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The Education of Teachers: Vision and Curricular Thrusts






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The Education of Teachers: Vision and Curricular Thrusts. NUEPA-MHRD, 14 December, 2011 Poonam Batra, CIE, Delhi University batrapoonam@yahoo.com. Recognition of Major Challenges in School Education. the current system of schooling imposes a tremendous burden on our children
The Education of Teachers: Vision and Curricular Thrusts

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Slide 1

The Education of Teachers: Vision and Curricular Thrusts

NUEPA-MHRD, 14 December, 2011

Poonam Batra, CIE, Delhi University

batrapoonam@yahoo.com

Slide 2

Recognition of Major Challenges in School Education

  • the current system of schooling imposes a tremendous burden on our children

  • This burden arises from an incoherent curriculum structure that is often

    (a) dissociatedfrom the personal and social milieu of children and

    (b) from the inadequate preparation of teachers who are unable to make connections with children and respond to their needs in imaginative and dynamic ways

Teacher Education: Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 3

Challenges of Teacher Education I

  • Initial training of teachers continues to suffer from intellectual isolation

  • Education as an area of interdisciplinary knowledge is not merely an application of a few core disciplines, but a praxis and a context where theories and practical wisdom are generated continuously

  • The BEdprogramme that serves as a ‘frame’ for teacher education has outlived its relevance

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 4

Challenges of Teacher Education II

  • DIETs and institutes offering BEd continue to exist as insularorganisations even within the university system they may be located

  • This precludes the larger academic debates on equity, gender and community to enter the day-to-day discourse of teacher educators

  • The training of teachers happens in insular, intellectually impoverished environments that are severed from ground realities as well as thelofty aims of education they espouse

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 5

Specific Concerns of Current Teacher Education Programmes I

  • Experiences in the practice of teacher education indicate that knowledge is treated as ‘given’, embedded in the curriculum and accepted without question

  • School curriculum, syllabi and textbooks are never critically examined by the student-teacher or the regular teacher

  • Language proficiency of the teacher needs to be enhanced, but existing programmes do not recognize the centrality of language in the curriculum

  • Teacher education programmes provide little scope for student-teachers to reflect on their experiences

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 6

Specific Concerns of Current Teacher Education Programmes II

  • Disciplinary knowledge is viewed as independent of professional training in pedagogy

  • Repeated ‘practice’ in the teaching of a specified number of isolated lessons is considered a sufficient condition for professional development

  • It is assumed that links between ‘learning theories’ and ‘teaching models’ are automatically formed in the understanding developed by student teachers

  • There is no opportunity for teachers to examine their own biases and beliefs and reflect on their own experiences as part of classroom discourse and enquiry

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 7

Specific Concerns of Current Teacher Education Programmes III

  • Theory courses have no clear link with practical work and ground realities

  • The evaluation system followed in teacher education programmes is too information-oriented, excessively quantitative and lacks comprehensiveness

  • Apart from conceptual and pedagogical aspects, existing programmes need to develop certain attitudes, dispositions, habits and interests in a teacher. The present evaluation protocol has no place for evaluating these aspects

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 8

Dominant Models of Teacher Education:Disempowering Processes I

  • Disciplinary knowledge is treated as a ‘given’, provided through general education, independent of its engagement with professional training in pedagogy

  • Often, in the Indian context, this is also interpreted to mean that the level of engagement with disciplinary knowledge need not exceed the levels at which it is taught in schools

  • The current manner in which teachers view knowledge, teach students to view knowledge and structure classroom experiences reflects a universalized a-historical, de-contextualised understanding of knowledge

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 9

Dominant Models of Teacher Education:Disempowering Processes III

  • “…The odd mix of a technical-rationalist approach embedded in a matrix of folk pedagogies shape the practice of training teachers and therefore the practice of teaching children in much of the country”

  • Focus on psychological aspects of children without adequate engagement with contexts

  • Engagement with generalised theories of children and learning, thus viewing child as an abstract notion

