Progressive Schools of the 21st Century

Chitkala Shanker 

Admin- in- charge and Science Subject Matrix Expert of the R&D Team, VELS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, Chennai

“A vision is a fixed destination, a fixed point towards which we focus all our efforts and strategy is the adaptable path to get us where we want to go”.

- Simon Sinek

All educational institutions keep this quote in mind to work with student retention, to connect with parents and to maintain the reputation of the school.

What makes schools inspiring and progressive? It is the TEACHERS who are the face and the backbone of the institution. Teachers, parents, and students form the World Wide Web of progressive schools.

Good education, coupled with discipline, is the basic building block of schools. The faculty - the teaching community willing to unlearn and relearn - can transform the community. We are in a digital world catering to digital natives who are technologically ahead of the facilitator in the classroom.

So to bridge the gap, the teachers need to update their knowledge and skills. They have to reskill, upskill and learn new skills. They need to observe the happenings in the arena of education keenly. In-house training, educational conferences, educational fairs, and subject-specific workshops by experts are mandatory agenda for the teacher of the new-age technology.

“Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.” So true for 21st-century teachers. They need to act better, lead better with an open mind and positivity. The facilitators need to question themselves with Whys, Whos, Wheres, and Hows of the concept.

When a question arises in a teacher’s mind, he/she can google and get the needed responses. The teacher needs to watch documentaries, read, read, and read to stimulate her neurons, to make connections in the neural synapses, restructure the brain to think beyond and out of the box, and to cater to the modern-day teaching-learning process.

Who is a 21st-century teacher? It is a teacher who can work hard with dedication, prepare, update, create, innovate, impart discipline, improve their critical thinking skills, come up with solutions and be hands-on in the classroom. Above all, she needs to evaluate herself based on subject-specific student assessments and become a reflective practitioner.

TEACHER+ TECHNOLOGY = TRANSFORMATION OF CLASSROOMS OF TODAY

‘Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think,” said Albert Einstein. So true.

Teachers need to inculcate critical thinking skills in learners. Education is inspiring someone’s mind and not filling their head. “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand,” stated Confucius.

Experiential learning, activity-based learning and blended learning must be incorporated to cater to the enhancement of skills of the 21st-century learners.

Parents are the VOICE MAILBOXES of the school. Institutions need to listen to feedback and suggestions of the parent community. Listening alone is not enough. Taking immediate action on the feedback is vital to a school’s progress. When a solution is arrived at for every feedback/suggestion, it can make an impact turn around the functioning and thus the effectiveness of the school system.

Parents with specific skill set can be guest speakers on special days, conduct workshops and inspire children of the parent peer group. The three-way networking⁠—PARENT-TEACHER-STUDENT⁠—forms an I-CLOUD and builds up the positive image of the school. The sense of BELONGINGNESS of the three-way network is the key to the success of any institution.

The students of the school have a huge impact on the school. Students who have

Newspaper, Social media, Educational fairs and Conferences, Magazines, Global Networking, Exchange programme and Skype Sessions with schools on all sides of the globe are ways institutions can project themselves.

To be known to the outside world, projection is essential for sharing of learning, to network, collaborate and to broaden one’s horizon.

To conclude, once again, what is a school?

A SCHOOL is -

S-Sincere Teaching Community

C-Committed Community

H- Heightened/ Highlighted Achievements of the Community

O- Organized planning and Execution of Goals

O- Orderliness in Functioning

L – Leaders with a Goal and a Vision

To conclude, we live in the digital era handling 21st-century learners. SKILL BUILDING is the key to success. If we strive to function with Capability, Commitment, Collaboration and Confidence - the 4 Cs institutions can reach the pinnacle of excellence.

Hold the vision and trust the path. Do not dwell in the past. Do not dream of the future. Train the mind to concentrate on the present moment.

And then DREAM INSTITUTIONS OF EXCELLENCE ARISE.

CHITKALA SHANKER 

Admin- in- charge and Science Subject Matrix Expert of the R&D Team, VELS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, Chennai