Rationale for the course

The course aims to provide pre-service teachers with various psychological and sociological theories to understand learning. The learning theories need to be discussed in the historical context as products of scientific deliberation. The theories are important tools to analyse and make sense of their experience. These can be used to structure and reflect on learning experiences planned for students and in thinking about considerations that guide the design and selection of tasks. An engagement with the cognitive and social factors that influence students' learning and development is important to make several decisions about teaching. The theories focused in the course oscillate between those, which focus on learning as a highly individualistic pursuit to those where learning is seen in the context of an activity or guided by the environment surrounding the child. The theories will be discussed in the sequence of their historical evolution with a focus on - assumptions about learners and learning, conditions necessary for creating learning environments, implications for planning teaching activities, analysing students' thinking and engagement, etc.

        1. Course Objectives

The course aims to

  1. Engage pre-service teachers in the historical emergence, principles, key ideas, and limitations of psychological and sociological theories oflearning;

  2. Discussmajorcontributionsofdifferenttheoriesandwaysinwhichtheycanbeusedto make sense of students' learning; and

  3. Evaluate common beliefs about learners and learning based on an informed understanding of different theoreticalperspectives.

Rationale for the course

Understanding policy processes is a complex exercise. It is closely related to examining the socio-economic and political context in which it takes shape and comes into force, analysing the roles played by state and non-state actors, reading meanings and interpretations of policy texts, studying the institutions that mediate policies and shape the implementation processes. Teachers in India are deeply embedded in policy spaces - as duty bearers under various legal and policy norms, as mediators of policies, as those who are directly impacted by policies and those who enjoy collective rights to influence policy discourses. Teacher professional identities are shaped by their understanding of their role as it is constructed through policy, and how they find themselves located within the larger policy regime. Teacher identities, roles and experiences are also shaped by the type of school where they work and the specific policy ecosystem within which the schools are located. In their professional lives, teachers are assumed to have an understanding of prevailing policies without such a knowledge and understanding getting officially and systematically transmitted to them. As a result, we find policy texts are rarely read with 'interpretations of interpretations' causing building of 'policy sediments' (Ball,1993).[1] This not only limits the ability of the teachers to work on the policy norms and see their fuller realisation, but it also imposes limitations on the extent to which teachers can meaningfully shape, influence and negotiate policies. This course is intended to help student-teachers build an understanding of the policy regime in which they are embedded and help them engage with larger policy discourse that shapes their role, status and work as teachers. In this course, by policy, we mean the statement of intentions and actions of the government on matters of public interest expressed in various texts issued and ratified by the Government.

Course Objectives

This course aims to address the following objectives:

  1. Understand the Constitution of India and the various legal and policy provisions relevant to school education in India

  2. Study the policy processes from agenda setting to policy implementation and examine the role of teachers within the policy cycle as they influence as well as mediate policies.

  3. Study the institutional structures set up by government as well as non-governmental work that helps to mediate policy goals.

  4. Examine the policy ecosystems within which schools are located and the implications it has on teachers

  5. Develop perspectives on policy questions that impinge on teacher's identity as professionals.

This course is closely linked with the course on Social Marginalisation and Education. The prerequisites of this course are completion of courses on curriculum, social marginalisation and readings of basic texts.

         Rationale for the Course

It is by now widely accepted that the processes of teaching and learning are deeply embedded in social structures. Furthermore, there is the recognition that education holds the potential either to reproduce the existing dynamic of power relations or to transform it. Progressive thinking has favoured the latter, i.e. the possibility of drawing upon education to create an equitable society. In the past few decades, different movements too have affirmed the emancipatory dimension of education. Similarly, state led legislations such as the Right to Education have underscored the importance of education for all. In such a context it is imperative that teachers recognize and acknowledge that a close connection exists between social marginality and education. It is important too that teachers understand the nature of this link between social marginality and education in order to enhance their own abilities to become agents of social transformation. The fact that a large majority of children attending schools are disadvantaged as a result of intersecting marginalities makes the need for such an understanding all the more critical and pressing. The course on "Social Marginality and Education” seeks to provide such an understanding.

