Dr. Kalpana Sampath – Mindful Teaching: A journey towards teacher excellence
The teacher and the taught – need for Life education
Does Education to teachers stop when they begin education to others?
If this question is asked to any teacher or Institution, the answer will be an instant ‘No’. When we qualify this question as what part of education of a teacher continues and what is taken for granted, we find pedagogy and innovative teaching methods as the foremost in the list of continuing education and teacher’s self and leadership development the least focussed. Interestingly, the teacher in classroom or with parents face more of human issues than technical issues. Any technical issue can be resolved through well designed school process and policies. Whereas human issues requires a decision making of appropriate choices by the teacher.
For example, a student in class has not brought his class work book because he forgot is a technical issue. He has brought his class work book, but is not interested to write in it and is in low spirits is a human issue. The appropriateness of the choice has to take into consideration both vision and values of the school, education and individual as well as the context. The teacher needs high level of clarity and mindfulness in every choice making which leads to commendable decision. The impact of decisions, both small and big, directly affects the students and their growth process.
A mindful teacher is not born but made. It is made out of deeper levels of reflection, introspection, continuous evolution and a maturity that makes each of them rise above the situation and view from a larger holistic perspective. A teacher, who is willing to learn, moves towards being a mindful teacher.
The Teacher – training modules focus on observation as a process. True teaching needs the ability to observe self and understand the context at deeper levels. The training of teachers to move from being merely knowledgeable to wise teachers becomes important. They need training and practice in the processes that will enable them to move from being knowledgeable to being wise. Knowledgeable teachers make decisions backed by logic and immediate solution to problem; but wise teachers make decisions that are backed by appropriateness and conscious choice which not only address the problem but also the eradicate the issue for future timelines. Mindful decisions stand the test of time and make a positive impact on the student and the institution for times to come.
Life education therefore is a critical part of the ongoing teacher development process. It address the knowing – doing gap bringing in higher level of integration and synergy in the teacher and the taught. Further, teachers are the nearest face to the institution vision and values. They are also the people who command high level of influence on the students in any institution. Any investment in life education of the teacher has a direct impact on the way he/she is able to interact, develop and evolve the students.
Added to this, we are standing in the consciousness era which speaks of generation Z in schools. These children belong to the era which enquires, explores and experiments before totally accepting and surrendering to the concepts. Most of the paradigms that existed two decades back, that are a part of generation X and perhaps a few of generation Y are questioned and debated.
The explosion of technology, social media and engagement models are opening up new window to the world experienced by the students. With Uncle Google and other search engines being in place, web has become a source of knowledge dissemination without appropriate filters. Teachers play a significant role in enhancing the consciousness of the students to wade through the web world and collect the pearls of knowledge. The work of the teacher has become all the more critical in guiding, facilitating, supporting and also helping the student to sieve the appropriate knowledge that will enable them to move towards excellence.
The question most of the time is who is to invest on the learning process of the teachers?
Both; the institutions as well as teachers themselves. Both will have to continually invest time, effort and energy to align the teachers within self as well as to the institutional vision and values along with serving the larger educational needs of the context. Life education is an ongoing educational process. The maturity process of a teacher never stops and any deepening of the evolutionary self enables development of students. The truth remains that the depth of the class is limited by the maturity of the teacher to learn as well as process.
Through the forthcoming articles, the intent is to share the dimensions that will bring out connect between the teacher to herself, the profession, the institution she belongs to, her students and to the process of creating quality next generation in the world. We will also share the possible methodologies that will build the teacher maturity to handle the various human issues and challenges in day to day classroom situations.
The author is Educational Management consultant for Life Education as well as Director of EFIL Educational Services, Bangalore.