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 10

Institutional and Structural Issues

  • intellectual isolation; insular organizations

  • teacher education is the only significant focus in education

  • socialization culture of teacher education institutes self-perpetuating

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 11

Erroneous Assumptions

  • theory-into-practice model; theory merely for application

  • knowledge is treated as ‘given; level of engagement related to the stage of teaching

  • universalized a-historical, de-contextualisedunderstanding of knowledge

  • child as an abstract notion; focus on psychological aspects of children without adequate engagement with contexts

  • Disciplinary knowledge is assumed to be sound and is viewed as independent of professional training in pedagogy

  • Language proficiency is assumed

  • Teaching is a skill and has little to do with content or a socio-historical understanding

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 12

Consequences

  • fragmented knowledge domains and isolated lessons delivered

  • day-to-day discourse severed from ground realities as well as the lofty aims of education

  • teachers as implementers; adjust to the given educational system

  • technical-rationalist approach embedded in a matrix of folk pedagogies

  • curriculum, syllabi and textbooks are never critically examined

  • glorification of the individual narrative; student-teachers also work individually

  • Training schedule packed

  • no opportunity for teachers to examine their own biases and beliefs; little scope for student-teachers to reflect and examine their positions in society

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 13

Process-based Teacher Education I

  • Teacher education programmes need to be re-designed to engage teacher practitioners with the larger socio-political context in which education is situated

  • engage with children in real contexts

  • enable critical questioning of their own assumptions and beliefs about knowledge, the learner and learning

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 14

Process-based Teacher Education II

  • examine their positions in society vis-à-vis gender, caste, class, equity and justice

  • such processes, unfolded within the frame of critical pedagogy, are likely to develop habits of independent thinking and reflection, collaborative learning and

  • the capacity of the educational system to adapt to the changing learning needs of children and society

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 15

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 16

Proposed Curriculum: Key Areas of Focus

  • Childhood, Child Development and Learning

  • Social Context of Learning, Diversity and Gender

  • Aims of Education, Inclusive Education

  • Reconstructing Disciplinary Knowledge

  • Self Development

  • Pedagogical Theory and Approaches

  • Theory-Experience Dialectic

  • School Internship

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 17

Curricular Area A: Foundations of Education

  • Learner/Child Studies

    Childhood, Child and Adolescent Development

  • Contemporary Studies

    Teacher and Learner in Society

    Diversity, Gender and Inclusion

  • Educational Studies

    Aims of Education, Knowledge and Values

    Developing the Self, Identity and Aspirations as a Teacher

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 18

Learner Studies: Childhood, Child and Adolescent Development

  • Theoretical Frames and Constructs from Psychology, Sociology, Linguistics and Education

  • Constructs of childhood, adolescence; socialization; language; cognition, thinking and learning; school health, emotional and physical health; self, identity; inclusive education

  • 2-3 theory courses with inbuilt field-based units of study; Practicum courses, workshops, seminars, group and individual assignments

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 19

Childhood, Child Development and Learning

  • observing children in diverse social, economic and cultural contexts and interacting with them rather than through an exclusive focus on psychological theories of child development

  • this would also include the close observation and analysis of the learning and thinking processes of children

  • the programme design of teacher education provides ‘spaces’ for the direct observation of children at play and at work in diverse socio-economic, cultural, linguistic and regional contexts.

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 20

Social Context of Learning I

  • major shift from an overwhelming emphasis on the psychological characteristics of the individual learner to her social, cultural, economic, political and humanitarian context

  • Learning is to be appreciated as occurring in shared social and everyday contexts

  • engagement with issues and concerns of contemporary Indian society, its pluralistic nature and issues of identity, gender, equity and poverty

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 21

Social Context of Learning II

  • Courses are designed to help teachers to contextualise education and evolve a deeper understanding of the purpose of education and its relationship with society and humanity

  • rigorous engagement with issues of contemporary India are to be examined through an interdisciplinary engagement with concepts drawn from a diverse set of disciplines, including sociology, history, philosophy, political science and economics.

