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‘It is now seen that education is incomplete unless, by teaching the things of the heart besides those of the head, it leads to spiritual growth as well as to intellectual progress and physical fitness.’

– Noel v. Hail.

Every system is good if there is honesty towards the students, devotion for the profession, willingness to adapt new thoughts and to teach openly. Today, universities appoint teachers possessing a doctoral degree, qualified as per the rules of University Grant Commission; instead of their practical understanding and approach to the dance forms. Therefore, most of the teachers are not good artistes and incapable to demonstrate the technical intricacies of practical aspects. In most of the universities, situation is even pathetic. Years old syllabus only has been taught by the tired and bored teachers, same old and limited compositions that teacher has learnt from his Guru in the syllabus, are repeated every year and even in more worst manner. Due to lack of the deep knowledge in practical aspects of the dance form, they are unable to choreograph new compositions. Situation in universities and colleges is not satisfactory, because of over workload, large number of students, responsibility to finish syllabus; and of course, government policies. It is been observed that most of the university teachers become stagnant after few years of service and stop their practice, creation and self-development. They are satisfied with their job, promotion in job and increments in the salary only matters to them. What type of betterment and output could be expected from such teachers? If a teacher is not self motivated, innovative, devoted to his art, what ideal and example is he going to present before his students? Performing arts are life that grows, changes and develops continuously. The teachers should also grow and develop themselves continuously along with their students.

In Gurukul, each disciple gets personal attention but in universities; the attention is focused on group teaching, where mental level of each student varies. These students need extra attention. The aim should be to bring out the real talent of the students. Syllabus of the course should be revised regularly and should not be too heavy. Therefore, the quality of teaching and students would be improved. Theory and practical portion of the syllabus should be in a balanced ratio and should be taught as per the schedule. Teachers should discuss their problems in the meeting with Board of Studies.

Now, Bharatanatyam has acquired a universal identity. Besides Indians, a large number of foreigners also are learning this ancient dance form. The responsibility of a teacher has increased; it has extended up to international level. The teachers should be well informed that all of our traditional art forms are deeply rooted to Indian philosophy, Hindu mythology and human psychology. Our traditional arts have certain values and should be kept intact; and should not be tempered with its original structure without knowledge of the logic that lies behind.

In universities, the teachers are responsible for their students as well their employer. Students devote their precious four to five years to their teachers in good faith, so it is teachers’ moral duty to guide and train them honestly. They should not only motivate and encourage the students, but also should try to provide them stage for performance for the growth and development of the both. They should not be partial to their own sons, daughters or other family members in the class. They should treat all their students alike.

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2 Comments

  1. Dear Gyan,
    Good points you have raised here. But I have always been more concerned about taking Indian Classical arts to kids at a much earlier stage, the primary school. It is important to provide exposure and build a rasika base as much as it to train professional artists.
    I have heard that in Bali learning Traditional dance and music is compulsory at school. Probably a similar attempt is necessary in India too!


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