Education Is a Vehicle of Progressive Change in the Society - Dr Durba Banerjee

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1. Tell us more about your experience as an educator.

I am currently a Visiting Faculty at Indian Institute of Management Indore and I teach undergraduate courses under the Integrated Programme in Management. However, my journey as an educator began 11 years back as a Visiting Lecturer at Lady Shriram College (University of Delhi).

As a pursuant of a doctoral programme in Spanish literature, I was encouraged in our Department of Germanic and Romance Studies (University of Delhi) to teach Spanish as a foreign language. Our teaching assignments were a medium to develop a better grasp on the nuances of the language (Spanish) in which we were required to write our thesis, and the tradition still continues in the department.

Since then, I have been fortunate to teach in a variety of places and develop my skills further as an educator. 

2. What is your opinion of the Indian education system, and how would you like to change that?

While our education system has seen many changes with the passage of time, the school systems could benefit greatly with experimentation during the formative years of the students (6-14 years of age). Schools may strive for an activity based teaching approach and a relaxed environment wherein the marks scored ceases to be a measure of one’s learning capacity.

The Finnish models prove that less homework and better school-life balance helps students in the long run. Another great initiative would be the inclusion of gender sensitization exercises within the school system. 

3. What changes in the teaching methodologies have you seen in recent times?

Two changes are quite apparent to the naked eye. Firstly, the Internet has completely revolutionized teaching. Secondly, the methodologies have gravitated more towards better teacher-student dynamics.

The feedback and active participation of the students in class activities and discussions have become crucial to the learning process. To this end, use of simulations, games and audio-visual material in a classroom setting has increased substantially.

4. How does education help one do well in their career?

Apart from helping students understand how the world functions, good education provides them with a platform which allows them to see, evaluate and decide their future career choices. Students from good educational institutions usually land themselves good jobs, and for this reason alone, positions at such institutions are highly sought out.

However, in the long run, career trajectories depend on the individuals, their hard work, the general development of their soft skills and how they embrace their past education and subsequent work experience(s).

5. Do you think teaching as a profession is viewed at par with corporate jobs?

Teaching as a profession is highly respected in the society. However, there is still a significant difference between teaching and corporate jobs in terms of pay scales. 

6. How can we adopt technology to make teaching more effective?

The real benefit of technology is that it has the potential of making learning more engaging. The rise in popularity and acceptance of several technology based ventures such as Byju’s, Khan Academy, Babel, Coursera is proof of the fact. Many of the technology based tools and platforms today allow students to learn at their own pace.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are also being adopted by many educational institutions to further strengthen the learning systems. Online meeting tools like Zoom, Microsoft teams are now being regularly used to deliver classes and webinars, and more so in the current COVID world.

7. Why does India need more educators like you?

It is not really a question of individuals like me. I would strongly argue that India as a nation needs to invest more in education and produce more quality educators in general. As educators, we are given the delicate task of molding young minds and training our future generations.

As teaching and corporate jobs do not enjoy an equal footing, our profession is largely driven by passion towards the craft at this moment in time. But given the right investment in terms of money and other resources, the education sector will attract a wider talent pool and this, in turn, will benefit young India. After all, education is a vehicle of progressive change in the society.

Interview by - Geetika Bali

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