Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dear friends,

Does any one know cases of schools / teachers who have achieved the performance standards as stated in ‘Advancement of Educational Performance through Teacher Support’ (ADEPTS?
If yes, please post them in English Corridor with evidences. Perhaps we can bring out an anthology of those success stories.

Performance Standards for Teachers

These performance standards spell out ‘what we want to see teachers doing’ and ‘how well’. Teachers can use these to reflect on their own teaching process, while the others working with the supportive systems ( trainers, Cluster Resource Centre Coordinators (CRCCs), Block Resource Centre Coordinators (BRCCs), District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) and State Councils for Educational Research and Training (SCERTs)  can identify the nature of support they need. In addition, the performance standards for the support agencies have been formulated and are included in the sections that follow.

Enabling Conditions
These standards apply to regular teachers teaching in formal government schools at the primary and elementary level, covered under the project. 
Before these standards presuppose some enabling conditions; it is only when teachers are operating within these that they will be able to attain the desired standards. Some of these enabling conditions are:
    • A functional building (according to the State norms of space and quality of construction)
    • A sufficient number of teachers i.e., whether the pupil teacher ratio (PTR) is at near acceptable or below the desirable level. (Note: in the case of single teacher schools, even if a teacher is handling only 35 children but in four-five classes, these standards would be difficult to implement.)
    • Water supply/toilet
    • Supply of textbooks
    • Teachers’ access to curriculum document
    • Availability of a minimum length of teaching time.
Diversity as the Key Context
The standards take into account that schools are very different from each other, and within each school as well, great diversity prevails in terms of pupil levels, background, pace of learning, and the way in which different children learn.  It is believed these standards should and can be applied in a context specific manner.

The ‘Model’ of Pedagogy
The following paragraphs describe the key principles or expectations in terms of pedagogy, as per ADEPTS on the basis of which the standards have been evolved. These principles were derived from the discussions that took place, are in keeping with the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005, and broadly constitute the recommended model of pedagogy.

Pedagogy as Understood in ADEPTS
The overall impact desired is an enhanced children’s agency (i.e. the state of being in action or exerting the power to do things) in their own learning process as well as in the running of the class and the school.
To promote learning the teacher may use a range of methods, the basic objectives being to enable children to:
·         Respond to challenges generated for them in the classroom, 
·         Reflect as a result of these different experiences,
·         Correlate and/or apply different aspects of learning, and
·         Think for themselves, on their own or with others, with a view to coming to their own understanding of what is being taught.
A guided/facilitated process supported by the teacher and appropriate learning materials would enable such active learning to take place. It would require generating through various means a sense of belonging in children and ensuring they feel at home in the physical as well as the cognitive/social environment.
Where a ‘whole class’ approach is taken, i.e., where the teacher looks upon children as a homogenous group and provides the same ‘inputs’ or experience to all, a large number of children experience ‘waiting time’, or time spent during a lesson when they are not learning. This is because what is being taught is either too easy, or too difficult, or not contextual enough for them to relate with. To address this situation, it is expected that the teacher would move towards recognizing the diversity among children, adapt the teaching process and contextualize learning, thereby increasing the student ‘engagement time’, the opposite of ‘waiting time’. Such a ‘classroom for all’ would require giving greater time and attention to those who need it more, and being sensitive to the social/cultural barriers to learning.
Such a differentiated teaching learning process would need to be planned for, managed and be open to mid-course correction during implementation. It would require advance planning and preparation, classroom organisation, and using evaluation as an enabling practice. In this approach, management, whether of the classroom, the learning process or of the school, emerges as a critical enabler that optimizes resources and outcomes. Putting into action democratic values and working with children as team mates would be part of this approach.

Supportive Conditions
Supportive conditions are steps taken or conditions brought about that enable the teacher’s performance to be converted into effective outcomes for children. This includes ensuring the desired achievement by children along with the achievement of other educational outcomes as envisaged in the state curriculum framework. The supportive elements include an effective training programme, regular and timely on-site support that addresses teachers’ needs, recognition, peer sharing etcetera. Along with implementing the proposed standards, it would help the State teams to put in place the supportive conditions that would allow the impact of improved teacher performance to be visible.

Arranged according to levels of complexity of implementation

1. Cognitive Dimension of a School
[what learning consists of and how it is enabled]

1.1. Understands children and relates with them
Level 1
1.1. 1.1.
Understands the background of children, as well as their different academic levels.
Appreciates children’s work (and displays them in the classroom).
 Knows their family background, socio- economic conditions, and linguistic background.

