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place where educators explore their ideas to enhance & reshaping k-12 education.

If You Prepare Them, You Won't Have to Repair Them

When I do corporate training, I tell the people at the top, “What I am doing in your organization is repair work. If you prepare them, you won’t have to repair them.”

Where do you prepare them?

In schools and colleges

Who prepares them?

Only parents & teachers, only parents & teachers, in life, care to correct, the world punishes.

How do you judge the progress in a country?

Not by the industry or infrastructure, but it is by the quality of character the country is producing in its citizens. Unfortunately, in India, we are not focusing on character.

In today’s fast-changing world, products are getting obsolete almost the day they are getting launched. Knowledge is getting obsolete within 2-3 years. It has literally become a cliché that “the only constant is change”. If that is true, then either we are in deep trouble, or there is a great opportunity for those who are prepared. The big question is that with so much uncertainty, what do students prepare for? Is there anything other than ‘change’ that is constant? If there is, then we should prepare our youth in the following three skills that are constant.

  • People skills :We are hired for our skills, but we are fired for our behaviour not only as employees but even as vendors. Today’s generation is so comfortable with technology and computers that they are becoming uncomfortable with people.
  • Persuasion skills :Persuasion skill means the ability to influence, negotiate, convince, and sell. It is not about nagging. It is about being able to influence others to achieve your objectives by putting your point across succinctly and effectively.
  • Prioritizing skills :Priorities are based on values. When we forget our priorities, we are unable to distinguish between what’s urgent in life and what’s important. Urgent may or may not be important and important may or may not be urgent. But interestingly whenever we ignore what is important, it converts into urgent.
    Example: Health and relationships are both important, but they are urgent. If we ignore health, we land up in the hospital, and if we ignore relationships, we start talking through our lawyers.
    A complete education has two components:
    • It teaches a person how to make a living.
    • It also teaches them how to live.
  • Skill + Will = Success : We need to distinguish between skills and competence. Skill is ability; competence is ability along with the willingness and desire to do the job. There are many skilful people who are totally incompetent.
    Numerous surveys, including NASDAC, clearly bring out that 90% of graduates coming out of schools and colleges are not employable.

What makes our graduates unemployable or employable?

A bad attitude, wrong values, and unrealistically high expectations where they all want to start as CEOs.

Does discipline give freedom or does it take away freedom?

Many times people think that discipline takes away freedom. That is not true. Discipline actually gives freedom.

You take a train off the track it is free, but where does it go? If you free the steering wheel of the car, it is free but where does it go? The answer is “Nowhere”.

Discipline is a track to run on, and it gives freedom.

Parenting and teaching is not a popularity contest. We need to do what’s right and in the best interest of the child.

Is discipline an act of love?

Nature teaches us that sometimes in life, you have to be unkind to be kind. Take the case of the mother giraffe, she is 20 feet tall and gives birth to a baby giraffe standing up. The baby plops down from mother’s womb on to the hard surface. The baby is weak and can’t get up.

What is the first thing the mother giraffe does?

She takes a head start and gives one kick to the baby giraffe. The baby jumps up, but the legs are weak and wobbly and he falls down. The mother giraffe gives one more kick, but the baby is weak and wobbly and falls down again. The mother keeps kicking the baby until it is able to get onto its feet. Why? It is because the mother realizes that the only chance of survival for the baby in the jungle is to get on its feet; otherwise the baby cannot run and will be eaten up by the predators. Is this an act of love? The message is very clear:

‘Sometimes in life, you have to be unkind to be kind.’

Mr. Shiv Khera
Author, Educator, Business Consultant and a much sought-after speaker.

Education is one of the essential elements of an individual’s life. Looking back into history, we can see a remarkable contribution of Christians in the field of education. Today we have myriads of catholic institutions who have taken up teaching as their way of life, convent schools acquiring the elitist position amongst them.

Back in the centuries, India considered education to be the property of only elite people. But when Convent schools came into practice, they made education available for all. They believed that education is a community service and not a business. Convent schools are mostly considered to raise and nurture students in a strict atmosphere, laying the foundation for a self-disciplined individual. They believe in uplifting spirits by practising spirit-driven education.

Students raised by Convent schools are more disciplined, have an excellent command of the English language, and are trained for real-life problems. They have always given centre-stage to arts by indulging fine arts, drama, music, painting, etc., in their curriculum. Apart from this, convent schools practice value education, thus imparting values that make them kind, respectful, caring, aware, social, and rational individuals. Convent schools are the ones that have popularized the concept of holistic education, which has been a significant influence on shaping the education system.

Studying in Convent schools exposes students to Christianity, right from hearing the school church's mesmerizing bell, singing hymns every day in the assembly, being fascinated by kind nuns, and the most happening traditional celebration during Christmas and community service. Convent schools do facilitate an all-round development where academics meet reality in the real sense.

Convent schools have given the world some great minds in education, arts, science and technology, management, etc. They continue to contribute to the community and spread the light of knowledge.

Sister Sahaya Selvi
St. Anne's Matriculation School, Tamil Nadu

R you Ready to Reach for the Stars?

'Never let school interfere with your Education." - MARK TWAIN.

Education is a life long process – from the Womb to the Tomb. Hence in this modern era, we must add the 3R's of learning –

  • Researching
  • Relating
  • Recognition

Education today must encourage a researching mind because a child learns best when he gets into the depths of a situation, researches, and can answer the How? What? Why? of a problem.

Learning that will be far more retained and embedded in the folds of his memory only because he took stock of the situation, made his findings, and his way out of the maze.

He made trials and Errors, experimented, and Lo and Behold! Many times it has lead to discoveries!

Thus Albert Einstein very rightly said, "If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"

Children should be able to relate to real-life situations, and just theoretical knowledge wouldn't be insufficient. Today's need is to be street smart and have the ability to 'Think out of the Box'.

The most successful people the world had ever produced were not great Academic Scholars but people who had their heart and mind in the right place and could co-relate all they had studied in school with real-life situations.

Children need overall development, and there is no better place than schools that offer them the right platform to be recognized.

Children possess an array of talents, waiting to be tapped, and through extra-curricular activities, they recognize their forte. Extra-Curricular activities boost a child's morale, define character, make leaders, promote teamwork, and above all, it brings recognition in the form of awards, rewards, and self-satisfaction.

They indirectly help build the body and mind, and a Star is Born!

  • So education should
  • Enlighten Minds
  • Develop Character
  • Unite Subjects
  • Create Ideas
  • Analyze Situations
  • Teach Values
  • Initiate Understanding
  • Organize Thinking
  • Nurture Learning

The addition of the 3 R's should open windows to help a child see beyond the horizon, understand that the sky is the limit, and be assured that there is always light at the end of the tunnel!

Graham Heiden
Christ Church School, Mumbai

The best definitions about education which I cherish always are the ones by Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi. Both of them spoke about unravelling the hidden potentials. For many centuries, the contributions of Christian Missionaries and others in the field of education, especially in bringing out the best in an individual, have been remarkable and unforgettable. However, our country's education system has undergone significant diversions over the years, and the statistics show that the happiest country in the world is Finland. The chief constituting element in the happiness ratio is their education system.

Where have we failed?

Looking back, up-to recent history, our country has given birth to several enlightened minds and visionaries. But unfortunately, in the last few decades, with all due respect to all the enlightened men and women of the present time, the enlightened people's ratio is very discouraging. Our educational system has moved from moulding reflective people to academic achievers, from visionaries to successful people. Knowledge is the key to return.

As a twentieth-century poet rightly said, "Where is our wisdom, we have lost it in knowledge; and where is our knowledge, we have lost it in the information." Wisdom is the need of the hour, and knowledge is the stepping stone to learning. An English thinker identifies three domains of knowledge: Information, Interpretation, and Critique. The first stage of knowledge is Information. It gathers the various facts and figures that are available in and around us in a systematic way. It does not, however, involve one's perspective or agency in understanding it. Unfortunately, our educational system remains or limits itself to just the transmission of the Information alone. The next stage of knowledge is interpretation. It is the translation and exposition of a phenomenon in a particular situation in the light of the gathered data and one's perspective. Interpretation naturally leads to critique. Critique is the critical understanding of Information to the domain of knowledge in the light of the socio-cultural and political circumstances. It is the understanding of what makes something knowledgeable. In the Sitz im Leben, Dr. Sunil P Ilayidam, a renowned professor and speaker, proposes one more domain to knowledge, i.e., aesthetic. This knowledge domain is the ability to see the beauty of a thing or a fact in itself through art, language, and literature without any external influence. Thus all four stages constitute knowledge.

Knowledge, when coupled with experience, gives birth to wisdom. Wisdom is the vaccine for enlightening minds, the food for the soul in the journey of unravelling oneself to enlightenment. Thus, our educational system should revisit the purpose and visions of proper education – transforming knowledge into wisdom.

Into that light, let us, educators, awake!

Father Byju Antony Puthanpurackal SAC
Pallotti Hill Public School, Mukkam, Kerala

Expand Social, Emotional, and Intellectual Skills through Extra-Curricular Activities

"Extra-curricular collaborative activities are useful in the development and intellectual promotion of a child's skills.

Christian or convent schools have always been the first choice of educated parents in Indian society. These schools groom their students with specific positive values and virtues. To highlight children's talent, it is essential to include extra-curricular activities in the curriculum. Presently, an educationist's view is to use the interpersonal skills of a child to build his interest in learning.

Such participation is termed as a waste of time and meaningless among some parents. In contrast, extra-co curricular co-operative activities prove to be capable of fulfilling various objectives in a child, such as skills acquisition, social and intellectual enhancement, and character development.

Benefits of collective activities

Different skills are automatically unveiled in a child by collective activities. Essential life skills can be developed by implementing swimming, horse riding, cooking, sewing embroidery, playing sports, acting, music, dance, and painting. Schools play an essential role in nurturing a child's emotional and physical development in their lives, which is the foundation of a healthy life. Outdoor activities provide intellectual stimulation to children and also have a positive impact on their academic performance. The passion born in a child through these activities generates a cheery wave in them, helping them develop a balanced life in the future. Extra co-curricular activities also help children share interests, develop social skills and affinity with their classmates, and lead to a positive step in sharing knowledge of their abilities.

There are many characteristics of external activities that are important for the development of a child and contribute to their development. They include courage, honesty, loyalty, dedication, motivation, perseverance, teamwork, friendship, time management, and accountability when they play fair. Preparing for lessons, working or playing together in collaboration, and completing tasks on time increases children's self-esteem.

To expand the child's social, emotional, and intellectual skills, he must participate in such activities. Parents should always try to support the interests of their children. It is important to note that whatever passion is found in children's lives, it will be every parent's responsibility to enrich them with their life experiences and support them to excel in their lives.

Deepak Paul
Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Uttarakhand

IGNITING BRILLIANCE IN EDUCATORS

The unprecedented initiation of the corona, an abject lack of clarity, and its ramifications could not stand in our way of continued interests, on how to support our students without compromising on the quality of education. Here it is pertinent to mention that the indefatigable spirit of teachers has played a crucial role in satiating the unquenched desire for knowledge. Thus, it seems befitting enough to shed some light on the need and importance of teachers’ mental and physical well being, which shall keep the cogwheels of the teaching-learning process in motion. A teacher touches the lives of so many impressionable minds, so she has to stand above all the snags and glitches. She needs to emerge unruffled in the face of adversity which can not be possible without them being in a robust state of mental and physical health.

I would suggest all the teachers to seize this work from home opportunity to take out some ‘me time’ for themselves. One of the biggest challenges during this time is a sedentary lifestyle – moving around, physical transitions from one room to another, or even some usual lunchtime walks are highly recommended. Self-compassion, kind self-talk, and a happy mindset are often discussed in class, but now is the time to also turn all these inwards. In doing so, you’ll benefit your own mental wellness and also be able to model it for others.

Setting small and realistic goals will make you feel much more fulfilled and help in maintaining good mental health. A great psychological trick that helps you to be more productive when working from home is to create a dedicated workspace and identify specific and limited times in which students or colleagues can reach you. It is necessary to set boundaries. Going by the famous adage there is always an opportunity in every adversity to rediscover yourself. Remember you not only owe an explanation but also admiration to the person on the other side of the mirror. Although it sounds trite to say that we all are in this together. The silver lining in this current crisis is to build a reconnection with ourselves and those around us with a stronger sense of shared empathy and kindness for one another. Also, remember to always have a greater appreciation for a beautiful life on this planet.

Seema Behl
Principal
Brain International School
Vikas Puri, New Delhi

The Role of Leaders in Transforming Education in the 21st Century

Can an educational leader transform the face of education?

