Best Practices

Title of the Practice: Train the Teacher

Objectives of the Practice

For an enhanced teaching-learning experience, it is necessary that teachers are provided with continuous in-service training. Training helps in updating teachers skills and knowledge and enables them to face new changes and challenges in the world of education. Our college recognises the importance of training programmes for teachers and has put in place a comprehensive Teacher Training process designed to develop better and newer proficiency among the teachers, which in turn assists in improving the learning experience of students. The intended outcome of Train the Trainer is to upgrade the knowledge of teachers, hone their skills and update them about the latest developments in their respective genres.

The Context

For any training practice to be effective, it is imperative that, the training is intended to fill in gaps in skill sets, the training goals are decisively defined, the training is imparted efficiently, and the effectiveness of the training is measured over a period of time. The practice of ‘Train the Trainer’ was designed keeping the above factors in mind. The first step was to identify the training needs among the teaching faculty so that the training programmes could be planned accordingly to cater to the specific identified training needs. The credentials of the trainers selected to impart the training was another crucial factor which would impact the quality of the training. No training programme would be effective unless the feedback of the participants is collected and analysed. Also, the effectiveness of the programme in terms of the impact that it has had on the participants has to be measured for at least a few months after the programme in order to measure its success.

The Practice

Recognising the need to have a systematic teacher training process in place, our college has designed a comprehensive system to ensure that, the training imparted to teachers is of the highest quality, meets the expected training outcomes, and enables the teachers to equip themselves and cater seamlessly to the 21st century learner. The process starts right at the beginning of the academic year where faculty members are required to fill up a Competency Based Skill Matrix, wherein they specify the particular areas in which they require skill upgradation such as subject knowledge, application knowledge, communication skills, class control, decision making, presentation skills, etiquette, organising and planning, etc. The Competency Based Skill Matrix is forwarded to the Head of the Departments and then to the IQAC Co-ordinator for confirmation. On confirmation, the faculty-wise data is collated to arrive at an overall Competency Based Skill Matrix for the institute. On the basis of results of the Competency Based Skill Matrix, the Training Areas are identified and Training Programmes are mapped to the respective skill sets in the Matrix. The Training Programmes are then organised for the faculty members. The aim of the training programmes is to fill the gaps reflected in the matrix and to ensure that the teachers are equipped with the skill sets needed for efficient performance. Care is taken to ensure that the training programmes focus on not just subject-specific but also generic training that leads to the holistic development of the teachers. The trainers are selected taking into account their area of expertise, content knowledge and communication skills. At the end of each Training Programme, the participants are required to fill up a feedback form wherein they rate various aspects of the programme such as communication skills of the speaker, content of the session, technical arrangements and their overall feedback about the training programme. Constructive feedback is crucial for enhancing the training experience as it helps in analysing whether the training objectives have been met and in identifying areas of improvement. The feedback received is analysed with the help of charts and graphs and a summary of the feedback analysis is prepared for future reference. The effectiveness of the Training Programme is calculated after a period of 1 month, 3 months and 6 months to gauge the overall impact and to assess whether the training programme succeeded in filling up the competency gaps shown in the matrix.

Evidence of success

Measuring the effectiveness and success of any training programme is essential. It is important that the participants/ trainees are able to demonstrate an improvement in their productivity and development of skill related to the training programme. Whether a particular training programme was successful or not is judged by how effectively the trainees or learners were able to gain knowledge and skills that are relevant to them, whether they could put what they learnt into practice and improve their work performance, and whether the training helped in achieving the pre-defined learning objectives. An analysis of the feedback received from the participants for the training programmes conducted at our college reveals an average effectiveness rate of more than 90%. Training programmes on topics such as Dynamic Growth with Gratitude, Pranic Healing, Waste Management, Improving Concentration and Confidence, and Stress Management were in the nature of information sharing sessions and hence their effectiveness could not be measured in terms of time frame of 1 month, 3 months and 6 months. However, knowledge gained by the teaching faculty from training programmes on practical topics such as Online Teaching Tools, Preparing Research Proposals and Publishing Research Papers, Bloom’s Taxonomy and Awareness of ISO 9001-2015 was beneficial to them since they could practically implement it in the relevant aspects of their work life.

Problems encountered and Resources required

Initiating a comprehensive and systematic teacher training programme is not without its fair share of challenges. Once the training needs of the teaching faculty are identified, the first challenge is selection of the precise training programmes to cater to the identified needs, in order to achieve targeted and tangible results. Certain skill sets such as class control, etiquette, organising and planning, decision making, conflict management and administrative skills are especially tricky since they are general in nature. In addition, it is imperative to keep track of the latest developments in the academic field and to ensure that the required training on those developments is imparted to the faculty without much delay. Getting competent and qualified trainers with strong content knowledge, requisite experience and expertise, effective communication skills and creativity is the most significant challenge to be tackled, since the success of any training programme is largely driven by the efficacy of the trainer. Also, for training programmes on topics of a general nature, it is difficult to measure effectiveness in terms of a time frame of 1 month, 3 months and 6 months.

Notes

The output and the feedback of these programmes have validated our efforts in organising these training programmes. It is essential to organise these sessions since faculty members need to keep themselves updated not just with the latest developments in their fields but also the professional skills that are essential today. This improves the quality of their teaching and in turn helps them to prepare the learners for the industry of their choice.


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