Level 2 
Understands/identifies children’s individual strengths/weaknesses and talents (as well as the cultural and social issues emerging from their backgrounds).
 Allows children to ask questions, and encourages them to be curious.
 Does not use discouraging words and negative comparisons (respects their feelings, relates with them).

Level 3
 Understands/ identifies how different children learn, along with individual differences in learning.
 Maintains a profile (health, attendance, background, baseline) of each and every child.
 Interacts affectionately with students as his or her own children, and does not use rude words.
Acts as a participant in the learning process in the classroom.

1.2. Understands curriculum, content  and prepares accordingly

Level 1
1.2.1. 1.
The teacher possesses a good understanding of the textbook and TLM and effectively utilizes them.
Adequately understands the content of TLM and textbook and incorporates them into the teaching learning process.

Level 2
 Is aware of the need to enable children to construct their knowledge, prepares accordingly, and helps them by using textbooks and material toward this end.
 Possesses a good understanding of syllabi (is able to differentiate it from the curriculum) and utilizes it well.
Gives enough reading and writing practice to children.
Makes effective use of local context-specific activities during teaching learning processes (draws on examples from the classroom situation, and materials or examples from the local environment
Uses children’s/ country’s cultural heritage as a resource.
Prepares for lessons before conducting/ transacting in the class.

Level 3
Has adequate understanding of the constructivist approach and is aware of age-appropriate learning objectives/levels and milestones, textbooks and material, as well as syllabus, and prepares accordingly.
Possesses a good understanding of the curriculum and utilizes it well.
Understands the principles of learning and gives children enough opportunity/ activities to learn from the environment/ surroundings.
Interprets the curriculum to make it locally relevant and does so, even if the original lesson plan does not contain any specific hints.
Displays/makes effective use of a thorough command over the subject/content areas, related areas, and TLM.
Takes responsibility for students’ performance.

Level 4
Has adequate understanding of the constructivist approach and is aware of age-appropriate competencies/levels and milestones, as well as of curricular objectives, syllabus, textbooks, and material, and prepares accordingly.
Adapts the curriculum to local situations, and ensures the incorporation of local content.
Teacher/Head Teacher plans for (locally relevant) pedagogical processes for the school, in tune with the aims of education specified in the curriculum, and accordingly organizes the classroom processes as well as the overall school experience of children.
Works as a curriculum designer (and is able to adapt the given curriculum to create a curriculum suitable to his/her pupils in keeping with their context and needs).
Displays accountability in respect of ensuring children’s learning.

1.3. Generates effective learning experiences (Uses contemporary methods, with a focus on relationships and diversity)

Level 1
Carries out activities that are interesting for children and enable them to learn.
Conducts activity with enthusiasm.
Enables children to ‘construct knowledge’ by using examples given in the textbook (i.e. the teacher is able to conduct the ‘supplied’ activities).
Has awareness of different learner-oriented teaching-learning practices (states using this indicator would need to add examples here)
Involves children in class work both individually and in groups.
Uses morning assembly for learning purposes.

Level 2
Enables children to ‘construct knowledge’– by asking students simple and appropriate questions.
Has knowledge of different kinds of activities and how to do them.
Plans and chooses appropriate activities.
Understands the experience/knowledge/ ability children already have and utilizes that understanding to build on their ability.
Enables interactive teaching-learning in a planned manner, ensuring the participation / involvement of all (at least in a broad way).
Functions as a facilitator i.e., leads children into learning experiences/knowledge.
Creates an opportunity for peer/group learning and self-learning.
Forms groups of children, understands the need for group learning, and works with them (i.e. groups).
Correlates topics with daily life, and cites relevant and interesting examples from children’s experiences/contexts/ immediate environment.
Uses and participates in different types of activities with a focus on the construction of knowledge.

