Friday, April 29, 2011

What's your favourite advice to facilitators/trainers of teachers?

Over the years, you've taken part in workshops, training programmes, meeting, on-site coaching - either as participant or as facilitator or trainer. Maybe you have even trained trainers or prepared them in different ways. So what's your favourite advice to anyone involved with training and facilitation? 

Let us know in the comments section below!

Friday, April 15, 2011

How Do We Measure Change?

We repeatedly find ourselves saying that working on improving education implies change. That is because the very core of education – in terms of key relationships, processes and the critical outcomes desired – itself is expected to undergo a transformation. Some of the biggest differences expected are in terms of
  • undoing the existing hierarchy,
  • increasing accountability,
  • evolving the role of the key stakeholders such as children and community from passive to active,
  • in fact even a reversal of the notion of the 'beneficiary' (especially after the RTE, children and the community are the reasons why the education system exists; and teachers, educational officers and others in the system are the beneficiaries in that they get their salaries because children have a right to education)
  • preparing children for life rather than just for examinations.

Thus it is not just a case of revision in components such as curriculum or textbooks or training or assessment but bringing about much deeper changes that will then manifest themselves in the different components. Change, therefore, in the underpinnings or the foundations themselves, implies major shift in emphasis, ways of working, the means used, the technical and human / social capabilities required, and a myriad other things. All this adds up to one word: change.

Much has been said on the issue of what this change is and the different ways of bringing it about (and more will appear too). But the one unresolved question confronting us is: how will we know if real change is actually happening, and to what extent? Is there any way in which we can capture / describe and 'measure' such deep change? As of now, the question really has us stumped. Any suggestions? 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Myths of Tests - Or Going Around In a Circle

Sometimes, it's plain amazing to see the kind of debates taking place around the world. Here's a piece dealing with something we've often ranted against, the 'standardized tests'. Some of the phrases and terminology will seem remarkably familiar to readers here.

A great deal of this discussion took place in India when the MLLs were formulated, with behaviorism coming under attack. The new National Curriculum Framework 2005 is as 'anti-behavioral' as it can be. And the Right to Education Act mandates Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation rather than standardized testing. Board exams too have been pushed beyond Grade 10. Nevertheless, the pressure to use learning achievement data as a proxy for assessing the quality of the education system remains high (this is what Pratham's ASER implements every year). This summary, by practitioners as well as academics / researchers, captures some of the myths associated with testing.

PS: I'm NOT trying to promote sales of this book!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Do's And Don'ts for the Head Teacher

In your view, what are the three things a head teacher should NOT do?

And what are the three things she SHOULD do?

Your comments are awaited! Please enter in the comments section below. Later, I'll bring out a summary of comments received.

(As you can guess, an in-serve training programme for head teachers is under development, and your contribution will be both acknowledged and appreciated!)