Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Discovering the sole of our roles

It was really a nerve-racking situation for me to make the career choices during my education. My inspiration to be a part of the teaching profession came from the values embedded in the profession. I listened to and considered the expressions of the lips, devoid of judgments and critical thinking on it, but given the truth of maturation and grave reflection of the moment, I ventured into right option of where I am today.
I am a rigid believer and a follower of Buddhism and I have absolute reliance and worship in it. The profound act of generosity, the embedded value, and the truth in it, stand unmoved about the nobility and bear hidden wisdom in it. Genuinely penning down from the pure heart, I made the right choice to be a teacher. Habitually spending a little time to imagine on the insightfulness of teaching world, I dream if I can carry out miraculous in teaching and learning business, but the impossibility intervenes and I am concerned if I can be operational in facing the challenges at the forefront with due consideration of  nature and wide-ranges of a teaching profession.  
Let’s think about what a great responsibility it is to create differences in someone else’s life? It is of-course a noble responsibility that makes a difference in the nation’s most vital resources, the human capital. And also many great people and scholar say that, it is the held responsibility to believe the worth and dignity of each human beings, recognize the supreme importance of the pursuit of true devotion to excel and nurture the democratic principle in learning. It is the professions which is vested by the public with trust and duty that requires the highest ideals of professional services. To be an educator, demands to be mindfully responsible to increases the intelligence of the students through the discipline pursuit of knowledge and be persistent in fostering respect for a life of learning.
To faithfully execute these duties, one should promise to work always to better understand the content, instructional practices and the learners. Seek the policy support to promote quality educational process and outstandingly emulate personal qualities to foster and democratic style of learning. To carry on the profession, we must engage in reflecting practices, considering problems solving and reconstruction. As an educator, one must believe the worth and dignity of each human being, recognizing the supreme importance of the pursuit of truth, devotion to excellence and nurture Gross national happiness values. We must strive to work to stimulate the spirit of inquiry and thoughtful formulation of working goal.
Right now, I believe not, that majority of us are doing enough, with the fact that we are student teachers, but I am sure that, sooner or later as we enter the world of teaching, we would take the responsibilities to exert every effort to raise professional standard, to promote a climate that would encourage the exercise of professional. We are at the premature stage of discovering the sole of the most difficult profession and yet the most important job in the world. We have many lives to touch and many lives to light upon and it is time for us to find the sole of our role.

                             32nd ISfTE Seminar, Educating for GNH: Role of teachers
The 32nd International Society for Teacher Education (ISfTE) seminar was held at Paro College of Education. The focus of the seminar was educating for Gross National Happiness (GNH): The Role of Teachers.
More than 150 professors, educators, scholars, researchers, policy makers and teachers from across 25 countries, including 35 representatives from Bhutan attended the 5 days seminars. The opening ceremony was graced by His Excellency the Minister of Education, Lyonpo Thakur Singh Powdyel on the eve of 20th May, 2012 in the Centenary Lecturer Theater. Also the present were the Secretary General of ISfTE, Dr. Forrest Crawford, Vice Chancellor of Royal University of Bhutan, representative of National Council for Women and Children (NCWC) and Directors of two Education Colleges (Paro and Samtse)
The seminar presented opportunities for teacher educators to exchange global views and experiences in trusting diversity and best practices of teaching. The participants also discussed practical ways to put the conventional practices in formal ways of learning. The principle focus of the seminar was the rich diversity of papers presented by the participants.  The participants worked in small groups during the seminar to discuss the content of papers and provide collegial feedback.  Each day of the seminar began with a keynote speech by prominent educators like Vice Chancellor of Royal University of Bhutan, Dr. Pema Thinley, the Director of Research Dr. Dorji Thinley, Professor Tom Maxwell and the seminar encouraged constructive dialogues on contemporary issues in teacher education which helped participants understand the educational environment of the other countries.
The International Society for Teacher Education (ISfTE) is an independent organization of teacher educators free of external political or economic controls. It is dedicated to the improvement of teacher education in all settings by fostering discussion, critical analysis and dissemination of ideas from research and innovative practice in teacher education. It was formed in 1981 to provide a forum where teacher educators, and those with an interest in teacher training and development, could meet as professionals and discuss their work.
The five day seminar successfully ended on Friday, 25th of May, 2012, with a range of cultural programs performed by the student teachers of Paro College of Education. The 33rd Annual International Society for Teacher Education will take place in Hong Kong in 2013.  

“Regardless of a Learning Center being a fresh concept in Bhutan, Paro College of Education ought to consider itself proud to have the most developed Learning Center, when matched up to other colleges in Bhutan” said Dr. Gretchen Legler, visiting professor at Paro College of Education (PCE).
Positioned in the hub of the academic structure, with extremely welcoming footsteps, beautiful, carpeted room, big transparent window, learner friendly tables and chairs, the beautiful bold tag on the doorway of the Learning Center (LC) sends the message that it is an imperative venue for learning at PCE.
The Director’s dream of a Learning Centre was materialized, when Mr. Roy and Nancy Greenwood, two Canadian volunteers started the learning centre in the year 2010. After their term of one year, another volunteer Mrs. Charlton continued with running the center until it is presently, manned by Dr. Legler.
Dr. Legler said, Learning Center embraces whole different educational philosophy which is very much in line with GNH values in education. So every college must have an active learning center to promote responsibility in learning and help with all kind of accountability of GNH Values.”
With these aims in mind and to quench the student’s thirst for learning, the center offers assistance in various fields, such as clarification of assignments, referencing, convention of writing, practicing oral presentation, finding online resources for academic literacy, peer mentoring and collaborative reading. The assistance catered to faculties also varies from research skills to application for further studies and to PhD education.
While the endeavors of center remain to provide student teacher and faculty with academic support, there are many steps needed to further progress to reach the level of a well-established center. Firstly, with regard to resources in the center, we need to have a wide range of reading materials on the shelf, different handouts, writing materials, reference book and a printer as an indispensible part of the Learning Center. These kinds of facilities made available in the room would motivate students to engage in their own education through providing services as per the needs of the students. Secondly, the human resources are very important, without which the certainty of center is lost to stagnation.   
Legler said, “Currently the two biggest challenges faced by the center, are getting students to know that there is a learning center and staffing the learning center”. Dr. Legler and Ms. Lhazom Dema tried to address the challenge of getting students to know about the existence of the LC through orientation and creating of awareness.
However, she hopes that, with the upcoming peer mentoring groups as a measure for the problem, she thinks that the problem would be resolved to some extend. The peer mentoring is one of the ways of catering to learning through sharing of ideas and information within peers. It primarily focuses on learning through the means of helping each other. The peer mentoring in the learning center would come into effect after Dr. Legler trained the group of 13 student teachers.