Level 3
Uses local data/information for enriching classroom processes (e.g. in a tribal area, develops stimulating contextual material).
Sums up at the end of a period/session of teaching.
Enables children to ‘construct knowledge’ by using a range of strategies, including the use of tasks and activities.
Enables children to do it for them selves, i.e. helps children acquire skills, not just information.
Enables interactive teaching-learning to give all learners a chance to deal with the challenges of learning.
Functions as a facilitator i.e., not just ‘tells’ children, but encourages them to create their own understanding.
Enhances the thinking ability of children through questioning, extended discussions, or putting open ended questions.
Has awareness of and actually uses different learner-oriented teaching-learning practices on the basis of need; shuns unproductive/counter-productive practices; identifies student strengths/weaknesses; and gives special attention to those needing it.
Forms groups of children and works with them to ensure greater participation.
Promotes peer learning (same level).
Provides references (relating to the textbook as well as beyond it).
The teacher too, learns while teaching. That is, when working with children, in accordance with the demands of the emerging situation, the teacher modifies the teaching learning process, incorporates new insights or acquires further understanding as needed.
The teacher encourages Reflective practice and its sustained use.
Uses and participates in different types of activities (ranging from simple to complex or vice versa) including projects, surveys etcetera with a focus on the construction of knowledge
Enables children to ‘construct knowledge’ by using a mix of thought provoking questions and tasks.
Adapts to differences (is not seen to be teaching all the children the same thing in the same way, but with differences in accordance with the diversity of learners).
Ensures the participation and involvement of all by taking into account individual differences (such as learning needs and pace of learning, special needs etcetera).
Promotes peer learning (mixed level).
Uses the child’s context and culture while teaching participation and encouraging participative learning. 4 Ensures the involvement of all by incorporating an element of challenge in the learning experiences generated in such a way that all children are engaged.
Provides references relating to both the curriculum and the textbook, as well as what is beyond the textbook.
Ensures that children too are able to provide references and examples from the local situation, in different aspects being learnt in class.

4. Uses materials effectively
Level 1
Identifies appropriate TLM (i.e. connected with curricular objectives) and Displays the initial use of TLM i.e. at least uses it him/herself, for purposes of demonstration 

Level 2
Uses the blackboard properly.
Uses TLM in a purposive way and ensures that students handle it and benefit from it.
Selects and utilises TLM effectively.
Uses available physical facilities (such as the floor, wall, blackboard) properly.
Ensures proper maintenance of the school library; motivates children to read.
Uses library books as part of the teaching learning process.

Level 3
Uses TLM well; identifies multiple, simple-to-make TLM from the local environment.
Prepares and utilises TLM, and selects and uses SLMs (self-learning materials) effectively.
Uses (readily available) audio-video material/CAL (computer aided learning) material.
Uses TLM well; ensures it is easily made by all, is practicable, versatile, and challenging.
Prepares/ selects and utilises TLM/SLMs* effectively [*different states retain different views on whether TLM is distinct from SLM, and whether it is the job of teachers to prepare SLM. Since no agreement was reached, this is being retained as it is.]

Level 4
Uses ICT (information communication technology) to transact curriculum.
Incorporates technology into teaching-learning processes effectively, including through self created materials.

5. Ensures learning for ALL/Creates a classroom for ALL
Level 1
Ensures that each child gets ample learning opportunities (from her or his immediate environment).

Level 2
Relates with what is known about the background and levels of children and ensures that each child gets ample learning opportunities (from her or his immediate environment).

Level 3
Gives attention to those needing greater/specific support, enables them to optimize /maximize their learning, helps them achieve desired competencies, and provides appropriate opportunities to harness the child’s potential.
Involves all students in the process of learning irrespective of their level, ability, social background, and gender.
Provides opportunities to all during interaction.
Provides opportunities to children, respecting their internal directions/capacities.

Level 4
Identifies individual differences with a view to giving differential opportunity to each child (to each according to her or his need).
Takes an inclusive approach and pays non-discriminatory, greater attention to those who need it.
Displays sensitivity to the needs of differently-abled/vulnerable children, and sensitizes other children towards them.
Creates a democratic classroom. (Some indicators of a democratic classroom are teacher’s willingness to talk and encourage students to talk, how the teacher relates to children, elicits their responses and evolves classroom process/activities along with the seating arrangement to serve those democratic ends).

1.6. Communicates effectively

Level 1
Communicates in simple language and in the language of children.
Smiles/is friendly to children.

Level 2
Gives prior information/hints about what is to be learnt next.
Shares experience/ views with children/ teachers/parents about what is happening at various levels of learning.
Uses humour.

Level 3
Links current teaching with what is learnt next

7. Collaborates with children

Level 1
Works with children as teacher’s team mates: activities require the teacher and children to work together.
Works with children as teacher’s team mates: activities require children to help each other learn (teacher is not the sole source of knowledge).

Level 2
Views and presents teaching as a two-way process (it is not as if children have to only give the answer that is in the teacher’s mind). Accepts the child’s response, builds on it according to the situation and the learning objective.
Uses talents of children to support the learning process.

Level 3
Works with children as teacher’s team mates, and is able to establish common goals with children. (The teacher has teaching objectives, and students have learning objectives, which makes them a team).

8. Creates a conducive learning environment/relates with children

Level 1
Recognizes children, calls them by name.
Encourages children to ask questions and clear doubts/answer each other.
Displays positive attitude towards children.
Ensures cleanliness and personal hygiene of children.

