From lesson plans and topic-specific training to courses on child sexual abuse and corporal punishment, the Delhi State Council for Education Research and Training (SCERT) is working on adding in-service training for school teachers online.
Currently, SCERT provides topic- and lesson-specific training only for teachers of classes IX and X in mathematics, science and English, via a mobile app called ChalkLit, developed by NGO Million Sparks Foundation in 2016. SCERT director Sunita Kaushik said efforts are now on to provide similar training for classes IV and V teachers in mathematics, and for subjects in classes XI and XII as well.
Kaushik said the push to train teachers online was prompted by limitations of time and space: “Through the app’s modules, we are able to reach out to 6,000-7,000 teachers at a time. We lack the space to train so many teachers face-to-face. Also, training in large numbers can dilute the content. Here, teachers can respond individually to the training, and there’s also a ‘teachers’ chaupal’, where they can get queries cleared by their peers. Their routine work is also not disrupted, which is important, given the large number of teaching vacancies in government schools.”
The modules are generally for around 10-15 working hours, and teachers are given 15-20 days to complete them. They are then tested on the app and those clearing it with 40% and above are given a certificate of completion. Kaushik said the aim is not to substitute face-to-face training but to “supplement” it.
A teacher of classes IX and X said the app has useful teaching resources: “There are videos and other content for specific topics, which we can use to make classes interesting. But it lacks space for teachers to discuss things, as the main issue we face is keeping students’ attention.”
SCERT has also given courses on child sexual abuse and corporal punishment, vetted by Delhi State Legal Services Authority, for teachers via the app.
However, some teachers are critical of using an app for developing teaching capacity. “The app is making the entire process faceless and is using a one-size-fits-all approach to teachers’ and students’ needs, especially for complex issues like child sexual abuse,” said an English teacher.
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