Lifelong Learning is Critical for Our Survival in the 21st Century
In a village, there once lived a painter named Ramesh. He used to sell his mesmerising paintings at Rs. 500 each in the nearby city. His son Romit also wanted to become a painter, so he started taking lessons from his father. Ramesh taught his son how to make paintings and also gave him insights into the process of making great pieces of art. One day, Romit decided to go to the city to sell his first painting. He had put in a lot of effort in creating it and luckily he found someone who was interested in buying it. When he returned home, his father asked him about his experience selling his first painting. Romit let out a long sigh of despair and said, ‘Dad, I sold my first painting, but I am not happy. I could sell it for just Rs.200, but your paintings are sold at such a high price. Is there something that you haven’t taught me?’
Ramesh replied, ‘Come, dear son, I shall share a few more secrets of this art with you.’ After learning new tricks from his father, Romit prepared another painting and was ready to sell it in the city again. This time, he sold this painting for Rs.300. When he returned home, he expressed his discontent and told his father, ‘Dad, I want my paintings to look nothing less than a piece of art displayed in a museum. You sell your paintings at Rs. 500 and my paintings do not fetch that much. I want you to give me more insights into art.’ Ramesh then shared more secrets with his son, and after a few days, Romit was ready with his third painting. To his surprise, he sold this painting at Rs.700 and his heart leapt with joy. He came back home and told his father about this. Ramesh was also happy and asked Romit to take a few more lessons from him. To this, Romit replied, ‘Dad, throughout your life, you have sold your paintings at Rs. 500. How will you be able to teach me how to sell paintings?’
On hearing this, Ramesh replied, ‘My dear son! That’s what you’re going to earn throughout your life. I also said the same thing to my father when I surpassed his earnings of Rs. 300 per painting. And all my life I could not earn more than Rs. 500 per painting. You can progress in life only if you decide to educate yourself each day. Today, you decided that you are educated enough to go ahead in life, but let me tell you, son, this is the end of your success because you have put an end to your learning.’
Learning is a lifelong process. This story very well illustrates that continuous education is crucial and is a vital component in our success and growth. In a similar manner, learning is a key factor for a teacher’s growth. Teacher education is recognised as a continuous process, coextensive with teaching. This education can be in the form of in-service training, workshops, seminars, conventions etc.
In-service training acts as a catalyst in a teacher’s effectiveness. It is also a means by which the facilitator updates the skills and knowledge of the teachers to enhance their performance in the classroom.
‘A teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame.’ R.N. Tagore.
Teachers are regarded as the hub of educational development. Such training upgrades the professional skills, pedagogical knowledge and competence of teachers. Effective teacher learning and professional development is important for students achieving great heights.
Following are the needs and importance of teacher training.
Education is dynamic
Dynamism is the key characteristic of education.
Education is evolving with each passing day and never remains static. Educational theories that were considered relevant twenty years back no longer hold good. Thus, teachers who completed their formal education years back must receive training to keep themselves updated with the pedagogical and technological advancements. They must have up-to-date knowledge of new problems, new methods and new techniques in education.
Networking with educationists
Seminars, workshops and training programmes give teachers an opportunity to connect with other like-minded people who have common interests, primarily aimed at making a change in their students’ lives. It also helps in building relations and to strengthen existing relationships so that they can support each other in overcoming the challenges faced in the teaching-learning process. Such programmes help to develop and disseminate innovative educational techniques and practices, and the shared experiences, skills, expertise, knowledge and wisdom enriches the teachers.
Professional and personal growth
In-service training and development is important for the professional and personal growth of teachers as well. Such training help to enhance their knowledge and broaden their horizons, and help them stay updated with the latest developments in the educational domain. Such trainings also build and maintain enthusiasm amongst the teachers.
In an era of swift transformations, education is experiencing a paradigm shift, which requires teachers to take up new roles to meet the challenges of educational reforms. So it is important for teachers to stay in touch with the latest pedagogies and this cannot happen without continuous education. It, therefore, goes without saying that education is a lifelong process.
Every teacher is a student
‘Every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better,’ says Dylan William, British educationalist and Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at the UCL Institute of Education. A teacher occupies a significant position in the lives of students. So teachers should step into their students’ shoes and be willing to learn so that they can make a difference in their students’ lives.