The role of a teacher of the 21st Century cannot be limited to just imparting a simple syllabus or examination-oriented information. The focus should be on outcome-based, objective-oriented, quality education, which must enhance the capabilities of the students and instil industry needed application skills. The Course-objective must result in the holistic development of the students.
To achieve these objectives, an ideal teacher is expected to possess certain in-built attributes. Here is a list of such attributes, from students' point of view. Listen to them…
1. Passionate, Committed, Energetic: Nita Nogar, from Bangalore, MBA student of London Metropolitan University, is all for an intensely passionate and involved teacher at any level. She is overwhelmed with the qualities of commitment and perseverance in a teacher.
2. Dedicated and Empathetic: Sarah D'Cruz, a Student of the Charles Sturt University of Australia, feels and commends the teachers who are intensely dedicated and empathetic with the students. Teachers should be accessible in and out of the classroom and appreciate and understand the genuine difficulties and limitations of the students.
3. Highly Resourceful: While Google can answer any question, teachers must facilitate learning through brainstorming, encouraging creative thinking, and administering live and contemporary case studies taken from the corporate world. A teacher must give the students the latest, useful and relevant research reports and reading material, instead of confining them to outdated, purely academic-based textbooks or ineffective guides.
Sahil Asad from Symbiosis University, thanks his teacher for resourceful materials.
4. Maintains sustained relationship: Students appreciate and expect that teachers must continue to guide them even after they complete the program.
Dhananjay Nair, an MBA student from Symbiosis School of Banking, writes to his teacher, “It is your continued guidance that has helped us in our workplace, we are profoundly happy to be under your guidance. Looking forward to working along with you in the future as well and trying to learn more from you,"
Jessi John, CFO of Dubai Tele Links, a student from the University of Wales, says that what impressed him about his professor most was his method of guidance through compassion. He wishes to be in touch with him to receive his invaluable guidance as an elder brother throughout his career.
5. Mentors the Students-: The role of a teacher goes beyond the classroom teaching and guidance and calls for mentoring the students, particularly in critical cases where the students are unable to cope with the pressures and stress due to unexpected happenings in their families.
Roshan, a Student from the University of Wales, London, says that he could not ask for a more understanding, experienced, and patient mentor like his professor.
“He encouraged me so much towards the end of my dissertation when I was considering giving up due to some family commitments. I had to go back home a couple of times to Sri Lanka (My father suffered a stroke and my mum had to undergo a Surgery). My Professor called me on many occasions to follow up on the deadlines/due dates and I recall he had left many messages with my wife who ensured that I met my commitment to the MBA program. My learning experience and practical knowledge gained were immense.''
Lalit Gupta of IIEBM, Pune, says that he is very thankful to his teacher for his guidance, support, continuous inspiration, and motivation. He calls him a Fabulous Mentor.
6. Provides useful Feedback with fair assessment: Students appreciate the continued support by way of providing necessary and useful verbal and written feedback by teachers and guiding them in fine-tuning their write-ups or presentations, particularly in the case of project work, in preparing the dissertation and research reports.
Duwindra Vikramsinghe, a student at the University of Wales, London, is grateful to his professor for guiding him to complete the dissertation successfully. He was overjoyed to see the results and admitted that it could not have been completed without his professor’s support.
7. Impressionistic and Inspirational: The favourable impression that a teacher creates through compassion, lively discussions, and inspiration remains forever etched in the minds of the students.
Megha Iyengar, from Symbiosis (SSBF), is deeply impressed by her professor. She thanks him profusely for sharing his immense pool of knowledge with the students and being an example for the young generation on how to live life king size.
8. Engages students effectively in the learning process: Teachers must use innovative, creative, and tech-oriented teaching techniques to sustain the interests of the students through Role plays, Virtual Games, and Simulated models. Learning should be fun, and not an imposed burden. The teacher must be capable of handling questions judiciously and driving profound discussions in and out of the class.
9. Blends theory and practice: “Hardly ten percent of the Students from Professional and Engineering Institutes in India, are employable with a possible few exceptions of IIMs and IITs"- avers a reliable Research Report.
Teachers should, therefore, focus on developing the application skills in students, which corporates look for and teach the various models that are used in the workplace through a fair blend of excellence of theory and dynamics of corporate practices.
10. Teachers must walk the talk through challenging accomplishments to showcase and demonstrate their skills by undertaking corporate live projects to address its critical and burning issues.
The next-gen students do not get impressed by the number of Doctorate degrees one holds or the number of research papers published globally.
Barira Khan, MBA, presently the Compliance Regulator and AML Analyst for First Abu Dhabi Bank, sums up in her email, the impressive attributes her Professor possesses.
"We are highly grateful that we got a chance to attend your lectures full of knowledge and learning, through useful videos and educational movie sessions, followed by enthusiastic question-answer sessions. We respect you for your professional and personal achievements and that encourages us to work much harder and achieve the best ahead. You are like a guardian to us who shows us the path towards success. You are an inspiration for the young generation."
11. Teachers must become more tech-savvy now: Online teaching, “the future of learning,” with virtually endless options, is here to stay and has already become an integral part of our educational system.
COVID-19 has drastically altered our teaching methodologies and teachers are more challenged now, and their role has changed significantly. They need to develop a different set of skills to handle advanced technology and explore innovative strategies to engage the students online, especially knowledge of Learning Management Systems (LMS). A teacher needs to know how to integrate forums or discussions to improve their lessons to make online teaching more dynamic and tailor-made. They must have greater interaction and give regular feedback to the students to develop a sense of trust with one another.
Therefore, an ideal teacher must endeavor to acquire the aforesaid attributes as well as possess the basic technical and conceptual skills and knowledge about articulation and comprehensibility, the ability to integrate the content of the course taught with other courses of the program, and with the real-world issues, to provide a broader perspective. He/she should use advanced technology with creative and innovative processes to promote student dialogue, solve queries, and engage students in active learning. Students will worship such Teachers forever.