Trolling of Teachers On Social Media Reprehensible: Ex Director

‘Videos examples of unconventional attempt to contribute to a happy learning environment.’

By Farooq Shah

SRINAGAR- Joint Director, State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Mohammad Sharif Dehdar, convened an urgent meeting on Thursday to discuss the situation that had arisen following the extensive trolling by some netizens, including some scribes over a number of videos produced by the Council’s staff.

Dehdar lamented the way the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN) Bharat Program’s training requirements have been targeted, saying that the teacher community rather than being praised for introducing novelty and innovation frequently ends up on the receiving end.

Dehdar welcomed constructive criticism, but described social media trolling as an act of ‘sadistic delight’ by people who don’t understand the fundamentals of education.

“Constructive criticism does not only focus on the negative aspects; it is actionable, clear, and beneficial to the recipient,” he said. “Nevertheless, anyone claiming to have a superior understanding of the training of teachers is welcome in our auditoriums and training rooms.”

In a video clip with a group of teachers, Gulzar Ahmad Sheikh, Academic Officer, SCERT, can be seen singing and acting in the song “Peel Banana” training workshop.

The “Ghehoon kis be boya” video, in which multiple male and female teachers are performing together, is what first made the video viral.

Social media users have commented on both videos and questioned if teachers, particularly those working for the government, are effective enough to run lessons in the classroom.

Defending the workshops, Dehdar said the NIPUN Bharat initiatives required a trainer to immerse oneself enthusiastically in a way that would help the students understand key concepts in a playful manner.

“Gulzar,” the Joint Director said, “has fulfilled his obligations and acted in accordance with what his role as a teacher trainer would require of him.”

Pertinently Gulzar had recreated Mike’s Home ESL’s warm-up fun activity for children aged three to eight. Over 1.5 million people around the world have viewed Mike’s 2017 fun video while his Home ESL has 440K subscribers on YouTube.

“Mike naturally excels at communicating ideas in a more impressive manner because English is his native tongue,” Dehdar said. “Despite the tremendous strain they face at work and the inadequate resources and facilities they have at their disposal, our teachers continue to perform admirably.”

Nobody, he said, should ever have the mistaken notion that we don’t keep an eye on the flaws.

“Learning progresses slowly, much like evolution, and changes take time to materialize,” Dehdar said. “With time, I’m confident that our teachers’ abilities will be on par with those of the best in the sector.”

The videotaped workshop, as per former Director School Education Kashmir, Mohammad Rafi, who is frequently consulted as an expert to deliberate on the multiple aspects of the National Education Policy, NEP-2020, is an example of an unconventional attempt to contribute to the development of a happy learning environment.

“It’s a bold attempt to move beyond the routine and mundane while the taunts and trolls seen in the last couple of days are reprehensible, to say the least,” he rued.

Dr. Syed Noor-ul-Amin, assistant professor (ad hoc), School of Education and Behavioral Sciences, University of Kashmir, suggested ignoring the negative aspects of social media while describing trolling as an irresponsible behaviour on the part of online users.

“When misused, social media can be likened to a monkey juggling a grenade from its right hand to the left that can explode any minute,” Dr Amin said. “I’d prefer to urge the trainers to carry on with the good work, add innovation to the assignments, and learn to take the flack in stride.”

He cited Raja Ram Mohan Rai as an example, saying that although he faced harsh criticism at the time, his cause eventually won out, and today people refer to him as a ‘messiah’ of reforms.

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