A leader is an intellectual magnet who keeps the team together; giving a sense of direction, promoting the development of the institution and concepts that define the entire organization. They can design appropriate frameworks to ensure that the knowledge imparted is congruent with the standards required to meet the valued ends. Let’s forgo the illusions, transformation is hard work, the cynical might argue that transformation is hope and aspiration rather than a viable strategy. Education systems are not transformed; rather they emerge incrementally, often in a disjointed way. This disjointed incrementalism then, better describes more educational policy making than any other concept.

Transformation is a particularly persistent and evocative concept. It is one of those words that is almost impossible to raise objections to. We seem to like the idea of transforming ourselves and the organizations that we work in, but transformation can be grueling since individuals are not blank slates. The complex process of learning, unlearning, and relearning is quintessential to facilitate any change, and reconfigure the mindscape of how an organization or an educational system works.

One of the keys to bring effective change is recognizing that people have existing maps with fixed notions that have worked for them will continue to work for them. Hence, to transform an organization one needs to transform himself/herself first.

Personal transformation is a process that involves realignment of self and redrawing one's mental maps which can be profound and challenging. Once such an implicit understanding is set, the world out there is open for anyone. Self-awareness here acts as a foundation to understand the context one inhibits, making it easier to navigate from one situation to another. Abandoning existing mindscapes and adapting to new ones will thereby, act as a catalyst to activate the desired transformation.

An unmitigated paradigm shift is, therefore, sporadically necessary.

Let me explain this with a simile- earlier the zoo was a place where animals were caged, and humans visited them freely but now, it is the animals who are set free living in their natural habitat, and humans are encaged as they go and see them via elaborate safaris. Similarly, the situation at school and the learning perceptive needs to change.

Organizations need to transform from a teacher-centric approach to a student-centric approach. Students should be empowered with skills and competencies, emphasizing the importance of the process rather than the product. The leaders need to introspect and be the harbingers of change after careful introspection.

Vibha Khosla
Principal
Shri Ram Global School, Delhi-West

Stress-Free Examinations

Exams are around the corner and parents are often noticed showing a high level of stress than their children. Eventually, the same is passed on to the child who is already nervous and has a tough time studying for the board exams. So, the support and encouragement from parents become the need of the hour to keep his/her mental pressure at bay.

Parents can follow the below-mentioned strategies to keep their children stress-free during exams:

  • Avoid comparison and putting pressure : Education no longer now revolves around academic disciplines as the area of focus, rather it now depends on the holistic development of the child and developing skills like love for learning.
    Children are already under stress so parents can relieve their stress by having realistic expectations from their child which will encourage them to achieve their goals. Parents must recognize the unique potential of their child rather than comparing with others. Thus do not compare children with others and bring their morale down.
    Parents can rather help children to develop an inquisitive mind and learn to be creative which lays the foundation for their entrepreneurial mindset.
  • Encourage regular breaks: The attention span of teenagers is not more than 30 - 40 minutes at a stretch, so the child should be encouraged to take frequent breaks to calm down and freshen up their mind. Healthy food intake, some music time, a short nap, or even some T.V time during this break will help him/her get back to studying, all fresh.
  • Be a support system : A parent can be a great supporter if they do not pasture their aspirations vicariously on their child. Rather they can make an effort to create a conducive environment that will help their child gain peace of mind.
    A night of good sleep gives our brain the required energy to function while studying. So parents should ensure that their child sleeps at least 7-8 hours at a stretch.
  • Creating a study schedule : This does not mean that parents should create a study schedule for their children, but they can surely help their children to create a schedule of their own.

Parents can watch out for signs of pressure and stress in their child, which may include sleepless nights, changes in appetite and behavior.

If a child is noticed crying or breaking down or heard saying things like, ‘I don’t want to appear for exams’, 'I feel like running away from everything,' make sure that they are assured that their parents are always by their side. Parents should be a strong supporting pillar for their child during such times as he/she may be vulnerable to stress.

Remember that there is no report card ever made that can measure their child’s intelligence. Every child is unique, all a parent has to do is to recognize and help him/her explore his uniqueness because the number of possible careers is unlimited. Hence, the limitations of our minds as a parent must not become the limitations for their child in achieving great heights.

Mrs. Rooma Pathak
Principal
M.M. Public School, Vasudha Enclave, Pitampura, Delhi-110034.

COVID CONNOTATIONS

Education is the anvil that hammers out the tenets of civilization. As an educationist, I adhere to the diktat, that if they cannot learn the way we teach; we teach the way they can learn. This quote exemplifies adroitly how each child is as unique as a snowflake and needs to be nurtured with utmost care so he can optimize his full potential. Our aim as educators is to equip our students with a skill set that endures and makes them adept at adapting to any social or economic situation that may be foisted upon them.

The Covid 19 pandemic indubitably threw our lives as we know it and specifically the education system, into a state of shock and pandemonium! The anxiety and concern of both the student and the teaching fraternity were palpable and justifiable. No one envisaged, to begin with, that the pandemic would last for more than a year and the online teaching platform was to endure through the academic session.

For the elementary students, the concern was not merely the lack of cognitive skills enhancement but also justifiable queries from parents regarding the honing of psycho-social skills. As we are aware the age group of 2 years to 7 years felt the worst of the impact. The world as they knew it had been annihilated, it was as if a rug had been pulled out from under their feet! Suddenly and inexplicably there was no school, no friends, no playtime in the park, only a family of grim-looking adults lurking with trepidation.

The school’s role in the case of Elementary was two-fold, assuaging the concerns of parents who were frustrated in their efforts to get their toddlers to sit still and look at a laptop screen. They had concerns about the extended screen time, which could be detrimental to the eye-sight. And much to the chagrin of the students themselves, who only got to see their peers and the teacher for around 45 minutes in a day.

The middle and senior school students were also inundated with a feeling of uncertainty and skepticism regarding the course of their education. Lack of social interaction and the bonhomie of a classroom dynamic, which is not only about gaining knowledge but also debating and interacting with their peers, inside and outside the classroom.

The lack of Physical Education was most keenly felt across all the age groups. The multifarious team-building competitions which are scheduled in the academic calendar were also put on hold. Though, at this juncture, I must mention that Swiss Cottage school hosted an inter-school online dance competition, which was a resounding success.

That being said, the educational fraternity rose to this challenge with aplomb and implemented relevant innovations in pedagogy to minimize the impact of Covid on our students. At the end of the day, the most important factor is to keep the beacon of knowledge and education burning bright, circumstances, notwithstanding.

Neena Thimmaya
Principal
Swiss Cottage School, Delhi

Technology Driven Education: How far are we prepared?

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.”
– Bill Gates

It has been quite some time that we all have embarked on our journey in the virtual world. The education world has been quick enough to adapt to this new change. However, it has not been easy to acclimate to this new phase. Educators across the globe have explored new technologies to engage their students. If we talk about India alone, the teachers are undergoing a lot of training processes to become a part of the new trend. However, with the intrusion of technology into the education field a lot of challenges have been faced by the teachers. There is an upsurge in bullying cases like never before.

In a rush to ensure that the students are delivered the right content at the right time without any delay, we let our students dive in the ocean without life jackets. Well, as said, it's never too late. The school administrations, teachers, parents, everybody is trying their best to take control of the situation and ensure that our children are safe in this virtual world. Although the policies are being formulated and cyber cells have been invested, but the work is still in progress and some offenders might escape. Hence, it becomes pertinent for the educators of today to come in action and ensure students' as well as their own safety.

The need of the hour is that the teachers get equipped, believe in themselves, and find innovative techniques to train young minds. A teacher has the potential to allow the children to see the problem and be the change-makers and leaders for tomorrow. The purpose of education today is not only to ensure that the academic curriculum is completed in time but also to ensure that our children become problem solvers.

If we determine today, then this problem can be addressed and answered. The schools and teachers can play a pivotal role in ensuring that the students are cyber-educated. Schools encourage students to explore and experience various domains of education. Similarly, they should sensitize them towards cyber law, cyber-security, and cyber-bullying. At our schools, we mentor the students to be sensitive, empathetic, caring, and concerned towards their family, friends, and environment. We must teach our students about the importance of following cyber ethics and becoming responsible netizens. As said, “catch them young”, we need to realize that today’s generation is quick to embrace the technology and hence we must also ensure that cyber safety education starts early at schools.

Students should be addressed to this concern regularly by engaging them in curricular and co-curricular activities. This will allow them to probe into the concerning issue and accept suitable behavioral amendments. We need to create opportunities for our students to see and identify the threats that lie ahead of them. As the trusted guardians, we must notify them that, they are responsible for their own safety and that of others in this virtual world. Education and sensitization alone can pave the way for desired alterations.

Mr. Vividh Gupta
Principal
Bal Bhavan Public School, Mayur Vihar -II, Delhi

The raging intensity of the COVID 19 virus threw challenges that were perceived as hindrances causing distress by some and opportunities for some. Considering the preceding, educators worldwide have viewed it as a platform to share their best practices with co-educators and extend a power booster to the child's emotional cup with love, affection, and connection.

Besides devising ways and means to connect with the students academically and empathetically, the pandemic sprouted many vigorous practices out of necessity to Engage, Involve and Interact with innovative methodologies like the following:

"Minutes of Mindfulness", a unique program that cajoled the COVID 19 blues by catering to the student's mental health and well being. The students were sent online resources ranging from motivational messages, fables, and anecdotes from world-renowned personalities, inspirational talks, posts, songs to the verses from the teachers of their school. These bits and pieces were crafted to reinforce a positive attitude, instil hope, cultivate patience, and revive the deflated self-esteem during the prevalent uncertainty.

'We Care' is a program that offered a counselling helpline 24X7. This Facility was extended to the students and their family members who found themselves entangled in the web of anxiety and stress. Fortunately, this helpline supported more than 120 family members of our student community.

'Parent Webinars' were hosted fortnightly to aid the needs of our stakeholders in the educational loop. The school doctors gave parents desired assistance, counsellors, coordinators, and professional experts in handling the rampant child academically and behaviorally.

The teacher-student bond is unparalleled, so to break the ice between the new session, students' and teachers' weekend Chit Chat Sessions' were practised. With these sessions' help, the class's peculiarities eased out, and the emotional connection started strengthening. The personal space and time offered to the teacher, and the students were savoured emotionally and ardently.

'Educarnival', an art integrated learning festival, was celebrated enthusiastically to integrate visual and performing arts. The carnival strived to develop 'Higher Order Thinking Skills' in the students by openhandedly doling out interdisciplinary activities.

'Educonclave' an amalgamation of verve, camaraderie, creativity, and passion, which turned out to be a three-day extravaganza, was a chopine for students to engage in constructive activities on the offered themes of Sustainable Development Goals, Artificial Intelligence, Industrial Revolution 4.0, and Climate Change. The Educonclave prompted the students to be lucid with their opinions and understandings of the current scenario presenting their unique blended version of the learning.

'Cross-Disciplinary Coalition' a healthy pedagogical partnership amongst the educators where they indulged in sharing their knowledge, skills, instructional design, teaching pathway, and technique-based repositories of the disciplines with their fellow educators. This coalition stood steadfast to the dictum knowledge shared = Knowledge2(square)

Our students' and parents' overwhelming response to these programs has lifted the teachers' spirits and strengthened their devout working and core beliefs besides imparting gusto. Conscious efforts, self-care, and organizational skills towards deemed goals will help the learner build resilience and self-compassion and communicate emotions verbally, furthermore, cultivate better response-ability, rationalized schedule, actively de-stress, and have a productive daily routine.

Ms. Monica Chawla
St. Joseph Sr. Sec. School, Chandigarh

A saunter down the memory lane...

The efficacy of the moments shared can only be accepted and comprehended with half so good a will if I don't mention my teachers' names who I revere. Loyola High School, run by the Jesuits in the heart of Kolkata, is still a pride for the common since the 1960s.

Some of the teachers who had left an indelible impression on the young minds of students like me, Mr Lawrence Irwin, the Mathematics / Physics Teacher who was equally good in English and Chemistry. The calibre, pedagogical nuances, knowledge, humour, human connection, and temperament were par excellence. He was often found setting assignments and question papers while listening to music. Any student who dared to score 35% in his subject was destined to obtain 60% and above in the Board examinations. It was worth tasting his challenge with delight.

Mr George McLuskie, whose dexterous hands did not even require a scale/protractor/set square to draw straight lines or circles of 3D figures on a blackboard while teaching us technical Drawing as the sixth subject in ICSE. He was an amazing gentleman and perfection embodiment.

My English teacher, Mr Bell, as his name sounds, would ring a bell at common errors if not identified. He helped us understand the use of the phrase, frogs and fish/cats and dogs and many other nuances of the English language.

Our disciplinarian and moral science teacher, Mr. Derek Powell, the man behind perfect 100 on the sports ground, be it Annual Sports Day, Independence Day, or Investiture ceremony, he would ensure every student participated with joy in their respective event.

