We asked our guests of EI Dialogues on what they thought were the post-pandemic opportunities in education and what was their best piece of advice on how to make it happen. One of the themes that emerged was the increased interest and opportunity to build the capacity of our school teachers.  Teacher capacity building requires time, intention, resources, talent quality, and sufficient interest from the top leaders. I learned that content-specific training, provided just-in-time for the teacher to deliver the lesson plan is effective. Technology might make this easier for each teacher to do this. However, I feel that we still need to create a library where each teacher can look at a list of the top misconceptions for each topic, student performance data on questions related to the topic and a carefully curated list of remedial options that are tried and tested.

Below are thoughts from Vinod Karate and Ramya Venkataraman whose organisations focus on teacher capacity building.

Vinod Karate, TheTeacherApp

Personally, I am very worried that we would lose a lot of ground that the ecosystem gained over the last few years. I anticipate enrollment drop, huge learning gaps due to the loss of 12-15 months of learning. The impact of this would be hard to measure and  only felt in the years to come. However, from a teacher’s perspective, I see technology-based teacher training to change the game significantly. I am not suggesting teacher training going online. I am suggesting the possibility of 360-degree programs for teachers. Pre-pandemic, the most scarce resource was training days and hence, all teacher capacity building programs were designed with that constraint. Now with the success that states have tasted by  engaging teachers with online training, we can imagine designing a multi-year competency-based program for teachers that will have a self-paced component thatteachers can do every week, a classroom linked monthly reflective component that would be led by a mentor at district-level online with chats, and an annual face to face higher-order reflective component delivered by experts face to face.

Watch EI Dialogues with Vinod Karate to know more about how to leverage EdTech for teacher capacity building: https://youtu.be/ueZR27AyaJM

Ramya Venkataraman, CENTA  

“My daughter’s Maths teacher is great but her English teacher is not that good”. “I really marvel at how this teacher manages 30 of them when I struggle to manage one!” “They all use the same tech platform, but this teacher somehow uses it much better”.

For the first time in my journey in the education sector (11 years now), I am hearing parents speak so much about teachers. At CENTA, our core belief is that teachers play the biggest role in the quality of education, but now we no longer have to convince anyone! With an online classroom in every living room or study room (no longer a black box inside the school), parents are seeing first hand the competencies and complexities involved in teaching and the difference that a great teacher makes. Schools and supplemental organizations are finding that the teacher is their biggest brand ambassador. And these are shifts  will continue and get strengthened post the pandemic.

School-owners want their teachers to be upskilled and certified. EdTech companies want to recruit teachers with high competency scores. Teachers with great competencies are, therefore, finding a range of career growth opportunities – some in their neighborhood, some across the world. The activity on our MyCENTA teachers’ platform – now 2.5 lakh teachers from 6,000 locations – is a simple reflection of this.

So, if you are a teacher, I would say, now is the time! The world is starting to recognize this profession and with the right competencies, the opportunities are endless!

 Watch EI Dialogues with Ramya Venkataraman to know more about what it means to be a teacher in India, and how to make it more aspirational: https://youtu.be/7LV_czBIsTU

Educational Initiatives, for many years, has been focused on building Teacher capacity through student and teacher assessments, training workshops and teacher observation programmes. These are undertaken for both private and public school systems in India, Bhutan and Middle East. The focus of these activities have been to bring about a paradigm shift in the way students learn and the teacher approaches teaching – to move the system from one of ‘rote learning’ to ‘learning with understanding’. This means that teachers themselves should have deeper conceptual understanding of the content they are expected to teach and are geared to teaching for understanding. Our work with state governments has been instrumental in creating the Tamil Nadu State Assessment Cell where the capacity building initiatives led to the state creating SLAS papers by these teachers.

Read: our working paper on our learnings from our teacher capacity building initiatives : https://www.ei-india.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Capacity-Building-for-Teachers-Issue-13.pdf

Footnote:

These write-ups are sent to us by our guests on EI Dialogues. EI Dialogues is a video series centred around initiating and furthering dialogues around impacting development in education at scale. Dialogues attempt to synthesize perspectives around education reforms, technology for social impact, and systemic transformation by speaking to individuals from varied roles working to improve education in India.

All episodes can be found on www.youtube.com/eivideos and Spotify, Apple, and Google Podcasts.

Pranav Kothari

Pranav Kothari

Pranav Kothari heads the Large Scale Assessments and Mindspark Centres divisions at Educational Initiatives. This includes all the work with Governments, Foundations and Corporate CSR in the domain of learning level assessments, interventions and advisory consulting. Prior to EI, Pranav worked as a management consultant with Boston Consulting Group in USA, Germany, Chile and Argentina. He also worked as a Private Equity investor with GTI Global in USA and India. Pranav graduated with an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Pranav Kothari