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Teacher Training: Theory & Practice.

As an Educator engaged in teaching since1965 and as a Teacher-


Educator & Administrator since 1977; it has been my earnest
endeavour to improve my teaching, to grow professionally and to
share what I had learnt with others. I have lost count of the
number of Seminars, Extension Lectures and Workshops that I
attended for the purpose.

After 1980 I had the opportunity of organising these Workshops


for Pre-Service and In-Service teachers. I experimented with
different approaches to training of teachers, including the
Diagnostic Remedial Approach in Training Teachers in Skills of
Teaching.

I owe a lot to the experts from NCERT, IGNOU, CBSE, UGC and
other Agencies; with whom I interacted, learnt a lot (if I did not
learn more, the fault was mine and not of the experts) and tried
to put it into practise.
The best opportunity came my way when I joined Darshan
Education Foundation- Delhi and had first hand experiences of
training teachers on Activity-Based Teaching, Classroom
Management through DA Agreements, Buddy System, Key-
Priority Areas, Practice and Review Techniques and Scores of
other Topics.

I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Madam Suzanne Lauber,


Director, DEF; who became my Role-Model of a Teacher
Educator/Trainer. We also had opportunities of interacting with
dozens and dozens of Experts from India and Abroad and from
them we had Sessions on Memory, Study Skills, Time
Management, Team Building, Leadership, School Administration,
Systems Management, Quality Circles, Value Education Models,
Non- Violent Communication, etc.

During the last 20 years, I have conducted Workshops for


thousands of teachers across the country. It has been a privilege
to interact with teachers at Srinagar, Jammu, Jaipur, Ajmer,
Udaipur, Gwalior, Aligarh, Hathras, Rohtak, Sampla,
Hissar, Ambala, Ludhiana, Kolkatta, Kaithal, Pune, Varanasi,
Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Jhansi, Lalitpur, Datia and Delhi.
In the process, I have met teachers and Principals of the
reputed and prestigious Public Schools of Delhi and of other
cities, of Air Force Public Schools, of Kendriya Vidyalaya, of
Residential Schools and also of Schools trying to establish their
identity in the community.

What I have observed and experienced is, that although the


Teachers and Principals show a lot of enthusiasm, are willing to
learn, participate actively, deliberate and contribute during the
workshop; although their Feedback is very encouraging; but
what really is transferred to actual classroom situations is not
even a fraction of what the teachers were trained in and for.

This is appalling! An in depth study and discussion with Principals


revealed that these workshops were an eye-wash and each
School had an ulterior motive behind the conduct of the
Workshops. Most often the workshop was organised to publicise
the School through press and Media. Sometimes the Principal
organised these workshops to prove to the Management that he
was on the job of Professional Growth of Teachers and in most of
these workshops, he was the one who was not a participant.
Workshops were being used for Image Building, Publicity, for
inviting authorities from the State Administration, Boards etc;
and even for providing an opportunity to the Publishers to talk
about their publications and how their Text-Books were better
than those of other Publishers.

As a result there has been a Mushroom growth of so-called


Experts in various areas and the Quality of Workshops conducted
desires a lot. The teachers are on the receiving end. Workshops
are held on Holidays, Sundays and during Vacations. The
Workshops are dull and boring. These are far from the realities of
classroom practices and situations. Most of them are Lectures or
presentations. There is hardly any activity which the teachers
could take up when they return to schools. Managements are
least bothered about professional growth of teachers. No one
bothers to keep the teachers abreast of the latest in the field of
teaching-learning.

What again is disturbing is that the teachers and Schools seem to


act on herd mentality and suddenly experts spring up from
nowhere to conduct workshops on: Blue Print of a Question
Paper, Parenting, Counselling, De -stressing, Motivation,
Teaching without Burden and now the HOTS Questioning. It looks
as if one school is trying to outdo the other. The Focus is lost. No
one seems to remember the Objective behind the Workshop.
Customised workshops or Need-Based Workshops are not
possible in the absence of a seasoned Expert teacher trainer.
Question and Answer sessions have been forgotten. A lot of
precious time is wasted in introductions, reception, report about
the achievements of the school, a few words by the Chief Guest,
a vote of thanks at the end, which usually is a summary of what
the person has understood at the workshop rather than what the
Expert tried to convey. The poor expert has no other alternative
but to cut on the activities for Hands-on -Learning and deliver a
talk and thus we have been talking at the teachers.

Some Board Members have asked me occasionally as to how the


workshop is going to benefit the School, or how have the
Workshops conducted so far benefited the teachers. This is
obvious since their is a dichotomy between what the teachers
learn at the Workshops and what they are required to do at the
School.

In such a situation how do we expect sound Educational,


Pedagogical and Psychological practices in our schools? We come
across a plethora of teaching techniques and many are not even
able to justify these or speak of their relevance. What is going on
in the name of teaching is..........TRASH! A good practice here
and another there are an oasis in a desert of dead habit.

Kindly give me the benefit of your opinion and advice to remedy


the situation. If I am wrong in my assessment of the situation,
please correct me and let me have your experiences.

With Hope

Prof. B. L. Handoo
Managing Director
Indira Educational Consultancy Services.
Cell:09810890998, 09313706527.
Visit:- www.iecs-india.com