Plenary Lecture Abstracts
[Abstracts of Lecture delivered during Plenary Sessions of Conferences/Seminars by Dr. Chandrasekharan Praveen]
Last updated 17 March 2014
1. Lecture entitled Empowering Teacher Education : Chipping in with ICT at the Third Two-Day National Seminar on Recent Advances and Future Trends in Teacher Education organized by Excel College of Education on 1st & 2nd April 2011.
Teacher Education programmes vary in their structure, goals and organizations around the world. But, an attempt to provide regular opportunities and experiences in a planned and systematic way to promote growth and development has been welcomed by educators everywhere. One significant and perceivable emphasis is the insistence on acquisition of knowledge and skills on how to use technology in the curriculum.
This presentation will highlight attempts made by leading institutions in select countries to incorporate technological resources and tools to transform teacher education programmes. It will throw light on ways of employing ICT resources for making instructional strategies and learning environments more effective. In addition to introducing participants to innovative teaching methods and trainee-tasks using ICT, some ways of teacher educator empowerment through ICT resources will also be suggested. It is hoped that this presentation which intends to make use of video-based resources would provide sufficient input for participants to reflect on the recent advances and future trends in teacher education.
2.Lecture entitled Mustering a modus operandi from the modern methodological matrix at the UGC sponsored National Seminar on Models of Teaching at MES College Marampally, Aluva on 20th January 2012.
For almost a century (1840-1940), foreign language teaching around the globe employed the Grammar Translation Method. With the realization of the need for proficiency in communication and oral proficiency in language learners, the search for suitable language teaching methods began and is still continuing.
Quest for the new...
With the growth of Linguistics as a discipline, there was an emphasis on a scientific analysis of language. Soon speech patterns began to be seen as fundamental elements of language. The Direct Method (which attempted to teach English through English), the Structural Approach (a grammar-based method) and the Communicative Approach with a focus on communication were popular between 1950 and 1980. In milder forms, they continue to find their presence even today in English Course Books.
The shifting sands...
The growth of Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) and the plethora of new approaches to language teaching such as Total Physical Response, Task-based language teaching, Whole language approach etc. have led to the emergence of multiple paradigms of language instruction in the 1990’s.
A new orthodoxy...
Today, local-specific language teaching methodologies have emerged. More than ever before theorists, linguists, Educational Psychologists and an ever growing army of language teachers have begun to have a major say in the selection and implementation of need-based language teaching methods.
A mirror of the times...
Methodologies to language teaching, we know, are products of educational systems popular at a particular point of time. And so, just as ideas that have a habit of coming in and going out of fashion, teaching methods too have continued to wax and wane in popularity.
Affirming teacher role...
Gone are the days when it was taken for granted that anyone could teach English. The insistence on possessing a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in English for teaching English does in some way guarantee the teachers’ linguistic competence, but not necessarily teaching ability.
Changing times, we know, require a changing pedagogy. The learners of today are not the kind of learners we had a couple of decades ago. Hence, the quest for a language teaching strategy that guarantees an improved linguistic proficiency of the learner, continues for teachers of English.
Suggesting a modus operandi...
Modern Language Education syllabuses are replete with methods and practices. While some are complex and teacher-centred, some are trendy and humanistic. This presentation will attempt a brief review of modern language teaching methods and showcase some practices which would enable one to evolve a personal modus operandi from the modern methodological matrix.
3.Lecture entitled Sheltered Instructional Strategy For UG Classrooms - A Proposal for Improving Proficiency in English at the National Seminar on English Language & Literature organized by ELTIF in association with Vidyamandir College, Payyanur from 1st to 3rd June 2012.
Literature-based language teaching and the use of Communicative English syllabuses have already been attempted in colleges across the country. In recent times, in some States, there were attempts at introducing Constructivist practice in classrooms. Yet, falling levels in English language proficiency of Under Graduate students is found to be a common problem in our country.
For Curriculum developers and teachers alike, there is one simple goal in teaching English – viz; helping students to quickly develop proficiency in English. But, conflicting ideologies and competing approaches/ methods to language teaching have continued to confuse many educators. To overcome a similar situation which arose in some institutions in the US, Sheltered Instruction (SI) was attempted with a fair degree of success.
