In his interview with LinkTeachers.com, Dr. Rao defines an effective teacher, his views on education today, sharing his experiences with heaps of learning for the teaching community.
| Dr. T.V. Rao||"Teaching is a profession given to you as a gift." These words come from an author, management consultant, speaker and someone who truly values this profession, a teacher. Dr. T.V. Rao, regarded as the 'Father of Indian HRD' is currently the Chairman of TVRLS, Ahmedabad and has played many pivotal roles throughout his professional life.|
Reaching out to people through his learning, his latest book, Effective People offers a wealth of tips, touching people from several fields and guiding us on how we can be effective as a person.
Congratulations on your new book. Could you tell us what led up to writing this book?
After writing my previous book on Managers who Make a Difference, the first one for the IIMA Book series for IIMAs Golden Jubilee, I kept thinking of "People who Make a Difference" in the lives of others outside the corporate sector and in various professions. My desire to learn and document the lessons from effective people who care for others especially from sectors other than business and industry about whom not much is written or talked about is the main source of this book.
Please share with our teacher members, how can one be an effective teacher...
I have defined an effective teacher or professor in this book as one who teaches well the subject matter he/she is expected to teach and influences the students. First do your work sincerely and effectively, with focus on the learners who come to us to learn. Take initiative and continuously learn. Disseminate your knowledge and learnings within and outside the classroom. Write books, blogs, messages, lessons etc. and share. Today you can publish your thoughts, ideas, experiences and learnings on your own on the net.
Teaching is a profession given to you as a gift. It is a profession that builds intellectual capital for the future. Build your own competence as a teacher. Use your commitment to reach as many as follows. Clarify your own value system and be proud of the good values you have and live and set an example. A few more are described in chapter 6 of my book on professors.
'Effective People' by Dr. T.V Rao
You have taught in several premiere institutes. What according to you is the current status of our education system and what is it that needs to be changed, if at all?
I think Education system is alright but it is some of the educationists who are not alright. Commercialization diverts the attention of even the best people from educational goals to financial goals and that kills the quality of education. Education system needs to be more learner-centric besides curricular-centric. Teachers should interact with students more and share their wisdom. Make students learn more from people than merely from the net and mobiles.
In one of the leading Public Schools of India that produced professionals, civil servants, reformers, scientists and entrepreneurs and business men, most of the senior faculty wanted curricular change that is focused on more studies and more preparation of students to get admitted to IITs and Medical colleges. A young man who studied in the school a few years ago left a lucrative job and joined the schools for small salary. He said that he came all the way from the USA and joined as a teacher for he loved the school, since he grew there as an all-rounder and a god human being because of the kind of liberal system they had. He will have to go back disappointed if they change the system to make it more focused on IITs and Medical colleges than developing good human beings and all-round personalities.
Schools should be platforms to bring out the best talent in students rather than merely produce rote learners of the syllabus taught. Commercialization has made education as a commodity on sale than a multifaceted intellectual capital to be acquired and multiplied.
Is there an experience or a learning from one of your teachers that continues to stay with you?
Not one- many. A science teacher who offered me free tuition and took me along with others when my mother could not afford to pay for the tuition in school. I was lucky to have very friendly teachers in colleges. Both in my B. Ed. at Mysore and M.A. in Osmania University, I had teachers who used to invite us home and made us feel like a part of their family. Udai Pareek used to work for longer hours than his students. The science teacher from my village school used to visit me even at IIMA and feel proud of my own growth and has been a motivator and role model. All experiences I have narrated in the first chapter on my book are from teachers. I am myself a proud teacher and a continuous learner.
"It (technology) should be used to supplement human interaction and liberate from routinization of education and learning to bring more excitement and happiness in learning."
What are your views on using technology in education?
The other day I asked a fourth-grade child the reasons for her preference to stay with her grandfather than his father. He replied that she has access to his cell phone and can watch Disney and other films on YouTube. Technology has become a part of life. It should be seen as learner’s friend than as a teacher’s enemy. Is a great help to reach people and provide experiences that one cannot get easily. A great boon for poor people. It should be used to supplement human interaction and liberate from routinization of education and learning to bring more excitement and happiness in learning. The day it substitutes than supplements teacher, we have lost the game.
How effective are HR practices for educational institutes and the quality of education given?
To the best of my knowledge they are poor. Teacher development, attracting, motivating and nurturing effective teachers does not get the attention it deserves and is least focused. I am afraid schools have become teaching shops- not necessarily of their choice but partly of the choice of the society and competitiveness. Self-renewal of teachers, Headmasters and other educational administrators has become rare and needs to be promoting with all seriousness.
How important is self-assessment for a teacher? Also, does a methodology like the '360 degree' feedback' work effectively in educational institutes?
When I joined IIMA there was student feedback system wherein the students anonymously assessed the faculty and posted their assessments in a magazine with names of each faculty and their ratings on various dimensions. The magazine called 'Indinman' used to reach all the community on how well the professor came prepared to the class, how well is he/she available outside the class, how well she/he taught, evaluated, helpful etc. The ratings were also put on the notice board. Seeking feedback should be a part of continuous development. Teachers should seek some form of 360 or the other. I have given tools of this feedback elsewhere in a book I wrote on 'The Power of 360 Degree Feedback' (by Sage India Publications). I have conducted 360 for teachers and educational administrators in a few institutions and with good results. There is no need to feel insecure to improve oneself, in fact those who seek '360 feedback' should feel.
Thank you for giving us your time. We are sure our readers will gain much from your views.
I thank you for giving me this opportunity. I hope your readers will read this book on Effective People and use it for becoming more effective irrespective of the profession in which they are. It is meant not only for teachers but for all people.
A book that inspires you: 'Leadership Wisdom' by Robin Sharma or 'Who Will Cry when you Die'.
A saying you always pass on: “All are God’s Children” - a personal quote from Ravi J Matthai.
Teaching for you is: a Noble Profession that makes you more effective every day by growing and contributing.
A student of today must look forward to: Learn, relearn and learn continuously from all sources with gratitude.
A message for our teacher members: Keep track of your accomplishments through your students and learn from them to feel more proud and continue to contribute.