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Teachers as architects of the tion

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  5 Sep 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Dr Fatima Tohsin Sahidullah

‘The hands that rock the cradle rule the world

The teacher who inspires his pupils rule the minds”

T ruly, the spark that a good teacher can ignite can change the destiny of a tion. Even the best system of education is likely to prove ineffective in absence of professiolly and academically well qualified teachers. The great philosopher Aristotle had remarked, “Those who educate children well are more to be honoured than even their parents for these only give them life and the art of living well”. Teachers indeed have a powerful role in moulding the character and developing the persolity of the pupil. Teaching is not everybody’s cup of tea. It requires sacrifice and nobility of thought and action. It is an art. Every educated person cannot master this art. Teaching is a profession which demands of its practitioner’s exceptiol qualities and sincere devotion to human betterment. It needs zeal and dedication. It is a fact that it is the teacher who can instil life into the best curriculum and the most perfect syllabus by the right methods of teaching.

It is no exaggeration that a spacious building, costly equipment and sound syllabus will serve some useful purpose only when there are teachers who are fully alive to the nobility of the profession and its accompanying responsibilities. In the Kothari Commission Report (1966)) it is stated that, “Of all the different factors which influence the quality of education and its contribution to tiol development, the quality, competence and character of teachers are undoubtedly the most significant”. In modern child-centred education the teacher’s scholarly knowledge is not of supreme consideration. The teachers should also know the psychology of the child. The child’s needs, freedom, interest and desires are to be considered. The child should get active experience and the function of the teacher is to supply the best stimuli for the best learning. The teacher’s function is the transmission of the intellectual and ethical heritage of humanity to the young and development of persolity. The teacher should not merely be a fountain of facts or a walking encyclopaedia, but he should be the guide, philosopher and friend to the young pupil.

Few would deny that good teaching is the focal point of our educatiol system. If teachers are incompetent or are misfits, excellent material resources in the form of building, equipment and textbooks are likely to be ineffective, if not wasted. Teaching is effective only when the teacher acts in ways that are favourable to the development of basic skills, understandings, work habits, desirable attitude, value judgments, and adequate persol adjustment of pupils. To be a teacher is simple but to be an effective teacher requires inborn potentials, inherent skills of communication to the level of competency, accountability and understanding. In developing competent teaching behaviour, a teacher needs to be careful that in any effective teaching, the common place but nevertheless important truth be recognized that children learn best though experience, self-activity and not though mere listening, reading or memorizing. Learning is not something that teaching can do for children. Nor is it something that the teacher can hand over to them. Any person’s knowledge is the result of his own learning, his own perception and experience. He can learn only through experiences. It is not what the teacher does for the pupil that educates him but what the teacher ebles him to do for himself. When he learns though experience and activity or by doing things and all that he learns come to have significance, a meaning and a value for him.

The teacher has a two-fold position in the superstructure of the teaching process, viz, as a person and as an educator. As an educator he is chiefly responsible for giving formal instruction to children placed under his care. As a person he exerts persol influence on the younger generation for moulding and fashioning their persolity and character. It is expected, therefore, that a person who is responsible for moulding the behaviour and character of the future generation should be both physically and mentally fit for his profession. Teacher as a man must possess certain qualities to guide, to teach, to control and to lead pupils. He must have a teacher attitude towards his pupils and fellow teachers and must be unbiased and objective. He should not attempt to influence the thinking of young people in accordance with his persol views on social and political issues. A young person is a human being with developmental potentialities. It is the teacher’s privilege, as well as his responsibility, to accept the learner as he is and to help him become a constructive, well-adjusted citizen within the framework of his social heritage.

Knowledge and application of learning principles is considered as an essential qualification of a teacher. Discretion is needed in the application of principles or theories of learning. What should be taught, when and how are dependent upon various factors; individual and societal needs, learner readiness and available teaching-learning opportunities and materials.

Continued professiol and cultural improvement is necessary for a teacher. A teacher’s education is not completed when he is certified to teach. What may have been adequate teaching methods at that time may fail later. Educatiol demands or may need to be changed in the light of the result of continued psychological research.

Rabindrath Tagore said, “A teacher can never truly teach unless he himself is still learning. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame.” Thus, the success of a teacher depends largely on the extent of active interest and enthusiasm with which he devotes himself to self-improvement by equipping himself with up-to-date knowledge and scientific methods of teaching. Moreover, travelling, vocatiol activities and utilization of other cultural opportunities not only enrich a teacher’s out-of-school life but also eble him to give his pupils vicariously enjoyed experiences.

The teacher should also have the capacity to maintain discipline. A teacher cannot achieve success in the process of teaching unless he can maintain discipline in his class.

Thus professiol commitment and competence, honesty and sincerity of purpose, objective assessment of students, sense of fairness, accessible and attitude towards his pupils and fellow teachers must be unbiased and objective. Nor should he attempt to influence the thinking of young people in accordance with his persol views on social and political issues. A young person is a human being with developmental potentialities. It is the teacher’s privilege, as well as his responsibility, to accept the learner as he is and to help him become a constructive, well-adjusted citizen within the framework of his social heritage.

The teacher should also have the capacity to maintain discipline. A teacher cannot achieve success in the process of teaching unless he can maintain discipline in his class.

Thus professiol commitment and competence, honesty and sincerity of purpose, objective assessment of students, sense of fairness, accessible friend, humility, and fairness, dignified conduct and professiol ethics are the qualities of an effective teacher. It is important that teachers take an optimistic view of their profession as much as possible. Merely blaming one’s salary, the community, the employers, the supervisors or the overcrowded classes amount to a negative attitude towards the professor. The negative attitude has to be replaced by a positive one and this is possible if, instead of dwelling upon and magnifying the disadvantages of teaching, we concentrate on some of the positive values of the profession. The positive attitude implies review, criticism and evaluation of the advantages of the teaching profession in terms of opportunities for professiol achievement, intellectual stimulation, persol satisfaction, reasoble hours of work and association with professiol co-workers. Then alone we can derive satisfaction from teaching, the reward that comes from the warm interplay of human persolities, the reward from what we give to children, what we make of them, from the feeling that we are building up a society or a social order by what we say or do or feel.

(The writer is an Associate Professor, Department of Education, Handique Girls’ College, Guwahati and can be contacted on : 98640-41500 and reached at E-mail : fatlmasahid@ymail.com)

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