The alleys of History of English Literature and Plays were toured by a motherly figure, Mrs Suparna Mukherjee. No wonder she was a research scholar, because of which the students ended up staging several plays years after. Getting into the skin of characters and playing them well by the context was well received by the audience.

Besides these teachers mentioned, I cannot miss out on the Captain of the Ship (Headmaster), Father Vanigasooriyar, aka Father Van, a Jesuit from Sri Lanka; he taught us how one could lead a selfless life with love for humankind, concern for the environment and commitment towards society.

Mind these people were not highly qualified, but they wore the cap of wisdom and donned the mantle of passion, upheld high standards of integrity and enjoyed life, spread happiness around teaching each of us the true meaning and purpose of education.

Life has perhaps stopped making such illustrious teachers, but I still revere them for making me what I am today!

Stanley Anthony
St. Xavier’s High School, Gurugram

India can't ignore the contribution of Christians to the field of education. It has always been the main instrument in building up the Indian nation through centuries in the economy, education, social services, health care, etc.

Convent schools provide inclusive and integral education, digitally empowered and skill-oriented, with holistic values and healthy life management wisdom.

During a debate on ‘whether females should be educated or not’, Duff, a Protestant missionary, realized the unique significance of women’s education because he knew that there could be no spiritual or stable social progress apart from women's education. The missionaries were the first ones to promote women's education in India. It led to the enlightenment of Indian women of all religions, castes, and regions in modem times. It is rightly said, 'educate a boy, you educate an individual, educate a girl, you educate a family.'

Jesus came into this world to give the fullness of life to every human being (John10:10). Christian education is based on the Biblical values of love, universal brotherhood and sisterhood, justice, equality, human dignity, compassion, truth, etc. were instrumental in uprooting all the aforementioned social evils from Indian society. This educational pattern has opened a new phase where all castes have access to education, especially the underprivileged, downtrodden, and socially oppressed people. New opportunities for education and occupation expanded through Dalit education in missionary schools.

Convent education aims to form principled, value-oriented individuals for others after the example of Jesus Christ. Intellectual formation includes a growing ability to reason reflectively, logically, and critically. This enables each one to recognize and respond to the message of divine love. Christian institutions are engaged in reaching out to the weaker section of Indian society, mostly in rural and tribal areas. Quite aptly, the motto of the Christian education is “We Receive to Give”.

So, I firmly believe that Christian missionaries have played a vital role in fulfilling this fact.

I am grateful to the Entab group for giving me this opportunity in penning these few lines for expressing my view about the contribution of Convent schools in uplifting education in India.

Sister Archana Arieekal
Vimala Convent Hr. Sec. School, Sanawad, MP

Making Educational Innovations Successful

It’s wonderful to see the education sector booming with innovations, with 4000 educational technology companies active in India and thousands of schools engaging with new ideas every day. There is so much potential to be unleashed from all of this exciting innovation, when approached in the right way. However, one cannot fail to observe the fact that many of these innovations – despite their true potential to boost children’s learning outcomes – are deployed in such a way that they do not succeed in having an effective impact. It’s important for all innovative educators to engage with some of the possible reasons for this, to avoid making similar mistakes.

Firstly, technological innovation must be viewed as a tool that can be used to support educators in helping their students achieve better learning outcomes – not a direct fix to those learning outcomes themselves. Very few students demonstrate significant improvement without human intervention, and educational technology can never substitute for the essential role of a teacher. At best, it can empower teachers to enhance their teaching – by generating data to help them pinpoint differentiated learning levels within a class, by providing quality content that can enhance a lesson, by reducing their administrative burden to open up more time for planning lessons and improving teaching skills, or by acting as a medium through which new pedagogical practices such as flipped learning can be experimented with – but it can never replace the skilled teacher’s human touch that motivates a child to put in the effort required to improve his or her learning outcomes. Educational technology is not an end in itself, but merely a means to the greater ends of enhanced pedagogy, empowered teachers, and improved student learning outcomes – and educational leaders must recognise this.

Secondly, a discerning educational innovator wishing to enhance pedagogy through technology must carefully sift through the incredible variety of products that exist in the market to select the most appropriate ones, and must deploy them effectively. Failure to take care in this regard means that the same tool which has the potential to be of great use to teachers may also become a burden upon them. For instance, interactive white boards can be an incredibly powerful piece of classroom equipment if implemented with the correct approach, but can end up as a dangerously expensive and inconvenient white elephant if not. If their deployment is accompanied by adequate teacher training conducted in a manner that demonstrates their helpfulness for classroom practice, together with robust hardware support through which the inevitable technical failures can receive consistently rapid resolution, then they have the potential to be a success that enhances classroom teaching. Without this, however, the same classroom hardware will leave teachers frustrated and wishing that they still had a regular non-digital whiteboard, due to lack of knowledge of how to utilise them effectively and frequent technical difficulties that will render them unusable. Similarly, a well-chosen school ERP system implemented in the right way can significantly reduce teachers’ non-academic workload, but if the system is not effective then getting teachers to migrate from manual to digital administrative systems may turn into a time-consuming burden and source of resentment.

Thirdly, an educational institution wishing to implement educational innovations must work towards ensuring that the organisation’s culture is one that is open to change and development of teaching practice. This kind of culture can partly be facilitated through well-designed accountability systems – such as teachers’ promotion being linked with their active participation in training programmes combined with evidence of enacting the learning from those programmes in their classrooms – but such systems are insufficient on their own. More important is to create space, time, and incentives for teachers to collaborate, learn from one another, plan, and enjoy remaining continuously engaged with a discourse on teaching and learning, so that their passion about making a difference to children’s lives is ignited and they find themselves constantly on the lookout for new ways of enhancing their teaching for the benefit of their students. When all these factors are fully taken into consideration, educational innovations have the potential to be a success by empowering teachers to improve their students’ learning outcomes.

Mr Roshan Gandhi
Director of Strategy, City Montessori School, Lucknow
Product Manager, LIDO Learning

A Roadmap for Revamping School Education

The school sector has remained neglected since independence. The complete focus is on higher education (HE). A significant portion of the budget was also spent on HE, whereas there were very few schools available compared to the demand. The implication was that most children who should have been in school remained out of school. Most children who joined school dropped out due to one reason or the other. School quality remained abysmally poor, and as a consequence, the participation in higher education was low, and the competition was negligible. Our education system became elitist. The key reason for this was that planning was lopsided. Those at the helm of affairs graduated from elite schools and public universities and their perception was that schools are good, but the public sector universities are not functioning well. Unlike school education, private participation in HE was not allowed. Soon, elite higher education institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs), and similar universities and colleges for social sciences and humanities were established to serve those who received good schooling, mostly from private schools.

A massive number of adults who were illiterate realised the importance of education late in life and wanted to attain it. Open schooling was established in India to reach out to such adults who missed the first opportunity. Today, it has become the first choice of relevant age group children, i.e. ages 14 to 19.

India is on the verge of a significant transformation. The demand for education, and more than that for skilling, is on the rise. We need to create opportunities for all those who wish to get skilled and start their enterprise. A substantial number of children from highly-educated families want to pursue their passion and excel in the area of their choices like photography, painting, dance, and drama.

Schooling is considered a rigid, monolithic process. Open education or distance mode schooling has brought good news to countless children and adult learners in the last three decades of its existence. The traditional schooling and training methods are no longer adequate. We need to create more opportunities as the demand has suddenly grown. We need to combine skill areas with academic subjects like economics and political science with dance, painting, photography, among others.

We need to analyse why a sector, which should be more dynamic than any other industry, is so static and opposed to change. We established the University Grants Commission (UGC), a professional body to plan and monitor higher education, but no equivalent professional organisation is in place for the school sector. Those who manage and understand schooling are nowhere in the decision-making process. Principals are subservient to school owners, bureaucrats and army and police officers who head the apex committees of schools. The principal must be the head and key decision-making person.

The government should establish an autonomous body to plan for schools. The education of the differently-abled is still nobody’s concern. Schools have not become inclusive. An independent body of professionals where school principals, educationists, and central and state government representatives make decisions, can lead to a dynamic school system. Those who are in the profession of teaching or running schools or researching on education should be making policies and implementing them and not those who have never been in education, namely the government education departments. Students aged 3 to 18, teachers, and teacher education will all fall under the umbrella of this statutory body, which may be named the School Education Commission.

Mr Roshan Gandhi
Director of Strategy, City Montessori School, Lucknow
Product Manager, LIDO Learning

COVID-19: Educational Disruption and Response

Over 130 countries have had nationwide closures due to COVID-19, affecting nearly 80 per cent of the world’s student population. School closures have far-reaching societal and economic consequences. Some of the reasons listed below will help you understand the gravity of school closures and why it should matter to each one of us.

  • Disruption in learning: Schooling provides essential knowledge, and when schools close, children and the youth are deprived of opportunities for growth and development. Underprivileged learners have even fewer educational opportunities beyond school.
  • Parents unprepared for homeschooling: When schools close, most parents struggle to facilitate the learning of children at home. This is particularly true for parents with inadequate education and means.
  • Inadequate access to digital learning: Lack of access to technology or functional internet connectivity is a hindrance to continued learning, particularly for underprivileged students and sometimes for students with special needs.
  • Social isolation: Schools are centres of social activity and human interaction. When schools close, children/youth miss out on contact that is essential for their development.
  • Nutrition: Many children rely on free meals provided at government schools, and their nutrition is compromised during school closures.
  • Pressure on the healthcare system: Female healthcare workers often cannot go to work because of childcare responsibilities due to school closures, which further strains the healthcare system during a health crisis.

There is an urgent need to start structuring our capability to deliver reasonable services during school closures. We should stop assuming that continuity of education outside of a typical classroom cannot occur. Distance learning solutions are the only way to continue teaching and learning in today’s unprecedented times. Schools can find creative ways to face such disruption positively by providing printed learning materials and technology-based virtual instruction to ensure that student learning does not suffer.

The learning resources listed below facilitate student learning and provide interaction during periods of school closure.

Resources to Support Student Learning at Home

  • Digital learning management systems
  • Systems with robust offline functionality
  • Self-directed learning content
  • Mobile reading applications
  • Collaboration platforms supporting live-video communication
  • Tools to create digital learning content

It is undoubtedly challenging for teachers, parents, and students to shift from classrooms and schools to distance learning at home. However, several EdTech companies have developed tools and materials to enable a smoother transition. Also, many of these are free, with a wide reach, and have evidence of impact. Schools will have to experiment and decide on multiple platforms that can be integrated to provide an effective and stimulating virtual learning environment for their students.

Gagan Jyot Mann
Managing Director
Doon International School, Uttarakhand

Do Not Quarantine Learning

The world is changing rapidly. We are caught amidst one of the worst global emergencies of our time. This is a war against an invisible enemy. The microscopic enemy has brought everything to a standstill and made the human race reflect and rethink. While we engage in news and grapple with the pandemic, we often forget that our children are listening to all the panic-stricken conversations. We are busy working from home. Additional domestic chores have been added to our usual engagements. We have already been mercilessly infected with the social media virus. It kills precious time cells and eats into our thinking brain cells, creating amygdala hijacks with WhatsApp rumour-news tools and trolls. We keep combating it, but it is helplessly addictive.

Our children are listening, observing, wondering. They are alone at home, away from friends and social engagement with their age-group. They are alone, away from work-routines and engaging tasks. Social distancing has made it necessary, but the fact remains, humans are social animals. We need social interaction. It is an integral aspect of our very survival. We need routines and organisations to continue the healthy sanity of our minds. We need all of this to stay normal, to remain calm, and to stay de-stressed. Our children need schools more than ever and thus. Learning cannot be quarantined, even as school staff and buildings are.

Technology has thankfully made it possible for this generation of teachers and young learners to engage with positive learning amidst the pandemic. It is indeed amazing to see how teachers have adapted and reinvented their teaching styles to virtual teaching platforms. Yes, necessity is the mother of invention and what we are witnessing today is not just an invention, but compassionate engagement with real learning blended into the present environment.

Teachers are training themselves to use virtual tools and resources, design plans for virtual lessons, align students sitting at home to school routines through scheduled lessons and work-plans. Not just academic subjects, our children are also enjoying dance, music, art, yoga theatre and sports lessons through blended learning. In the magical hands of passionate educators, the world-wide-web also turns into a vast pool of marvellous resources and children are actively engaging in exploration and learning like never before.

Everyone is trying. There are endless conjectures and various versions, but no one seems to know how long? For how long would this war against the virus continue? For how long would children have to stay isolated and confined to their homes? For how long can children be told just to read and binge-watch videos or isolation games?

