TODAY -

Empowered teachers of global competency for local efficiency

Fr Paul Lelen Haokip *

 Re-openning of schools in Imphal areas after lockdown :: 27 January 2021
Re-openning of schools in Imphal areas after lockdown on 27 January 2021 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam



Introduction

Teachers are relevant as long as they are valuable to the student community. Teachers have to convincingly explain to students 'why they need to go to school'. Teachers are responsible for the damaging as well as constructive outcomes of the student community. It would be selfish to assume that teachers are accountable for only the good things manifested in students.

With a pinch of salt, teachers have to take the responsibility for the not-so-becoming outcomes of students too. Despite the spike in online teaching-learning modules, teachers' roles have not diminished. Nevertheless, additional competency is sought from teachers dealing with students who have infinite access to a surfeit of knowledge.

The best way to equip the learning community is to empower teachers with global competencies who could bring about local efficiencies. Global outlook can be cultivated through "cosmopolitan views and values, interacting with culturally diverse groups of students, engaging in school-to-school international projects, accessing content about comparative topics as comparative literature or world history or geography, studying artistic creations from different cultures, discussing films focussing on human right issues" (Fernando Reimers).

In this article, we shall briefly reflect on some of the many compe-tencies required of teachers leading twenty-first-century knowledge seekers.

Competencies

Developing teaching competencies for a global platform must hold an imperative component in the ongoing formation of the teaching community. "Competencies are specific and demonstrable characteristics or attributes inevitable for teaching professionals to create a convincing and learner-friendly environment" (Anupama Bhargava & Dr Minaketan Pathy). Teaching is a voluntary vocation, not forced upon.

The effectiveness of a teacher depends upon either of the two orientations. Fernando Reimers in his book, "An Empowered Teacher for Global Competency" augments that the first dimension for a global competency "includes attitudes, values and skills that reflect an openness, interest and positive disposition to the variation of human cultural expression reflected internationally and a global value framework.

In their most basic forms, they comprise tolerance towards cultural differences". Openness to cultural multiplicities and acceptance of differences is an encyclopaedia to learn from. These are some of the important competencies of a global teacher.

Competent teachers

It is an undisputed fact that competent teachers initiate effective teaching-learning which can ultimately influence and empower students. Global competency should necessarily lead to local efficiency. Kenneth Cushner and Jennifer Mahon posited that evidenced through increased cultural awareness and improved self-efficacy, as well as professional development in terms of global-mindedness". Competent teachers are not born but formed through global exposure for local relevance.

Self-updating

The internet provides repositories accessible to many. This is a blessing and a challenge for the teaching community. Gone are the days when whatever teachers pronounce were taken as gospel truth beyond refute. Now, students have access to many learning applications and repositories to crosscheck what is taught.

Unless teachers are constantly on the watch out for novel findings and relevant educational trajectories, they may lag behind those inquisitive students. On "Perception of Student Teachers about Teaching Competencies" Anupama Bhargava & Dr Minaketan Pathy have pointed out two important traits for a global teacher, thus: "first is the constant updating and refinement in knowledge and skill of serving teachers and the second one is equipping student teachers (teacher trainees) with befitting competencies and positive attitude towards profession".

This updating is either done at the personal level or the institutional level. A teacher who constantly learns is likely to be an effective teacher as well. The self-updating tendency would lead teachers to rise from asking "What" to "How" and "Why". This deeper involvement in the realities of life will somewhere affect the knowledge-seeking community.

Knowledge for self-reliance

The education one gets should essentially lead to self-reliance. Self-reliance is also self-discovery. It is nurturing the possible future in the learning community. Education is not just designed for a job - serving as a mere unit of an institute or company. "We have set up education factories to feed other factories, larger factories ... you are just a raw material. You are not human beings" (Sadhguru Yogi).

Rather, education is for self-reliance where one can rely on and survive through one's resourcefulness. While disseminating knowledge is important in the teaching-learning process, teachers of global competencies help students:
(a) to develop a rationale and scientific temperament,
(b) to foresee advancements in all spheres of life and its impact on society,
(c) to help students in conserving and transmitting values nurtured by the society (Anupama Bhargava & Dr Minaketan Pathy).

In this way, the students of today become proactive for the causes and concerns of their locality. They become immediately relevant to the society they live in. This is a meaningful learning-application of what is learnt.

Educational policies

In India's National Education Policy 2020, an emphasis has been laid on teachers' training for improved teaching. This policy will just be a plan until one can see and ratify the results. In the book "Empowered Educators: How High Performing Systems shape Teaching Quality Around the World" the authors state that "Educational policies inform and enable quality teaching and learning to take place" (Darling-Hammond et al).

This is another way of spotting necessary competencies for teachers and systematically inculcating those competencies in the teaching community. Policies remain as policies unless one is ready to imbibe and expand, learn and put them into practice. The teaching community becomes the hands and legs of National and international policies on education.

Conclusion

From personal preparations comes effective teaching. The vocation of teaching goes beyond monetary satisfaction. Openness to world realities for local competency is the call of the day. Today's learning community should be en route for global citizenship. Competent teachers are designed to enable the learning community to grow to its fullest-body, brain, spirit.

Apart from mere golden letter printed certificates, all students need to grow up exploring their competencies at a very early age in schools. This ambience could be provided through a competent teaching crew. Then, we could expect to witness an era of empowered teachers of global competency for local efficiency.


* Fr Paul Lelen Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The author is a PhD Research Scholar, Department of Sociology & Social Work, Christ (Deemed to be University), Bangalore, India.
and can be contacted at paulhowkeep20(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on March 02 2021.



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