Teachers mustn’t be blamed for India’s poor learning outcomes

News:There is need to address the systemic and societal problems that are at the heart of poor learning outcomes.

Teacher is expected to be the sole agent of education, gradually she becomes demotivated and become the target of the blame. However, the roots to the problem lie in larger systemic and societal causes.

The article says, there is complex interplay between different factors which contribute to poor learning outcomes.

Why teachers should not be blamed solely for the poor learning outcomes?

First, the teacher is supposed to teach which is a difficult task. For example, basic language and math are not difficult but for a child aged 6, it is a complex task.

Second, the language that children speak at home and in their neighborhood is often different from the medium of instruction. Also, the textbooks are often terrible which complicate teaching.

Third, teachers do not have the capacity to teach what they must. For instance, pedagogical capacities which is related to how to teach any subject matter and capacities to handle children effectively to ensure curricular learning. Both capacities are complex and challenging.

Becoming an effective teacher requires persistence, preparation and an appropriate set of conditions to be able to put what one has learnt into daily practice.

Fourth, teachers are ill-prepared due to dysfunctional teacher education system. They are neither adequately equipped with the pedagogical capacities nor have they learnt how to effectively handle children. Also, there is no supportive environment for effective practice.

Fifth, the attitude of teachers is also a concern. Some teachers are extremely positive, some are deeply negative, but most are average like any large group of people in our country.

Sixth, it is said that teachers are not motivated enough. Motivation comes from a large of set of factors. This includes the physical environment in the school and what kind of treatment the teacher receives in the school and in the community. For example, lack of toilets. The treatment of teachers determines how supportive, empowered and valued teachers are.

Seventh, teachers also don’t have adequate resources and many of the resources they have are of poor quality. Apart from this, teachers are also over- burdened. For instance, administrative work distracts them from core task of teaching.

Also, the vast majority children come from homes in poverty or near poverty and thus they have no academic support at home. Hence teachers have to compensate for that gap.

Source: This post is based on the article “Teachers mustn’t be blamed for India’s poor learning outcomes” published in Livemint on 17th Feb 2022.

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