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 22

Contemporary Studies: Teacher and Learner in Society

  • Draw upon social sciences: sociology, history, philosophy, psychology, political science and economics

  • Issues contemporary Indian society and concerns of; human and child rights; environment; classroom as social context

  • 1-2 theory courses with in-built field-based units of study, projects, seminars, group and individual assignments

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 23

Contemporary Studies: Diversity, Gender and Inclusion

  • Draw upon social sciences: sociology, history, philosophy, psychology, political science and economics

  • understanding identity development ; diversity and inclusion; examining curriculum, texts and pedagogic practice from the lens of diversity, disability and gender

  • 1 theory course with inbuilt field-based units of study; group projects and individual assignments, seminar presentations

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 24

Educational Studies: Aims of Education, Knowledge, Ethics and Values

  • Draw upon educational theory, philosophy, history and sociology

  • Basics of teaching-learning; theoretical constructs, educational thinkers; vision of education in India, issues and concerns; school culture; school knowledge; school as a learning organization; peace education

  • 1-2 theory courses with inbuilt field-based units of study; assignments, group presentations, term papers

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 25

Educational Studies: Developing the Self, Identity and Aspirations as a Teacher

  • Draw upon educational theory, philosophy, history and sociology

  • Self and identity; interpersonal relations, adult-child gaps; personal and social constructs; schools as sites of contestation and social change

  • 1 course, workshop-based with a debrief on theory; workshops on issues of gender; identity; diversity; social and personal conflict; childhood; relationships

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 26

Self Development

  • ‘learning spaces’ are provided through a focused study of issues related to self and identity, human relationships, adult-child gaps, assumptions, beliefs and attitudes

  • Student-teachers will get the opportunity to engage with their own childhood experiences, personal aspirations and aspirations to become a teacher, their views on issues of gender and other social categories and identity, personal, familial and social conflict

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 27

Curricular Area B: Curriculum and Pedagogy

  • Curriculum Studies

    Knowledge and Curriculum

    Language Proficiency and Communication

  • Pedagogic Studies

    Language Education

    Mathematics Education

    Social Science Education

    Science Education

  • Assessment and Evaluation Studies

    Perspective and Practice of Learner Assessment

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 28

Curriculum Studies: Knowledge and Curriculum

  • Focus on key concepts of the basic disciplines of language, mathematics, social sciences and sciences; sociology of knowledge and curriculum

  • engagement with subject content and school curriculum, textbooks; philosophical and ideological basis of curriculum; design and selection of knowledge; Knowledge as construction; disciplinary knowledge

  • 4-6 theory courses with inbuilt field-based units of study; investigative projects; recording and analysis of observations

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 29

Reconstructing Disciplinary Knowledge

  • prepare teachers to present subject-content in developmentally appropriate and meaningful ways it is essential that through simple observations and experiments, followed by discussion, several theoretical concepts learnt during general education in school and college be revisited and reconstructed

  • Engagement with content is designed to be part of pedagogy courses and as part of school internship during planning of teaching and reflection on the practice of teaching

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 30

Curriculum Studies: Language Proficiency and Communication

  • Focus on key concepts of the basic disciplines of language, mathematics, social sciences and sciences; sociology of knowledge and curriculum

  • Language proficiency and communication skills; meta-linguistic awareness; skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing in varying contexts; content area literacy

  • 1 course designed as workshops with hands-on activity in the use of language for communication

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 31

Pedagogic Studies: Language, Mathematics, Social Sciences, Sciences

  • Draw upon pedagogical theory, constructivist and socio-constructivist perspectives

  • Nature of discipline and knowledge; understanding school curriculum; critical engagement with principles of teaching; epistemological issues

  • 4-6 optional theory courses offering areas of specializations; practicum courses comprising of curriculum and text analysis and creation of alternative learning materials

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 32

Pedagogical Theory

  • shifting the focus from pure disciplinary knowledge and methodology to the learner and her context as well. For instance, the course on language pedagogy would promote an understanding of the language characteristics of learners, language usage, socio-cultural aspects of language learning, language as a process and the functional use of language across the curriculum. This would mean moving away from the conventional focus on language as a subject

  • such an approach would help forge linkages between the learner and her context, disciplinary content and the pedagogical approach

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 33

Assessment and Evaluation Studies: Perspective and Practice of Learner Assessment

  • Draw upon critical reading of psychometric approaches; sociological frames of analysis and constructive approaches.

