Daood Khan Ramayani recites the ‘Ramcharit Manas’. Those who know him, affectionately call him ‘Guruji’.
The teacher is central to the teaching - learning process, whatever a school’s policies, whether private or public, whatever board it has chosen to adopt. The teacher is an essential component of the success of the process. This being the case it is essential to consider what ‘creates’ a good, effective teacher and what sustains her and , through her, the framework of the school. This Issue is aimed at not only teachers and teacher-educators, but also policy makers and observers, in short, anyone with an interest in education. The focus articles deal with the policy and practice of teacher development and suggests alternatives while two more examine gender sensitisation and pre-service teacher preparation discussing in considerable detail the curriculum and its realities. This is followed by articles from practitioners across the field, from both private and public institutions. Teachers have recounted their experiences on the ground. There are critiques of the present system holding up practices against the light of theory, while some teachers have described their positive encounters, testifying to the dedication of colleagues working with enthusiasm and vigour in remote areas, without the help of sophisticated teaching aids.
The theme of public education is one that affects every society across the globe. All over, there has been fundamental dissatisfaction with the systems, though the idea itself is intimately linked with a democratic society: one in which the individual is taught her place in the larger society. In India there has been disaffection with both public and private schooling, especially in urban centres, where private schooling flourishes at exorbitant cost, many times with inadequate space, facilities and less than adequate teaching. Every single person in the country is crucially involved in what form education takes, since it matters to us what the future of our society is going to be. It reveals too the tremendous hope that we all have that there are solutions, elusive perhaps, but they exist and it is for us, and others who follow, to find these solutions. This hope is all the more attenuated when we hear stories, as we do, of our public schools in the remotest of places, where teachers are doing a wonderful jobs, coming to braving the weather, working under very challenging circumstances, their enthusiasm unabated.
The starting point of this issue is Mahatma Gandhi’s Nai Talim which he envisaged over many years and made available in 1937. Children learn by making and doing and it is by relating these two to the larger context that the understanding of the whole picture is obtained. It is this larger picture that this issue has tried its best to present. This issue has also attempted to take a long, hard look at the relevance that Nai Talim has in the India of today, nearly eight decades later. The explorations are on the idea of Nai Talim and the overall visions of a ‘good society’, rethinking Nai Talim in the light of the NCF of 2005, as well as in the present context. This has been done against the background of experiments with present day ideas of education and work. Keeping all this in mind, the way forward is for us, as an emerging society, to draw lessons that help us to create knowledge with an emphasis on values that sustain and are in turn sustainable.
Learning Curve decided to devote this issue to Inclusive Education as a theme. In this issue, readers will find articles on literature for children particularly emphasizing inclusion, on gender stereotyping and an article on RTE and inclusion in schooling, among others. The issue also has an article on teaching language to include, caste as a barrier to education and upward social mobility and, finally, teacher preparedness in curriculum development.
In this issue of the Learning Curve, practising scientists, professors, school teachers and innovators ruminate on the methods and merits of science education. A range of topics from 'why teach science' to 'how to make science fun for children' to 'how to encourage children to take up higher education in science' and 'how critical it is that we have a strong stream of scientists emerging from our education system' are addressed in this issue.
This issue of Learning Curve is devoted to the theme of language learning. In it, students, teachers, field practitioners and academicians talk about what language means to them, its multiple benefits and the issues and challenges associated with its learning.
This issue of Learning Curve is centered on the subject of Mathematics. While one article discusses the very nature of Mathematics, the other traces the history of the subject; similarly while one describes the pedagogy of the subject the other shares insights and the practical perspective of the teacher.
This issue of Learning Curve deliberates on the purpose of social science in society, what the National Curriculum Framework says about the subject, the many moral conflicts while teaching it, pedagogic dilemmas, and a look at social science education across the world. The effort has been to give our readers an honest and comprehensive view of the nature of social science as a subject.
This issue of Learning Curve focuses on 'sports in education' which explores topics ranging from the interpersonal and collaborative influences that sports have on children to the skills it develops, from the harsh realities about why people don't take up sporting careers to the challenges parents face while bringing up sporting kids, from questioning notions of competition in sports to detailing the power of a sporting mind, from examining the contribution of the RTE to revealing the NCF's take on sports education.
This issue of Learning Curve centers attention on the subject of 'school leadership'. It defines the construct and scope of educational leadership, ruminates on whether a school leader ought to be an academician or an administrator, reflects on the challenges of school leadership and explores the forms of school leadership in India.