What we now know is that educators will continue their work undisrupted. This year will not be wasted for our learners. From life skills to science, technology, literature, and music, our children will continue the balance of life and learning. This crisis may leave us with learning beyond measure as educators and learners. It may make us rethink the systems that bind and restrict school education. The ‘weapons of mass instruction’ may finally emerge as constructive harbingers of an enlightened tomorrow. The future is different, and it calls for change. It calls for metamorphosis, and this is happening.

It is one thing to have remote learning programmes in schools under normal circumstances, while it is, in fact, quite another when each educator is also ensconced in a work-from-home lockdown situation with similar challenges as parents. Amidst this crisis, teachers have shown their sheer love for children. Pure compassion is making them reach out to each child and make a difference.

Dr. Amrita Vohra
Director Education – GEMS India
Executive Principal – GEMS International School

Inculcating Lifelong Learning in Children

I believe in what John Dewey (1859-1952), the American education reformer, once said, “Education is not a preparation for life, education is life itself.”

Real-life application of knowledge and skills are the hallmark of the education revolution, and unless you are a passionate educator and recognise every child’s spirit, the path to this revolution cannot be defined. Every school must have a soul, and a soul is what distinguishes us as a pioneering and progressive school.

Education is a life-long learning process which takes place not only at school but outside its boundaries and at home as well. And for this reason, an effective home-school partnership is essential for a child to flourish. Shaping young minds is a huge responsibility, and we need to empower them with the confidence to try, to make mistakes, learn from these mistakes, and achieve.

A quote from Barack Obama’s speech: “Hillary, as part of her journey, has made mistakes just as I have, just as you have. But she never stopped trying or caring. She kept trying and prodding along because she had a clear vision. And dreams are possible when people dare, take risks, and have support.”

I urge every educator and every parent out there to help our students evolve into caring, empathetic, and clear-sighted members of society so that they blossom into responsible, global citizens. Let us continue to dream more and achieve more for each of our children.

Dr. Vandana Lulla

Director/Principal, Podar International School - IB/ Cambridge

Education is a powerful tool to unlock the golden door of freedom that can change the world.

Christian missionaries broke through the barriers of elitism in the area of learning and education since ancient times.

Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara decided that the religious congregation should now concentrate on educational work. So in 1846, Fr. Chavara established a Sanskrit school in Mannanam and admitted the Catholics and was opened to all caste and creed irrespective. When he was the Vicar General, he issued a mandate calling upon all parish churches under his jurisdiction to raise schools attached to each of them for the underprivileged students. He arranged mid-day meals that even the government schools were not providing time. The high literacy rate of present Kerala can largely be owed to the farsighted policy of Saint Chavara.

The mission that Fr. Chavara started is continued by the convent schools today. These schools are committed to offering quality education to the broad masses irrespective of caste or religion. If you were to ask parents who decided to send their children to a convent school, you are likely to hear them say' for our child to gain a high standard of education and discipline from an early stage of life.' The two essential work high standard' and discipline distinguish it from after schools. When convent schools were set up in remote villages, the local people supported if their children would get an opportunity to study in these schools.

When we talk about the most significant contribution of convent schools today, they made it available and affordable to society's lowest strata. There may not be any city, big or small, without a convent school in India today. It doesn't mean that they didn't face any challenges to open schools everywhere. Willingness to take challenges that made the convent schools different from often. Apart from giving quality education, convent schools try to teach their students' life values necessary to face the world's challenges today.

A good number of political leaders and other influential personalities of our country are these convent schools' products. They accept and admit that the training they received in their school days helped them reach their present position and made them acceptable to the people.

Convent schools focus mainly on character formation. Thus, the students may quickly get through competitive exams and are capable and confident to face life's challenges.

"BY PLEASING WE CAN NOT FORM A CHILD."

The most influential people in the life of children are parents and teachers. They are the trainers of life. Training or forming a human being is a challenging responsibility. It should not be mistaken as pleasing or satisfying a child. Correct training consists of making the child face the realities of life. Many of us think that my child should not go through the misfortunes and difficulties I have gone through. Sometimes we are only worried about the children's immediate happiness and satisfaction and not concerned about their future lives. So we try to please the child for temporary pleasure.

As formators, parents, and teachers, we should make the children experience reality, i.e., learning to live with the limitations and difficulties. For example, when we have less income, we cannot spend more or spend like others. This sort of reality should become part of their life. The trainers must help the children know the truth or the facts of life.

"Truth is like a surgery. It hurts but cures. But a lie is like a pain killer. It gives instant relief but has side effects forever".

To make our children temporarily happy, we give them many things, adjust many things and compromise many things, not knowing that these are painkillers that have many harmful consequences for our children in the future. So we should avoid pain killers and short cuts while forming our children.

Allow the children to go through the realities of life rather than escaping from it. The wisdom words "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime" is very much right in child formation. Let us teach our children how to fish, which is for life long. As educators, we need to make our children resourceful, creative, humble, assertive, confident, and resilient to face future life.

I think the Missionary schools have a special call to focus on this aspect of education. We need to give equal importance to the mind and heart of a child. Sometimes attention is given only to the mind. As a result, we are not able to shape balanced personalities. As educators, let us shoulder the responsibility of shaping balanced citizens for our nation.

Management During a Crisis

The current coronavirus crisis is unprecedented as never have so many countries brought everything to a grinding halt. Many cities and states are under complete lockdown. It has also been a leveller as the virus does not distinguish between the rich or poor, rural or urban, male or female.

Almost all organisations have undertaken the “work from home” format, which has pushed individuals to learn new skills to cope with the situation. Countries have faced crises before this. While this is a pervasive one, with a severe impact on the economy, this too shall pass.

Leadership must understand the difference between managing – which is about dealing with the present – and leading – which is about taking a larger view of the situation and drawing lessons from it.

While there are routine crises like connectivity breakdowns, cyberattacks, and traffic disruption, there are active response plans for such events. It is the crises like the current Covid-19 one, which test the tenacity of an organisation.

For me, a crisis presents an opportunity to learn and build strength and resilience in the organisation. While the current health crisis has got almost all organisations scrambling to address the current needs of their stakeholders rapidly, they should focus on the aspects beyond the immediate present. Organisations should be reviewing ways of making the organisation more responsive, solid and robust. This has led several schools to build further capacities in e-learning, online resources, and remote training.

I also take strength from the Holy Bible, and this particular verse from Isaiah 41:10 stands out: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.”

While thinking about this whole issue, these words of Eric J. McNulty & Leonard Marcus from their article in Harvard Business Review, “Are You Leading Through the Crisis … or Managing the Response?” came to mind – “Addressing the urgent needs of the present is the work of management…Leading, by contrast, involves guiding people to the best possible eventual outcome over time…”

Since crises, by their very definition, are unforeseeable, it is crucial to be able to have some predefined modes of operation:

  1. Preset chain of command: When a crisis hits, the designated teams should put on their respective crisis hats and get down to work. Just like in a fire drill, there are floor marshals who direct people to the fire stairs and in general perform other functions to ensure safety, so should this team activate itself. There must be senior members in this with direct links to senior management or the board with the requisite authority.
  2. Communication: to all key stakeholders – they must know what happened, what is happening, and how we are handling the issue. Communication with management is also included.
  3. A “war room”: In today’s times, this can be a virtual room. Specified individuals with responsibilities should be part of this and must remain on call.
  4. Flexible authorities: A crisis demands rapid responses to defuse situations and act with swiftness to minimise potential damage. This requires that that team in charge has all the authority needed to deal with the situation.
  5. Resource bank: While the war room will have key decision-makers, there needs to be a set of resources available on tap to deal with the situation. This can be in-house or outsourced.

I earnestly pray that the current issue passes over quickly and normalcy is restored soon. I also hope that all of us can grow from this experience and emerge stronger to build promising futures for our students and the generations to come.

Ryan Pinto
CEO, Ryan International Group of Institutions

Technology and Child Behaviour: The Positives

When we talk of technology and its subsequent relationship with child behaviour, looking at the positives is of utmost importance. We, as parents and teachers, tell the child to be bereft of the technological aids, fearing their over-dependency on gadgets. The era here keeps us informed that the advancement is not just for the nation to grow but to get ready with the workforce that shoulders the nation like never before. What is not so good in befriending technology when it only brings you a bagful of positives? Let us look at some of the positives that ‘rendering a child technologically sound in education’ brings.

  • Be future-ready
    The technological advancement in education facilitates positive learning outcomes. It makes the child future-ready with the know-how that the school and parents provide. Technological tools aid the cognitive capacities of the child and prepare them for tomorrow.
  • Educational advancement.
    A tech-savvy child understands things well and advances educationally. Not only the curriculum-related development, but the ECAs are also well taken care of by e-learning tools. Today, modern techniques have replaced contemporary education.
  • Technological advancement.
    When a child is technologically advanced, they are bound to give back to technology. Someone who can augment and understand the tech world can develop it to the best at a later stage.
  • Maintain the nation’s good worth.
    Children equipped with e-power at an early stage tend to make the nation proud and increase the country’s good worth in terms of human resources. A more technologically-advanced nation and workforce can easily compete in the international market.
  • Instil self-fulfilment.
    When a child is working on e-learning tools from the initial years of learning, they develop self-belief and self-fulfilment. Schools should embrace learning through tech tools like smart classes and tablets.
  • ◦ Build confidence.
    Children become enthusiastic whenever they get access and control over tech tools. Allow them to be free in using learning stuff, which develops the inherent qualities of learning by doing. This confidence is necessary for building a child as a mentally-strong individual.
  • Fosters scientific evaluation.
    When children have access to the internet and internet-compatible hardware, they tend to refer to it for evaluating and handling the situation scientifically. E.g. If you tell the child that crayons they need are unavailable in the market, they can easily order the same online without second thoughts.
    Remember! The tech world shall never overpower the child. Keep in mind the four guiding principles for the use of technology with early learners.
  • Technology, when used appropriately, can be a tool for learning.
  • Technology should be used to increase access to learning opportunities for all children.
  • Technology may be used to strengthen relationships among parents, families, early educators and young learners.
  • Technology is more effective for learning when adults and peers interact or co-view with young children.

Tijay gupta
CEO, Bachpan & AHPS Group of Schools

Transitioning from Traditional Classroom to E-Learning

When the world has almost come to a halt due to the adverse effects of Covid-19, we are looking for possible solutions to cope with its repercussions. Life, economy, education, and society at large have been gravely affected by this life-threatening virus. Africa experienced a similar situation in 2014-15 with the outbreak of Ebola, with reports of more than 11,000 lives being lost. Schools remained closed for more than eight months. COVID-19 is taking a similar toll on us. Schools in China, Iran, France, Italy, Pakistan, Japan, the United States and India have been closed for the past weeks. The education of 290.5 million students worldwide has taken a hit, as per The New York Times reports. We need to, therefore, find alternative solutions to minimise the effects of this disaster.

If students cannot go to school, why not bring schools to them?

21st-century technology enables teachers to create a virtual classroom and continue with lessons. Distance learning/e-learning is an obvious option. Schools and government officials have found ways to keep students occupied at home. The Italian government has created a webpage to give access to video conferencing tools and ready-made lesson plans. In Mongolia, television stations are airing educational classes. Iran’s government has made all the children’s online content free. China and Abu Dhabi are offering online classes and free educational apps to continue with their curriculum.

Education and technology go hand-in-hand in the 21st century. As a result, distance learning has gained momentum as a useful tool, even in the remotest places. Research by Logic Earth Learning Services has shown that 67 per cent of people use mobile phones to access learning content. Data by Online Learning Statistics and Trends suggest that e-learning market will reach $37.6 billion by 2020. Students can use learning apps as they contain excellent and attractive learning materials on various subjects that they study at school. Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has its own official learning app MyCbseGuide which contains multiple interesting subjects and topic-wise videos with detailed questions and answers, explanations, and even online tests to assess learners’ progress.

E-learning can use all forms of technology, which may include radio, television, audio-video conferencing/broadcasting, computer-aided instruction, online learning et al. Radio stations and television stations can broadcast shows on various educational topics. The content can be varied based on the educational boards that are offered in that area. With easy internet accessibility, teachers can offer audio and video conferencing options and reach all students at a given time. Live streaming/pre-recorded audio and videos can be used. Students can use the comment section to clarify their doubts. Skype and other forms of video chats too can be used to conduct classes in real-time wherein students can simultaneously talk to the teacher to clear concepts. Computer-aided instructions can be of immense help as well. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are available to enhance learning at all stages of education. Online chat helps in real-time interactions and instant feedback. EdTech startups have come up with innovative strategies to engage learners of all ages. It ranges from the knowledge of core subjects to vocational and life skills. With immersive learning, educators have created augmented reality (AR) tutorials.

