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As time pass by many definitions have changed. In the educational scene a major role change has occurred. A teacher has been changed to facilitator. As our young generation is very smart there is no need to teach them. Our major role is to 'facilitate' them to sail smoothly around the world, to get along with the people and understand the concepts. As the teacher training institutions are lagging in metamorphosing the teacher into facilitator the responsibilities are with the schools to train their teachers and to change the teachers as to effective teachers or facilitators.
'The teacher is not an instructor or task - masters; he/she is a helper and a guide. His/ her business is to suggest and not to impose. He does not actually train the pupils mind, he only shows him how to perfect his instruments of knowledge and helps and encourages him in the process'. Sri Aurobindo.
EXPECTED QUALITIES OF A TEACHER:
A teacher should play a dynamic role in cultivating a sense of International understanding. It is highly possible in schools as it is said that the young bamboo can easily be bent. For which a teacher must have the following professional ethical values to become an effective teacher.
Preparation and professional growth;
A teacher must maintain an open mind towards educational theories and methods of teaching etc. He / she must try to refine and improve his/her method of teaching, evaluation and interaction etc. This can be attained by participating periodically in In service programmes.
Relationship with pupils;
An ethical teacher must have a fair relationship with the students. He/she should deal the pupils in a spirit of kindness and democracy. Any religious, political or other private beliefs should not be imposed on pupils. The teachers should protect the rights of pupils.
Relationship with parents and community;
Teachers should maintain a cordial relationship with the parents and community. Apart from attending school duties a teacher can take part in any activity which is for the improvement of the community. They should not attend any of the activities which would harm their teaching efficiency.
Relationship between teachers and school officials;
It should be very co operative, not to take any unfair or undue advantages of one's public position. They should not pass any unfavourable comments on any of their colleagues especially in their absence.
CODE OF CONDUCT:
Every profession has its own code of conduct to be followed by the practitioners. They are monitored by respective professional organizations to safeguard the dignity of the profession, like Bar council for Lawyers and Medical council for doctors. But there is no such professional body to monitor the code of conduct of teachers. As well as now a days there are some issues exposed by the Medias in such a way that the entire field of this profession becomes anti social. This creates an unsecured feeling among the teachers which affects their efficiency a lot. So, this is the duty of the school managements to take care of this and to provide comfort and spiritual support to the teachers to obtain maximum teaching efficiency.
'Be the change what you want' as the words of Mahatma the teacher one who wants to build the values in the young minds of his/her students must possess their own personal values like;
Simplicity, Punctuality, Acting without bias, Being duty conscious, Maintaining language and dress code, Helping the poor and needy etc.
According to Hawkins, 'the soul is not contained within the body but outside, in the theatre of commitments. It is the relationships that one forms with those around them, shape the personality and character of an individual'.
So, the teacher education institutes must take up the responsibility to inculcate the above values added to their curriculum. When a facilitator is kind, emphathetic and gives importance to human values. He himself becomes a role model. There is no need to 'preach' or 'teach'. He becomes the 'pied piper' who lures away students with his enchanted knowledge.
CLASS ROOM MANAGEMENT:
'Education is not filling a bucket but lighting a fire' W.B.Yeats.
Research has shown us that teachers' actions in their class rooms have twice the impact on their students' achievements as do school policies regarding curriculum, assessment, staff congeniality and community involvement. The teachers should be able to empathize with students, understand their world and listen to them. They should be certain, decided and clear in the way they communicate with students.
PRINCIPLES OF TEACHING:
According to Sri Aurobindo the principles of teaching are,
'The first principle of true teaching is that nothing can be taught. The second principle is that the mind has to be consulted in its growth. The third principle is to work from the near to the far; from that which is, to that which shall be'. Any teacher who follows these principles can be an effective teacher.
BEST PRACTICES FOR TEACHING, LEARNING IMPROVEMENT:
Each child is unique. Educating the whole child is the need of the hour. Effective teacher will make a life changing difference for students, conform to effective practice and essential standards.
In USA, it was initially focused on the employment of 'highly qualified' teachers, and newer thinking has upgraded to 'highly effective' teachers as no child should be left behind.
