Diminishing Teacher-Student Bond Is the Major Problem That We Face During Online Classes - Asif Iqbal Kakkassery

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

I have been working as a Govt college teacher for 1 year, I do not have many experiences as a permanent teaching faculty. But, before that, I appeared as a tuition teacher at a tuition centre and guest lecturer at Christ College, Irinjalakkuda.

Though there weren’t many things to be kept in mind during this journey, there are few bits that come to my mind. One among such incidents is the moment at which I have to face a terrifying group of students when I was appointed a
reserve officer for the college union election immediately after joining the service.

But on interacting with them later, made me realise that the menacing act was just out of their over-enthusiasm. Within this short time period, I got a lot of opportunities like NSS program officer, study tour coordinator, etc. to be in touch with the students, to understand their problems and solve them. I
strongly believe that in the coming years I will have a lot more experiences.

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

The topic is not so easy to be dealt with. Our education system has both good as well as bad aspects. First of all, let me point out a fault in the question. In my opinion, the Indian education system is not the apt word to be expressed. It is actually the varied culture and federal ruling policy of India that prevents the establishment of common education policy.

As I did my graduation from Kerala and post-graduation from Andhra Pradesh, I have some examples to be pointed out. In Andhra Universities, the medium of instruction is Telugu during graduation and the medium will be switched to English only once they join for post-graduation. We can see Andhra students who only who even the basic terminologies in Telugu in our PG classes.

In Kerala, a similar situation occurs when a student in Malayalam medium school shifts to our English medium school after 10th for his Higher Secondary education. I suggest making necessary changes in all education system to bring a single behaviour to the entire educational policy.

Even in the higher education system, considerable changes have to be made to bring equal basic facilities to all students studying the same course. A student who is pursuing PG in Government college Kasaragod and University college should have the same facilities.

Either improve the basic facilities or if the Government college Kasaragod lacks the facilities, the students should be given permission to use them from the university college. These are some of the changes that are to be made in my

This discussion is taking place just after formulating New Education Policy (NEP-2019) by the central government. I would like to say that I am against most of the changes mentioned in NEP. But let us hope that some good changes will be made during its implementation.

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

In recent days, classes have almost changed to smart classes which help the teachers to use prepared presentations as their teaching aid. Even though there were smart classes in my graduation days (2014), now there are nearly 100% smart classes.

Before the introduction of smart classes, the students had to draw in their minds the images and contents which will enhance their thinking ability but I guess the present generation lack/lose this ability as the entire class and content can be illustrated in the presentation as animations.

For example, earlier, when teachers theoretically explain natural process like rainfall, a student need to imagine all process of evaporation, formation of clouds condensation and finally the rainfall. But it is effortless to understand the process through an animation video.

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

In my point of view, education is an inevitable part of every sector. There might be people who disagree with this, but to attain a job or a position, education is a must. Pursuing higher education will increase your knowledge, will make you adapt to different circumstances and will provide an opportunity to interact with a variety of people with varied style and culture.

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

I don't think so. There are some institutes managed by corporates and religious entities where teaching positions are considered equal to corporate jobs. But teaching positions of meritorious institutes still have a positive reputation.

But there are some suggestions in NEP-2019 to implement a tenure track system for appointing educators which will produce teachers who concentrate more on saving their jobs than the quality of teaching. And this may result in turning teaching positions to a commercial commodity.

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

Under the current scenario due to COVID-19 outbreak, the teaching process makes use of technology in an excellent manner. Diminishing teacher-student bond is the major problem that we face during online classes. Direct interaction is much necessary to keep the students in touch with the class.

We are not able to understand whether the students are able to catch the class. There are even students who join the class and then continue with their own business. These guys will just listen whether their names are being called or not and then they receive the answers to the questions asked to them through WhatsApp from the students who listen.

Even though these are the situations, teachers make use of maximum facilities to improve their teaching ability with the help of advanced technology.

7. Why does India need more educators like you?

Even now I am not a good educator. To be an excellent educator, I have to go miles. But I have many role models from past who's actions and values guide to achieve the goal of becoming a good educator. Coupling the values attained from my life so far with the changes in the new world, I hope, I can become a good educator.

I believe my colleagues are also thinking the same. And together we can direct students to achieve their goals. And I hope that is what the country demand from educators.

Interview By - Benil Joseph

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