Drawing on research findings and reports of SI, this paper proposes the introduction of Sheltered Instructional strategy as a panacea for the poor proficiency in English of students at the Under Graduate level. The paper will also present a modified version of SI, that can work in UG classrooms in the country.
Key words: ELT, Proficiency in English, Sheltered Instruction, Under Graduate
4.Lecture entitled Web 2.0 Pedagogy for QA in Teacher Education at the NAAC sponsored National Seminar on Quality Assurance in Teacher Education in the Digital Age – Issue and Challenges organized by Mount Carmel College of Teacher Education for Women, Kottayam on 12th & 13th June 2012.
It is common knowledge that the quality of the work undertaken by a teacher has significant effects upon his or her students. And those who pay teachers' salaries- be it through taxes or through school fees- expect value for their money. Over the years, many countries have explored several avenues for measuring the quality of work of individual teachers, educational institutions and education systems. The Quality Assurance Framework together developed by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council of India (NAAC) is one such venture.
The past decade has opened up a dream space through Web 2.0 Pedagogy. To the daring techno savvy teachers, it was a dream of enabling students to swim like fish in the Web 2.0 ocean of blogs, wikis, podcasts and social networks. Some institutions attempted to explore the potentials of Online learning and Virtual Class rooms. Energized by an affinity towards Social Constructivist principles, the field was destined to be a source of wisdom for students. But in many educational institutions, strict quality control standards and procedural norms did not exist. So it had not been possible to effectively exploit the potential of Web 2.0 Pedagogy.
This presentation will attempt to identify ways of ensuring Quality Assurance in Teacher Education through the introduction of Web 2.0 resources in each of the six key areas identified by COL and NAAC. That is, in 1. Curriculum Design & Planning 2. Curriculum Transaction & Evaluation 3. Research Development & Extension 4. Infrastructure & Learning Resources 5. Student Support & Progression 6. Organization & Management
A few Web 2.0 pedagogic strategies for Teacher Education which will be illustrated include: Ways of providing digital learning; Use of multimedia e-portfolios; Identifying advantages of networking of teacher education institutions; Listing down ways of conducting research through Web 2.0 resources; Identifying the use of Web 2.0 tools for developing thinking, communication skills and Multiple Intelligence and illustrating the scope of Learning Management Systems. The presentation will also suggest a Check List to ensure that QA is maintained for the Web 2.0 pedagogic strategies.
5.Lecture entitled Educational Renaissance Through Reform, Transformation & New Indexes at the UGC Sponsored National Seminar on Educational Renaissance for a New Generation organized by St. Thomas College of Teacher Education, Pala, Kerala on 29th November 2012.
“It’s not about perfect. It’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s how change occurs…” -Jillian Michaels
The idea of a ‘renaissance man’ suggests individuals like Da Vinci, who dabbled not only in art as is commonly thought, but possessed a profound knowledge of several branches of knowledge-Engineering, Physics and Natural Science, to name a few.
Changing times, require a change in focus of education too. What kind of skills and competencies do students require today? Is an attitudinal change necessary for a re-birth of Liberal Arts in the curriculum? How can we reform our teachers and students so that the products that come out of the portals of Higher Education in the country, approximates the ideal of the ‘Renaissance man’? The author, in this paper, addresses these questions and goes on to suggest a way out through a reformation and transformation of the present education system. And to achieve these, a few new indexes which need to be introduced are recommended.
Key words: Renaissance, Reformation, Transformation, New Indexes, Education, Liberal Arts.
6.Lecture entitled Fusing Video Modelling with Micro Teaching at the International Conference on Teacher Education: Meeting The Needs of the New Generation organized by Dr. Sivanthi Aditanar College of Education, Tirechendur, Toothkudi, Tamilnadu on 24th & 25th January 2013.
As an instructional technique, Video Modelling is employed to teach specific skills. In a teacher training programme, it can be fruitfully employed to evoke interest and gain knowledge about performance of target skills. Micro Teaching with its scaled down time and number of students simplifies the complexities of the teaching act thereby enabling teacher trainees to better understand the value and meaning of the teaching skill. But in spite of the acclaimed value of Video Modelling and Micro Teaching, neither finds any mention in the training programme suggested in the BEd. Syllabus of the University of Kerala!
