Best Teacher

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This is an article written by Dr.Dilip Barad.

It was published in University News (Vol. 46, No. 35, Sept. 01-07, 2008. Page 18).

Identifying Best Teacher: A Process with an Empirical Approach

By Dr. D.P.Barad, Sr. Lecturer, Department of English, Bhavnagar University, Bhavnagar. Gujarat.

It is well accepted by one and all that quality movement in higher education has raised to a new level. With keen eagerness for assessment and accreditation by NAAC and certification by other agencies like ISO, quality consciousness has gained wider acceptance. It is right time to develop processes that can sustain quality . The processes ought to be with an empirical approach. It should be developed with a view towards its practicability in its implementation. As it is well said by V.S. Prasad (Director, NAAC, Bangalore) and Antony Stellar (Advisor, NAAC, Bangalore), “it (should) also set(s) the stage for a discussion of the identification, sustenance, dissemination and adaptation of best practices (processes) and of their transference from one system to the other”.

The process presented here is framed with reference to the standards provided by V.S.Prasad and Antony Stellar in Best Practices Benchmarking in Higher Education for Quality Enhancement. The NAAC has introduced a methodology similar to that of CHEM’s (Commonwealth Higher Education Management Service). In its assessment of quality of education, the NAAC methodology looks into how the various policies and processes of the institution determine the educational provisions and consequently, the quality of its performance. The focus is on both the functioning of the institution as well as the outcome. Under each one of the seven criteria of assessment, the NAAC has identified the elements of the best practices that contribute to the efficient and effective functioning of the institution and they are called criterion statements. They serve as benchmarks. Instead of identifying the practices of the ‘best-in-class’ institution, the criterion statements focus on the norms that generate the practices. Under ideal conditions, the best practices we can expect an ideal institution to adopt are identified as criterion statements. They serve as best practices benchmarks .

The process of Identifying Best Teacher begins with asking three fundamental questions to self: (i) Am I performing better than I have ever performed? (ii) Is there any other teacher who is performing well and from whom I can learn? (iii) Is there any process which can give empirical measurement of my performance?

In higher education, the emphasis was never given to the measurement or comparisons of performance within and between teachers. Such measurements are required not only to quantify the performance of the teacher but also to motivate the teachers to perform well. Questions, as given above, may be used as parameters. But still they are not leading us to any pragmatic solution to the measurement of the performance. Performance of teacher is such an abstract phenomenon that it requires more substantial parameters to gauge it. In spite of the variation in perspectives, the overall purpose and intent of this process is to:

(i) develop an understanding of the fundamentals that lead to success, (ii) focus on continuous improvement efforts, and (iii) management of the overall change process to close the gap between better performers and under performing teachers.

Title: Identifying Best Teacher and motivating teachers for quality education and healthy teaching – learning process.

The Context:

Only a best teacher can teach in better way; if teacher teaches in better way, learning process is affected automatically; and that in turn improves evaluation process of the overall teaching.

The source of inspiration for this process came form the vision of NAAC, i.e., “To make quality the defining element of higher education in India through a combination of self and external quality evaluation, promotion and sustenance initiatives”. The five-stage strategy given by Prof. V.S.Prasad, Director, NAAC was of great help in successful application of this process. It has been attempted to adopt Four I and D Mode for this best practice. Motivation or inspiration of any sort is of tremendous importance. Be it a layman or a learned man, be it a student or a teacher; motivation or inspiration helps them to boost their morale. In an exercise to enhance quality in HEIs (Higher Education Institutions), teachers need to be motivated. It is well said that a good teacher never depends on external motivation. He is self-motivating. Yet, at times, it has been felt that if there is a transparent mechanism to identify best teacher in HEIs, it may be of enormous benefit to sincere teachers in particular and education system in general. It can be implemented at any institute dealing with higher education. It can easily be institutionalized and then internalized. It can also be disseminated for wider application in the system.

Objectives: • To implement healthy teaching and learning process. • To provoke teachers for research and development activities. • To enthuse teachers to involve themselves in extra and co-curricular activities. • To encourage teachers to contribute to the national and international conferences / seminars / workshops. • To motivate teachers to give better results in their respective subjects and by that way improving results of the college. • To make teacher aware of their contribution in the filed of research and development of their respective subjects.

