Reflections on Teaching–Learning in Gandhi Studies

DOI10.1177/2321023020963841
Publication Date01 Dec 2020
AuthorSwaha Das,Hari Nair
SubjectTeaching–Learning Politics in India
Teaching–Learning Politics in India
Reflections on Teaching–Learning
in Gandhi Studies
Swaha Das1 and Hari Nair2
Introduction
This article is premised on the belief that teaching–learning practices, unlike research, do not usually
undergo a rigorous peer-review process at Indian universities. One way of initiating a peer review is by
generating a discussion on teaching–learning practices. Therefore, this article seeks to analyse two
teaching–learning practices, which were employed in undergraduate courses on Gandhi. The practices
discussed in this article are the administration of evaluation components and on-site learning activities.
The elements in this article emerged during conversations on reflective teaching between the
authors—one a political scientist and the other a historian. The authors, as instructors, were involved in
teaching three courses at two different universities, one public and the other private. The courses were
‘Gandhi and the contemporary world’ (a generic elective for first-year undergraduate students belonging
to different disciplines other than Political Science at the University of Delhi), ‘Reading Gandhi’ (a con-
current ccourse for first-year undergraduates in Political Science in the annual mode at the University of
Delhi) and ‘Gandhian Thoughts’ (a humanities elective for students of technology and science from the
sophomore year at BITS Pilani). The number of students in each class varied from 40 to 80 per academic
term.
These reflective-teaching conversations were grounded on the assessment received from students.
The assessment was an appraisal of the instructors as well as the teaching–learning practices employed
in the three courses. This student assessment or feedback was in the form of written responses to a ques-
tionnaire pro forma. The questionnaire pro forma was administered to students towards the end of the
academic term and the student feedback was communicated to the instructor(s) in the following term.
The entire process of administering and collecting the anonymous student feedback was completed as
per an established procedure. The authors have also relied on feedback received from individual students
orally and through email, whenever the institutionalized process of student assessment was delayed or
unavailable.
Studies in Indian Politics
8(2) 281–288, 2020
© 2020 Lokniti, Centre for the
Study of Developing Societies
Reprints and permissions:
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DOI: 10.1177/2321023020963841
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Note: This section is coordinated by Rajeshwari Deshpande (rajeshwari.deshpande@gmail.com).
1 Department of Political Science, Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi, Delhi, India.
2 Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, BITS Pilani, Pilani, Rajasthan, India.
Corresponding author:
Swaha Das, Department of Political Science, Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi, Delhi 110054,
India.
E-mail: swahadas@gmail.com

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