The National Development Council of India in 2001 added this as one of the standards for the professional development which will improve the learning of students that every Teacher Training Institution should Focus on quality teaching including content knowledge and pedagogy for staff development.
A teacher may possess all the appropriate content and pedagogical background and be fully licensed or certified to teach, but in reality, may not be one whose qualifications make a difference in the classroom. In other words, being highly qualified does not necessarily mean that a teacher is highly effective in facilitating student learning. An effective teacher is the one who is able to make children understand the concept, learn it and execute it. An effective facilitator does not complicate on the students brain with too much information like an expert cook adds only the essential amount of salt (information) to make the soup (studies) tasty. In fact, recent research asserts that the teacher is the most important factor affecting learning. The teacher is more important than family background or environment, and, classroom resources or technology.
TEACHERS AS FACILITATORS:
The Research Report at 7 major US Universities presented by Seymons and Hewitt (1977) describes the following as essentials for teaching effectiveness. All the schools can follow them for the school improvement and thus the national development.
A method of assessing effective teaching by monitoring the students whether they are actively engaged, concentrating and interacting, laughing, completing tasks and anticipating what comes next.
The teacher should be knowledgeable, enthusiastic, approachable and caring.
The teacher should give constructive feedback and supports less able students, using a wide variety of teaching methods.
The teacher should be responsible risk taker and willing to innovate.
The teacher should appreciate the creativity of the students and encourage their thinking 'outside the box'.
The teacher should encourage the questioning attitude of the students.
The focus in the classroom is on how to learn rather than what to learn.
The skills of critical thinking should be consciously thought rather than asking the students to compare and contrast.
Finally, the teacher should help the students to practice the skills.
Sri Seshaas Teachers as Facilitators:
We almost follow all the steps.
In our school we provide a fear free schooling and the exact CCE (continuous and comprehensive evaluation) is carried out. There is no fixed date of exam and tension to the students and so they enjoy their stay and learning in the school.
The most essential criteria for the appointment of teachers of our school is their attitude towards the children and their profession and not their number of degrees they have.
We have 10% reservation in admission for the special children. We don't call them as less able but special. A team of our teachers under the leadership of our consultant psychologist works hard as responsible risk takers. We name it 'Punyabhadra'.
The students are encouraged in creating their own ideas rather than feeding them with ours. Whenever they take part in the outside competitions like science exhibition etc. We don't bother about the result but the students' own ideas and active participation are given importance. This freedom made them even at NASA Space School Learning Centre to succeed with their miniature models of Rocket and Rover.
We adopt idiscoveri methodology in which teaching - learning is child centered. Our teachers' job is to answer the students' questions and not just to finish the number of topics.
Every day morning assembly is taken charge by the students. Almost every student is given a chance to take part in it. It gives them a pride, encourages them to take responsibilities. As they give the thought for the day etc. and address the assembly they get rid of their stage fear. It is practical that the important incident of the day is let out for open discussion and helps the children to develop their critical thinking.
School is a wonderful platform to bring out the students knowledge, skill and desire. In order to make our school children rational and to fulfill their objective we have 9 clubs like literary club, cookery club etc. functioning in our school. These clubs facilitate each child to find, to practice and to perform their skills. It helps them in improving their self confidence. We have a programme called 'Fancy Fete' on every Republic day (26th Jan.). It's a display cum sales of craft works made by our children especially with waste materials, for a noble cause. Every year they donate the entire proceeds of this programme to a charitable home.
An effective teacher can have a profound influence on learning so as to increase the student learning gains.
School is an arena where a student learns everything. This is a place where a student learns everything. This is a place where a child is made to put his whole potential to invoke his/her hidden ideas. All our practices are aimed at creating good human beings and not any particular professionals. It might be a small step for us but it'll be a giant leap for the innovative teaching - learning field. If our motive is good it's sure that we can do wonders.
I, V.Minnalkodi, Principal of Sri Seshaas International Public School, Salem, Tamil Nadu, thank whole heartedly, the God Almighty for His blessings and for being always with me.
I sincerely thank my management for their support and guidance especially for my correspondent, Mrs.B.Amarjothi for her friendly approach.
I wish to thank my colleagues and students who are the real platform of my learning.
I also wish to thank my family members who are my moral supporters.