COVID 19 AND PROVIDING ONLINE SUPPORT
In May 2020, India went into complete lockdown owing to the pandemic situation. India became one of the countries with the highest per capita rate of infection and deaths.
Mala Rastogi, the owner of Dau Dayal Mahila (PG) College, a 4,000 strong girls school and teacher training college in India, reached out to her network and asked whether there would be any people willing to conduct online sessions to empower the teachers during lockdown.
Let's pause here and look at the key challenges:
1. Teaching effectiveness
Some 50% of pupils had not been completing their studies. The impact of this is the lost opportunity to have a greater degree of choice in their own futures. A key factor in the school drop out rate was the perceived lack of teaching effectiveness.
The teachers had, according to Mala, purely been teaching by rote in the most traditional of ways i.e. the teacher standing at the front of the room “imparting” information. This had been in part down to:
· A common acceptance that “this is how training is done”
· A lack of available education to empower the teachers to be able to design and lead training in a way designed to increase classroom engagement
· A strong paternalistic culture at play throughout the school. Teachers were not incentivized / encouraged to re-invent how they went about their work.
2. A lack of leadership Empowerment
According to Mala, the teachers did not see themselves as leaders. Or as people who were really part of something bigger – contributing to the mission of empowering girls and young women in India.
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Four independent consultants - Vaishali Patel, Mark Edwards, Pramal Lad and Anjali Roopchandani - came together to create a few sessions to pilot on a group of 7 teachers from the Teacher Training School.
The pilot feedback was successful. We saw a transformation – from quiet, obedient teachers they went to really self-expressed teachers.
The Teacher Empowerment Programme is created and includes key master class topics such as:
Confidence & self-belief
Effective classroom engagement
Teaching effectively online
The topics were chosen to provide the teachers with:
a sense of power and possibility (confidence & self-belief, self-expression and team work)
specific teaching skills (classroom management, effective classroom engagement and teaching effectively online)