Good Teaching Practices In Ayurveda
Prof Sanjeev Rastogi
State Ayurvedic College and Hospital, Lucknow
Transcript done by
BAMS, second year, Jeevak Ayurveda Medical College, Hospital & Research Center Kamlapur, Akauni, Chandauli UP
based on the lecture available at
Good Teaching Practices In Ayurveda
What are the good teaching practices? One thing we really need to understand that teaching is a kind of profession which cannot really be learned. Teaching comes from inside. One cannot become a teacher by merely learning the art of teaching or learning the skills of teaching. That really comes from within. Good teaching is something inbuilt but good teaching practices can really be learned somehow. Good teaching practice in Ayurveda is different kind of task as it needs different skills than other domains. The biggest irony in ayurvedic teaching is that we teach and practice differently. This irony was told by one of my reverent teachers –
“We teach and practice differently. What we teach, we don’t practice and what we practice, we don’t teach “So, there are no relations in between teaching and doing in Ayurveda. And also, this is being told that passing the examination in Ayurveda is entirely a different task and a skill. It means that passing an examination an ayurveda and surviving in ayurveda are two different things. What one has learned in colleges may not really be helping in its survival. So, these are the contradictions which are there in the field of Ayurveda.
What are the good teaching practices? What should be the quality of a teacher? What it requires to be a good teacher? To begin answering these questions one can start recalling one’ own teachers which were the good teachers. And see for the reasons for which they are remembered. Examples –
- Connectedness with students
- Expression and communicability
Good teaching is one third of a knowledge and two third of how the teacher presents it. Good teaching is not all about the knowledge. Teacher might be having a lot of knowledge but the more important thing is that how the teacher presents it to the students. The teacher can also be remembered for the wrong reasons-
- Over discipline
- Incomprehensibility of communication
- Lack of connectedness
- Lack of punctuality
- Lack of fairness
- Lack of equality i.e. lack of fairness
So, there can be right reasons to be remembered and there can be wrong reasons to be remembered. Here, one need’ to choose for what reason one may be recalled or remembered by the students.
Teacher as a role model –
Here teacher has to think and self-analyze for what he is teaching? What was his inspiration? Wouldn’t he like to become the role model of his pupils? This is something which every teacher should dream for. What inspires every teacher to teach? A teacher isn’t born just to teach. He is born to inspire others, to change people and to never give up even when faced with challenges that seem impossible. This could be the inspiration to become a teacher.
Why will anyone decide to become a teacher at the faculty of Ayurveda? So, here one needs to identify what his inspirations are. Inspirations could be to earn living means one has simply joined it as a profession to earn living, to earn respect, to earn social positions, and to make life better.Another reason may be that after completion of UG and PG since there is nothing to do more apart from teaching. So, one becomes a teacher.
One may like sharing and helping to ignite the young minds own quest towards knowledge by showing them the glimpse of wisdom already available around them and this may also be the reason of becoming a teacher. Therefore, one needs to figure out for what reasons he wants to become a teacher or what is his inspiration. One can be good teacher only if he truly wishes to make lives of others better.
After becoming a teacher, one has to understand that there are no possibilities of escaping out and also has to bear the responsibilities. After becoming a teacher, it doesn’t matter what aspirations had been and one has to comply with the demands. Because being a teacher is a highly demanding job. And being a teacher in Ayurveda is has some very unique challenges not common to other subjects. This is something very strange which is very peculiar to ayurveda.
What are the challenges of Ayurveda teaching? In teaching ayurveda the biggest challenge is of de-motivation. Teacher is itself not really motivated to become a teacher and for this there may be several reasons like salary related, promotion related, appraisal related and student demotivation as students are also not really motivated to study or learn Ayurveda. When students are not ready or interested to learn Ayurveda then to whom the teacher is going to talk and teach about. Another challenge is of inadequate knowledge resources as libraries are poor in ayurvedic texts. Teachers in BHU are fortunate enough as BHU is equipped with a wonderful library in the country. But besides BHU, teachers belonging to different colleges don’t really have this facility to update themselves with the latest knowledge. There are certain ROTP programs and orientation programs but they are not up to the mark which gives real knowledge about how to teach therefore, no skill development during PG courses and no teacher training programs for aspiring teachers. Some other problems in Ayurvedic teachings include challenges for getting the peers view from across the discipline in ayurveda, challenges for getting self-evaluated and challenges of evolving continuously.
Results of a survey on Ayurvedic teaching being conducted at State Ayurvedic College –
Monotonous teaching as it is based on classical text, shloka, literal meaning and textual description of modern medicine. Monologue and non-interactive teaching i.e. many times what the teacher does is keep on speaking without listening to students, so its monologue rather than being a dialogue. Teaching based on textual repetition without any value addition. Here, the teacher keeps on repeating the same kind of thing every time, every year without any value addition in their own knowledge. No real-life examples in teaching especially for those subjects which are not really related with real life. Knowledge not linked with practical applications. Focus on theory rather than practice even in clinical and practical subjects. No good explanations of the concepts. No good explanations of the prescriptions. Even in the clinics, OPD’s the doctors are writing wonderful prescriptions which are responding, giving the responses to the patient, but these prescriptions are also not explained to students. No good exposure to clinical and laboratory practice.
So, how to became a good teacher in Ayurveda? So, here are some tips for good teaching practices in Ayurveda –
- Teacher should have a good acquaintance of the original subject.
- Teacher should be updated by knowing about the advances.
- Teacher should choose the language where he feels comfortable. This is because teacher should speak in the language in which he feels comfortable and also students are feeling comfortable.
- Teacher should understand the level of students i.e. if the teacher is teaching UG or PG students then he has to be at that respective level.
- Teacher should understand the need of the students i.e. teacher should understand that what student really require from them.
- Teacher should make sure that his message is delivered appropriately to the students i.e. there should be crystal clear communication between teacher and the student.
- Teacher should allow his students to speak i.e. there should be two-way dialogue between the teacher and student.
- Teacher should listen carefully and reply patiently to the students.