Thursday, January 23, 2014


Eleven students and I were assigned St. Thomas HS, Karthikapally, for the Initiatory School Experience (ISE) from January 20th to 23rd   2014. ISE is a modified version of the School Visit Program of previous curriculum and it aims to provide student teachers an opportunity to have primary experiences with the functioning of the school. Though general instructions are given in the curriculum document, essential planning and customization at the college level is to be done. This aspect was not properly addressed by the college. Teacher educators provided a few practicum activities in addition to the one given in the curriculum document. At the college level, there was no attempt to integrate various activities provided by teacher educators. Therefore much planning was conducted at the school after the team arrived at the school.
        The program went smooth as planned by the group. The group could undertake all the stipulated activities. The school authorities cooperated excellently with the team and extended all the help to complete various activities. Teachers gracefully permitted student teachers observe their classes. The headmistress arranged required number of classes for each student teacher to engage lessons. Student teachers collected data regarding learning facilities and physical facilities available in the school.
      The group couldn't effectively undertake activities related to the study of the social and familial background of school students. I think there are two reasons for this lapse. One is the absence of proper planning and the other is the general negligence of role familial and social background of students in their learning. A focused attention of this aspect during the planning session will help mitigate this lapse.
      A few suggestions for better implementation of ISE are given below  
1.      Fixing the school and finalizing the students’ list much in advance will help student teachers prepare for the ISE in a planned manner.
2.      A thorough planning at the teacher educators’ level and customization and integration of activities must be undertaken.
3.      Distribute an instruction sheet to each student teacher containing various activities proposed by teacher educators. Core subject teachers may provide practicum works and help plan other general activities and optional teachers may help student teachers plan class observation and class engagement.
4.      A half day visit to the assigned school and meeting the Head teacher and the subject teachers a week ahead of the program will help student teachers plan the activity better.
5.      Distribution of attendance sheet to teacher educators help note down absentees and report the same to the college office.( There are stray cases of absenteeism during ISE)
6.      How to prepare observation notes and class engagement notes must be discussed with student teachers. A few models may be introduced.
7.      Out of school hours or Saturdays may also be included for the effective study of familial and social environment of school students.
8.      A workshop mode embedding constructivist approach will enhance the effectiveness of the program.

Your comments are earnestly solicited.                                  23/01/2014

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