Interview | Krishna Pulkundwar
Krishna Pulkundwar is a Lecturer at J. J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai and teaches exhibition design, display and stage craft, and also communication design to final year students, He is an accomplished artist himself, with a BFA from Aurangabad and is currently pursuing his MFA from Mumbai University. He has had many shows of his work – solo and group – and his artwork is spread across various private and public collections around the world.
Krishna Pulkundwar hails from a small village in Maharashtra, and as he says, “the amalgams of nature and city life are mirrored in my work.”
A multiple award winner in both his professional and academic career, we thought we’d catch up with him to understand the teacher as well as the artist that makes this man. What does it mean to be an artist and a teacher of the arts discipline, how the journey has been so far – and his views on being a teacher today – and for tomorrow.
eVeltio TEN: You have been a teacher and an artist for many years now. How would you describe your experience in a classroom as it applies to a teacher and as it applies to an artist?
Krishna Pulkundwar: As a teacher my experience is very satisfying and fulfilling. My students are the most important factor of my development. Being a teacher I interact with students frequently, and conversations with my students, inspire me. Their analytical, thoughtful, and sometimes random questions make me learn more and help me keep myself updated. Many a times the colourful attires of students suggest interesting colour schemes and compositions. Every year, I meet a new batch of students, talk to them, and interact with them. It helps me stay young in thought and actions. In a way, I give my 10% knowledge and the students in turn give me 90% inspiration. That is why I feel that not a single day of my life goes waste; because every day I believe I have something good, something worthwhile; be it as a teacher or an abstract painter. Every day is cheerful for me.
According to me, a practicing artist who is also a teacher is very good for students. Sharing the experience of creating a new piece of art with students is key in practical education. A teacher- artist can imagine what he wants from students because the teacher knows the medium and its possibilities better. Also he can visualise the end result of the given task. To make the students’ future bright, and to give them practical and self-experienced knowledge, in the art field, a teacher should be a practicing artist. If he has proved his ability as an artist professionally, students pay sincere attention to that teacher.
eTEN: Another question that pertains to your long experience – in these years of teaching you would have surely seen the evolution of teaching – what changes have you seen and what do you believe is the next stage of evolution for this teaching and teachers?
KP: For a long time, the intention of education was: student should complete education and get a job. That’s why students did not get proper education to explore their other art forms and qualities. In the past few years a lot of changes have been made in the education system. New institutions and Universities have started in India. Different art courses were introduced. This new change in education system changed students and their parents’ attitude and through this new change, they got various professional opportunities. In the future, education for life skills will be important and a demand for young professionals as well as experienced technology-friendly teachers in every field will increase.
eTEN: Many articles and news items often mention about the crisis in education in India. The components of this crisis are usually lack of infrastructure, shortage of teachers, and quality education. What is the role of teachers in managing and controlling this crisis?
KP: Like other professions, crisis in education in India is rapidly increasing. There are reasons for this. In India a few professions are given more importance. e.g. Medical and Engineering, in comparison to others. Because of this, educational structure hasn’t developed properly. As result, in some professions good teachers are not available.
Teachers are a part of this education crisis. In India, a class where 4 teachers should be appointed there is just 1 and that teacher has to teach many subjects. Many a time that teacher is not proficient in some subject but is forced to teach it. How then can one get quality education?
Nowadays teachers are appointed on contract basis in many education institutes. They are paid a fixed amount for their work, which is very low, without any allowances. Such contract teachers are terminated after every 11 months. This situation upsets them and leaves them unsatisfied. We should attempt to improve situation of these contract teachers to enable them to provide quality education to their students.
The other serious issue is that in most of the schools and colleges the posts of teachers are vacant. At many places such posts remain vacant for years and years, because of this situation other teachers are over worked resulting in depression. But still they do their duties. This worse situation hampers the growth of skilled and talented teachers. This has an adverse effect on quality education. This negligence increases the rising crisis in education industry.
eTEN: Many professions – medical, legal and accounting, for example – have comparatively well-defined professional development programmes. How does this apply to teachers? What kind of continuous education should teachers be given?
KP: Like other professions, efforts are a must to develop teachers; mainly because this is the era of Internet. The world is changing very fast, how can teachers lag behind? How will the teacher prepare the scholars of tomorrow? Thus teachers should be upgraded about their subjects, new changes, happenings, inventions and technologies by giving them proper training.
While planning these teachers-training programmes, educators right from nursery to higher education should be included. These training programmes should be organised in every school, college of every city and village. Through continuous and periodic discussion with students, teachers and experts, changes should be made in these training programmes. Only then will we see positive changes in the education system.
eTEN: ICT (Information, Communication & Technology) is now becoming common in everyday life. We notice that teachers are often wary of using technology in the classroom. What is your view on the use of technology in the classroom and in education delivery? What are the positive (and negative, if any) implications of using technology in education?
KP: In today’s world of Internet, every school and college has e-learning facility and upgraded technology. Nowadays even in BMC schools, computer labs, e-classrooms; projectors are available for students. Today’s students are the future of tomorrow’s information technology. That’s why using new technology in the classroom is the need of today’s education.
The other side of this is not satisfying. Technology in education system is not easily accepted by many senior teachers, because they do not understand new technology easily and are slow to adapt. But young teachers are excited about using this it in their classrooms. Showing visuals, examples, references, and films through technology it is possible and students understand the subject easily. Both the students and teachers can experience the difference in education with this new technology and they can benefit with this new, positive change.
eTEN: Many teachers will be reading this interview. What message would you have for the young teachers who have just begun their career in this field?
KP: Teachers have respect in society. In this profession you are with youngsters, you move around and interact with them which keeps you young at heart and full of energy. While teaching them you can learn many things from them and you get inspired. In spite of time spent teaching you can develop and sharpen your skills in the spare time.
While working in this profession few things should be taken into consideration. When teaching students make it a point that whatever you want to tell them and convey to them should be simple and easy to understand. For this you have to give them perfect and appropriate examples. It is not a platform to show how talented you are, instead, what is expected from students is most important. Remember the maximum capacity of student to listen is 40 mins, in this short span you should be successful to convey the subject perfectly. The other important thing is, the focus of the teacher should not only be for the brilliant children but also the average, shy, students. To motivate such students is the duty of a teacher.
You are shaping the generation of tomorrow so the content of your speech should be knowledgeable and updated. Your language should always be soft and polite, which should be without ego. Your attitude towards every issue should be always positive.
(As interviewed through email.)
A big thank you to Krishna Pulkundwar for his time and talking to us about the journey of an artist and a teacher.
To know more about Krishna Pulkundwar, connect with him at the links below.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of eVeltio Education Consulting Private Limited.