Un-learning and Re-learning Teaching
Two-day Workshop by Dr. Nachamma Sockalingam
on 19th and 20th of August, 2019
at Vishwakarma University about “Educational Development”
Our world is changing rapidly and vigorously. And with it, every sector of our society must keep updating itself to be relevant and pragmatic. The field of Education is no exception. While values and knowledge form the soil bed for the seed of a young mind, the methods of execution of these values form the sunlight, water and air. A lack of proper balance of these elements, kills the innocent seeds of dreams or stunts their growth. An outdated system of education is not only detrimental, but also acts like a slow poison to the economy.
To pace-up and equip its faculty members with the modern needs of a modern student, and cope-up with the challenges faced by a teacher in a modern world, Vishwakarma University has taken a giant leap forward. The university invited the eminent and internationally acclaimed expert of pedagogy, Dr. Nachamma Sockalingam for a two-day workshop on the 19th and 20th of August, on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), to analyze the issues faced by the teachers on every level, to form a range of different methodologies for teaching, and to implement modern trends in pedagogy to the classroom. With this workshop began a yearlong engagement of Dr. Nachamma with the faculty members, in a collective effort to enhance the teacher and the teaching associated with Vishwakarma University.
Dr. Nachamma Sockalingam is Program Director at the Office of Education, Singapore University of Technology and Design, where she takes care of Learning Sciences Lab. Before this, she was the Assistant Director at the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the Singapore Management University, taking care of Blended Learning, Emergency Preparedness for Teaching and Learning and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning programs. She holds a Ph. D. in Educational Psychology from Erasmus University, Netherlands. Her research interest is Technology-enabled Teaching and Learning Methods. She has published in several peer-reviewed journals, and has presented in various local and international conferences. She is also an expert panel member in NMC-Horizon report 2018, and an Editorial Board Member of Asian Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. She has received several awards for her contributions to education. She is also a Skills Future Fellow- a national-level award recognizing lifelong learning and domain expertise.
The workshop was attended by the Officers of Vishwakarma University, including the President Mr. Bharat Agarwal, Vice – President Prof. (Dr) Wasudeo Gade, and Vice – Chancellor Prof (Dr) Siddharth Jabade, who unanimously believe that it is important to understand the science of teaching. They did not shy away from saying that they as teachers may know a lot about the subject, but how they disseminate that knowledge to the students, is only experience-based. There needs to be a proper understanding of the science involved in this. They also emphasized on the fact that they consider the faculty members as precious assets to the University, and they have always taken every effort to help the teachers groom themselves, academically or pedagogically. The workshop was attended by educators from various faculties of the University, namely, Commerce and Management, Pharmacy, Science and Technology, Art and Design, Journalism and Mass com, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Inter-disciplinary courses.
The Workshop kick-started with an ice-breaking session where Dr. Nachamma asked the teachers about their teaching belief, and what does Faculty Educational Development mean to them. She smoothly moved on to various teaching methods that could be applied to various fields, like Flipped learning, Problem-based learning, Data-specific learning, Case study learning and Project-based learning. While it seemed natural for the teachers to sway towards student-centric ideas, Dr. Nachamma constantly brought them back to educator-centric discussion. She highlighted the importance of becoming ‘smart’ with the smart generation. A study of content, attitude, and behavior is crucial for every teacher. She pointed out the ways to groom an educator’s intellect, which will lead to individual, student-based, and organizational development. The first day of the workshop gave everyone food for thought and cleared their heads regarding misconstrued ideas about teaching, learning and research. The last part of the workshop dealt with the significance of celebrating the art of teaching, which was a great boost of morale for every faculty member.
On the second day of the workshop, Dr. Nachamma enabled the teachers to form groups according to their streams, and come up with a presentation, displaying the following aspects:
1.Gap analysis of the department/faculty/organization
2.Treatment Plan for the gaps
3.Implementation on specific levels
This exercise turned out to be a reality-check for all the different streams, and helped them realize their goals, collectively and comprehensively. The best part about the workshop was that it wasn’t a one-way lecture, but a detailed dialogue about the art and science of teaching. The presentations were all collected and sent to the University Officers, to be analyzed and implemented to the best effect. The faculty members are looking forward to more such workshops and analysis this year with Dr. Nachamma. While there are numerous options today that teach how to learn, this workshop helped the teachers to learn how to teach, which is equally important, if not more. Dr. Nachamma left the premises of Vishwakarma University, with a promise to stay connected in terms of further planning and implementation of the discussed ideas.