Online Discussion Group for Pre service Teachers: An ODL Tool for Life Skills Based Education

Dogra, Bharti
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The introduction of life skills education was in response to the need to reform traditional education systems, which appear to be out of step with the realities of modern social and economic life. The role of the teacher in life skills education is to facilitate the participatory learning of the group members rather than conduct lectures in a didactic style. But, as in all groups, good practice requires leader training which is of paramount importance to the success of the experience. In a classroom setup, it is difficult for the teacher educators to equip pre service teachers with life skills. Teacher education programmes are highly structured and time bound. The limitation of the present teacher education programme is preparation of the pre service teachers for formal system of education only without giving any glimpses of the ODL environment which covers a large group of the out of school students’ population. So, we need a platform where pre service teachers as well as teacher educators can come together and share their experiences in a mode that suits their time and availability. So in spite of being a formal teacher education program every B Ed course in India would benefit if we are able to encourage the pre-service teachers to learn on their own in an environment contrived by the teacher educator. This would be akin to an ODL environment. // The paper discusses the benefits of an Online Discussion group as an Asynchronous Mode of Communication in order to familiarize Pre-service teachers at Army Institute of Education, Delhi Cantt. to an ODL environment. It also discusses how in a loosely structured ODL environment, these Pre-service teachers were taught to develop Life skills- covertly. It cites examples wherein it becomes apparent that by its very nature the discussion group turned out to be a platform where pre-service teachers were gaining Life Skills.

Open and Distance Learning (ODL),Life Skills,Online Communities of Practice,Teaching and Learning Methods,Teachers