Level 2
Establishes a rapport with children to create a cordial environment. (Makes all children feel welcome).
Enables children to both ask and answer questions (uses open ended questions) in a non-threatening environment where asking questions is viewed as ‘safe’ and there is full recognition that children have a right to ask any kind of question. [Should this be Level 3 ?]
Encourages children to directly ask/answer and address each other’s doubts.
Gets children to work in groups (i.e. think together, rather than just sit together)

Level 3
Creates encouraging conditions and space for all children to express themselves.
Keenly observes and motivates children (encourages participation and asking of questions, appropriately appreciates and commends them, and enables all to experience success).
Empathizes with children, and sees their world view.
Uses humour in teaching, contextually and appropriately.
Displays innovation in classroom and outside.

1.9.  Manages/organizes the classroom to optimize learning
Level 1
Teacher moves around in the class, understanding children and their work, uses effective verbal/nonverbal cues [smiles a lot].
Organizes class sitting arrangement according to the need of the activity/ learning technique.

Level 2
Provides equal opportunity to all children to play their roles and undertake responsibilities.
Maximizes learning time for children (not merely through punctuality, but also through genuinely ensuring that children get as much learning time as is possible and needed).
Manages time to consolidate the period’s learning.
Shares responsibilities of running the class or school activities with children.
Organizes the classroom, including the seating arrangement, according to the needs of learners and the lesson.
Rotates sitting arrangement so that no group of children continues to get the advantage of being close to the front (unless they need it for a specific reason).
Organizes different learning corners/clubs.

Level 3
Creates a congenial teaching learning environment with the participation of all (focusing on such key aspects as cleanliness, availability and use of material).
Ensures better management: acts affectionately, counsels, recognizes effort, agrees with children on ground rules (and agrees on what is to be done if these are broken), interacts with parents to apprise them about student activities/ progress /relations.
Attends to every child, and supports different groups in the class, (continuously and purposefully) moving around as and when necessary.

Level 4
Promotes self-learning.

1.10. Plans for enabling learning

Level 1
Teacher undertakes some preparation (e.g. gets material or space ready) before commencing to teach.
Makes a short-term plan on the basis of an initial understanding of the textbook and TLM (or curriculum where there are no given textbooks)

Level 2
Profiles each child according to the child’s background and learning levels.
Plans, designs and implements the lesson according to clear goals/objectives, and the teaching method used reflects these goals clearly.
In specific lessons, especially those involving fundamental concepts, diagnoses children’s needs to ensure that the lesson is organically linked to the previous knowledge level of children.
Makes long-term plans (weekly, monthly and annual) based on an emerging understanding of the curriculum and syllabus.
Is aware of the need for flexibility. Updates plans according to context.

Level 3
Plans and teaches according to the student profiles developed by her/him and ensures a visibly differentiated approach to teaching-learning.
Prepares and implements a plan that includes activities/ learning experiences which are according to the levels, interests and learning paces of children.
Plans for children falling below their optimal level of learning or tending to fall behind others.
Plans for and addresses the needs of children who are unable to attend school regularly, and bring in those children who are at risk of dropping out.
Incorporates sufficient flexibility as needed.
Plans and prepares for class, based on an understanding of children’s background, levels, experiences and needs; decides upon the methods, teaching material, and assessment tools to be used.

Level 4
The teacher’s plan incorporates other aspects such as health improvement.
Takes into account the emerging issues in the classroom, prepares accordingly to facilitate learning of all children in the class through direct experience, exposure to sites, and use of resource materials.

1.11. Undertakes assessment and evaluation, and uses outcomes to improve learning

Level 1
Teacher integrates evaluation in the regular/daily teaching learning process - uses simple recall questions.
Keeps records to monitor progress in each key area.

Level 2
Integrates evaluation in the daily teaching learning process, and uses complex/higher order questions. While teaching, is alert to whether students are understanding, and modifies the teaching strategy if needed.
Corrects students’ work regularly.
Gives regular and constructive individual feedback to children and parents about student attainment, behaviour, and other information as relevant.
Makes an extra effort for those falling behind.
Partners with parents to make assessment more effective [communicates, shares with and involves parents before and after assessment].(Transfer to Level 3?)
Teacher maintains the child’s records, and routinely analyses, monitors and evaluates them to ensure the child’s progress.

Level 3
Assesses the teaching process and learning as it is happening, and modifies further work/interaction as needed. (This indicator assumes that the teacher has the skill to analyse and interpret data).
Prepares and uses competency-based test items (in a non-threatening way).
Does follow up of evaluation, and keeps a record of progress.
Takes further follow up action emerging from student evaluation, to address different learning needs of children.
Maintains records of child-wise progress, analyses them, monitors and evaluates the child’s progress, and plans accordingly.