  • Critical reading of evaluation perspective and practice; place of assessment for learning; qualitative and quantitative measures; hands-on experience clinical interviews, observation formats and interpretation of qualitative data

  • 1 theory course with complementary practicum; analysis of question types and assessment formats; group and individual assignments

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 34

Curriculum Area C: Practicum and School Internship

  • Sustained engagement with schools; internship as a partnership model; teaching and participating in school activities; recording observation of learners, analysis and reflection on teaching; developing and maintaining teaching-learning resources; developing unit plans and maintaining reflective journals

  • 4 days of teaching for a period of 12-20 weeks, including an initial one week of classroom observations; case studies, classroom research, development of learning resources

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 35

School Internship

  • A sustained contact through internship would help teachers to choose, design, organize and conduct meaningful classroom activities

  • critically reflect upon their own practices through observations, record keeping and analysis and develop strategies for evaluating children’s learning for feedback into curriculum and pedagogic practice

  • the school would benefit from such an alliance in terms of witnessing possibilities of non-conventional pedagogies

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 36

Theory-Experience Dialectic

  • Through such a pedagogic process, the onus of drawing connections between experience and theory is not left to the student-teacher alone or to chance

  • ‘learning spaces’ are structurally provided in the design of teacher-education programmes for drawing such connections

  • because the learner is central to such a process, learning becomes a search for meaning

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 37

Duration of Initial Teacher Education: Critical Aspects I

  • The practice of teaching is usually of short duration, no more than five to six weeks and that too, piece-meal in approach

  • It is commonly believed that the ‘practice’ of 40 lessons will develop ‘skills’ of teaching

  • ‘lessons’ are planned with virtually no reflection on the content of subject-matter and its organization

  • Lessons are ‘delivered’ and the ‘outcomes’ of these lessons are ‘assumed’

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 38

Duration of Initial Teacher Education: Critical Aspects II

  • Thus teachers are neither proficient in general pedagogic skill nor are they adept at reflecting on the subject content

  • Foundational knowledge, pedagogic understanding and perspective and skill, engaged with through the programme are expected to be integrated and applied during this period

  • Short-duration programmes do not allow such an engagement

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 39

Duration of Initial Teacher Education: Critical Aspects III

  • It is time we pay heed to the specific suggestion of increasing the duration of initial teacher education, recommended by the two most significant policy Commissions of post-independence India, namely the Kothari Commission (1964-66) and the Chattopadhaya Commission (1983-85)

  • It would no doubt be a wasted effort to provide ‘more’ of the ‘same content and approach’ that is already being critiqued heavily and has proven dysfunctional in creating opportunities or spaces for change

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 40

Duration of Initial Teacher Education: Critical Aspects IV

  • It is recommended that initial teacher education be of 4 years duration after Higher Secondary; or of 2 years duration after a Bachelor’s degree programme

  • This would provide time and opportunity for self study, reflection and involvement, engagement with teachers, school, classroom and pedagogic activity and rigorous theoretical study

  • Any compromise on the duration of the initial education of teachers adversely affects the quality of teacher and teaching in schools

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 41

Medium and Long-term Recommendations I

  • It is recommended that current models of teacher education at all levels of school education be gradually replaced by models of teacher education that integrate general education with professional development along with an intensive internship with schools

  • These integrated models should be designed using the specific features outlined in the curricular areas and transaction process

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra

Slide 42

Medium and Long-term Recommendations II

  • The time-frame recommended to ensure the institutionalisation of these models would be between 4-6 years from the approval of this document

  • As an interim measure, current models of teacher education such as the BEd and DEd are required to redesign their courses as well as the programme structure to include the specific features and structural mechanisms proposed in the new Framework in terms of curricular areas and transaction processes

Teacher Education Vision and Curriculum Poonam Batra


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