Rotary Club of Thane has done some amazing work in improving education in Thane district. Run by a dedicated group of Rotarians, the club has installed computers and e-learning solutions in many schools in Thane. They have ensured that the teachers in the schools get adequate training so that the learning levels in the schools improve.
Teacher professional development in India is abysmal. In government institutions, driven by its highly centralized design, inadequate facilitators, mechanized methods and many other issues, this training has become a farce in most states, with only a few notable exceptions. Continuing professional development is important in itself, for complex roles such as that of a teacher.
Rotary Club partnered with Funfirst Global Skillers (FGS) to provide training on pedagogy to teachers from its partner schools. FGS will conduct training sessions for its teachers thrice in a year at two different locations.
The first training of the partnership was on 19th June 2014 at a school in Wada. It was led by Prachur Goel from FGS. The 42 teachers present had traveled significant distances on a rainy morning to attend the session. All of them were teaching in schools in a 20km radius and most them had more than 7 years of experience.
Since this was the first session of the three planned for the year, our objectives were very simple. We wanted them to rediscover the inspiration in their vocation and thoughtfully engage with their craft every single day. We broke the training into smaller sessions and kept them demonstrative, active and fun. Our intention was to conduct the training in the same way that we would like them to teach. Ironically, far too many of training sessions about making teaching interesting are themselves boring. Our last session on positive, accurate student assessments was led by the participants themselves. Their enthusiasm, knowledge and participation told us that all is not lost for children in India.
Post our training, the teachers expressed great joy on being a part of this session. We felt that we had connected a lot more with them because of the efforts we took to have our facilitation, presentations and handouts in Hindi.
One teacher said, “I have been to many training sessions in my work experience. However, they were all talk. It was good to be in a session which walked the talk.”