• Muzammil Khan

Are you a data phobic teacher?

Fear not the data but look at it as a puzzle that will unravel and illumine the pedagogy of a teacher and the progress of a learner.

Teaching without a concept of collecting, collating, and analyzing data is like fumbling in the dark to unlock a door. Relying on one’s hunch would simply lead to a maze of alleyways where the judgment on the progress of learners could be erroneous or could lead on a path that needs rethinking and revisiting of taught concepts.

Instead of being perplexed and overwhelmed, peep into all the available banks of data and make sense of it to sieve and seek the information contained in it. All teachers begin their new academic year with lots of data on various domains related to pupils. However, there are few teachers who strive to dig deeper into the pile of data with a set of questions to arrive at some answers that will aid them to have some understanding of the pupils they are going to teach. Teachers who have no experience to read data tend to marginalize such information in hand and teach pupils following their hunch. This kind of randomly conceptualized teaching doesn’t support any group of learners. What is more, all the coordinated efforts made by various educational bodies to accelerate learning couldn’t reap results. Eventually, the outcome is a group of disaffected learners and frustrated teachers.

A teacher who keeps updated and makes efforts to keep up with the fast-paced changes, especially in the field of teaching and learning would also make an

attempt to acquire data literacy. A data literate teacher would be more confident and would be able to contribute to what educational bodies, councils, districts, and schools have planned to achieve for pupils.

Teaching, in recent times, is no more a job of being in a class conducting a few activities in a stipulated time. Schools now want teachers who have in them the element of accountability and an ability to lead learners on a learning journey that is well-planned, coordinated, and collaborative with desired outcomes.

All the stakeholders involved in teaching and learning need positive results. Schools invest in teachers by paying remuneration and CPDs; parents invest in their pupils by paying high fees to the schools. All this builds high expectations for all and more so for teachers to deliver just successes. And successes in this present era of information explosion need successive updates to deliver a smart lesson that is adaptive and modern not only in the outlook but also in the accessibility by both a teacher and a student. A modern lesson is an evidence-based activity, where data is at the center. Lesson emerges from data; data is generated during lessons and analysis of data decides the trajectory of further learning targets. The whole process is cyclic in nature.

The teacher is no more a mere facilitator but a data manager, who not only maximizes the process of learning but also communicates success to various stakeholders.

Let us take an analogy of a teacher as a story writer, where data represents a story that he/she narrates to all the listeners(stakeholders). Interestingly, the author(a teacher) has full control over all the developments that the characters (pupils) make in the story(data). The author(a teacher) could spin the story(data) with a specific ending(outcome) in mind and all the rise and fall are the adjustments that the author(a teacher) makes to arrive at a predetermined end(outcomes). In such a data story the narrator(a teacher) undertakes a journey and makes sure that he/she reaches successfully at the end. There are no setbacks and failures in such a controlled data story.

The above analogy specifies clearly that if a teacher knows the data well then he/she could control the outcome of the learning journey, whether it is during a lesson or a semester, or a whole academic year.

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