/SCERT faculty should approach each individual school, assess the pedagogical skills of each individual teacher and reflect the same on a pre-devised format. The summary of the format should be mapped with the EPM of the teacher and better-performing teachers should be rewarded and incentivised accordingly. There should be provision for continuous review and each teacher should be reinforced occasionally by whatever means possible.
· Teacher Exchange Programme: There should be a well-defined provision for a teacher exchange programme wherein teachers are given a chance to intern/work in the best-performing schools where the impact of the training is evident. This should include the sharing of best practices by the innovative teachers in different schools and therefore a chance for the teachers to witness how things work.
· Short-Term Training Programmes: Short-term training programmes, discussion on hot spots, sharing of best practices and refresher programmes should be a regular practice at least at the complex level.
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