Sonam Deki and  Dorji Wangmo | Interns

Fourteen teachers from nine monastic institutes are attending a 10-day workshop on “Teaching and Learning Methods for the 21st Century” in Wangsimo, Thimphu.

The workshop’s primary objective is to train teachers in monastic institutes and schools to bring innovative and long-term changes in monastic education and associated areas of health and well-being.

The workshop, being organised by the Pema Lingpa Foundation, will identify innovative and effective strategies to help teachers develop or augment their skills.

The foundation’s chairperson, Khenpo Karma, said: “Teachers in monastic institutes and schools have been employing corporal punishment to discipline and instruct students; however, with the change in time, new teaching methods are required for a better learning environment.”

Further to that, he said: “Monastic schools and institutes are implementing the new teaching method for the first time, hence the workshop.”

The new pedagogy includes advocacy on gender issues, sexual harassment, child protection, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) awareness.

Skill Development Institute’s Ugyen, the trainer, said: “We have five trainers who will cover a variety of topics, one of which is the gender issue, as there are not only monks but also nun-teachers attending the workshop.”

He added that the transition from the traditional ways and methods of teaching to modern ones in monastic schools and institutions could take time. As and when required, many such workshops will be organised in the future.

Tshering Yangden, a teacher from Shechen Ugyen Chodzong Nunnery in Thimphu, said: “We face challenges as teachers because, as time passes, we are unable to cope with new teaching methods due to a lack of training.”

Similarly, Tsheltrim Sangay, a teacher from Nyingma Institute in Sikkim, India, said, “We will be able to put in practice at least 70 percent of what we learn from this course when we go back to teach.”

Pema Lingpa Foundation is a religious organisation registered under the Commission for Religious Organisations of Bhutan.