Surabhi Goel, CEO, Aditya Birla Education Academy

A qualified Chartered Accountant, Surabhi Goel brings with her 18 years of experience across finance, project management, operations, budgeting, branding & marketing. She has worked at large multinational organisations such as Arthur Andersen and ICICI Bank. During her yearlong teaching stint at an MBA college, she realised that she was passionate about the education sector. Her keen interest in the field of education then drove her to work with Zee Learn, where she set up their first international school in Mumbai. Currently, she is the CEO at Aditya Birla World Academy, The Aditya Birla Integrated School and Aditya Birla Education Academy, ventures of the Aditya Birla Education Trust.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic completely transformed the education sector with virtual classes becoming the only option for imparting education. The initial days were tough as many teachers across the country were not quite equipped with the required know-how of using technology to conduct online classes. This situation became more of an eye-opener for the educators which brought in a realization that it is important to be a life-long learner and undertake various courses that will help them stay relevant and not make them obsolete over a period of time.

In today’s time, the profession of teaching demands sophisticated technical skills, personal and social skills, and a range of personal qualities such as open-mindedness and resourcefulness. As teachers are responsible for the overall development of students such as skill enhancement, knowledge, and understanding, educators must use a wide range of approaches to facilitate ‘active learning’. These extraordinary teaching skills are achieved by training, specializing in academics, and attaining numerous degrees, while a major portion of it is developed with experience and practice. Let’s take a look at the top four reasons why it is crucial to invest in teachers and their learning.

1. Teachers are the catalysts of change: To develop ‘learning’, we have to develop teachers as they have become a primary catalyst in bringing about social changes in the society. It is their wisdom and intellect which play an important role to shape every child’s future, thereby developing leaders of tomorrow who will play a vital role in changing the fate of the country. Teachers are mentors and learning facilitators who essentially help in the early-stage development of every student. Training institutes can help teachers impart various skills that can help them become acquainted with the latest developments in the industry.

2. Learn using Digital Tools: The current times have made it mandatory for educators to imbibe technical know-how to be able to conduct online sessions successfully. Teachers must get a hands-on understanding of using Google apps like Mail merge, Google slides, Google sheets etc. which can help them to be able to effectively teach in an online class. Schools can also help teachers understand that digital content can be distributed through platforms like Google Classroom, Microsoft Flipgrid and help them get comfortable using video conferencing sites like Zoom, Google Meet, or WebEx.

3. Need to learn and unlearn: Unlearning is a role of effective teaching. Indian teachers need to focus on continuously upskilling and training themselves to stay abreast of the current trends and technology. In the current times, there is a need for teachers to study the e-classroom culture, and for that, it is important to unlearn and learn. Teachers should learn how assessments can be carried out virtually, study the assessment structure in the new normal, and also deep-dive into the annual results of every class. Continuous professional development programmes will help teachers to be well prepared to respond to challenging online classroom conditions.

4. Need of development programmes by schools: Schools must be committed to the professional growth of its staff as it acknowledges the reality that teachers are the most valuable asset of the school community and act as the torchbearers of change. It is thus crucial that every school must invest in upskilling and re-skilling its teaching staff as learning is an ongoing process and this goes with or without the pandemic in question. Schools must conduct various training sessions such as Professional Development Programme which are aimed at giving the teachers an opportunity to learn and investigate, examine personal practices and become better educators with wider horizons. Such initiatives by schools provide teachers the opportunity to attend training programmes which are not only subject-specific but also those that aim at professional and personal development which contribute to a better performance by the faculty in his/her role at school.

‘Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions’ – This statement truly emphasizes how vital teachers are for the overall development of students and society as whole. Thus, investing in teachers can truly transform the education sector and will be crucial for the effective learning outcomes in a post COVID-19 world.

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