The training course will infuse a new lease of life into the teaching-learning climate at the elementary level
The government of Jammu and Kashmir has come forward with a unique training course of significance for Teacher Grade II (TGII) and Teacher Grade III (TG III), a category of educators whose salaries were paid under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan up to September 2018. Titled as ‘IMPACT’ (Integrated Multidisciplinary Professional Advancement Course for Teachers), the training course is underway with thousands of teachers attending its first phaseonline. The government deserves appreciation for its efforts towards guiding education sector to progress. And upon its dispassionate analysis, the IMPACT looks set to shift the teaching-learning atmosphere at the elementary level in a different direction.
The training course is to complete in three phases as per the roadmap of IMPACT: (1) Face to face (online for five days), (2) Field work (21 days) and (3) Project work (3 days). This novel training course has clear-cut aims and objectives: one, to train about 32000 GII and GIII teachers (erstwhile RRETs) through a course designed to address the “gaps in the teaching/pedagogical skills of these teachers”. The authorities and experts have clearly found that there are weaknesses in the teaching skills of these teachers; to address those weaknesses, it has been perceived that the ongoing training course is the way forward
Agreed that a teacher must possess the skills to perform brilliantly, but only trainingTGII and TG III category of teachers will not be moreeffective. Though these teachers are more in number at schools, it is a fact that there are other categories of teachers as well. For example, we have non-SSA RRETs (30%) and non- RRETs (15%); the later category includes migrant-substitute teachers, fourth-class promoted teachers,masters, SSRB selectees and others working under different schemes.
All the teachers work together at the elementary level though most of the non-RRETs prefer to stay at high and higher secondary schools. Interestingly, every category of teachers has received no special training course to claim perfection in the teaching-learning skills. True, six out of ten teachers of all categories possess the Bachelor of Education Degree (B.Ed.), a one—two year long professional course which equips a teacher with myriad of techniques and principles of teaching. Even promotion to a master grade is based on possessing a B.Ed. degree. 60% of TGII and TGIII had completed this degree before their appointment in the Department of Education. Most of the non-TG IIs and non-TG IIIs wererecruited on the basis of B.ED or in many cases completed the degree after their recruitment in the department. While working with them or looking at their performance, as the annual results of the secondary classes show, it is beyond doubt that these teachersalso are in dire need of upgrading their teaching skills. That will enable them todrop the traditional ways of teaching and adopt the new trends and techniques of teaching. For that the IMPACT seems to be the best course. So it needs to include the entire teaching personnel from primary to the secondary level.
Second aim and objective of the IMPACT roadmap envisions providing teachers with knowledge and understanding of learners, school based assessment. This is a very good objective and needs to be achieved through the cooperation of all categories of teachers. As all teachers must work for the welfare of a learner, it is essential that a teacher from every category is gifted with an opportunity to adopt IMPACT. When teachers of all ranks and categories—who in actuality possess same degrees and same ways of teaching—are equipped with new techniques, the teaching-learning scenario will transform.
Training on subject specific pedagogy in the area of Environmental Studies, Languages, Mathematics, Social Sciences and Science–is the third objective in the IMPACT roadmap. It is essential to ensure that our learners are well versed in these subjects, especially the language subjects, as language enables them to understand contents better. Therefore, along with training GII and GIII teachers in these subjects, the best course of action will be to enrich the teaching-learning knowledge of theother categories of teachers. Otherwise, the GII and GIII teachers are likely to face extreme difficulties at schools in teaching according to the new methods from IMPACT.
Fieldwork, the second phase of IMPACT consists of 21 days and GII and GIII teachers are required to report their work as per a prescribed format. These teachers are to perform various activities, get feedback from parents, give assignments to students and do post class assessment of students. All these steps are taught during B.Ed. course in one of the core subjects known as Technology of Teaching. However, all these teachers, whether with B.Ed. or without B.Ed, are required to attend the IMPACT—a step which the government has taken wisely and justifiedly. The training course will infuse a new lease of life into the teaching-learning climate at the elementary level. But its impact will be more if all categories of teachers are trained. It is noteworthy that some TGIIs have been for many years performing better at the secondary and higher secondary level (where they are working on need basis) than other kinds of teachers.
Most importantly, the third phase of IMPACT ‘Assessment and Reflections’ will prove pivotal in inspiring and motivating teachers. The highlight of this phase is the PowerPoint presentation (PPP) by a teacher to be assessed by the UTRPs (Union Territory Resource Persons). As the PPP will infuse the spirit of competition among GII and GIII teachers and derive the best in them, it is essential that the other categories of teachers are also given an opportunity under IMPACT to explore their hidden talent and competence. To sum up, it can be suggested that all categories of teachers and administrators should join hands together and make the best of everything for the welfare of students.