Value Orientation in Teacher Education
A. N. Maheshwari
Chairperson, National Council for Teacher Education
Since independence education system in the country has expanded very rapidly. In spite of the recommendation of the several commissions on education that education in human values should be made an integral part of the curriculum, it is hardly visible in the State's schools, perhaps, because of lurking suspicion that value education might be used for religious education. India is a multi-religious country and comprises of multicultural societies. The constitution of the Republic of India is based on the concept of secularism. Therefore, it is imperative to distinguish value education from religious education or even education about religions.
As a result of quick economic growth, influence of western culture, over mechanisation, urbanisation and craving for materialistic life there has been a loss of values and of the value system at the individual level and in the country as a whole. Materialistic needs and never ending lust to earn more and more by putting in less and less effort, therefore, have to be balanced by a value-based life and by inculcation of an attitude that earning money is for leading a respectable life and for helping others who are disadvantaged. Where and when this value orientation should take place in the life of any person? It should begin from home, be buttressed by the community and be entrenched positively by one's school. The kingpin in the schooling process is the teacher. If the teacher is personally committed to the values and practises them in his/her own life, it is a foregone conclusion his/her students will imbibe the values for which teacher stands. It is for this reason only those teachers who leave deep impact on their students are remembered and also revered. Therefore, if values have to be nurtured in children it would be crucial that their teachers function as role models. For helping teachers in internalising values that should be developed in children through the schooling process, making education in human values an integral part of the curriculum of teacher education will be necessary.
Also, the country needs teachers with vision - as good teachers make good schools and a good nation. Teachers are the real masons who lay the foundations of a nation. They can make or unmake a nation. Teachers have to be competent and be committed to their task of nation building by developing values in the future citizens. In the UNESCO Commission Report, Education for the 21st Century - Learning the Treasure Within, emphasis has been laid on reorientation of pre-service and in-service teacher education for enabling teachers in acquiring intellectual and emotional qualities that a nation wants to be developed by them in their pupils. In the National Policy on Education (NPE) and the Programme of Action (1992) emphasis was given to value oriented education, and 10 core elements were made an integral part of the school curriculum. But their transaction has continued to remain fragmented. What is now required is to use the instrument of pre-service teacher education for ensuring that entrant teachers understand holistically the concept of education in human values, and are able to use direct and indirect techniques in formal and informal education for the development of values through the schooling process.
As the world has entered the Information Age another dimension to value education concerns information itself. This is to do with the nature of information.
Information is received by human beings through five senses – the sense of seeing, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Information as any one of us receives it is value neutral. Information of seeing is carried by Electro-Magnetic waves, which consist of vibrations of electric and magnetic fields. These vibrations when received by our eyes are transmitted as signals to the brain. The response of brain to information that is received by it is determined by its sub-conscious mind. A person may feel happy, threatened or worried by what he sees. A piece of rope when perceived as a snake can cause feeling of fear and a snake when perceived as a piece of rope gives the feeling of dealing with a harmless object.
Similarly, when information is received as voice, it comes in the form of physical changes in the medium that carries the sound waves, which generally is air. It comprises of condensation and rarefaction of density of the medium. The audio information through the eardrums reaches the brain. When an audio information reaches the brain response of a listener to that information is also determined by its sub-conscious mind. A listener may perceive it as music and get a feeling of happiness, or may perceive it as noise and become aggressive or get emotionally disturbed. Different types of reactions to an information have nothing to do with its nature. Information can either be an electromagnetic wave or an acoustic wave or even some molecules that may reach the nose. Information does not carry emotions. It is a common reaction to blame the information for the way an individual reacts to it. It is possible to change the quality of response to an information by raising the level of sub-conscious mind to a level of higher consciousness.
Therefore, teachers' will have to provide learning experiences for holistic development of mind, body intellect and emotions. So the challenge of teacher education will be to prepare such teachers as can take care of the holistic education of children. This would require value oriented teacher education.
Some institutions have already developed professional programmes in teacher education in which value education has been incorporated in the curriculum and have been conducting such courses. The Ramakrsishna Institute of Moral and Spiritual Education (RIMSE), Mysore, has been conducting a value oriented B.Ed. course for over 25 years. The question before the teacher education is whether for imparting value orientation of entrant teachers a new course would have to be introduced or the entire programme of pre-service teacher education should be given a value orientation? The answer to this question could be given through a metaphor.
In sweetened milk sugar is not visible but its presence is felt by its pleasant taste. All of us prefer to drink sweetened milk than to drink unsweetened milk and eat sugar afterwards. Therefore, for giving value orientation to the curriculum of teacher education instead of adding to the existing courses a separate course it would be preferable to inseparably integrate value education in it.
There are two challenges that may have to be faced in providing value orientation to teacher education - stability and change. Stability demands preservation of culture and change demands technology. The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) is well aware of this challenge. The foci of its recent initiatives have been on developing resource materials on indigenous thoughts on education and promotion of use of information and communication technologies in school education through teachers. It has been playing the role of an innovator and that of a facilitator at the same time. Hence, the thrust of its recent efforts have been on production of multimedia resource materials on education in human values and conduction of orientation programmes for teacher educators with the help of experts and of institutions, which have specialised in the field of value education.
The NCTE has been conducting orientation programmes on education in human values for teacher educators and repackaging electronically the contributions of the experts and those of the participants. The outcomes of its programmes are distributed to each of its recognised institutions on multimedia CD-ROMs and through the World Wide Web of the Internet. Full texts of publications on value education in easily downloadable form have been made available on the NCTE web site (http://www.ncte-in.org ). Titles related to value education available from the NCTE web site are: Education for Character Development; Education for Tomorrow; Report of the Working Group to Review Teachers' Training Programme; Role and Responsibility of Teachers in Building up Modern India; Gandhi on Education; Sri Aurobindo on Education; and Tilak on Education. The titles of the NCTE CD-ROMs on value education are New Education for New India - Integral Education of Sri Aurobindo, Jeevan Vigyan and Teachers as Transformers. A CD-ROM based on the workshop that was organised by the NCTE jointly with the Chinmaya World Centre will be released shortly. Recently, in December 2001 two workshops on value orientation in teacher education for teacher educators of the Southern States were organised by the RIMSE.
It may be appreciated that the role of the NCTE in bringing any curricular change in teacher education programme, even providing facilitation in integration of education in human values in it, at best, is that of a catalytic agent. What NCTE is trying is to make available a basketful of resource materials on education in human values to teacher education institutions.