Level 4
Enables the child to evaluate her/himself.
Promotes the peer evaluation process.
Makes the child responsible for her or his own learning (i.e. the child knows what she or he is supposed to learn, is aware of lag, and able to make up).
Organises public demonstration of children’s performance.

(To be continued)
Dr. K.N. Anandan

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

(This is in continuation of what was posted earlier)
The cases cited in my earlier posts will not pose any problem for non-critical E LT but will have problems for critical E LT and have implications in designing teacher empowerment programmes. Taking cue from Graham Hall these cases can be critically approached by triangulating three themes: (1) E LT and prosperity; (2) linguistic imperialism and (3) the demand for English. Let us flesh out these notions.
E LT and prosperity: Many people acknowledge English as a panacea for problems at the level of individuals as well as the State- Central levels. Therefore, quite often an illogical equation is created between English and prosperity. The ELT experts from their side instil wrong expectations in the minds of learners about the benefits that could be accomplished by acquiring Standard English. Consequently, individuals as well as states and countries are attuned to spend large amounts for teaching and learning English.
Linguistic imperialism: ELT by and large makes use of globally developed products. The much acclaimed communicative language teaching and the related materials are essentially global in nature and are perceived as what is needed wherever there is a situation for teaching and learning English whether this is in India, China or Japan. This is why ELT experts across the world welcome the globalisation of ELT. For them, it is a natural and inevitable phenomenon that would contribute to the lives of people by facilitating better international communication. Therefore, they do not find any problem in the globalization of ELT. However, this is not a view shared by the proponents of critical ELT. Critical pedagogues like Apple, Rogers, Phillipson, Kincheloe, Norton, Kanagaraja, have pointed out the danger of imperialism that lies hidden in the spreading of ELT. According to them, the globalisation of ELT is only a mechanism that suppresses the thinking and language variety of the people across the world and helps in sustaining market economy. The centrally developed CLT does not address the local needs or the local culture. When it is used locally, a tension between centre and local arises and linguistic imperialism comes out in its full vigour.
The demand for English: There is great demand for English across the world. Whether this demand is genuine or artificially created is a topic for debate between the proponents of the emergent critical ELT on the one hand and the stakeholders of traditional ELT. The impetus for the debate originates from two belief systems that are diametrically opposite to one another. The non-critical ELT adopts a fragmentary approach to language and proposes the skill-based and linear mode of teaching. It is essentially an apolitical treatment of Language. The critical ELT on the other hand problematizes the whole context of language teaching and proposes a pedagogy placing it in the socio-political context. Consequently, it demands a shift from the skill-based and fragmentary approach to knowledge-based and holistic approach to language. The birth of critical ELT is not just a coincidence; it is the culmination of years of research that have gone into topics such as language, language acquisition, social discourses culture and language pedagogy. This debate, I believe is likely to continue for several decades yet to come. Let it be so. What is important is the fact that the demand exists. Keeping the demand alive is essentially a British agenda. The British people meet this demand by providing materials, human resources and what not ensuring that Britain is profited economically, culturally and politically.
In this context it is mandatory to conceive courses in English that aim at empowering teachers both in language proficiency and language pedagogy in tune with the tenets of critical pedagogy and social constructivism. The dubious claims that ELT schools have been making on Standard English need to be problematized looking at the larger context of the several “Englishes” spoken across the world. Curriculum objectives are to be redefined in terms of discourses and classroom processes are to be developed which will help the learners produce language rather than reproduce it. Pedagogic tools are to de designed for ensuring collaborative learning in an inclusive classroom where the expansion of the zone of proximal development of every learner is taken care of. Teachers should know how teacher talk can be used as an effective and authentic listening input for the learners by making it process specific, learner specific and level specific. We need to evolve exploratory practices that involve a continuous, relevant, and sustainable exploration where teaching becomes a ‘thinking activity’. Teachers are to be empowered to work with learners within a critical perspective, producing understandings of classroom events and their relation to wider society. The joint explorations undertaken by the teacher and the learner hopefully will end the divide between the researcher and the researched, between the central and the local, and between possibly different teacher- learner understandings of the classroom. This is extremely important because linguistic imperialism cannot occur within a framework of localised co-operative action. Understanding social practice becomes as important as linguistic theory in the classroom; teachers and learners become empowered actors; and local social, political, and cultural contexts are incorporated into the search for understanding within language teaching so that a ‘safe space’ is created where all students can participate.