With 250 million school-going students in India alone, health protection is as paramount as uninterrupted education. UNESCO has suggested that all these learning platforms can be of great use to avert this crisis. Keeping the recent situation in mind, many platforms are even providing free access to students. If a solution is available, why not use it to our advantage? With e-learning, we can easily ensure that education never comes to a standstill, and every child receives the knowledge that they so rightly deserve.

Reekrit Serai
Managing Director, Satluj Group of Schools

Crisis, Opportunity, and Children’s Future

Academics are essential but raising well-adjusted adults with respect, empathy, and compassion is the end goal. When our children step outside our circle of protection, we want them to be able to take care of themselves and the future of our world. Critical thinking and curiosity must be encouraged, not trampled. We are raising our children for a world that they have yet to create. And the current global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic is a major wake up call. Everything is closed. And this is perhaps the hardest on parents. Schools are closed, and there is so much we want our children to learn.

Let’s take a deep breath. And acknowledge that learning is an amalgam of the formal and the informal. While formal education is on hold, let us focus our energy on teaching our children the things that we did not always take the time for. This is a great time to touch base on value-based learning, life skills, empathy and respect. For years we have worried about what the capacity of the future generations for values will be.

It is alright if schools have decided to take a little break from traditional academics. Let us reconnect as humans instead. Let us practice physical distancing. But let us learn how to connect better at a humane level. Some ideas to inculcate this kind of learning in the entire family are:

  • Cook meals with your kids. Use online resources to look up simple recipes that you find interesting.
  • Explore family history. Call up an elderly relative and ask questions. Introduce your children to their roots. Look things up online. Use an app or website to chart it all out.
  • Learn a new language. There are great free apps and websites for this.
  • Get Coding. Free apps like Bitsbox are a great way to learn basic coding. All age groups can do it.
  • Explore the interest. If there is a topic you have always found fascinating, now is an excellent time to look it up.
  • Create memories. Do artwork together. Take a video or a photograph of it.
  • Play. Enjoy classic board games, antakshari, and charades. There are so many options.
  • Talk. Spend time together. This is a great time to get to know each other as this was something we never really took the time to do.

You can follow pages and groups on social media that post new, exciting activities/suggestions to engage young learners. Spread positivity and make the most of this time with your children.

Aditi Goradia
Managing Director, Billimoria High School, Maharashtra

Helping Kids Think Outside Gender Binary

Some interesting studies and research on busting gender stereotypes have been done in the last couple of years. I happened to read one such research, which talked about Sweden and its recently coined gender-neutral pronoun, “Hen”. Let me explain this a bit more elaborately.

Hen is a gender-neutral personal pronoun recently introduced in Swedish language, intended as an alternative to the gender-specific hon ("she") and han ("he"). It can be used when the gender of a person is not known or when it is not desirable to specify them as either a "she" or "he".

The word was first proposed in 1966, and again in 1994. However, it did not receive widespread recognition until around 2010, when it began to be used in some books, magazines and newspapers, and provoked media debates and controversies over gender neutrality and parenting. In July 2014, it was announced that ‘hen’ would be included in the official glossary of the Swedish Academy.

As nations and societies have evolved over the past few decades, the use of gender-specific language has become a thing of the past. Although the extent of this may still vary from country to country, it is now more common and acceptable to use gender-neutral terms when writing and speaking in English.

Deliberate research reveals that writers and speakers of the English language are showing a marked shift in vocabulary usage. People are using more gender-neutral equivalents, such as:

What Was Said Earlier... What Is Said/Written Now... What Was Said Earlier... What Is Said/Written Now...
Airline Stewardess Flight Attendant Girl Friday Aide, Assistant
Boss Man, Boss Lady Boss, Supervisor Governess Child Caretaker
Bridesmaid Bride's Attendant Headmaster Principal
Brotherhood Fellowship, Camaraderie Horseman, Horsewoman Rider, Equestrian
Businessman, Businesswoman Businessperson Housewife Homemaker
Cabin Boy Cabin Attendant Maid House Cleaner
Cameraman, Camerawoman Camera Operator Maiden Name Family Name, Birth Name
Career Woman Career Professional Man Of Letters Scholar
Chairman, Chairwoman Chairperson, Chair Manhandle Rough Up
Common Man Commoner Mankind Humanity
Congressman Member of Congress, Congress Person Mother Earth Planet Earth
Cowboy, Cowgirl Cowhand Mother Tongue Native Language
Craftsman Artisan, Craftsperson Office Boy Messenger
Doorman Doorkeeper, Door Attendant Showmanship Stage Presence
Fatherhood Parenthood Uncle Sam United States
Fireman Firefighter Watchman Security Guard
Forefathers Ancestors Young Man Youth, Teenager

Schools and gender-neutral language

The whole point of discussing the coining of the Swedish word ‘Hen’ is that many schools and teachers in Sweden have consciously started using gender-neutral terms as they believe that it aids in diminishing gender stereotypes. In simple words, it leads to a marked decrease in young kids making gender-specific assumptions. E.g. Sam is a boy, and he works in the fields. Jane is a girl, and she cooks food in the kitchen. The emphasis here is on the assumption that Sam is a boy and hence that is why he works in the field.

School practitioners believe that stress on gender specifics reduces opportunities available to children due to gender specifications. Why should Sam, the boy, be assumed to be working in the field and Jane, the girl, be cooking in the kitchen? Instead, we could say: I am Sam, and I work in the field. Such a verbal tone opens up infinite possibilities for Sam. Sam works in the field, but he could work anywhere else too!

By simply de-emphasising the gender differences, we open up a whole world of possibilities for our young children.

Gender-neutral language and parenting

Several surveys and studies also reveal that parents’ behaviour towards children is traditionally gendered. For instance, when greeting three-year-old Sam, you are more likely to shake hands with him, and while greeting three-year-old Jane, you are more likely to pick her up in your arms and greet her with a kiss.

Involve all children in gender-neutral activities, beginning right from kindergarten itself, such as:

  • Doll washing
  • Car washing
  • Roleplay around kitchen chores

Motivate parents to encourage their child to participate and enjoy each activity at home too. Do not curtail their natural responses by bringing in gender stereotypes. If it is a car-washing Sunday, involve Sarika in the entire process. Talk to Sarika about changing engine oil, flat tyres etc. If Sarika has to drive a car, she better know all that goes along with it. If it is clothes-washing Sunday, involve Shiv. Teach Shiv the importance of keeping clothes clean and crisp.

Continue the process after they step out of Kindergarten as well. Do not delay putting Sarika behind the wheel and hasten to put Shiv instead. Driving is a skill; it is not gender-based. It is necessity-based. The later you learn it, the more difficult it becomes. Do not laugh off Shiv’s passion for baking as a joke in the family. Nurture it. Remember, language influences thought patterns and thought patterns determine responses. Responses form behaviour and behaviour define personality.

Do not confuse gender-neutral coinage with feminism or chauvinism. It is not a battle nor a war of sexes. It is about evolving and paving a world of limitless possibilities for our children, be it a boy or a girl.

Manjit Legha
Director Academics and Training, Little Millennium Group of Schools

Incorporating Reggio Emilia Approach

Designed for early childhood education, Reggio Emilia is a pedagogy based on self-learning and self-discovery. The reigns of learning are in the hands of children with teachers being facilitators. Self-learning is closely linked to the concept of ‘learning by doing’. But in the Reggio method, this is taken to the next level.

History and Philosophy

This method of teaching has its roots in the Italian town of Reggio Emilia, devised by Loris Malaguzz, an educator. The Reggio Emilia method of teaching revolutionized the approach to early learning by shifting the focus from the teacher to the taught, giving importance to respect, freedom, responsibility, and self-learning.

It is a child that leads the learning experience; they decide what activity to do, which tools to use. In the process, they learn concepts in a way they will never forget. Plus, children get in touch with their explorer side, which surpasses everything else.

Takeaways from Reggio Emilia Teachings

  • Self-learning: Every child possesses immense potential. All the materials are available to the children in the classroom. Children decide what they want to explore. They keep the material back in place after playing. No instructions are given by teachers, which builds responsibility and ownership.
  • Self-discovery: Self-learning leads to self-discovery. Alongside selecting what to learn and how to learn, children understand their interests and abilities. Learning is child-directed and not teacher-directed. When a problem is presented to children, they find the solution themselves. Some may find the solution in a month, others may take two months, but they are allowed to think.
  • Learning through interaction: Children also learn through various interactions—social, technological, and nature.
  • Hundred languages of children: Children possess a ‘hundred different languages’ in to express themselves. Painting, sculpting, dancing, singing, pretend play—each of these languages is important. It speaks of the importance of play in learning.
  • Adult as a mentor: Teachers or adults are mentors and only support the child. They do not dictate what the child learns.

Schools can incorporate some of the Reggio practices. Focus on observing the children. For instance, the Annual Day should be child-driven with minimum teacher intervention. Arrange activities like “My Perfume Garden” to tingle their senses. Decorate outdoor space with different seeds, flowers, oils, leaves, plants, and stones. Children can visit each booth to touch the seeds, feel the leaves, smell the flowers and the oils and play with mud and build clay models.

Respecting children and their happiness is essential. Train teachers in the Reggio Method of teaching. The Reggio philosophies can be applied at home too so that the child feels valued, respected, and comfortable.

Neelam Malik
Director, Arya Gurukul, Kalyan, Mumbai

Relevance of Technology & Sports Education in School

“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.” –Alfred Mercier

In the present scenario, the two most important pillars on which the whole edifice of schooling is based are adoption and assimilation of the latest technology along with the inclusion of sports as an integral part of the curriculum. The use of technology not only provides confidence to students but also makes them susceptible to it in their life. Realising the importance of technology, classes should be equipped with smart boards which facilitate digital learning. Technology helps make teaching and learning more comfortable, more meaningful, and enjoyable. Through technology, students with special needs can learn via different learning styles at their own pace. It keeps them engaged and interested, along with enhancing their creativity and receptivity. Technology has the power to turn the mundane into marvellous if it is used wisely in the classroom. STEM classes provide children with the facility of research, where they can design models as per their choice and imagination. The purpose is to bring out the hidden scientist among young people.

Sports are necessary for a robust, healthy, and enduring body and also for developing qualities of success like discipline, leadership, and respect for hierarchy can only be taught through team sports. At school, students should get specialised coaching of professional level in sports in athletics, archery, boxing, Kho-Kho, volleyball, handball, cricket, basketball, among others. Initiating unique events such as “Raw Challenge” should be organised for the sports students and their coaches in schools. The challenge can include activities to test the skills, stamina, intelligence, leadership, team spirit and courage with a cultural understanding of the participants. In years to come, schools can go for even more advanced technology in classrooms for teaching and learning. New games and sports can be incorporated to develop the students as the best versions of their inborn personality.

Anil Rawal
Pro Chairman, Rawal Educational Society

Selecting a Good Pre-School

Admission season is around the corner again, Parents spend lot of time to select the right Pre-School for their child, with my experience of 2 decades, I may suggest few key factors which can be taken in consideration while selecting the school. This may help the school leaders to have an Eagle’s eye view of their own school.

In my opinion, values which are imbibed during their decisive years of a child, plays a vital role in growth and future of any society and thus the value-added education shall be the integral part of any guidance curriculum for example, Vedas may be the guiding benchmark.

The high Happiness Quotient is must for a School. The curriculum of the Pre-school should have developmentally appropriate activities to build your child’s knowledge and boost his/her confidence. A pre-school that practices values in a daily life provides practical learning experiences, make learning fun and actually celebrate Childhood.

Your pre-school has to be near your home and convenient for you to visit, as you would be going there every day to pick and drop and any way, you need to be in close cognition with the faculties of school. Neighborhood pre-school should be given a priority.

The school should inform about safety and security measures adopted by the School. CCTV vigilance, Security personnel guarding the gate, Interiors of the schools should be designed keeping child safety in mind, teachers and support staff should be trained for Child Safety Measures.

Good Hygiene Standards should be maintained by the school, washrooms must be equipped with child friendly toilet, washbasins, etc. facilitates key hygiene habits in kids like:

  • Washing hands after playing, and before and after eating.
  • Bathing (specially for day boarders).
  • Oral Hygiene, etc.

Selection of Toys and Books by the school reflects its preparedness to deliver the curriculum in the right sprit.

  • The toys should be realistic and challenging like puzzles, pegboards, blocks, etc. The toys that enhance creativity and foster language skills in students like dress up clothes, props and puppets, etc.
  • Large and small balls which may engage the kids and help vent out their energies.
  • Tricycles are the best toys that foster their gross motor development.
  • Legos fosters Creativity and imagination and skills.
  • Toys made up wood, ball Jumbo crayons chalks and finger paints help in developing pre-reading and writing skills. Books should be round edged which are to be easy to flip. Consider books with large pictures which are easily visible. Themes, concepts and stories should be age appropriate and with happy ending.

