Teacher Training Programmes impart new learning and insights to both the trainers and participants, that is, if both let go of who they are to become what they might be.
These sessions are meant to reacquaint teachers with something that they know and believe in but put on the backburner once they get caught in the mundane, but essential, part of schooling. Slowly, but surely, the mundane takes over the meaningful.
In our first interaction with teachers from the Mecca of schooling in India, Dehradun, the teachers were extremely responsive and thoroughly engaged with the multi-sensorial experience of the workshop. This is rather rare when it comes to adult learning. The environs in the sprawling campus of a school just off Mussoorie-Dehradun road were ideally suited and conducive to sustenance of interest.
The two-day session revolved around the issues of Literacy and Numeracy, in the broadest sense as declared by UNESCO. Though from different schools, the first learning was the commonalities of issues that plague the teachers’ effort – very high student teacher ratio, paucity of time, individual differences and gaps in students’ learning and other non-teaching duties thrust upon teachers. It served as the guiding principle for our work in the two days, as well as a launching pad to share best practices and their adaptation, wherever possible, to the specs of participants’ classrooms. This worked as an icebreaker and energizer for the community of learners present there.
It was heartening to see that majority of these teachers came with a genuine interest in improving students’ learning, ready to make minor changes within their given realities. These were ordinary teachers from ordinary schools who sat through the weekend and through teachers’ day, missing celebrations organised by their school and their students, with the eagerness to learn and take back that one thing which seems attainable in their respective schools and situations. That, itself, made them extraordinary.
As for the trainers, it was an affirmation; those who want to learn from these sessions, will attend, irrespective of day or venue.