As per the Kerala University Academic Calendar, trainees joining a ten-month BEd course have to undertake Practice Teaching within two months of joining the course. The author of this paper, a practicing teacher educator found the time available prior to the commencement of Practice Teaching particularly short. Paucity of time even became problematic. In an attempt to address the issue in question, the author attempted an integration of Video Modelling using edited clips, video recordings of model class room performance and a re-defined Micro Teaching Cycle.
This paper is a report of the innovative strategy employed by the author. The paper will state the methodology employed and show how the present generation of teacher trainees stood to benefit through the strategy.
Key Words: Micro Teaching, Video Modelling, Innovative, Teaching Skills.
7.Lecture entitled Precincts Preventing Dyslexia-A Local Community-based Inquiry at the International Seminar on Thinking of Learning Disabilities Differently or Not at all organized by Centre for Learning Disabilities and Difficulties (CLDD) Dept. of Education University of Kerala & World Council for Curriculum & Instruction (WCCI) on 19th March 2013.
An ongoing study of learner-interaction in select schools in Thiruvananthapuram city led the investigator-cum-teacher educator to identify certain definite behavioural patterns among students belonging to a particular community. A puzzling discovery was also made-viz; the conspicuously low reported cases of Dyslexia or ADHD in children from the ‘particular community’. Data collected from the BEd trainees who taught the students and the data from the supervising teachers in the respective schools also matched the findings. This prompted the investigator to visit the residential area from which the students hailed and observe them on a periodical basis and study their life style, daily activities including leisure, food and study habits.
Around that time, a report of a study conducted by a researcher on reading appeared in the February issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. Shortly afterwards a researcher had reported studies related to Dyslexia on the Website The Globe and Mail. It stated that although many different factors contribute to Dyslexia, the link between a child’s reading ability and auditory processing skills appears to have a ‘highly significant relationship”. In another study the same researcher has found that there is connection between music and reading.
Drawing on the research findings posted in the Website, the investigator conducted a re-examination of the social life/ activities of the students in the community. This led to the discovery of the prevalence of a peculiar environment and life habit that prevent the rise of Dyslexia in students hailing from the community.
This presentation is a brief report of the findings based on the study conducted. The investigator concludes by suggesting that it is possible to prevent children becoming addicted with Dyslexia/ ADHD, if certain life style and habits are scrupulously followed.
Keywords: Dyslexia, life style, students, community
8. Lecture entitled When Instructional designs vary, are we employing emerging designs ? at the NAAC Sponsored National Seminar on ICT Enhanced Teacher Education Among Disadvantaged Sections: Issues & Challenges For Teacher Educators organized by Internal Quality Assurance Cell, Avila College of Education, Cochin on 17th & 18th May 2013.
Four very popular instructional designs explored until recently include Bloom’s Taxonomy, Multiple Intelligence, Inter-disciplinary study and Models of Teaching. Quite recently an onslaught of instructional practices drawing on the philosophy of Paulo Freire swept through curricular practices in school education. And, as if to fall in line with a sociological phenomenon - what affects one, affects another- curricular reforms now in progress at the Under Graduate (UG) level has begun to reflect traces of the school curricular practices!
When the time was ripe for a complete overhaul of instructional designs, UG curricular practices blindly adopted Constructivist practices, with an avarice to gorge up ‘issues’, giving the impression that it is the highest form of education possible, as it activates ‘mental processes’ which was hither to neglected.
But the technological revolution, coupled with the birth of the ‘Digital Native’, has ushered in instructional practices focussing on a multimodal design. The author of this paper attempts an illustration of multimodal instructional practices prompting teacher educators to attempt a critique of ones own instructional practices. The author also affirms the need to insist on the production of digital materials as Course Work to ensure that teacher trainees are receptive to the emerging concept of Multimodal design.