The eco system thus created should prompt your child to be an explorer.

and quite relevant in pre-schools too. Counting orally, sorting, grouping/classification and small scientific concepts will develop the scientific aptitude in the kids.

Pre-Schools which aim to develop reading and writing based on phonics will ultimately develop the lingual excellence in your child. Parents play a pivotal role in future personality and spoken English excellence of your ward.

Last but not the least, school must include different activities in its curriculum which ensures development of human values like empathy, love for all, and appreciation of fairness, sharing and caring and thanks giving as a part and parcel of their personality.

“A Complete personality” is what we all as parents and educators look forward in the face of our child.

Dr. Ajay Sharma
Chairman, St. Joseph’s Group of Schools

Smart Tips on Managing a School

Over the years, schools have evolved significantly. Managing schools is more challenging than ever as they are expected to categorise and fit together a plethora of programs, plans, and promises to determine what actually works and what is critical for the success of the school and its students. As the cause is so noble, this complex process becomes simple as I share with you a few smart tips from my experience to manage a school efficiently.

  • Create a culture which aligns with the vision of the school. It is like setting a tone. Once it is done, the school will work as a unit towards a common goal.
  • Observe the importance of responsibility, let whatever be the job; each one has to own its responsibility and should be accountable for its outcome.
  • Assign heads of every department and have clear guidelines to record academic progress and report the same. Encourage them to use technology to do the same as it can save a lot of time and energy
  • Integrate technology for internal communication and feedback, and have a department who vigilantly handles it.
  • Involve all stakeholders into major decision-making
  • Incorporate new learning technologies⁠—be aware of which one fits their particular school and which one does not, which ones are worth stretching a budget for, and which one will be outmoded in a year. For example, the integration of online classes With almost 20 per cent of the schools opting for it, many school leaders are facing the question of whether and not to provide it in their schools, should it be only for staff professional development or get it tailored for their students too.
  • Be well-informed about and sensitive to the array of social support and services in which their students from the most disadvantaged to the most privileged may be connected and understand how to balance them all.
  • Research the needs of staff before selecting an appropriate professional development programme for the school.
  • Encourage staff to be well-read with the latest publications on and the latest research reports in their respective areas of expertise and incentivize them for it.
  • Schools have no shortage of challenges, but when people feel heard and know that their school leader values their voice and opinion, a culture of mutual trust and respect develops giving authentic solutions to all the challenges. Thus, involve all stakeholders in critical decision-making.
  • Have a road map for ten years for the school growth; this should not only be financial growth but also in terms of academic progress, professional development of staff, infrastructural improved facilities and impact to society.
  • Collaborate with organizations that are field experts. Education is dynamic, and so are schools. Continuous up-gradation is an inevitable part of school growth.

Schools are now beyond the idea of just centres of learning and are responsible for bringing holistic development in children. This paradigm shift has ramified the entire process of functioning of schools, making it a complex process. The steps mentioned above will undoubtedly increase the efficiency and reputation of your school.

Skand Bali
Hyderabad Public School, Telangana

Helping Students Excel in Life

As educators, we have seen a paradigm shift in the way education is imparted. Never before has it become as pertinent as it is today to emphasise skill-building over marks. Since information is available at the click of a button, learners should learn how to differentiate between credible and non-credible information. We are preparing them for an unknown future and 21st-centuries jobs with the skillset that will help them succeed.

As with the advancement in technology, a lot of existing jobs are becoming redundant. Therefore, we need to empower children with skills that will help them adapt and succeed in an ever-changing scenario.

4 Essential Skills for Students

  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking

We need to provide spaces and opportunities within our curriculum design that ensure that every child is exposed to and acquires the said skills to make him a confident and adept adult. We should be extremely motivated and committed to our goals and float some innovative and creative programs that address this need.

The journey to ensure that every learner understands this starts with the parents. As educators, it is our responsibility to bring together the parent, the vision, and the need of the hour. This allows all stakeholders to be on the same page. These efforts see a two-fold increase when parents and the school work together.

Fun activities for the holistic development of a child

  • Organise DO IT YOURSELF activities to teach a structured grade-specific skillset.
  • Form student clubs for debating, dance, music, sports, among others.
  • Conduct student exchange programmes and Model United Nations

Every child has the potential to achieve and be successful in a field that they truly enjoy. We all know through our life journeys that this is the gospel truth. An academically-bright child will only climb the ladder of success. It is a myth that we need to tell that to our learners too. We should teach them to believe in themselves and introspect to understand what their strength is and what interests them. Encourage and support them wholeheartedly towards realising their dreams.

If you have not tried, you have already failed. Motivate students to participate in every opportunity that they get at school. You will see incredible success stories with all these efforts. Make a difference in a child’s life and help them achieve happiness and success in whatever they wish to do.

Archana Goenka
Trustee and Director, CP Goenka Group of Schools and Swami Vivekanand International School

Achieving Innovation and Creativity in Education

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.” -Peter F. Drucker

At the heart of all the learning is the way we process our experiences, especially our critical reflections on our experiences. Experiential learning engages students in critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making in contexts that are personally relevant to them. It makes content suitable and arouses interest in the subject.

In education, scaffolding refers to a variety of instructional techniques used to move students progressively towards stronger understanding and ultimately greater independence in the learning process. It also means to provide contextual support through the use of simplified language, teacher modelling, visuals and graphics, cooperative learning and “hands-on learning".

Generation Z is looking for a 180-degree change in their education. The focus needs to shift to the top three levels of Bloom’s taxonomy: Analyze, Evaluate, and Create.

5 ways to make classrooms more innovative and creative

  • Teacher's mindset regarding how to design and deliver content is critical to the learning process. Most teachers were trained to educate solely from the teacher's point of view. To change this type of delivery and make the classroom more innovative, they need to think about their students as leaders too⁠—acting as guides rather than teaching content and asking students to spill out information on a standardized test. Conscious incorporation of metacognition helps teachers to change teaching strategies and students to develop their learning skills.
  • Self-reflection can offer teachers a critical opportunity to see what worked and what failed in their classroom. Educators can use reflective teaching as a way to analyze and evaluate their teaching practices, so they can focus on what works.
  • Use problem-finding. Instead of problem-solving, teachers can help students look at the world by finding gaps to fill using problem-finding. Problem-finding is equivalent to problem discovery. Teachers can use it as part of a more significant problem process that can include problem-shaping and problem-solving all together.
    Problem-finding requires an intellectual and imaginative vision to find out what might be missing or should be added to something critical. Using this strategy, teachers can provide students with the opportunity to think deeply, ask critical questions, and apply creative ways to solve problems.
  • Let students take risks and fail. Edwin Land said, “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” A pedagogy based on discovery and inquiry is so much more exciting than remembering dates, information, and taking tests. Predetermined answers on an exam in a traditional education setting can hold students back in ways we cannot measure.
  • The design thinking process is a set of structured strategies.

Five Phases of the Design Thinking Process

  • Discovery: I have a challenge. How do I approach it?
  • Interpretation: I learned something. Now, how do I interpret it?
  • Ideation: I see an opportunity. What can I create?
  • Experimentation: I have an idea. How can I build it?
  • Evolution: I tried something new. How do I make it evolve?

The creative process requires time and collaboration, so create time for creative thinking activities. For example, use a flipped-classroom approach where learners prepare content and do written exercises in advance at home, allowing teachers to plan for higher-level creative thinking activities during class time.

Create a school environment that supports innovation. Schools that are successful in stimulating creative learning value celebrate learners’ creative and innovative contributions.

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” - Edward de Bono

Ms. Shakuntala Jaisilghani
Principal, Trinity International School & Junior college

Community Service for Student Development

In today’s materialistic world, it is the need of the hour to usher in a fresh breath of joy and brotherhood and spread the brightness where the darkness of discrimination distorts the light of creation.

Roti Bank, a self-group dedicated to feeding the poor and needy in India, has started a campaign to make the society free from starvation by providing daily food. To foster the spirit of community service in students, allow them to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate fellow beings. For instance, encourage students and teachers to bring chapatti and dry vegetables from home to ensure that the underprivileged section of the society in the neighbourhood gets a square meal a day, thereby turning the idea of the right to food into a reality. This kind gesture gives them not only heartfelt pleasure but also peace of mind. A gloomy day becomes a cheerful one for the needy. The endeavour to help them forget grief and hardship and celebrate life nurtures the values of empathy, caring, sharing, and humanity amongst students. Such gestures help students make a positive contribution to society and reduce the gap between the rich and the needy. The overwhelming participation of one and all in the institution upholds the fact that the best way to serve God is to serve humanity.

A school leader should consistently ignite a spark in staff and students to work for such noble causes. Moreover, schools must give a clarion call to the students to share and donate clothes, utility items, and kitchenware, and make a difference in the world of the underprivileged section of the society. Children must learn that the joy of giving is far greater than the joy of receiving. Students will feel satisfied by indulging themselves in a soul-touching social event. School leaders must ensure that the management keeps working relentlessly for the vision of giving the best of available resources to the underprivileged children. Schools should pledge to organize donation drives and rallies regularly. They should look forward to such human gestures to inculcate the sense of giving amongst the leaders of the future, which will lead to a better world for everyone.

Alka Kapur
Principal, Modern Public School, New Delhi

How Classroom Assessments Improve Learning

The ultimate vision of any school is to empower the students so that they seamlessly embark on their future journeys, be it towards higher education or on another challenging path. To achieve this goal, stakeholders engage in educational enrichment processes, integrate various teaching pedagogies in the curriculum for enhancement of learning objectives, and general wellbeing of the students. This also means preparing them to be responsible with social media and digital technology, training them to make the right choices, and shunning undue distractions. In a healthy and conducive environment, each child realises their full potential, imbibing the right balance of self-discipline, confidence, and positive attitude in life. This is a massive challenge for educators and calls for the need to prioritise curriculum requirements to map the changing needs.

Even the existing assessment process needs to undergo a sea change with the emphasis on designing assessment tools that test different layers of learning domains within the framework of Bloom’s Taxonomy from the learners’ perspective. A well-balanced assessment would move from lower-order thinking skills like remembering and comprehension to intermediate-order skills like application and analysis, ending finally with high-order thinking skills that require evaluation and synthesis. A facilitator can organise her teaching and assessments according to the learning objectives that she wants to assess.

The guiding principle for a facilitator, regardless of the emotions it conjures, is to adopt immersive learning set up that is consistent with frequent regurgitation, timely feedback, and encouragement. To make the learning goals achievable for these students, learning tools focusing on the one-to-one approach, along with parental support, is the best solution. Based on IQ testing data, customised learning material can be formulated and implemented. This may involve the blending of different teaching-learning instructions, constant evaluations and monitoring of learning outcomes until they exceed or meet their expected learning potential. Preparedness and patience of the teacher to address diverse learning needs will help in creating pleasurable learning experiences and kindle interest to learn and achieve their learning goals. A teacher must regularly motivate, be succinct and clear with her instructions with an optimum dose of care and concern.

There is no denying the fact that meaningful learning depends on quality teaching, assessment analysis, and improvisations that a facilitator embraces to reach out to students in a class, constantly refocusing and re-experimenting. Learning for a facilitator never stops, whether it is a new session or new ideas.

“In learning, you will teach, and in teaching, you will learn.” —Phil Collins

Prachi Grover
Chairperson, Vidya Bharati School

Imparting Education to 21st-Century Learners

Education is a unique tool that aids in the manifestation of ideas. It allows the person to explore the world with a passionate urge. I believe the process of education turns mirrors into windows, which ultimately brings new vision and builds a strong character to realise the true worth of being human. An educator must cultivate curiosity and discover a world of endless wonder and ceaseless opportunities for learning.

Being an educationist is bliss. When one thinks about the term education, it immediately takes me to the world of fantasy, where the capabilities are chiselled, minds are nurtured, and thoughts are refined. In fact, a feeling of absolute satisfaction and self-confidence crops in. There has been a paradigm shift in the system of education since its inception and today, we live in a technology-driven world. We have a plethora of ways to impart knowledge. The essence of education is to open up new vistas for complete development. Our motto should be to ignite a spark for providing the worth to human life. When I talk about education, it not only comprises the academic division but also broader aspects like developing confidence, enhancing abilities, boosting up the morale, and thus giving a perfect design to the personality of humans. Schools are primarily working to bring the new revolution into the curriculum to inspire learners to get the light of knowledge. The real function of education is to teach one to think intensively and critically. Moreover, knowledge, along with the character, is the true goal of education. After all, one should always keep in mind that education is what remains after one has forgotten everything learnt.

