- – K. Ponraman
It is often said, ‘As are the teachers, so is the standard of education’. If competent teachers are available, the likelihood of attaining desirable educational outcomes is substantial. Schools may have excellent material resources, buildings, textbooks, appropriately adopted curriculum; but if the teachers are indifferent to their responsibilities, the whole system becomes ineffective and wasted. There is no substitute for a competent teacher. The quality of education depends on the quality of the teachers. The reputation of a school depends on the kind of teachers working in it. That is why every school opts for a good teacher.
Then, it has become a necessity to define a ‘Good Teacher’. Attempts have been made to define a good teacher. He is loved by the children, a role model, a friend and a guide to them. He is tolerant and understands them. He has mastery over his subject content and makes learning a joyful activity. He treats every child equally and understands their feelings, aspirations and moods. He not only teaches them but also learns from them.
Rabindranath Tagore says, “A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continuous to burn its own flame”.
The Kothari Commission (1964) insists on the improvement on teachers learning process to provide in-
service training for teachers.
The teacher plays a vital role in education since he is ‘the king pin’ in the system of education. According to Sri Aurobindo, he doesn’t impart knowledge to the learner. He only shows how to acquire it. He creates a proper learning environment to fulfil the needs of a student. A teacher’s role is that of the mother. Gandhiji in his ‘My views on education’ says ‘One who cannot take the place of a mother cannot be a teacher’. A teacher teaches the substance related to the student’s heart and it could be done only through the loving touch of the teacher. A great teacher takes a hand, opens the mind and touches the heart.
A teacher has to prepare himself continuously to improve the quality of teaching and learning. It is told that good teachers are made and not born. He needs to develop his skills of being proficient in the subject he teaches and proficient in teaching techniques. He is accountable to his students, parents and mostly to the goals of education. He is committed and responsible to the aims and objectives of the organisation he works with, to develop the value system in his students, to provide safety and care to his students. No matter if one is very effective as a teacher; he can become a better teacher.
A good teacher is one who always strives to become better. A good teacher helps children recognise, expand and act upon their own purposes. On referring to the characteristics of a good teacher, NCERT states that he creates his methods according to the situation, he is creative with individuality, originality and spontaneity and he is always resourceful in tackling problems.
Teaching can be broken down into specific skills or competencies. Teaching skills are a pre-requisite of a good teacher. There are seven categories of important skills which are necessary requirements of a better teacher.
- He has ‘motivational skills’ which encourages student involvement by displaying warmth and enthusiasm and reinforcing student behaviour.
- He is efficient in the ‘presentation and communicative skills’. He explains, demonstrates, dramatises, encourages students’ feedback through planned repetition. He uses necessary teaching aids to present the content before his learners.
- The teacher possesses the proper ‘questioning skills’ which include refocusing, redirecting and probing. He uses high level questions, convergent and divergent questions to stimulate student initiative.
- The teacher employs the skills of ‘small group and individual instruction’. He organises small group work, develops independent learning, encourages co-operative activity and student-student interaction.
- He develops the student’s ‘thinking and problem solving skills’. He fosters inquiry into learning and encourages students to evaluate themselves and make judgements. He helps his students to develop critical thinking.
- A good teacher is efficient in the ‘skills of evaluation’. He recognises and properly assesses the student progress. He diagnoses the learning difficulties and provides remedial measures. He discusses the evaluating techniques with his students and encourages self-evaluation.
- He is proficient in ‘managerial skills’. He manages his class room properly and maintains discipline among the students. He has the skill to recognise the attending and non-attending behaviour in his students. He supervises and encourages the task-oriented behaviour, gives proper direction and copes with multiple issues.
This approach of teaching skills involves both conceptual and theoretical behaviour development in teachers and students. If teaching could be broken down in to specific skills, such skills become the basis to evaluate teaching effectiveness and the teacher’s quality. These skills also include writing the instructional objectives (Lesson plan), organising the content, pacing the lesson, promoting student participation in the teaching-learning activity, effective use of black boards, giving assignments etc.
One becomes a better teacher only when he teaches from his heart and not from the book. A poor teacher tells and the student forgets; an ordinary teacher shows and the student remembers; but the good teacher involves the student in the learning process and he understands better.
A good teacher enjoys teaching and helps his students to enjoy their learning. He is open minded, stays organised and spreads positivity in whatever he does. He sets standards for others to follow and accepts changes without hesitation. He keeps his classroom interesting by telling stories and incidents related to the lesson. He doesn’t make his content abstract, but relates it to the real life situations. He allows his class to be more interactive and give choices for his students. He uses proper teaching aids and utilises technology in his teaching.
Nannul (நன்னூல்) is a work in Tamil grammar written by Pavananthi munivar around 13th century. It is the most significant work after Tolkappiyam. It defines the quality of a good teacher, teaching methodology, quality of a good student, learning process etc.,
As the quality of good teacher, it states that A good teacher is the one who is of noble birth, born of a respected, noble family line. He has become great through his devotion to the almighty god and by his love for all the beings. He is well educated and has learnt many books. He has better communicative ability to make his students understand better. He is very patient like the earth, firm like the mountain, treats everyone equally like the scales and very soft in his approach like a flower. He has many other good qualities like proficiency in the current knowledge of the world. One can be called as a good teacher when he possesses all these qualities as mentioned by Pavananthi munivar.
A good teacher guides his pupils through the right way to achieve their goals. A teacher is the one who creates history. The history of a nation is written in its schools and the schools depend on the quality of their teacher.
“A mediocre teacher tells,
a good teacher explains,
a superior teacher demonstrates,
a great teacher inspires”.
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