This appeared as Head Line on the Page 1 of The Times of India 17 November 2017, Bangalore Edition. Bill Gates further added about India that “Most trends are positive, but my biggest disappointment when it comes to India is the education system. It should be far better. I don’t want to be critical, but I do want to create higher expectations about it”.
There must be several reasons for Bill Gates to get disappointed with the Education System of India: the syllabus, standard to teachers, methods of teaching, lack of facilities in schools/colleges, impractical aspirations of parents, lack of interests by students, still prevalent dogmatic approach for the education of girl child and many more. One of the most important aspect of the education anywhere in the world is the standard of teachers/educators. In India the standard of a teacher, from the most worshipped “Guru” has deteriorated considerably, as to what I have seen in my life time itself.
The team of SatysSparks (www.satyssparks.com) has endeavoured to do its bit in improving the standard of teachers by introducing Gallup Strengths-Based Programmes for the teachers. The intention is to create Good to Great Teachers. In the last 12 months we have coached 103 Professors, Assistant Professors and Teachers in Strengths-Based Programme. The programme involved: taking CliftonStrengths Assessment, knowing their Talents, converting talents to strengths and how to leverage their strengths to become to become great teachers.
The data of 103 coached teachers in graphical and word cloud forms is shown below.
A very brief analysis of data reveals that, besides having Technical Knowledge of the subjects, a good teacher must have certain talents/strengths.
The study of talents/strengths of 103 teachers indicate that their top two talents/strengths are Learner (48) and Responsibility (40). A Learner has been defined by Gallup as “People strong in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve.” A teacher’s learner talent/strengths will be able to (1) impart his/her latest knowledge learnt to students (2) his/her quest for learning can inspire and kindle fire into students’ brain to acquire knowledge and skills of unlimited dimensions.
Responsibility as a Talent/Strengths has been defined by Gallup as “People strong in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.” A teacher with Responsibility can enthuse any student to become a responsible student with honesty and loyalty. Honest to self, honest to studies, honest to parents and honest to the nation and to become an honest world citizen.
The next group of Talents/Strengths are Harmony (33), Consistency (29), Includer (27) and Restorative (26). In this I would just like to highlight the Restorative talent/strengths of a teacher. Restorative talent/strength has the capability to bring back a student from a wrong path to a right course of study and behaviour.
The next cluster of talents/strengths are Ideation (21), Achiever (21) Strategic (20), Relator (19), Input (19), Developer (18), Connectedness (18), Deliberative (16), Focus (14). All these talents could be considered essential for a teacher, but the best of these which I think may be one of the important one is Developer. These talents/strengths will enable teacher to treat student(s) like a budding plant which requires nourishment.
The final cluster about which I would like to mention are Maximizer (12), Communication (12), Futuristic (11), Empathy (11), Self-Assurance (10) and Analytical (9). Maximizer will ensure perfection in the academic standard and of course one with the Communication talents/strengths would have no difficulty in passing down his/her ideas and thoughts to students.
Other talents/strengths as shown in the graph are also important but this group of 103 teachers had less numbers in this cluster.
Strengths-Based Programme will play several roles in becoming great teachers:
- Leveraging his/her strengths to teach;
- Leveraging his/her strengths in guiding students to right path;
- Restoring confidence of students who are lagging;
- Leverage their specific strengths to become an effective and better teacher;
- Will can provide professional and guidance and be mentor to students;
- Will bring about harmony in their understanding of each other;
- Will improve their communication skills;
- Will understand strengths based team and bring about a change amongst participant;
- Will be able to understand leadership and leverage this to set example to students;
- Will understand emotional intelligence and use their talents for better understanding of self and students;
- Learn how to set SMART goals and how to realise these goals. This will also include planning……. Twin aspects of goal setting and realisation will have profound impact on the standard of teaching.
In case teacher knows the talents/strengths of students, it will simplify the process of teaching. Teachers will teach students in commensurate with their strengths. And finally create a teaching fusion of his/her strengths with that of students.
I am waiting for that golden period to arrive—– when the strengths of teacher will be fused with the strengths of students to bring about a revolution in the education in India.