Vatsalyam's 1-day Teachers Workshop, March 16, 2013

As part of the ongoing restructuring exercise, 'Vatsalyam' is reaching out to a new segment whose role is of critical importance in nation building- Teachers!

A 1-day Workshop for teachers of Chennai (Corporation) High Schools & Higher Secondary Schools in and around Ashok Nagar was conducted on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at the Chennai (Corporation) High School, Jafferkhanpet to achieve the following objectives:

  • To highlight the critical role of the teacher in the overall development of the students

  • To enrich their domain experience of teachers by exposing them to the success stories of some individuals and institutions

  • To encourage them to adopt student-specific teaching methods after due consideration of the student's socio-economic milieu and psyche

Starting off with the traditional lighting of the lamp and the Thamizh thaai invocatory song, the purpose of the workshop was unveiled by Shri. Mu.Shivalingam , Senior Journalist, News Division, Jaya TV in his welcome address.

Delivering the inaugural address, Shri.V. Muralidharan, Founder/Managing Trustee, Sevalaya Trust, Chennai underscored the relevance of the teachings of Gandhi, Bharatiyar and Swami Vivekananda and the need to apply them today in the field of education.

How the attributes of the teacher have changed over time from a scowling cane-wielding demon who terrorized students into getting a poem or arithmetic table by rote to a suave and considerate facilitator of knowledge transfer was explained with humorous anecdotes by Shri. Mohan, President, Gandhi Education Centre, Chennai. He urged teachers to eschew corporal punishment in all circumstances and develop patience and perseverance, the two prerequisites for the profession.

Dr.A.Annamalai, Gandhian thinker & Director, Gandhi Education Centre, Chennai stressed the need to focus on children handicapped by unfavourable social, domestic and economic environment and strive for uplifting them through special attention and counseling.

The highlight of the event was the first person account of Mahesh, a plus 2- student from a Corporation Higher Secondary School written off as a wastrel by most teachers, as to how he achieved a turnaround in his performance level after the attention lavished on him by a group of teachers.

In another moving speech, a Chennai Higher Secondary School teacher recounted her struggle in successfully weaning a high school boy from drug abuse and how she brought him around to a disciplined life with a marked improvement in his academic performance. It was revelation to most teachers present in the audience that after all the initial derision, resistance and cynicism, the initiative received wide acclaim and went on to become a project in its own right named after the boy and enthusiastically monitored & mentored by all the teachers.

A 30 min. projection of some poignant scenes from 'Taare Zamin Par', Hindi feature film neatly edited and subtitled evoked a spirited response from the audience.

This was followed by a group discussion wherein the participants were divided into six groups and each of which assigned a leader and a topic for discussion.

After reports of the discussions were read out by each group leader, Smt. N.Latha, Joint Director, Primary Education, Government of Tamil Nadu delivered the valedictory address in which she exhorted teachers to adopt student-specific teaching methods and to make learning a joyous experience in itself.

The proceedings ended with the Vote of Thanks proposed by Shri.S.Balachandran, Secretary, 'Vatsalyam' followed by the National Anthem.

51 teachers from various Chennai (Corporation) schools in Jafferkhanpet, MGR Nagar and Kanniyappa Nagar, participated in the event.

Encouraged by the overall response to this endeavour from the teaching community, 'Vatsalyam' proposes to conduct such events in Chennai in the next academic year.

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