Grooming the teachers

The article ‘Styling the teachers’ (Knowleldge, December 3) is laudable for dealing with a rather unusual but important topic of teacher development.  Teaching is a public relations job in which looks do matter because the teacher has to stand in front of a group of students comprising boys and girls for each lecture during which they have to be necessarily looking at him or her while listening to what is being said in the class.  The teacher has to be reasonably ‘presentable’ since the students are indeed extremely sharp and observant and they carry the image they form in their minds of their teachers for ever.  And it is good to know that some schools and colleges in metro cities are conducting teacher development sessions with the help of professionals who will try to groom them into “more presentable individuals”.  It can happen if a teacher has his lecture in the first slot of the time table that he simply rushes in to his class, clutching his slides but forgetting that his shirft has not been buttoned properly and he is still in his chappals.  When the teacher is deeply engrossed in the subject of the lecture, he/ she is ususlly oblivious to such petty lapses but they are quite apparent to the students.  I still remember my English teacher in the university who used to come into the class with his neck-tie put around his waist and knotted to serve as the belt!

DR V SUBRAMANYAN, Thane

We need to introspect seriously

This is with reference to the article ‘Introspepction needed’ (Knowledge, December 3) by Priti Botadkar which is interesting.  Nancy Powell, the new US Ambassador to India had only expressed a genuine concern ovder the quality of education in India and emphasized the need to address the gap in reading levels to prepare he children for the future while appreciating our Right to Education Act (RTE) that has yielded handsome dividends.  There is no need to get worked up on her constructive criticism because what she said is in fact widely known and nothing shocking.  As Anjan Gupta says while agreeing with her, several surveys have highlighted the fact that the reading levels are abysmal among children.  Subramaniam Iyer has rightly drfawsn attention to the sad reality that many college students are facing the music for having suffered poor quality of education at the school so much so that when they have to make frequent presentations, they are all sea and resort to the practice of cutting and pasting from other sources without being able to read the slides they have manufactured properly.  It is also true that since there are far too many institutions, they gleefully admit all and sundry without bothering to find out their fitness flor the same.  Finally, as Dr Joglekar concludes, “why not be constructive and contribute in our own small ways to lead to a positive change?”

DR V SUBRAMANYAN, Thane

Introspection needed

This has reference to Knowledge, December 3, wherein Priti Botadkar in her column in response to US ambassador’s comment has rightly that introspection needed in respect of present education scenario.

Malati Arunachalam has aptly observed that in our centuries-old education system a lot of emphasis is laid on learning by rote vis-a-vis understanding and application of knowledge. It is a matter of pity that surveys reflect that the reading levels are abysmal which in the process hampers a student’s upward journey. As an English teacher, I’ve observed that students learning the  language hardly read the books thoroughly to gain command over the language. They have become accustomed to taking short cuts.

Prof Suhas Patwardhan, Badlapur

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