The learning outcome in a school largely revolves around two factors—classroom environment and teachers’ abilities. While getting quality teachers is a concern, the Quality Education Study (QES) 2011 by Wipro Applying Thought in Schools and Educational Initiatives to map the quality of the best schools in India and examine whether the situation has improved over the last five years, found several loose ends, including a not-so-robust teacher appraisal system. The third of a four-part series in Mint, along with independent reporting, revealed that a teacher-student connect is key to improving the understanding of a subject taught in the classroom.
Principals’ Time Management
Nearly 25% of schools did not have teacher appraisal methods or carried them out once every two-three years.
Seventy-five percent of schools said they had teacher appraisals once or more in a year.
Preference for strict discipline for students.
When teachers allow and encourage students to ask questions in class,involving the students’ ideas and suggestions, and discussing these in the classroom, the students’ performance improves.
The students’ perception of their own scholastic abilities seems to become more unrealistic as they grow older.
Leadership and management style: Divided responsibilities
Interactions with educationists, teachers, school management and industry experts from several cities strengthen the perception that though passionate teachers are not available in plenty these days, investment in teachers’ training is crucial. The connecting feeling is that a better classroom environment could create thinking individuals.
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A lot of us need to realize that the world is changing dramatically. In the last 10 years, perhaps the top 10 jobs have also changed. We need to take this into account and impart thinking and life skills. And the role of teachers is to create thinking individuals. The important point is the need for the a teacher-student connect.
Harshita Mann, Director, Lancer International School, Gurgaon
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We do not have many people coming to the profession of teaching. Even if you have a good curriculum, if that transaction, that communication, is not happening in the classrooms, by teachers who are in the job by profession and not by passion, then the results are not as good as they could be. It’s now hard to find that teachers’ community that works hard to deliver.
Shyama Chona, Educationist
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Teachers and students need to know each other well to create the bonding that helps the classroom environment. While a teacher’s qualification is important, a classroom, too, should look like a classroom, which means strict discipline and a certain code of conduct are important.
Dhriti Malhotra, Principal, Manav Rachna International School, Gurgaon
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Even teachers who believe in constructivism in teaching, that is, in providing opportunities for students to construct their own knowledge, often they are unable to translate their beliefs into classroom practice. What our teachers need are good
role models and ways in which topics can be dealt with in classrooms that will enable students’ to improve their understanding and knowledge.
Vyjayanthi Sankar, Vice-president (large-scale assessment), Educational Initiatives
Graphics by Ahmed Raza Khan/Mint
• Also Read | The education challenge
• Also See | The Classroom Conundrum (PDF)