Interview by Kritika Gupta
Dr. Sreedhar Babu Talluru is currently working as the Professor in the Dept. of Civil Engineering at VVIT Guntur. He holds a Ph.D. in Structural Engineering with ME (Earthquake Eng.) and BE (Civil Eng.) degrees. He has served as an educator for more than 25 years.
He has published 9 technical research papers in various national and international journals; he has also attended and participated in various seminars and conferences at international level. He is a life member of Indian Society for Technical Education, Indian Society for Earthquake Technology and Indian Geotechnical Society. He is Fellow Member in Institute of Engineers India.
Experience in the education industry
I have been an educator for over 29 years and the journey has been an absolute bliss.It is most rewarding when we are able to ignite curiosity and growth in our students and make a real difference in their lives and see them grow and nurture into bright individuals.“Teachers, I believe, are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth.” to quote Helen Caldicott. Teachers are indeed the sculptors of tomorrow.
Strategies to help underachievers
It is important to identify the underachievers. Generally, the reason for underperforming is either difficulties in understanding concepts,lack of motivation or a problem on personal front.It is the job of an educator- as a counsellor- to understand a student’s situation and act accordingly in his best interests.
From our end, we conduct additional classes if the student lacks clarity in concepts and is evaluated regularly. This not only helps in giving personal attention to the students but it also helps to track their progress.
Quality of students at VVIT Guntur
Students here come from varied educational backgrounds and have different needs. Each needs a slightly different approach.As most of them come from humble backgrounds, the pupil are extremely hard working. Some are gifted and are natural achievers while some need a push. So, our ways to impart knowledge are also flexible.
Popular debatable topics in the engineering field
Civil Engineering is an ever challenging discipline. Many aspects of it are explored and many more fields need much more attention. They are sustainable infrastructure, techniques to reduce construction cost & time, impact of climatic change on river basin, urban flood management, groundwater modelling, various mass transportation techniques, green buildings & eco friendly constructions, air pollution in major cities, need of high strength materials, usage and application of Geosynthetics, slope stability to name a few.
Methods opted to encourage better learning among the students
I encourage the achievers to explore the subject further in depth at their own pace. On a personal level, I provide them with additional study material and projects that challenge and test their skill thereby broadening their horizon.I encourage them to think out the box and pose intuitive questions.
Challenges faced as the HOD in VVIT
Teaching can be a demanding profession. There are times when students can seem uninterested in learning and disruptive to the classroom environment. So, trying to keep them focused and interested can pose a challenge to us.
How does your curriculum ensure best practices of the industry?
Quality teaching is the use of pedagogical techniques to produce learning outcomes for students. It involves several dimensions, including the effective design of curriculum and course content. Students develop the best when they are provided environment in which they can explore the world around them and implement their learning practically.
To ensure the future success of a student, it is imperative to provide a strong start by imparting quality teaching- which is based on sound theoretical foundations and are developmentally appropriate. So we have developed a curriculum which supports our vision of implementation through exploration.
Quality check of the curriculum
As per my experience, it showed that fostering quality in education is a multi-level endeavour. At an individual level, we try to help our teachers achieve their mission, encouraging them to innovate and to support improvements to student learning and adopt a learner-oriented focus.
We keep our teachings in-tune with the current industry trends and give the students an edge using technology. With this, we also conduct regular workshops, seminars and invite experts from the industry to give out their learnings and experiences to our students and the faculty.
Dr.T. SreedharBabufollows ‘open-door’ policy for students
The importance of positive student teacher relationship cannot be undermined. In accordance, I believe communication is the key. As a teacher, you should be available to your students, and your office should have an open-door policy where students are encouraged to walk in if they need to talk about anything.
I also try, when taking a class, to incorporate humour in my lessons. This creates a relaxed atmosphere where students can easily communicate and contribute to the lesson thereby, creating a conducive and healthy learning environment.
Leadership style as an educator
As an educator, my mission is always student-centred. I vehemently believe that they should always be focused on bettering the students,that is, you want every activity that occurs in your building to revolve around what is in the best interests of your students.
Our mission is to create socially conscious learners-where students are constantly challenged by teachers as well as their peers. To put it categorically I have a ‘Transformational leadership’ style.
Suggestion to the youth and aspirants
Instead of brooding over things you cannot do, use every opportunity at your disposal to improve your skill-set, tag it with your youthful vigour and achieve your goals. Be productive and use those skills to be of service to this nation and the society in general.