The Process: • In this process the following parameters / criteria are considered:

Name of Criteria Maximum Marks Parameters to Measure 1 Subject Result 30 x + y / 6.6666 = a. x = % of subject result as compared to college result. y = % of First Class in particular subject. a = marks gained by teacher in this criteria. (In case of Sports and other support services/activities: x = % of rankers as compared to total no. of participants at university (state) level. y = % of rankers at inter-university (national) level as compares to total no. of participants.) 2 Seminar / Conference / Workshop 15 For presentation of papers at State / National / International level, Four / Six / Eight marks shall be given respectively for each seminar / conference. For attending / participating at State / National / International level, One / Three / Five marks shall be given respectively for each seminar / conference. 3 Evaluation of Teacher’s performance by Students 10 The percentage given by the students to the teacher shall be divided by 10 and that marks shall be given to the teacher. (i.e. If teacher A got 85% in evaluation, he gets 8.5 marks) 4 Innovative Teaching Methods / Practice 15 Two marks each for every innovative methods / practice adopted by teacher. Innovative methods may include project assignment, games, role play, models, use of ICT or any sort of practical approach to make classroom teaching live, interesting and encouraging. 5 Publications 10 Three marks for each published book. Two mark for each published article in journals / magazines. 6 Research Guide / Ph.D. / M.Phil / NET / SLET 10 Five marks for Research Guide. Five marks for Ph.D. Two marks for M.Phil Two mark for SLET. Four marks for NET. 7 Extra / Co – Curricular Activities 5 Five marks bonus shall be given to NCC Officer, NSS programme officer and Prof – in – Charge of Youth and Cultural Activities. They may give marks (maximum five) to other teachers who were helpful to them in these activities. 8 Extra Academic Qualification 5 Four marks for Post Graduate or equivalent degree. Three marks for Bachelors or equivalent degree. Two marks for Diploma course or equivalent course. One mark for certificate course or equivalent course. Total 100

In case of tie in marks, bonus points may be given in the subject result or research publication to justify ‘Best Teacher’ in the college. An independent committee of senior educationist may also be framed to justify Best Teacher in case of such possibility. The institute may reframe the structure of parameters as per their requirements. For university teachers, more weightage may be given to research and publication. Evaluation of teacher’s performance by students is given only 10%. This percentage should be increased at the level of 25% but it should be done phase wise. Students should be oriented for rating their teachers before undertaking this evaluation so that we may get fair and frank opinions.

Obstacles faced and strategies adopted to overcome them: -

  • V.S.Prasad mentioned in above quoted article, “Although it is true that “the best are the borrowed ideas” contextualising them is essential. Elements of best practices or descriptors for the best practices can always be borrowed and improved upon further, with some amount of creativity and spirit of innovation. In adapting or borrowing best practices from other systems, we should remember that they can be ideal models of good practice - ideal, systematic, representations of patterns amongst variables. They may be simplifications of the complicated realities. When a system adopts a particular practice, several barriers may be encountered. Successful adaptation of best practices depends on both : individual characteristics and the institutional context”.

• Some of the teachers are reluctant to adopt these measurement standards. They are mostly those who follow traditional teaching methodology. For them even use of chalk & black – board is modernity in teaching methodology. They were the believers of oral tradition and believed in teaching orally only, without help of any modern teaching aids. Such teachers may be convinced about the change in the academic arena with the help of new researches made in students’ psychology and innovative methods in classroom. • The teachers who are not pro-active in students’ activities may not be satisfied with these parameters. They need to be oriented towards new system of thinking in new education scenario where centre is shifting towards ‘learner’ from ‘teacher’. Though its difficult to change one’s attitude and aptitude, the exposure to such education institutes, training, orientation and workshops may help in achieving dream results. • We, Indians, had a very poor track record of writing and publishing. Out great heritage of Veda and such knowledge perished because it was only in oral culture, never written. Teachers need to be encouraged to do research and publish. This process given good weightage to research and publication to encourage them for such fruitful activities.

Impact of the process: - The following are some of the experienced outcomes of this process. It may vary from institute to institute, but the process will surely have positive implications: • The teachers who are giving more time to institute for students activities as well as for research are highly motivated. • The teachers who are least concern about students’ activities and research got encouragement to actively participate in it. • Overall environment of institute may change for the better as hard working teachers get importance in implementation of this practice. • The curriculum was taught effectively and it improved the results of the students. • More teachers are encouraged to shoulder responsibilities of NCC / NSS, sports and cultural activities. This gives rise to co-curriculum activities and as a result overall development of the students. • The teachers’ attitude and aptitude becomes student friendly. • The centre shifts form ‘teacher’ to ‘learner’. • Overall edu-viornment becomes more competitive and it leads in achieving quality as well as in sustaining quality in higher education.

Resources required: - • Orientation of teachers toward the parameters of this practice. • Reading material for teachers on changing paradigm in education system. • Exposure of teachers to new researches in education. • Technological resources for modern teaching methodology viz. computers, internet, OHPs, LCD projectors, etc. • Initiating teachers into use of above mentioned resources by giving computer trainings.

Thus to conclude, we may find that the methodology given above may seem very complicated at first reading. But the implementation with the help of programmes made in MS Office – excel or other such software may give us very interesting results. The genuine teachers may find it interesting to see where they stand in being best teacher. Others may find what they require to be a better teacher. The parameters of the process aim at overall functioning of the teachers. One should not forget that teachers are not recruited only to complete syllabus, but they have greater roles to play. They have to do research work and add to the knowledge of the society by publishing their research work. They have even greater roles to play in building a nation by building a character of young generation, so they have to help students in their overall development of personality and character. This process gives full marks to the teacher who has all these dimensions in his charismatic personality.

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