As Einstein said, “Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think and react.” One has to pursue something wholeheartedly in order to achieve something worth having. So, one should always try to promote education in such a way that it percolates down to the roots and builds the character. Among the greatest of all services that can be rendered by men to Almighty God is education and training of children, so that they can foster grace in the way of salvation, growing like pearls in the divine bounty in the shell of education and will one day be the jewel in the crown of abiding glory. To conclude, I would say our greatest natural resource is the minds of children. Let them explore and satiate their senses.

Jyoti Arora
Principal, Mount Abu Public School, New Delhi

Life Skills for National Development

It was a flight from London to India that inspired me to write this article to bring the reader’s attention to some spillover phenomena of development and responsibility of teachers in educating children of today. After checking in, I was almost drawn to my boarding gate by the thriving energy surrounding that area. Children were playing, parents on their phones, speaking loudly saying their final goodbyes and general chaos. What struck me was the Indianness in that gathering; typical sight—big families, elders sitting together; leaving their children to play with each other.

The incident at the airport and the subsequent journey set me thinking about the Indian education system. I saw the system as one whose role was changing now with changing times. India is a country of colours, languages, rebirth, and religions. It is a country that prides itself on its long history, its cultural importance and finally, its diversity and boasts of secularism and unity within diversity. This diversity in race, language, religion, colour, customs, and ethnicity is rampant in a country often becoming a victim of political manoeuvres. It becomes crucial to mention here the nature of this diversity.

This diversity is intramural to this nation. It has, over a long time, become so internalized that further foreign elements are looked upon an alien. An example of which would be the stares any foreigner is subjected to, who looks different from what India is used to seeing. How many foreign nationals do we see not only in schools but also universities? Most universities abroad recover all their investment from overseas admissions. In India, we often only see one-off international students. Why? Is it because India is a scary place to live in, or is it because the universities are just too obsolete not only in infrastructure but also in teaching techniques.

Life skills in a powerful nation as ours is imperative. This includes activities which the school should undertake to teach children how to protect themselves from the several threats that they are exposed to daily, respect for different communities and different cultures, a different lifestyle which includes awareness of inherent sexuality, LGBT right, understanding crime, and rights assigned to them in the constitution, caring deeds, words of care and resolution, the importance of chores, standing up for oneself, and how can they be of service not only to their respective households but also to the community. Apart from these, schools are known to be citadels of discipline propagating a disciplined routine, which holds equal importance but falls in fascist purview if not coupled with the mentioned issues. Addressing these issues through activities is more important than imposing a personal moral code which is more common in schools. This aspect must be included in the teacher training programme.

Ranjoo Mann
Pro-Vice Chairperson, DPS Sonepat

Purpose of Lifelong Education

Education is indispensable for the progress and growth of an individual. It makes a person human. Unfortunately, formal education is often restricted only to career-making and acquisition of working skills for earning a livelihood. This approach also leads to mushrooming of schools and colleges where the purpose of all activities is only to make students score high marks or grades, overlooking other aspects of life. Students thus do not know how to face life or solve the problems of life. They end up becoming depressed, confused, and anxious, leading to many social and psychological issues.

The real purpose of education should be to create the right type of human beings. “Men, men, these are wanted,” said Swami Vivekananda. Indeed, 'men' or 'women' who are skilled in work and strong in character is what is wanted. How do we achieve it? Through personality development.

Learning starts right when one is in the mother's womb. Mother's thoughts and activities shape the growing child. Various researches have confirmed the prenatal influence on human personality. And as a child, one learns by watching and observing his parents and others around. One learns to co-relate the things that one observes, right or wrong, and thus one's personality begins to develop.

Further, formal education and interaction with others develop the individual's personality. Education, however, is much more than formal education. Whole life itself is a learning process. Sri Ramakrishna said, “As long as I live, I learn.”

Education and Development

While a nation may be rich in natural resources, it is the human resources that are most important. To have the right kind of humans or proper 'human resource management', therefore, is vital for a nation's growth and development. This means taking care of the education given to an individual. It is the key to nation-building.

Developing a Wholesome Personality

According to Indian tradition, human personality has three dimensions—physical, intellectual (and emotional) and spiritual. Education should deal with all three. Let us briefly understand them:

  • Physical Dimension:The first dimension of a man's personality is his body. It is the physical dimension. It refers to man's physical needs and growth. One should learn how to be physically active and healthy. Right education should help in developing strong stamina and healthy habits. A robust physical constitution helps one accept and face challenges of life. One should also learn the importance of right eating habits. Food is the source of energy for physical growth. One should also learn the importance of physical exercises and games. They should become part of one's life. Yogasanas and simple forms of pranayama also are of much value in this context.
  • Intellectual Dimension: Intellectual growth refers to a person's thinking, logical and memory skills. Reading books and articles, watching movies, visiting places, and interacting with men of intellectual eminence—all these go a long way in one's intellectual growth. Exposure to rich literature and a proper approach to learning help develop intellectual faculty. If one is given the right direction at the primary level itself, it goes a long way in making one intellectually strong. Lessons in concentration and self-discipline play a key role in developing one's intellect. Along with intellectual development, one must develop the strength of mind and steadiness of character.
  • Moral and Spiritual Dimension: Unfortunately, the moral dimension is given the least attention in modern society. With an overemphasis on money-earning and career-building, the moral training of an individual is neglected. Mere intellectually bright people, without moral and spiritual discipline, turn out to be a burden and a threat to society.

Morality is the basis of character building. The training in moral principles begins at home, early in life, while the growing child observes and interacts with his parents, siblings, friends and others. But there are many contemporary challenges to this aspect of early training in moral refinement. Changing socioeconomic situation keep the parents busy with their profession and personal issues, and they leave the whole thing to the schooling system, which itself lacks in many ways. Added to it is the rise of information technology.

Today, the world has become small, thanks to instant communication and information technology. While it has a bright side, there are many darker aspects to it. Easy access to the Internet and entertainment has exposed the young minds to all kinds of low, obscene, and negative thoughts and they become prey to many wrong things at an early age.

Parents and elders should spend quality time with children and also make them aware of the life-building ideas of great personalities, including Swami Vivekananda. Students should be encouraged to read and discuss Swamiji's life and teachings through forming Vivekananda Study Circles. The Study Circles should hold regular reading classes and also encourage the young minds to understand Swamiji's teachings through interactions with knowledgeable persons.

Moral education cannot be given by books only. One needs an example in order to develop faith in moral principles. Hence, the teachers of moral tenets should themselves practice what they preach. Values cannot be taught, but they can be caught—by observing the life of an exemplary person.

Complete education means harmonious development of all faculties of man-physical, intellectual and spiritual. Swami Vivekananda (CW, 6:49) succinctly placed the ideal of such an education. Thus, we want a person whose heart feels the miseries and sorrows of the world intensely. And [we want] an individual who not only can feel but can find the meaning of things, who delves deeply into the heart of nature and understanding. [We want] someone who will not even stop there, [but] who wants to work out [the feeling and meaning by actual deeds]. Such a combination of head, heart, and hand is what we want.

Swami Supradiptananda
Principal, Ramakrishna Vidya Mandir, Gwalior

Time to Build Habits

"Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have.” ~ Dale Carnegie

Cribbing has never helped anyone. It rather enhances the pain leading towards depression, inferiority complex, restlessness, and bad temperament. It is much easier to be positive as negativity burns maximum energy. We can move things from the ‘hard’ category to the ‘easy’ one by creating habits and developing the willpower to tackle more of the challenging tasks. In reality, we are creatures of habit by design. A few practices are inbuilt. Our subconscious dictates the vast majority of our daily actions through patterns.

Building habits are like people who live below their means, slowly building up an impressive balance in their bank account. During a crisis like COVID-19 today, they can cope with it effortlessly by accessing the past deposits in their account. To those who believe in their willpower and do not build habits face a messed up life where every expense is a stretch for them. A few never develop habits ensuring the available willpower is sufficient to win over every battle of life. Life becomes troublesome for them, and it becomes tough to overcome that bad phase. As a result, there will be power crashes.

Today, when COVID-19 has challenged the entire world, it is our consistent habit of building habits that is helping all of us to be positive during the home quarantine. It has been long since we had such peaceful time wherein we can introspect, self-regulate, create self-discipline, pick a book to read, spend some time in our garden, watch the beauty of nature, rearrange the setting of our living room, transfer sanskaar to our children, and spend some quality family time.

Above all, the issues like pollution, selfishness, and indiscipline have got a golden chance to fix on their own. Today, there is NO pollution. Breathing is not suffocating, which was a week before until it was leading to various health issues. We started emphasizing cleanliness, which was fading away. One who never builds habits crumbles at the time of crisis. To understand the state of emergency, we have all been forced into it. During home quarantine, develop new habits and build an impressive bank balance to be the richest.

Stay home.
Stay healthy.
Stay safe.
Stay positive
Save the nation.
Save the world.

Dr. Raavee Tripathi Principal, Sumitra Modern School, Sitapur, UP

Tips to Raise Happy (& Healthy) Preschoolers

Preschoolers (3-5 year of age) begin to show personality traits and intellectual development such as:

  • Egotism. A preschooler is the centre of the world. Your child believes that everything in the world revolves around her.
  • Independence. A preschooler will want to dress by himself and help you with household chores. Be patient as your child practices these skills.
  • Creativity. Imaginations are always "on." Your child's world is full of magical things at this time.
  • "Why?" Preschoolers are trying to learn all about their environment; they will constantly ask "why"! Take the time to help your child learn about what causes the events happening around him.
  • Sociality. Preschoolers are learning to be a companion to other children their age. Preschool, daycare, playdates, or playgroups provide excellent opportunities for your child to learn essential social skills.
  • Listening. Preschoolers must also learn to listen to others with interest. Model appropriate listening behaviour for your preschooler by actively listening when she tells you about her day, friends, and discoveries.
  • Motor skills. Preschoolers are also learning complex movements such as hopping, climbing, and skipping. Let your child practice and make it fun!
  • Adventurous. Children can be very active during this period. Make sure to provide helmets when riding tricycles and do regular safety checks on equipment.
  • Language. Pronunciation improves during this time. Don't be alarmed if your child leaves out word sounds occasionally.
  • Principles. Preschoolers are learning the difference between right and wrong. You can help by setting firm and consistent limits for your child.
  • Reality vs fantasy. Preschoolers must learn the difference between reality and fantasy. By the end of the preschool years, your child will have a better understanding of past, present, and future.
  • Phobias. New fears, especially to unfamiliar sights and sounds, are common at this age. Be supportive while trying to ease irrational fears.
  • Poor sportsmanship. Preschoolers learn to follow simple rules in the games they play, but will always want to win and be in the "first place." Playing "fair" will come later in your child's development.
  • Highly impressionable. Preschoolers are heavily influenced by what they see. It is essential to actively supervise what your child is exposed to on television and in the real world.

Understanding these behavioural characteristics will help you handle the little ones better in the classroom and at home.

Kanika Aggarwal
CEO, Dolphin Kids

A School with a Difference

In an age where Artificial Intelligence (AI) is trending, students were not monitored by invigilators but on CCTV cameras. The ‘No Invigilator Examination’ initiative is our endeavour to foster and imbibe in our learners the value of ‘integrity’ and ‘honesty’.

“No Bag Day” - This one day gives students a respite from carrying books to school. It breaks the monotony of the same rigmarole in the school. Teachers get a chance too to tap their creative side by implementing activities in class pertaining to their own subjects and make learning fun, both for students as well as teachers.

Achiever’s Day We incorporate Achiever’s Day to undo with the mundane way of handing over report cards at the end of the academic year. We believe that every child is an achiever because he / she is moving on to the next level. The very term ‘Achiever’ gets our learners motivated and it boosts their morale and self-confidence to aspire for more.

Library Leisure is an innovation that was brought about and incorporated by our Language teachers. English, Hindi and Marathi teachers take up library sessions where students don’t just read that happens usually in most schools, but they enact a book, have activities pertaining to the book and various games too are conducted. We also have a few bean bags in the library and a child has to earn the leisure of sitting on it. He / she earns it by giving a gist or summary about the book that respective child has issued.

PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Alliance)

The PTSA is an initiative of our school with the maxim “My voice counts”. Our students are an integral part of our school. So, our belief is “For the students, by the students, of the students”, hence with the PTSA being formed it’s not just parents and teachers who come together for planning and decision making in a healthy way for the development of the school but the students of the senior most grade too share their perspective. Since our goal is to craft Indian souls with global ethos, we ‘Efficacy’ is a special class that is incorporated in the Timetable once a week where students bond with the students. It is beneficial in building rapport with the students.

