SMILE Foundation, organised a one day workshop on 30th August 2003 for 35 school teachers of 12 NGOs (Prayatn, Vidya, Sankalp, Nai Disha, NDS, Nav Sristhi, SMK trust, Anurag Society, Adhaar, Ambedkar School, Sai Kripa, Sahyogita) The workshop was the third of a series of workshops organised by Smile as part of Quality Education Program.
The workshop specifically focused on improving the class room interaction between students and teachers. The atmosphere a teacher creates in his/her classroom has a drastic effect on whether or not students will be receptive. When students know that teachers care for them and believe in them, the response is much better than when they do not receive positive affirmations. Teachers need to understand the impact and influence they have on their student’s lives, especially if the influence at home is not as positive.
Majority of the children coming to Non Formal Educational centers are first generation school goers who have little or no support from their parents, whose comprehension of the significant changes education can bring to their wards life is limited. Thus in the absence of any motivation from their parents side, the onus is entirely on the teachers shoulders to educate the children and retain them in the school system. This presents a daunting task to the teachers to enlighten, educate and inspire these children. Making it of critical importance that they be provided with adequate skills to fulfill their roles adequately. It has been observed that a positive nurturing environment in school results in regular attendance, discipline and reduced drop out rate.
During the workshop the teachers were put through multiple exercises including one on self esteem and Self Image. Exploring these concepts at a personal level enabled the teachers not only to understand about themselves, but also how to transfer their learning and experiences to improve their class room interactions with the children.
The workshop was anchored by Mrs. Jaya Mishra an HRD professional with over 10 yrs of experience from the Corporate Sector along with Ms. Priyanka Jain.
Says Mrs. Jaya “Teachers are not aware of the impact their actions and words have on the children’s psyche.” During the workshop many participants admitted using words with negative connotations while interacting with the children. Most of the participants also complained of an inability to control their tempers while teaching and often felt frustrated. Very often individuals shift their locus of control from internal to external, where they start holding others responsible for their thoughts, attitude and actions”. This was observed during the session as several participants began talking about their families, the constraints of society and so on for not being able to be as ‘positive’ or as ‘effective’ as they could and should have been, in their jobs. Initially, they voiced concerns about themselves and the environment that they lived in. But as the workshop progressed “the participants were able to identify the links between their perceptions about themselves, their environment and their role as ‘teachers’.
All participants came out feeling significantly more positive, confident and enlightened about their roles as teachers and as individuals. They charted out their action plans with a promise to improve their environment and all their interactions. A revived sense of responsibility towards the children they were teaching also surfaced post session.