With the pandemic, what changes have come in teacher training workshops?

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The pandemic has thrown the teachers at the deep end and expected them overnight to unlearn everything they have been doing for years and learn new teaching skills. Not only they had to learn how to teach online but some of them who did not even know how to efficiently use hardware, had to start from there. Further they were teaching a generation who are native digital learners and hence were already at an advantage.

But in the words of Winston Churchill said, ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste!’.

In some sense, the pandemic turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The academia world got an opportunity to relook at the entire education landscape and think how to improve student engagement, learning outcomes and assessment patterns given the framework of online delivery platforms.

But just as we cannot expect a software engineer to start coding in a new language without adequate training, or expect a doctor to start using a new modern equipment without proper orientation, we could not have expected the teachers to start teaching online without upskilling them.

Historically schools in India do training in the following ways-
  1. Entire school/section doing a training for 6 hours on a weekend
  2. Subject specific training
Schools believed that offline training was the only way to conduct professional development programs. But the pandemic changed this. Not only was there an urgent need to do training in new age practices, it had to be done online. This turned out to be a big advantage.
  1. The peer group/participants were from different cities/schools. Thus there is a sense of building community and learning from their peers. For example, if a particular school had 10 maths teachers in a school in Bangalore and another 10 in a branch of school in Delhi, the teachers could be put in the same batch and training could be conducted.
  1. World class facilitators from across the globe were able to connect with educators in India. This was earlier a very expensive proposition as they earlier would have to travel to India. Well known educators worked with Indian teachers to share their know-how on making online virtual learning simple and effective.
  1. Instead of doing a whole day training, the session could be broken into modules of two hours or three hours each. Thus, there was no training fatigue. The teachers could also practice what they learnt and come back with queries in the following sessions.
  1. Different collaborative tools such as Kahoot etc could be used so as to make sessions interactive and engaging. These tools could further be adopted by the teachers in their classrooms.
  1. The sessions could be recorded and shared with those who missed the lecture for some reason. Thus there was more flexibility available to teachers.
  1.  Continuous professional Development was possible instead of only a few sessions a year. This is because one would not have to physically gather the teachers in one place.
  1. The cost of training came down significantly making it affordable and thereby more accessible to a large number of people. This is because the facilitators would not have to travel to different parts of the country.
Yes, offline training, being able to connect with each other also has its advantages. But given that there are nearly 10 million teachers in different parts of the country, the only way to make professional development opportunities accessible, personalized, continuous and bespoke is by adopting technology. The future of learning for our students is hybrid. Teachers are also students. They are also lifelong learners. Let us not forget the lessons we have learnt in the last 18 months and continue using the hybrid model for teacher training as well.
Also read,
Reasons why teacher training is the need of the hour. Avail of online teacher training workshops.
Difference between online and offline teacher training workshops
What elements must a teacher training workshop have?
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Surabhi Goel
CEO - Aditya Birla World Academy, The Aditya Birla Integrated School & Aditya Birla Education Academy

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