“Only education gives meaningful freedom and a reason for our existence. Education differentiates between an animal and a human being. Education makes our life beautiful.” – Anutosh Deb, India
There are great art teachers and great technology educators, but mastering both of these seemingly divergent subject areas is rare. For Anutosh Deb, though, doing just that is a way of life. Deb, a Microsoft Expert Educator, has been recognized for his use of technology in helping students to unleash their artistic creativity.
Deb is the son of one of India’s pioneer artists, the late Asudev, and was inspired by both of his parents at an early age to pursue his creative passions. He’s been a K-12 art teacher since 1995, but early on Deb saw the potential impact of technology in the classroom and took it upon himself to master new ways of teaching. “I ventured into working with ICT in 2000 out of sheer passion,” Deb tells us. “I had the opportunity to create several online collaborative projects on Thinkquest, and I have worked on Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and other platforms.”
Deb’s Global Forum project, Color Panorama: How Important is Art in our Life, was started with the goal of teaching 21st century skills, and allowing students to explore learning in the visual arts beyond the conventional activities of an art class. He was inspired by the recent push for students to seek careers in engineering, medicine or technology, a trend that sometimes comes at cost: fewer students pursuing careers in the arts. It’s a trend Deb finds troubling, noting, “In the fast-moving time in our mechanical world today, we very often do not get leisure time and space to appreciate the beauty around us.”
While his work with technology has been rewarding, Deb is also proud of winning the Pearson National Teaching Award in 2013 for Teaching Excellence in Art, Music, Drama, along with a slew of other national and international honors. But for Deb, helping inspire young people to create remains the biggest reward of all. Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Expert Educator Anutosh Deb.
Why is education important to you?
Education is important to me because it is education (non-formal and formal) that makes me understand the meaning of life in all forms and features. Only education gives meaningful freedom and a reason for our existence. Education differentiates between an animal and a human being. Education makes our life beautiful.
Can you describe the teacher who most influenced you?
Teachers at different stages have made a great influence in my life. My parents, who happen to be my first teachers, influenced my thinking and behavior to understand life to the best. The values and traditions passed on by small actions has molded me to what I am today.
At school I fondly remember my teacher who taught us English. The way she taught us the subject and her student-friendly attitude instilled a big positive mindset, which has helped me to follow her footsteps and has been a great motivator for my survival as a teacher. The noble thoughts and corrective measures that she had applied have actually made a great impact on my way of thinking and discourses with my students today. It is great to have such wonderful teachers.
Describe the most inspiring day you’ve experienced as an educator.
There are several moments that inspire me as an educator. This incident is the most inspiring of all: One day a small girl student of class six who attended my art class for the first day, kept on crying from the beginning of the class. I asked her the reason and came to know that she was told earlier that she is not good at painting. Today the topic was ‘rainy day’ and she was crying because of lack of confidence. I told her to make a painting on the subject the way she feels on a rainy day.
At the end of the class she (still in tears) made a painting with some rain drops and a low landscape. I took the page and pinned it on the class display board that displays the best paintings of the day. That brought a quick smile on her face, and I never saw her crying again.
Today she studies in class nine and she is such an amazing artist. That first day’s work by her still adorns my class display board, which has been an inspiration for the child. This incident is an inspiration for me too, that I would love to cherish forever.
How can other educators facing similar challenges implement what you’ve learned?
[My experience as] an art teacher who ventured into working with ICT (without any background in ICT) to prepare to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and having achieved recognition as an ICT-enabled art teacher, is by itself a motivation for educators who face such challenges. I am always available to share whatever I have learned.
If you could change one thing about today’s system of education, what would it be?
The one thing that I would love to change in today’s system of education is to have paperless transaction at all levels of the education system, and an ICT supported system where information is available at the click of a button from anywhere and everywhere.
What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?
The best opportunity for innovation in education is when we have a platform where the students and teachers can collaborate and look for innovations and bring a change.
What advice would you give a new teacher (or to anyone wanting to make a difference in education)?
Develop a learner friendly environment and use ICT for bringing dimension in teaching.
What is your greatest hope for the future of education in your country?
We are moving fast to the age of ICT.
Anutosh Deb, Art Teacher, Microsoft Expert Educator
- Birthplace: Guwahati, Assam India
- Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts (Applied Arts), Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Gujarat
- Current residence: Guwahati, Assam India
- Website I check every day: Microsoft Educator Network
- Person who inspires me most: My father, the late Asudev, a pioneer painter of India.
- Favorite childhood memory: Enjoying my first bottle of Coca-Cola.
- Favorite book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho