Are the teachers in our government schools happy? Like really happy with the work they are doing and the work environment support that they get?
What has happened over the last few decades that everyone is questioning the standard of education in our government schools? Why does historical learning gap in students continues to be our biggest challenge?
And who do you think is best fit to address this? Is it our government school teachers?
They should be. Because it is them who are closest to the students, the school infrastructure and shaping the learning environment.
So, why are these teachers not able to lead the transformation of our government school ecosystem? These teachers are qualified, most come from humble backgrounds, have consciously chosen to work in difficult conditions and are also paid well. You wonder, what else do you need for self inspiration?
We are certain that you would have some thoughts around it. We would like to share an alternate perspective – where we are not looking at teacher skills but a basic human emotion – Happiness.
Ms. Seema Bansal from BCG in her TED Talk recorded in Paris back in 2016 says that Government Schools teachers are very much capable of teaching. They want to be inside the classrooms but they just aren’t. Watch this TED Talk by Ms. Seema where she makes a strong point on govt school transformation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sqeoYOQ4qg
We go back to the same question – As an individual, are the government school teachers happy? Are they being tasked with work which they don’t enjoy? Where has the motivation gone?
With our experience of working with government schools across India, we echo the same sentiments as expressed by Ms. Seema. We have seen teachers work in extremely inhospitable conditions, staying back late to help their students, paying from their own pockets on school’s infrastructure.
Bottomline is, they want to teach. But are we taking away their focus from their core job?
Because firstly, the teachers are overburdened with a lot of additional responsibilities. How much do they enjoy doing these? We don’t know the degree but they certainly do not align with the natural interest of the teachers.
As ecosystem supporters, we are also the culprits. In the wake of improving the learning outcomes, we have been giving such tools to teachers that their maintenance & management becomes a bigger hassle than using them. And then we end up spending so much time in training and re-training the teachers wondering why the desired outcome is not being achieved.
So, what should we do? Start with the correct Goal Setting and then empower them instead of burdening them.
Our primary goal should be to ensure that teachers spend maximum time inside the classrooms teaching their students. That’s their job, that is what they had signed up for and that is what they were trained to do, and that is what will bring the desired outcomes everyone is aiming at.
Once inside the classroom, we need to make the experience of teaching a happy and empowered one. When a teacher can very easily manage the tools given to empower her, she observes her students happily enjoy learning, give her the respect she deserves and genuinely improve their learning outcomes, she needs no further motivation.
If the students perform well in their exam, do good in their lives, as a teacher that’s the highest level of satisfaction you get.
Can technology enable happy classrooms and therefore happy teachers?
There is no proven research on this yet. But there are experiments and observations.
We will share with you ours.
In the video below, Ms. Sonia who is a Science teacher from a government school in Rohtak, Haryana talks about her experience of using learning tablets in her classroom. She has been using them for close to 8 months now. That’s not the important point however.
The key and infact the only thing you should observe in the video is how happy and self inspired she gets when she experiences the transformation in her children. You can see the excitement in her voice and expressions. Watch the video now and then continue reading:
What have these tablets really done to bring such joy to Ms. Sonia? Did they empower her?
To begin with, they have solved the infrastructural barrier for the teacher. She no longer has to worry about storage, charging and their maintenance. Tablets are very easy to use inside the classroom.
Now, because these tablets do not overburden her, it affects the teacher’s psychology as well. How?
- Tablets act like her personal assistant giving her both time and freedom to give attention to every child in her classroom
- Her children are far more engaged than ever before. They are also learning better. This makes her happy
- Her children love and respect her much more for introducing such fun based tools in the class. This drives natural self inspiration. More than ever before, Ms. Sonia is highly committed today to come to school everyday and teach her students
And we have many such countless stories from across India. All pointing to an exciting trend. That if you use technology to enable teachers to do their work and have fun while doing it, it could just be the stepping stone for government school transformation.
Do watch the video of Ms. Sonia, in case you still have not.
Do we just give the tablets and the problem gets solved?
No. You need the right framework.
If you want to know more about how should we structure a tablet based intervention in government schools, click here.
Have you seen or yourself introduced tablets in government schools? What’s your experience? What’s your opinion on introducing tablets for learning in government schools in a guided and easy to manage lab format?