Teachers’ Communities of Practice (04.12.2018- 05.12.2018)

Over the last two years, I have visited many schools in Telangana in urban, rural and even remote locations to see how teachers are implementing CLIx modules. The December 2018 visit to Telangana was no different in terms of school locations, but my visit had a different purpose. I went with a mission to understand the impact of online teachers’ Communities of Practice or CoPs, as they are popularly known. The online CoPs use the mobile messaging application Telegram. I visited ZPHS Paidipalli, GHS Kazipet Boys and ZPHS Pulimamidi.

I experienced connection while I heard about a disconnect from my colleague Omkar Balli.

I visited three schools and met many teachers, particularly five mathematics teachers as I actively manage the Telangana mathematics teacher CoP. Of the five, only one teacher had met me in the workshops we conducted in 2017, and only one other teacher had attended CLIx workshops. However, when we met in person, all the mathematics teachers recognised me because of my active participation in the CoP. The sense of familiarity that I experienced was a pleasant surprise, mainly because I had never had a face-to-face connect with four of these teachers. They mentioned specific posts and exchanges in their conversations with me.

I observed continuity of the CLIx programme. Although teachers have not attended workshops in 2018, they were still attempting to implement CLIx modules in their schools to varying extents. Teachers who had attended the workshops and training were sharing their learning with colleagues who had not attended and were including them in the CoP. Some teachers, despite technical difficulties, were implementing CLIx modules in different forms. For example, in ZPHS Pulimamidi, in spite of not having a working computer lab, the mathematics teacher was adapting the module activities and trying them in her classroom. Teachers often post pictures of implementing CLIx modules in schools.

 

  

Sharing ZPHS Paidipalli CLIx Module Implementation on the math CoP group

The strength of CoP is its capacity to provide academic support remotely. Two mathematics teachers developed an educational resource using the CoP as a platform and presented it in the local mela and were proud to be awarded second place.

Omkar, my colleague who reported a disconnect, expressed his experience succinctly, ‘The world in which we work and the world in which teachers work are different’. We attempt to help teachers integrate ICT into classroom teaching-learning. However, CoP use is limited by two things. One, the misconception among many teachers that CoP is only for ICT-related teaching discussions. Two, in schools without computer infrastructure, teachers do not have ICT-related experiences to share on CoP. This perception of the nature of posts needs to change.

 

   

                   Education Resource created by math teachers of ZPHS Pulimamidi

 

Adapting the CLIx Geometric Reasoning module ideas to create a new resource

The majority of India’s children attend government-run schools in rural areas and are also from the most underserved communities, marginalised both socially and economically. The online connect through the CoP among a large number of teachers working in remote locations is marvellous. I feel very optimistic that the CoP as a social learning structure, managed appropriately, will connect the academic world with the teacher’s world and support the teacher’s continuous professional development at scale!

-Bindu Thirumalai
Assistant Professor
RTICT Programme Coordinator
CLIx TPD team

 

 

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