Key words: Instructional Designs, Multimodal design, Teacher Education
9. Lecture entitled Relevance of Ancient System of Education in India to Present Day during the National Seminar on Philosophical Foundations of Education in Ancient India and its Relevance to Present day Context organized by SCSVMV University, Kanchipuram, November 2013
A publication of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, (Kane, P.V. History of Dharmasastras) outlining the educational system in the Dharmashastra affirmed the high and honourable position assigned to the teacher, the close personal contact of the pupil with the teacher, the individual attention, the pupil’s stay with the teacher as a member of the family, oral instruction, the absence of books, stern discipline, control of emotions and the will, and the absence of fees. Several other scholars have highlighted the uniqueness of the Vedic system of education which had liberation as an aim, and the attainment of knowledge through ‘Shravan’(hearing), ‘Manan’(meditation) and ‘Nidhidhyasan’(realization). Both Manusmriti and Yajnavalkyasmrti had laid down rules for the life of a student as a Brahmachari in the Gurukula with the teacher variously called ‘acharya’, ‘guru’ and ‘upadhyay’. The whole purport of education was essentially, the moral and intellectual growth of children.
This presentation while affirming the significance and relevance of the ancient system of education in India, will focus on the teaching of morals. Since ancient times, words of wisdom were transferred to the community through literary gems like the Panchatantra and the Jataka Tales. Gurus and grandparents saw in stories an indispensable tool for not only alluring the young, but also for nurturing right thoughts and values. Today, the fascination for the story form continues and instead of the traditional oral mode, animated digital versions of the ancient tales of wisdom are the preferred mode for nurturing moral values in children. In the course of the presentation, the author will attempt to analyze this current fashion among teachers particularly at a time when story-narrating grandmothers are becoming increasingly absent in nuclear families in modern India.
10. Lecture entitled The Indian Education System during the International Seminar on Bridging the Gaps: Education, Language and Culture organized by the School of Distance Education, University of Kerala and the Faculty of Education, Canterbury Christ Church University on 22 and 23 January 2014
The presentation will attempt to provide a bird’s eye view of the education system in India. It will begin by tracing its roots to the Vedas, the high esteem in which the guru and teacher was held in society and the Gurukula system which is unique to India. References are also made to ancient Indian Universities like Nalanda and Taxila.
The contributions of the British to the Indian Education System, facts and figures relating to institutions of higher learning in India- the IIT’s and IIM’s and major agencies of education like the NCERT will also be mentioned.
The National Policy of Education 1986, the changes in Primary Education particularly SSA, secondary and tertiary education will also be briefly mentioned.
The lecture will be supplemented with a handout and illustrative visuals and videos which will enable the participants to gain a fair understanding of the Indian Education System.
11. Key note address during the national Seminar on Promotion of Values and Ethical Standards in Teacher Education organized by TDACE, Kannirajapuram, Tamil nadu on 24 January 2014
Values are a set of desirable behaviour which if followed is good for the individual and also the society. An unique advantage of values is that they can become standards to be used for making judgments.
Ethics basically is a science of discrimination between the right and the wrong. Ethical standards are principles when followed, promote values such as trust, good behaviour and /or kindness. Given the fact that teacher educators have a seminal role to play, they are expected to display sound professional ethics. But do they? In this presentation an attempt will be made to identify the current climate in teacher education which is frustrating educationists everywhere.
Constructive suggestion including the maintenance of certain ethical standards of practice which focus on students and student learning, professional growth of teachers and the role expected to be played by the managements of educational institutions to promote a culture of proper values and ethics will also be made in the Key note address.
12. Lecture entitled Need for Fine Tuning Student Behaviour during the National Conference on Fine Tuning Student Behaviour organized by Gnanamani College of Education, Namakkal, Tamilnadu on 27 January 2014
The behaviour of students, particularly those of college students is becoming a cause for concern. The attempts at enforced discipline in campuses or planned sessions on Moral Education have all failed to create any positive impact on the student community. Parents point an accusing finger at teachers and the latter blames the parents themselves, society and the Media for the pathetic state of affairs.
Illustrative visuals and videos will be shown to identify the current need for fine tuning student behaviour. At any rate, the fact remains that violent juvenile crime, embezzlement, the addiction to drugs etc. have all resulted in a moral crisis. The special habits and interests of the Net Generation, the rise of nuclear families with reduced parental attention, the sense of freedom which they display have all made it imperative to address the issue failing which the state of affairs is likely to bounce out of control.
In this presentation an attempt will be made to suggest a workable strategy to fine tune the behaviour of the students of the present generation. Certain essential values which the students need to possess and the ways of nurturing the same will also be mentioned in this presentation.