Course Objectives

The objectives of the course are

  1. To gain a theoretical and conceptual understanding of social marginality, especially in relation to education

  2. To understand how social marginalization in terms of caste, class, gender, language, ethnicity, religion, special needs (as also the inter sectionality of these marginalized positions) affects the educational opportunities, experiences and attainments of children marked by these identities.

  3. To introduce students to philosophers who have emphasized and elaborated upon the connections between social justice, equity and education

  4. To draw attention to such structural features of the Indian education system that impact social marginalization, either by exacerbating them or attempting to mitigate the effects of marginalization

  5. To grasp the nature of the social embeddedness of the teacher's position as well as the teaching practices

  6. To highlight the potential of teachers to become the agents of change within the schooling system in particular and in the society atlarge

Course organization

The course is organized under five main units: (i) Educational Effects of Social Marginality;Understanding Social Marginality; (iii) Education and Social Justice in India: A Historical Perspective; (iv) Differentiated Schooling: A Case of Systemic Marginalization? and (v) Teachers as Agents of Change. Each of the units is linked to the other and together seek to comprehensively address the course objectives.

The first unit draws attention to the patterns of disadvantage children from socially marginalized groups face within the educational system. The second unit focuses on conceptual and theoretical explanations that have been provided for different categories of marginalization such as class, caste and gender. The third unit includes the insightful thought of leaders of emancipatory movements who have emphasized the potential of education to ensure social justice and social equity. The fourth unit points to the complexity of the existing educational system that reproduces marginality even as its stated purpose is to provide educational opportunities to all. The last section contextualizes and analyses the position of the teacher within the society as well as the educational system in order to enable the teacher to become an agent of social change. Of the 60 hours that will be allocated for the course, equal time may be given to all the units.

The course is anchored by the following key principles, which are aimed at facilitating the teaching and learning process:

    • Social marginalization is understood as a dynamic process. It is therefore recognized that the marginalized identity is not intrinsic to the person but is a structural feature. Also that the marginalized identity is not fixed or frozen forall times but is changeable.

    • Each unit includes a combination of resource materials that providefactual information, theoretical/conceptual understanding and practice oriented discussions.

    • Certain social categories that are marginalized are discussed through the course but engagement with the various existing marginalizations may not have been exhausted through the readings specified for the course. The course delivery therefore needs to ensure that the discussion of one or a few categories allows for the discussion of others aswell.


This course explores the idea of teacher in the Indian context taking a historical/cultural approach to tracing the changing identity of 'teacher' and discourses on teacher preparation up to contemporary globalised times. It prepares the ground for a 'grounded theory'/anthropological approach to developing a discourse on teachers, teaching and teacher education that is self reflexively engaged with the Indian context.


Language Education aims to foster sensitivity and strengthen students' understanding of language pedagogies by looking at the philosophical, cultural, political, aesthetic and linguistic underpinnings in the teaching and learning of languages. What is language? What is communication? How are language, thought and communication related? How can teaching-learning practices in the Indian language classroom sensitise students to its complex nature? Through these questions, this course explores ways to enable literacy, viewing language as a discourse and a cultural artefact that must be unpacked so that students become critical thinkers. This exercise becomes critical in a country like India that has a vast and plural linguistic and literary tradition. 

Language is a means of communication, but it is also the very essence of being human. The act of communication is rooted in a socio-cultural context and language becomes a space where individual thought and cultural discourse intersect. Shabdha and dhvani, in their very essence, are the points of convergence of literature, philosophy and history. Language teaching, which in the light of new literacies involves reading, writing, listening, speaking and thinking skills, must focus equally on construction of thoughts and identity, imaginative and creative self-expression. When seen within the frames of recent and earlier policy documents, further, that locate language education within realms of creativity and discourse, the pedagogies to be adopted in classrooms become complex.

In the context of teaching languages (English and modern Indian languages) in India, the complexities are manifold. In some instances, the language taught in the classroom is the students' first language. Often, however, the language is neither the native language nor a dialect that the child is familiar with. In many cases, it is a third, even a fourth, language that has no presence in the child's environment. This is a very natural phenomenon in a plural, multilingual nation like India with a historical legacy of geographical, linguistic and cultural exchange. Meaningful engagement with the rhythms of the language being taught becomes a challenge in such cases, when the natural process of acquiring any language is sometimes offset by the academic needs of learning the language as a school subject. The challenges increase when we consider the richness and depth embedded in the dialects and variations that manifest in the classroom.

