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Equipping Teachers For 21st Century Learning: An In-Depth Analysis

Game On: Explore 5 Playful Pedagogical Approaches

"With over 26 years of experience in this field, Teacher's Day holds profound significance for me, symbolising the sacred connection between teachers and students," expressed Sunati Das, PE Teacher at Government Girls High School, Angul, Odisha.

In a nation where a 'guru' is held in high esteem, articulating the significance of teachers in our lives through words alone is impossible. The teaching profession has consistently outshone all others in terms of its commitment to integrity, ethics, and cultural impact. As Das aptly stated, it is indeed a sacred duty!

On this Teacher's Day, the foremost question is: How can we preserve the sanctity of the relationship between students and teachers, especially in the face of daunting challenges that educators encounter in their careers?

Such as :

  • High Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTR), often exceeding prescribed limits (e.g., 30:1 or 35:1 in RTE for classes I to VII).
  • High teacher vacancies, increasing the burden on in-service educators.
  • Teacher involvement in non-academic duties, adding to their workload and time constraints.
  • Student learning deficits in higher classes, posing challenges for teachers without detention policies until class VIII.
  • Inadequate training in managing diverse classrooms and vulnerable student backgrounds.
  • Lack of infrastructure and teaching aids in government schools.
  • Limited teacher autonomy and innovation approval requirements from the Head Teacher.
     

What Research Tells Us
Research(1) indicates that teachers seldom encounter workshops focused on recent, practical, and pertinent innovative ideas. This might explain their continued reliance on conventional methods like chalk-and-talk, lectures, and textbook references.

Another concerning statistic highlights the diversity of India's classrooms, with around 60-70% of classrooms in certain states being multigrade, where a single teacher manages various grade levels within a single class.

Training is vital in every profession, and its importance is even more pronounced in the realm of teaching, where educators mould the future generation.

Given this, how can we bridge the gap for teachers to embrace experiential learning, engage in role plays, implement project-based teaching, incorporate storytelling, and effectively integrate edtech, among other innovative teaching methods?

Landmark Initiatives
The National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020)(2) strongly advocates a significant boost in public investment in education by both the Central government and State governments, aiming to achieve 6% of GDP. Additionally, the policy encourages and supports private philanthropic contributions to the education sector.

NEP also emphasises Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) skills in early education, along with essential life skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, creativity, and digital literacy. It promotes diverse teaching methods such as experiential and activity-based learning during foundational stages and stresses on continuous professional development for teachers.

Leading The Change
Magic Bus India Foundation's collaborative initiative introduces an innovative solution, empowering schoolteachers to teach life skills and instil them in young students.

The goal? To seamlessly integrate life skills education into government institutions, bolster teacher training capabilities, and efficiently scale education through a play-based or sport-for-development approach.

How Is This achieved?
teachers day with Magic Bus India FoundationUtilising the Head-Heart-Hand model, which underscores the importance of the Head for knowledge, Heart for values, and Hands for active participation, aligns seamlessly with the innovative approach of experiential learning and the use of play as a medium for education. This is precisely how the Magic Bus India Foundation harnesses the Government Partnerships program to empower educators across multiple Indian states. Here are the latest updates:

Odisha: "Mo School Abhijan" and Magic Bus are transforming education in Odisha's secondary schools through the Kridangan club. PE teachers from Satyabadi High School, Puri, engaged in training on vital life skills and teaching methodologies. Another training at Khan High School, Cuttack, impacted 150 schools, benefiting 9000+ teachers in 30 districts and reaching more than 13 lakh adolescents.

Madhya Pradesh: Magic Bus’s partnership with the Department of Tribal Affairs to launch a 21st Century Life Skills Education programme across 20 tribal districts in Madhya Pradesh. This initiative trained 116 Master Trainers over a comprehensive 4-day residential programme, covering curriculum design, session delivery, teacher training methods, and monitoring strategies.

Andhra Pradesh: Magic Bus is executing "Project Sankalpam," an Activity-based Teacher Led Life Skills Education program, across 26 districts in Andhra Pradesh, targeting 1300 schools. Two teachers from each school will become District Resource Group (DRG) members, with 2600 DRGs trained by Master Trainers State Resource Groups (SRGs). Overall, in Andhra Pradesh, the foundation's goal is to train 2,600 teachers, enabling approximately 13 lakh adolescents across 26 districts and 1,300 schools.

Magic Bus has also forged valuable partnerships with State Governments in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Assam, Haryana, and Mizoram, expanding the reach of their experiential learning programmes. Here's what they aspire to achieve in the upcoming years:

Assam: The training in Assam will encompass 13,771 teachers, equipping them to impart life-skills education to around 21 lakh adolescents in 31 districts and 10,004 schools.

Mizoram: A round 2000 teachers will be trained by Magic Bus to empower 70,000 adolescents across 11 districts and 1000 schools in Mizoram.

Haryana: Lastly, the partnership in Haryana is set to train approximately 1,400 teachers, benefiting 80,000 adolescents across 3 districts and 700 government schools.

More States are poised to join and reap the benefits of these initiatives

Through Magic Bus training sessions, teachers have gained crucial life skills, including Self-awareness, Communication, Negotiation, Problem-Solving, and Empathy. The Magic Bus experience showcases that prioritising the enhancement of teachers' life skills has not only strengthened their capacity to connect with students and understand their needs but has also contributed to creating a more comprehensive and favourable learning environment.

Explore further about our Government Partnerships and delve into the details of one of the most impactful education initiatives we're involved in.

Research (1) - https://ncert.nic.in/dte/pdf/SSA%20INSET.pdf
Research (2) - https://www.education.gov.in/sites/upload_files/mhrd/files/PIB1946419.pdf

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