Teacher training: for money or for professionalism?
-Ram Abadhesh Ray
In this piece of writing, I hope to discuss English teaching profession. Teaching, professionally, is a very precarious and sturdy job. In the context of Nepal, teaching has become inferior or substandard one due to politicization on it. Because of unstable government system and its fragile education policy, the teaching career has become in miserable condition. The government of Nepal trained almost all the teachers but the teachers are still ‘literate but not educated’ , following Sajan Karn’s argument. I think most of the teachers are trained but they are resourcefully untrained because they are still facing lots of problems for effective teaching and for bringing drastic progress in the students. This article also begins with the current teaching trend of the government schools teachers’ i.e. Old Fashioned Method of teaching. Then it also mentions some solutions to the problems that are faced by the teachers.
Under School Improvement Program (SIP), the Educational Manpower Development Centre has prepared various instructional materials, scientific and innovative technique to make the teaching livelier in order to develop the teacher’s capability in effective teaching. The Conceptual Framework has been prepared on the basis of the received feedbacks from national and international level workshops. At first, so many ideas and experiences were gathered from almost one hundred and fifty teachers from different seven districts. Not only this but also from the trainers of these centers, from the DEOs (District Education Officers) and from professors of related field, the ideas and experiences has been accumulated for the preparation of this TPD.
Due to fragile and ineffective accomplishment of teaching policies of Nepal, there has not been found more achievements in the field of training system of TPD. Though it has commenced all over Nepal, it is not in its entire height. One of the main cause of its being letdown is also due to lack of wakefulness in teachers of Nepal. Most of the teachers of remote and semi urban areas are still surviving with their old weapons of teaching in the class room for just passing the time anyway for the sake of the government’s obligation and for the sake of their earning. Generally, teachers in the context of Nepal especially in far remote areas have been junked due to lack of innovative teaching technique and due to lack of their activeness to learn something worthy for their professional development. The same means of teaching i.e. after five or ten minutes of ringing the bell of first period, they with attendance register and a stout stick go to class room as they are forcefully being sent to the class. As soon they enter the class, they as usual do the attendance and instruct the students read themselves and they instead of teaching the students with their daily lesson plan, sit on the chair outside the gate comfortably thinking and waiting for the next period. They don’t want to change themselves into modern era of teaching. They look as if they have been worried and seriously ill. Actually the system of providing training in the context of Nepal is not an apt. Here, instead of providing training the teachers are given a very handsome allowance that becomes their additional income. Their salary is not deducted from the government side so they get double benefit. It has become a sort of tendency for the government schools’ teachers to get allowance and then participate in any sort of training. When there is less allowance in any training then the teachers don’t seem even talk about such training. By this, we can assume that such teachers can never transform themselves for learning in any sort of training if it is even giving a large sum of allowance to them. They always have intension to be present in the training and after the break, they go for shopping and again next day same thing happen.
I can still remember the very first NELTA training held in the then SEDU and now ETC by Dr. Bal Mukund Bhandari, the then treasurer of NELTA, Center when I was in M. ED. First year. Almost 60 English teachers participated in the training session. Dr. Bhandari inaugurated the session and his facilitator was Mr. Sajan Kumar Karn, the then teaching assistant of English M.ED. Program of Thakur Ram Multiple Campus, Birganj and secretary of NELTA, Birganj. The program was successfully commenced and all the teachers were very much curious to listen the speech by Dr. Bhandari. As soon as Dr. Bhandari announced that the training was without allowance, the faces of the reputed teachers of the government school were to see. They started feeling disappointment and as there was break for half an hour and then after break no government teachers were seen in training session and Dr. Bhandari was amazed and we too. Just after a year, I got another opportunity to be participated in a workshop provided by the Examination Control Office, Sanothimi, Bhaktpur at the same venue and there was a large gathering of the government school teachers but there were limited seats for participants. Everyone was wishing to be the participants and I was stunned to see that and thought it a very good workshop. But the reality was something else, I felt myself very fortunate to be one of the participant. I at that time was in Mount Edmund English Secondary School, Birganj and I was sent to participate in the training. The workshop was run for three days and on the last day, one of the head teachers said forcefully to the trainers to stop training and distribute the allowance. The trainers also agreed and within some minutes training program was postponed and then the time of receiving allowance came and asked whether I would also get something. One of the teacher asked if I was new fellow to go there and I agreed. My name was also called and I went to receive the allowance. I couldn’t believe myself that how all teachers were very much curious to take participate in training. It was all for the allowance not for learning point of view.
Now you can easily conclude that where there is allowance the teachers go there and where there is no such facilities the teachers won’t go. Since then I deduced that teachers participated in training only for earning, not for learning. Among such teachers, some bad concepts have emerged about training that government is compelled to train them and then why should they care for such training. They always ask about the facilities i.e. lodging and dining a very common term in training and then only they are ready for participating. Sometimes the teachers surprise me by asking the questions if the training is going to take place in any grand hotel or not. If it is so they are ok and vice versa. The tendency of providing allowance to the teachers by government has created lots of problems for NELTA fellows to conduct any sort of conference in local level for the teachers here demand the same too.
In the context of Nepal the teaching doesn’t take place as it is shown in the model in every nook and the corner of the nation but in some part of urban areas of Nepal, there is such teaching which is very expensive and the common people are not going to bear that. However, we can make our teaching effective by our entire effort and honesty with the help of the teaching aids which are locally available. But most of the teachers of our country have been fossilized from very beginning in the traditional way of teaching. For them the teaching aids are stout stick and ruthless sound in the classroom while teaching. Look and just imagine how the teachers in the European countries are teaching their students with great fun, scientific equipment and hovering around the students with great love and affection.
The entire teacher should be like a professional teacher and enjoy his/her work every now and then and then after there will be something new changes in the field of effective teaching. A teacher should go in training not for allowances rather for learning and being refreshed for removing their junk old traditional method of teaching. If one has to be a professional then he/she has to revolutionize his/her attitude towards scientific teaching from that of traditional one. They must understand their responsibility being honest in their teaching.
Conclusively, I can state that some of the old fashioned teachers and even some new who have been habituated to act in their teaching learning activities are to change themselves for their satisfaction in teaching. For that very purpose, the government should also take any massive action against such dead habits of teachers by improving in the education policy according to the change in pace of time. Then only something worth can be expected in the field of scientific and innovative teaching. Unless there is drastic modification in the trend and attitude of such teachers, the government, education policy maker cannot bring change in them and in their profession.
The author is an English Teacher at Shree Nepal National Higher Secondary School, Kalaiya, Bara, Secretary, NELTA, Birganj Branch