Language textbooks comprise contents that cover formal and informal communications, creative and aesthetic works in different genres like poetry, prose, drama and stories, and language construction activities like reading and writing notices, making posters, announcements, among others. At the same time, they address academic and cognitive objectives that include improvement in writing skills, control over the mechanics of the language and ability to recall and reproduce themes and ideas expressed in literary texts, among others.

This course, with its equal emphasis on theory, reflection, research and praxis, will focus on ways to enable a holistic and integrated approach to language teaching. In the process, the course aims to promote skills that help learners remember, understand, apply, analyse, evaluate and create using languages. The medium of instruction is English, while discussions draw on specific examples from different languages to illustrate ideas.


To enable participants to view questions of language pedagogy within the framework of an understanding of the nature of language and of the linguistic diversity in India.

To develop a sensitivity to and appreciation for speech variation, especially that associated with low-ranked social groups, while reflecting on how to enable such children to master the standard forms of speech and writing.

To help participants become familiar with issues of reading pedagogy and be able to critically assess textbooks and other teaching/learning materials within the context of literacy.

To help participants formulate goals of language pedagogy at the post-literacy stage, and to critically assess textbooks and other teaching/learning materials within these rubrics.

To enable participants to critically assess present methods of evaluating children's language skills, and to develop alternative strategies.


It is well recognized that the components that are important for enhancing capability in the pedagogy of elementary mathematics must include a deeper understanding and appreciation of the content of elementary mathematics, an understanding of the learner and an understanding of the process of learning. The course is aimed at providing an overview of these components so as to lay a foundation for reflection and action in the area of pedagogy of elementary mathematics.

Nature and place of mathematics

  • Appreciate the place of mathematics in culture and in our common cultural heritage, and its application in diverse pursuits

  • Understand the nature of modern mathematics; especially its power of generalization and abstraction and the role of proof in mathematics; distinct features of mathematics, difference from science

  • Understand the psychological perspectives on the student as a learner that underlie different approaches to teaching mathematics

  • Understand different underlying principles of organization of the mathematics curriculum and the approaches that follow from these principles

  • Develop an overall knowledge of the main topics and the broad range of learning outcomes or competencies in the elementary school mathematics curriculum; appreciate differences and commonalities in elementary mathematics curricula across the world

  • Appreciate the need for equity in mathematics education, especially with regard to girls and to first generation learners. Learn about the contributions of women

mathematicians and those from impoverished backgrounds

  • Assessment tools: Understand the effective use of assessment in mathematics, especially with regard to assessing a broad range of outcomes; develop an understanding of diagnostic testing and of diagnostic tools

  • Technology: Appreciate the role of technology that aids mathematical activity and mathematical learning; understand that there is a continuum of technology from low-tech to high-tech

  • Games and puzzles: Appreciate the joy in doing mathematics and understand the importance of this experience for teachers and learners; understand the use of games, puzzles and activities in experiencing the joy of doing mathematics, and in developing understanding of mathematics

Professional development of teachers

  1. Appreciate the need for the professional development of teachers with specific reference to mathematics teaching; be able to formulate aims for and design teacher training or orientation programs

  1. Appreciate the role of research in mathematics education, know the ways of combining research with the practice of teaching

This course aims to delve into the nature of learning and teaching and the role of technology in designing meaningful and authentic teaching and learning experiences in middle and high school space. A critical awareness of the political economy of technology in education along with developing a deeper understanding of the role of technology in teaching and learning. The course will draw on contemporary concepts, models and standards in the area teaching and learning with technology. Technology enabled programs and applications, and distant technologies will be explored to analyse their value addition to teaching and learning and successful adoption and integration within the educational ecosystem.

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  1. To introduce students to philosophy and history of science to under the nature and structure of the discipline and issues of conceptualizing the subject matter of and method of science.

  1. To reflect on aims of science education from the point of view of educational aims, and to problematise the same.

  1. To understand the development of scientific thinking in children and its implications for curriculum.

  1. To reflect critically on curriculum design and pedagogic practices