Effective Teaching
Vinod Anand
A few days back I read a news report on the orientation programme organized by the UGC- Academic Staff College, University of Allahabad, where the valedictory address was delivered by Prof. Mishra, former Vice Chancellor of the University. Addressing the participants, Prof. Mishra gave four tips for effective teaching. According to him a teacher must have four characteristics based on the principle of 4H. He said that the first H stands for “Head”, the second H stands for Heart, the third for Hands, and the fourth H stands for Health.
Let me briefly elaborate on these. The first H, “Head” means that a teacher should accumulate sufficient knowledge and always get himself updated about the subject he teaches, and disseminates it effectively so that his students understand what he says in the lecture hall. He should teach in an impromptu way, with face to face with the students, and not read his notes and then teach. The second H, Heart means that the teacher must be a good human being who understands his students from the core of his heart, and deals with them in a highly humble way. The third H, Hands reflect the skill of the teacher, and his writing capability, and the fourth H, Health connotes the idea that the teacher must enjoy good health so that there are no barriers that restrict his teaching in any way.
I will add a few more H to this list. The first is Humility, which means that apart from having wisdom, a teacher must have humility. Wisdom and humility go hand- in -hand with each other. The next is Honesty: a good teacher must be honest in all respects at least with his students and his faculty members. The last H is Human Behaviour and Demeanour: this leaves a good effect on the students.
Thus, there is a “eight H principle” for effective teaching. In fact, all these eight traits are correlated to each other. Lack of any of these qualities will surely degrade the quality of teaching. The teachers of the University of Allahabad of yesteryears had all these qualities in them, and it is for this reason that they produced highly qualified students who later on spread all over the world in various disciplines and brought laurels to the university. It is for this reason that the University of Allahabad of those times was called the “Oxford of the East”.
In the present scenario, of course with a few exceptions, there is no teacher in the university who has these traits. Quite a number of them do not have good health, but still draw their handsome salaries. They do not have sufficient and updated knowledge to teach; they do not have a perfect skill, and do not undertake any research or projects. None of them get any research paper published in standard academic journals. Majority of them lack wisdom and humility. Honesty also is lacking, and human ambience is completely absent.
Who is responsible for these shortcomings? I think, firstly the teachers themselves, and then the Vice Chancellor who never initiates any programs like, Self Assessment of Teachers (SAT), and Students Assessment of the Staff (SAS), and the Code of Conduct (CC). Let me briefly elaborate on these:
• Self Assessment of Teachers (SAT): Self-assessment is a powerful technique for improving achievement. Self-assessment by teachers links them to their professional growth. Self-assessment is a tool which, in combination with other elements, contributes immensely to change in the instructional practice. Provision of a self-assessment tool contributes to teacher growth by: (1) influencing the teacher's definition of excellence in teaching and increasing his ability to recognize mastery experiences; (2) helping the teacher select improvement goals by providing him with clear standards of teaching, opportunities to find gaps between desired and actual practices, and a menu of options for action; (3) facilitating communication with the teacher's peer; and (4) increasing the influence of external change agents on teacher practice. Self-assessment tool is a constructive strategy for improving the effectiveness of in-service provided it is bundled with other professional growth strategies: peer coaching, observation by external change agents, and focused input on teaching strategies. It must be done by every teacher at least once a year.
• Student Assessment of Staff (SAS): In order to monitor the teaching capability of the teachers the University should go for Student Assessment of Staff, where the students of at least two classes of every teacher will assess him by filling in a questionnaire by the end of the session in the presence of another teacher, and the completed questionnaire will go to the Head of the Department and Dean of the concerned Faculty in a confidential way. This is important because the University must be aware as to what the teacher teaches and how he delivers his lectures in terms of the given curriculum. As we know, assessment and instruction are two sides of the same coin. Hence it is critical for teachers to not only assess what students understand, but also use that information to adjust their teaching.
Code of Conduct(CC): All the teachers are supposed to sign a code of conduct to say that they would (1) honestly reflect on their teaching; (2) systematically examine student progress toward identified learning goals over time; and (3) monitor instruction and assessment for continuous improvement
Prof. Mishra, who delivered the valedictory lecture, as I have said above, and suggested the “Four H Principle” of effective teaching, also did nothing during his tenure. Had he done so at that time (late seventies and early eighties), University would have got a different shape now. Presently it shines at night time, but otherwise there is nothing left that would bring back its old traditions.
I am sure this writ-up will somehow reach the honourable Vice Chancellor, and he would read this carefully, and go ahead with the suggestions.
I wish all the best to my Alma Mater.

Author's Bio: 


Born in 1939, and holding Master’s Degree both in Mathematics (1959) and Economics (1961), and Doctorate Degree in Economics (1970), Dr. Vinod K.Anand has about forty five years of teaching, research, and project work experience in Economic Theory (both micro and macro), Quantitative Economics, Public Economics, New Political Economy, and Development Economics with a special focus on economic and social provisions revolving around poverty, inequality, and unemployment issues, and also on informal sector studies. His last assignment was at the National University of Lesotho (Southern Africa) from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that he was placed as Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of North-West in the Republic of South Africa, and University of Allahabad in India, Professor at the National University of Lesotho, Associate Professor at the University of Botswana, Gaborone in Botswana, and at Gezira University in Wad Medani, Sudan, Head, Department of Arts and Social Sciences, Yola in Nigeria, Principal Lecturer in Economics at Maiduguri University in Nigeria, and as Lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria. Professor Anand has by now published more than 80 research papers in standard academic journals, authored 11 books, supervised a number of doctoral theses, was examiner for more than twenty Ph.D. theses, and has wide consultancy experience both in India and abroad, essentially in the African continent. This includes holding the position of Primary Researcher, Principal Consultant etc. in a number of Research Projects sponsored and funded by Universities, Governments, and International Bodies like, USAID, IDRC, and AERC. His publications include a variety of themes revolving around Economic Theory, New Political Economy, Quantitative Economics, Development Economics, and Informal Sector Studies. His consultancy assignments in India, Nigeria, Sudan, Botswana, and the Republic of South Africa include Non-Directory Enterprises in Allahabad, India, Small Scale Enterprises in the Northern States of Nigeria, The Absolute Poverty Line in Sudan, The Small Scale Enterprises in Wad Medani, Sudan, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises in Botswana, The Place of Non-Formal Micro-Enterprises in Botswana, Resettlement of a Squatter Community in the Vryburg District of North West Province in the Republic of South Africa, Trade and Investment Development Programme for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises: Support for NTSIKA in the Republic of South Africa, and Development of the Manufacturing Sector in the Republic of South Africa’s North West Province: An Approach Based on Firm Level Surveys. Professor Anand has also extensively participated in a number of conferences, offered many seminars, participated in a number of workshops, and delivered a variety of Refresher Lectures at different venues both in India and abroad. Dr. Anand was placed at the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla in the State Himachal Pradesh, India as a Fellow from 2001 to 2003, and had completed a theoretical and qualitative research project/monograph on the Employment Profile of Micro Enterprises in the State of Himachal Pradseh, India.