13. Lecture entitled Pedagogical Base of ICT for the Digital World during the International Conference on Redesigning Teacher Education for Value Addition organized by Immanuel Arsar College of Education, Marthandom, Tamilnadu on 28 January 2014
The present generation of learners- those roughly born after 1980, have grown up in an environment surrounded by media and computing. According to Diana Oblinger (2006) by the age of 21, the millennial students will have spent 10,000 hours playing video games, sent 20,000 e-mails, watched 20,000 hours of television and spent 10,000 hours on a cell phone.
Research conducted on the Net Generation have shown that they share certain common characteristics. These include among other things, a tendency for multitasking, a need for immediacy in receiving information and a preference for social activities. In fact, these ‘Digital Natives’ are independent learners, who are totally comfortable using the all-but-unlimited informational resources of the Internet.
A paradigm shift is also perceivable today. Until very recently the teacher was considered the all important provider of knowledge. Today, the teacher is only one of the providers of knowledge. A host of providers from CD ROM’s and the Internet to videos and social networking sites perform the role effectively. So with new generation learners, new learning environment and new learning media, one is bound to ask what exactly should be the expected competency of the new generation teacher.
This presentation will identify the changing role of the teacher and the learner and suggest appropriate changes in pedagogy which involves among other things, a change from blackboard / book to the use of multimedia, the need for teachers to acquire the skill for exploiting Internet resources and the need for students to acquire in addition to basic computer skills, the skill of information processing. Mention will also be made of the current trend in institutions of higher learning to liberally using different digital tools and resources and also in developing need-based e-content materials. The modern practice of networking and staying connected for the purposes of learning and the special role that the managements of educational institutions need to play in the changed scenario will also find special mention.
14. Lecture entitled Innovative Tasks Through Film Reconstruction using ICT Tools during the UGC Sponsored National Seminar on Application of ICT in Developing the Speaking and Listening Skills of Undergraduate Learners,
organized by the Department of English, SNM College, Malinkara, Kodungallur, Kerala from 29 to 31 January 2014
The growth of technology has ushered in changes in almost every sphere of life. Education, particularly language teaching and learning is no exception. The present generation of learners dubbed ‘Digital Natives’ are ‘wired and connected’ for long periods of time. They are adept and comfortable at receiving and communicating information using multimedia devices. Naturally, print-based materials used as language learning materials are not likely to invite sustained attention and interest in learners, especially teenagers.
Studies have shown that film ‘help learners experience real language in context, serve as an optimum source for learners to acquire useful vocabulary, provide learners with an insight into new cultures, aid learners to understand and recognize different accents, help learners improve their own pronunciation, as well as other language areas via the regular exposure to the moving image’ (Lowe: 2007:16-17). The verbal and visual components of film potentially provide a best fit to the characteristics of the present Net Generation of students. In this presentation, an attempt will be made to share an innovative use of Film for ELT tasks. It is based on the author’s own experience of using film for teaching.
The strategy suggested is a film-focused method of interaction. A short film is reconstructed using ICT tools and is presented to elicit varied responses. It aims at fostering language use in teenage learners. It is hoped that this idea would stimulate teachers to explore similar ways of using film to make English language learning interesting.
Key terms: ELT tasks, ICT Tools, Net Generation
15 Lecture entitled The ‘Must have’ and ‘Good to have’ Soft Skills- A Relook during the UGC National Level Staff Seminar on Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education organized by IQAC, Sri Sarada College for Women (Autonomous), Salem on 15 March 2014.
Soft Skills at its simplest is doing the right thing at the right time, and doing it nicely. (Joubert et al) They have an important role in shaping an individual’s personality. But employers have often noted a lack of Soft Skills among graduates passing out from tertiary education institutions. If quality issues are to be addressed, in addition to focussing on academic work, due attention should be given to developing Soft Skills too.
Many institutions have in recent years implemented training in Soft Skills. Some major Soft Skills which invariably find a place in such training programmes include Communication Skills, Thinking Skills, Problem Solving Skills, Team work and Cultural sensitivity. A review of the content of the Soft Skills will reveal that they all comprise various sub skills which can be perceived as ‘must have’ and ‘good to have’. The author of this paper lists down the various sub skills and attempts a critique-cum-reality check of the fulfilment level of the same in training programmes. The author believes that such a critique would help those who implement Soft Skills training to reorient their programmes if necessary to address the needs of the global job market.
Key Words: Soft Skills, Training