Greetings on Teacher’s and Trainer’s Day and thank you for your dedication to the profession! As teachers and trainers, you are in the driver’s seat for developing talent, grooming them for employment, entrepreneurship, research, higher education and other goals. You play a critical role in making things happen whether it’s an educational institution, a technical training center or any other form of organized teaching and learning facilitation. In this process, your role gets multi-tasked with many responsibilities that may not be completely academic and you might have to contribute to the administrative and other non-academic things. This leaves little time for you to look back and reflect, understand the big picture and put yourself in the evolving nature of your profession.
However, it is absolutely essential for both teachers and trainers to keep themselves updated with various developments in the industry and academia that are continuously defining your role. And, the need of the hour is to understand the role of the industry and appreciate how industry creates employment and how job-creation is linked with education, training and employability of students. None of us in the education and training domain have the luxury of time and resources do things ‘later’ or ‘when time comes’. Since we have to be proactive and prepared, let’s look at five ways to become industry-smart.
Are you industry-smart?
The evolving economy has a direct impact on the academia and the industry. Both teachers and trainers have to be industry-aware to appreciate the larger issues that surround their professions. Since teaching and training has a direct link with preparing the students for a career and guiding and mentoring them, it’s all the more important that the teachers and trainers are given adequate opportunities to connect with industry professionals, interact with them and spend time on the industry premises. Of course, this may not be possible all the time and many teachers may question its relevant. Though the trainers are expected to be more in tune with the industry requirements since they facilitate hands-on training according to job-roles
Let’s look at 5 ways to become an industry-smart teacher and trainer:
Reflect on your practice: Action without reflection is not something this profession can afford. Self-awareness and self- evaluation is highly critical for professional growth and enrichment. Every teacher and trainer has to look back, think, reflect on what he or she has been doing, why it makes sense to teach in a particular way, what is being taught and how it is helping the learners, the society.
Think economy and education together: Education and training rarely happen in isolation. There is a need to connect education with the larger issues because we have goals to achieve. Marks and scores matter a lot but it cannot be at the center stage forever. The reality is that learner performance and outcomes should be connected with employment, enabling livelihood options and scope for entrepreneurship.
Be industry-aware: Why is this so important? Remember, the process of teaching and training has a socioeconomic angle that links academia with the industry. When seen from this angle, your professional connection with the industry should not limited to facilitating student placements but, understanding and learning about the industry, its talent requirements and how it will impact the curriculum.
Think knowledge and skills together: Most teaching in classroom set up ends in knowledge dissemination, making it theoretical and memory-based. Today, without practical exposure to the real life application of knowledge, it is difficult for students to find their feet. So, there has to be a conscious effort to bring in practical focus through various skills and how the students can learn and groom themselves.
Get digital and explore ways remain connected: The key to professional growth is to remain connected and network with a variety of people – it could be your students, colleagues, friends in corporate sector and others. A mobile phone with access to the internet is a necessity. How do we use simple technologies for enabling and facilitating conversations and build a community? This is one of the ways to ensure that teachers and trainer are continuously ‘learning how to learn’ through real-life interactions and convey the same to their students.
Becoming and remaining industry-smart helps in overall