From the times of gurukuls to the present day modern schools , society has undergone tremendous , be it in the form of lifestyle and standards or values and morals .
In the yester years the guru was responsible for the complete development of his ‘shishya’ – academic, physical, moral and spiritual. This was a glorious tradition of our ancient education system and culture the emphasis was to develop a total human by inculcating the fundamental human values, in addition to teaching the curriculum, so that the student can face the challenges of practical life and become a worthy citizen.
The value which was highly cherished by ancient educationists was a high and noble character. It was held that intellectual attainments alone were of less consequence than the development of proper moral sentiments. Students were urged to exert themselves in developing a spirit of self-sacrificing asceticism and self-concentration in pursuit of higher knowledge . This was done mainly by leading through example . The teachers lived a life with all those values and virtues which the society wished to inculcate in learners.
Over the centuries the concept of education has changed , as change is the only permanent thing in life --- As Alfred Tennyson has beautifully summed it up in one of his works as ---
“ Old order changeth , yielding place to new …
Lest one good thing should corrupt the world ”
And , hence , the gurukuls gave way to day schools which have stayed ever since .
The change has been gradual but drastic, till about a few decades ago the teacher was mainly responsible for working on the academic proficiency of the student and also for inculcating discipline and regularity in them .
Moral and ethical development happened inadvertently as we lived in a society which was value oriented. Good virtues and concepts were absorbed by the child from his social environment. No extra effort had to be made to instill these into a growing child .
But as we have discussed that change is the essence of life …societies all over the world or globally – to turn it in todays ethos – have undergone radical , scientific and technological development at an amazing speed . Today we observe a tilt towards materialism. Each person is striving for a higher position, individual success , personal satisfaction and monetary gains. In this rat race hardly anyone observes the impact of this self-centred approach on society as a whole .
In the preceding century we have been bestowed with many valuable gifts . Barriers in advancement of science and technology have been broken . There are no boundaries for progress and prosperity . But it is all materialistic . Values and ethics have not been able to keep pace and have remained the neglected aspect of development in recent years .
It is such a big irony that in our land of Gods , Sages , Saint and Scholars , the spirituality has been the biggest casualty . Evidently there is a crises of – Character , Credibility and value based Competence .But for every problem there is always a solution. The solution to the problems encountered by our society , we can say , lies largely in the hands of teachers . Committed teachers, the gurus, as they have been known to us from ancient times , if they realize and assume the responsibility as they have done in the past , they can transform and shape the coming generation into creative and worthy citizens .
It is at this point in time that the teacher can perhaps be the only effective tool to try and bring about any change in the society.
The primary responsibility of creating a conducive environment is of the teacher who directly comes into contact with students and translates the curriculum into action.
The Mudaliar Commission (of 1953) emphasized that the school teachers can be infused with a high sense of their destiny only when they are engaged in the making of better human beings and creating a better social order and not merely teaching a dull prescribed syllabus.
The question that now arises is as to how these values can be inculcated in the teachers themselves and how they can be stimulated to observe them in their personal and professional life as a part of their daily behaviour. The task is a very difficult one considering the general deterioration in our society.
· Firstly : trainee teachers should be groomed in institutional setting and climate which should facilitate orientation and practice of these values and weigh these values as important ingredients of the entire teacher preparation programme and of the teaching learning process. This way many qualities of character would be imbibed by the future teachers in the course of their training.
· Secondly : the climate of the institution where teachers would be performing their professional duties would need to be such as allows them autonomy in decision making and freedom of action. Values of democracy practiced by the authorities is likely to create a better and more conducive environment for teachers to follow the values listed earlier and present themselves as a role model for their students.
· Thirdly : some socio-economic factors associated with the profession and the morale of the teachers will also determine the extent to which they will be able to observe various values in their professional disposition and play their part as models of good behaviour and character.The economic rewards or remuneration and other benefits made available to them and facilities given to them to discharge their professional responsibilities, will contribute in motivating them to adhere to the values and norms of moral behaviour. This will bring about job satisfaction in a teacher.
· Fourthly : the most important thing is sustaining teacher’s motivation in order to ensure that teachers remain enthusiastic, passionate and dedicated to their taskRealistically speaking, they are also one amongst us, living and facing the same social conditions and problems as all of us encounter in our day to day life. Amongst other things if a teacher suffers from disillutionment, despair and detachment due to lack of recognition and reward for their hardwork, enthusiasm and educational accomplishments, then it is upon the administration to deal with them carefully so that their physical, intellectual, social, emotional and spiritual aspects of personality are saved from getting affected and burnt-out.
Teachers are the most vital and appropriate person in the entire setting of formal education, it is extremely necessary to ensure that they good character which is visible through their just behaviour and other personal attributes. To become a source of inspiration for the students, in helping them become good human beings men of character, their behaviour as teachers and law abiding citizens is all too important.
It is in the interest of both value inculcaion and effective classroom teaching that the teachers should lead an exemplary personal and professional life. This way the values such as righteousness, honour, dignity, self-control, humility and gratitude can all be imparted to the student as a continuous process without marking out a time slot for moral education.
There is no replacement for the essence of values. It is essential that the students acquire knowledge anduderstanding of the facts with a sense of respect to the value. One must be morally good to become a harmoniously developed individual.
Swami Vivekananda says:
“Real education is that which enables one to stand on his own legs. Education that you are receiving in only to make you participate in the race of life, but real winning is when have the education for life building, man making, character building. What the world wants is character. The world is in need for those whose life is in one with burning love and selflessness.”
An ideal education not only empowers the students with tools essential for the survival in the competitive world of today but also aims at achieving the development of character. And ideal teacher is the one who has a vision and capacity to impart learning and putting into use the means for the purpose of achieving creative ends.
The onus on the teacher is immense, but being in a position where they are looked upon as a friend, philosopher and guide, sometimes even as a role model, the teacher has the enviable opportunity to actually try and make a difference by motivating the students effectively towards building strength of character. By doing so they will not only contribute towards the development of better individuals, he/she will perhaps weave a path for reinventing the domain of ethics and morals. Thus contributing in making a better India for tomorrow.