PRINCIPAL KI PADHSHALA

The name itself suggests that this session is taken by the principal Dr. Seema Negi herself. A ‘session with the principal’ automatically sets in fear and has its own inhibitions but this one is special. Learners look forward to this one session called ‘PRINCIPAL KI PADHSHALA’. It’s that one session when learning is beyond academics. This is the time where there’s a special connect and bond, a wonderful rapport created by the Principal to change the mindset that a session with the Principal too can be fun and enjoyable. This is the time there’s discussion and a talk with the principal related to any topic under the sun. Dr. Seema believes ‘in an era where a child longs to be heard and has no one to talk to, this is a small initiative by her to let children know that she is always available and is all ears to whatever a child wants to speak or convey’.

Exhibition - Gyan Manthan

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family quoted by Kofi Annan, and in Sanjeevani World School this quote comes to life. Our maxim comes to life with a two-day exhibition held in our school which we fondly call ‘Gyan Manthan’. The name itself suggests that there’s knowledge churned to get the best result. The entire school comes together for this exhibit. Students and teachers along with non-teaching staff get together to ensure the exhibition is a huge success. The exhibition particularly revolves around a theme ‘and each child then displays all that he / she has learned to the audiences. Learners learn in the most unique and innovative way, and by this we prove that learning through our ‘Gyan Manthan’ is not restrained within the four walls of the classroom and no more is it supposed to be in the most clichéd chalk and talk method.

“Dil se DilTak” - Parent Connect Initiative

Direct Dil se diltak – Is a parent-connect initiative for the holistic development of our learners. Our Educators spend quality time connecting with parents after school hours to lend their ears and listen to the concern’s parents have pertaining to each child and how the school along with parents can be a catalyst to enhance positive growth in our learners.

Rakshabandhan

Since we go by the maxim ‘Do things differently’ our celebrations are different too. Rakshabandhan is about love and bond between brothers and sisters.
- Vrukshobandhan

We went a step ahead to tie rakhis to the trees to metaphorically pass on the message to the society around us that we are there to protect them always.
- Deshobandhan

This Rakshabandhan is for our country for all the armed forces, reserved forces & police forces. We are safe & secure, because they are vigilantly protecting us.

Today, we visited Dahisar Police Station, Mumbai, to tie the sacred thread of our love, appreciation & gratitude to the police personnel’s. Our grade IV students were overwhelmed by the response & the kind gesture at the police station. We prayed for more power, health, happiness and a good life for the police & their family members.

Teachers’ Day

Parents are the first teachers, to take this forward, Sanjeevani World School carved a niche once again by sending across this message to all teachers that we are teachers because of our students & parents are the first teachers. The school stands convicted with this belief ‘When we work together it will be symphony. It will build strong emotional & social connect, a child will have secure space, positive eco system.’ In an endeavour to express and gratitude to all the parents for their never-tiring spirit and selfless love, the school paid visits to some of the homes of students to venerate the teacher in every parent.

Appreciation Day

We believe ‘Recognition is a reward in itself. Any form of appreciation, even a small word, is important.’ In lieu of the mundane Teachers Day celebration, we initiated the Appreciation Day when every staff: teaching and non-teaching are praised for their sheer dedication and commitment.

Digital Literacy

With technology taking over the world, we have Cyber Ambassadors in our school. These are the children who are computer wizards. Our ambassadors ensure that everything related to computers will be secured, information wouldn’t be hacked and every data will be protected.

Global Citizenship

Our Gen Z are tech savvy and are no less than any IT expert, however, we also enhance them to be citizens of the globe. Out of the seventeen goals of Sustainable Development Goals we have each grade working on goal hand in hand with our educators to equip them and to make them globally ready.

Empowering School Leaders

Great leaders harness personal courage, capture the hearts and minds of others and empower new leaders to make the world a better place. – Maxine Driscoll, Founder Think Strategic. We ensure our educators learning and grow because leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. Our educators attend various workshops, seminars, related to their subjects and also workshops on Life Skills, 21st century skills, not only to get equipped and empowered but also to handle nuances faced by many educational schools.

All in all, with great delight, we can say without a doubt or inhibition that the vision we had in mind before the inception of the school and shortly we will be stepping out of the gestation stage, we have well managed to keep our promises. Our pursuit to ‘do things differently’ at Sanjeevani World School is a quest that will continually be explored until we break the cliché that education is coequal to boring.

Dr. Seema Negi
Principal, Sanjeevani World School, Mumbai

Developing Effective Teaching Skills

Essential teaching skills involve knowledge, decision-making, and action. The distinction between these three elements underpinning skills is crucial because skilful teaching is as much a thinking activity as it is observable actions.

A blueprint for developing these skills:

1. Planning and Preparation.

  • The lesson plan has clear and suitable aims and objectives.
  • The content, method and structure of the lessons are appropriate.
  • A lesson to link up with past and future lessons
  • Materials, resources and aid are well-prepared.
  • Take into account the pupils and context.
  • Designed to elicit and sustain the pupil’s attention.

2. Lesson Presentation.

  • The teacher’s manner is confident, assured, relaxed, and self-assured
  • The instructions and explanations are clear and matched to the pupil’s needs.
  • Questions include a variety of types and range.
  • A variety of and appropriate activities to be used.
  • Results in active involvement and equal opportunities.
  • To show respect and encourage their work.

3. Lesson Management.

  • Beginning of the lesson to be smooth and set up a positive mindset.
  • Pupil’s interest, attention and involvement are maintained.
  • Pupil’s progress during the lesson is monitored.
  • Constructive and helpful feedback to be given.
  • Transitions between activities to be smooth.
  • The pace and flow of the lesson to be matched to the need of pupils.
  • The ending of the lesson is used to good effect.

4. Classroom Climate.

  • The climate is purposeful, task-oriented, relaxed and with a sense of order.
  • Pupils are supported and encouraged to learn.
  • Teacher-pupil relationships are based on mutual respect and rapport.
  • Feedback from the teacher contributes to fostering self-confidence and esteem.
  • The appearance and layout of the class are conducive to positive attitudes.

5. Discipline.

  • Good order is based on the positive classroom climate based on proper lesson management and presentation.
  • The teacher’s authority is established and accepted by the pupils.
  • The teacher conveys clear rules and expectations regarding pupil behaviour at appropriate times.
  • Pupil behaviour is monitored, and appropriate actions are taken by the teacher to pre-empt misbehaviour.
  • Misbehaviour s dealt with by apt use of investigation, counselling, academic help, reprimands and punishments.
  • Confrontations are avoided and skilfully diffused.

6. Assessing Pupils’ Progress.

  • The marking of pupil’s work is thorough and constructive and not delayed.
  • Feedback to be diagnostic, corrective and to encourage further effort.
  • Feedback to boost self-confidence and involve follow-up comments.
  • A variety of assessment tasks are used, covering both formative and summative purposes.
  • A variety of records of progress are kept.
  • Opportunities to be given to foster self-assessment.
  • Assessment to be used to identify areas of common difficulties, the effectiveness of teaching and provide a basis for further progress.
  • Assessment to be made of study skills and learning strategies employed by pupils.

7. Reflection and Evaluation.

  • Lessons are evaluated to inform future planning and practice.
  • Current practice is regularly considered with a view to identifying aspects for useful development.
  • Use is made of a variety of ways to reflect upon and evaluate current practice.
  • The teacher regularly reviews whether his or her time and effort can be organised to better effect.
  • The teacher regularly reviews strategies and techniques to deal with sources of stress.

Rachna Pant
Principal, Ramjas School, New Delhi

Indian Education: What Needs to Change?

The Indian education system has proved to be successful around the world with Indian students being sought after by the best universities and corporates. Vast syllabus, stringent examinations, and competitive spirit prepare students to cope with challenges and manage time, instiling work ethics necessary for becoming successful individuals.

However, there is enormous scope to better our system while retaining its well-established strengths. Our policies can be more accommodating by permitting a broader mix in the choice of subjects. Such choices would help students pursue subjects they have an aptitude for, as well as breaking the rigid notions that science is for the intelligent, while other streams are for the lesser ones. Interdisciplinary choices would make students better informed, empathetic, and well-rounded citizens of the world.

Skill development is a much-neglected area, which requires immediate focus. Students must be encouraged to work with their hands from an early age. At school, every student must develop at least one skill⁠—be it carpentry, farming, masonry, handicrafts, cooking, electrical/electronics, plumbing, etc. It will not only make them complete individuals but also break the prejudice about skilled workers. Many students would also find their calling by exposure to these skills.

Life skill education and sex education should also find a place in our curriculum. We seem to churn out students capable of scoring 100 percentiles but are incapable of doing the simplest everyday tasks. These topics would sensitise youth to gender equality as it would break down the age-old notions of stereotypical gender roles. It would also help in viewing and appreciating the opposite gender with greater respect.

The quality of student life can be significantly improved if we make changes to our system of examination, which is dependent on rote learning. Rote learning leads to stress, with many students succumbing to this pressure as they do not have the tools to cope with it. Open-book examination and application-oriented testing need to be adopted to test knowledge and not the ability to memorise and recall. Work has begun on this front, but we need to make the change quickly and efficiently.

Technology has begun to play an important role in classroom teaching. We must be careful that this does not weaken one of the greatest strengths of our education, namely the personal equation between the teacher and the taught. The Indian education system, built on the guru-shishya heritage, moulds not only the mind but also the overall personality of the taught with close interaction with the teacher.

Abhijeet Banerjee, Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai, who are world leaders in their respective fields, are products of Indian education. To be relevant in a rapidly-changing world, our education system must adopt changes quickly.

Ms. Madhu Hora
Principal, Dean, Junior College, The Bishop’s School, Pune

New-Age Parenting Tips

“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.”

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Bequeathing these two priceless legacies is not less than a challenge for modern Indian parents in the era of the virtual world, mounting materialism and the disintegration of the joint family ideology. With countless distractions and baits at play, the child might lose track of his priorities and fall prey to foolish daredevilry and herd mentality. Parents find it hard to encourage children to uphold traditions in the contemporary world. Instilling a sense of belonging to roots and preparing them for a dynamic world keep the new-age parents engaged. To avoid the child-parent gap, they must promote holistic growth. Parenting is more about good judgement than fulfilling a child’s basic needs. Understand when to help and when to back off. Do not force your opinions. Focus on the child’s wellbeing and strengthening the bond.

Key Attributes of Parenting

  • Meeting the child’s basic needs: Watching over your child’s safety and health. Participate actively in his schooling, aiming at fostering positive intellectual growth of the kid.
  • Nurturing skills: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Give parents children the freedom to learn, experiment, and cultivate new skills.
  • Acknowledging passive learning: Passive learning has a long-lasting impact on a child’s mind. Kids are like a mirror, what they see and hear is what they do. Be a good reflection for them. Avoiding harsh language and aggression in their presence.

Learn to see things from a child’s perspective. Positive reinforcement and infrequent use of strict punishment develop a child’s autonomy, enhancing their psychomotor skills. Parents often believe in quick action and immediate results. Parenting is an ongoing process and not a consequence of instant efforts.

Practical Parental Guidelines

Begin with yourself: Do you model the behaviour you want your child to adopt? Anger and frustration feed misbehaviour. Love and logic inculcate value-oriented thoughts.

Making time: Why not have some gadget-free time at home? Spend quality time with your child.

Rules and routines: Simplify rules for clarity and a cheerful atmosphere. Flexible and dynamic rules make the children self-reliant.

Reasoning: Avoid asking “why?” instead ask” what did you think would happen?” If the child understands the meaning behind any kind of behaviour, there is a greater likelihood to change future actions.

Get to “Yes”: We wish our children to seek permissions every time. Don’t you think it is draining to always be the voice of “No”? Set rules to be followed at home and get them to hear “Yes”.

Focus on the positive: Recognise positive behaviour and appreciate them for every positive action.

As Jane D. Hull has famously said, “At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents,” let us re-evaluate and redefine our parenting skills.

Heemal H Bhat
Principal, Hansraj Model School, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi

Preparing Students for the 21st Century

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” ― Albert Einstein

Our children belong to the 21st century so their learning must help them succeed in work and life, and prepare them to be active participants in our dynamic global community. As educators, we are responsible for preparing young learners for careers and challenges that do not exist yet. The existing curriculum needs to be fine-tuned to meet tomorrow’s reality. Schools are incorporating innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality, to make learning more engaging, compelling, and practical.

In traditional classrooms, our primary focus was on the 3 Rs―Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic―but with 21st-century children, we need to master the 4 Cs too, namely creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. To implement the 4 Cs and the 3 Rs, the teacher needs to take up the facilitator’s role and provide opportunities that would excite and motivate students. Today’s students are self-learners; they need an environment conducive to learning. They should develop healthy relationships with technology and be safe, confident explorers of the digital world. To be future-ready, they need a holistic education, including practical vocational and communication skills, and leadership development.

The teacher’s role is pivotal in making learning more inviting and positive. The teacher needs to focus on the physical environment of the class. For instance, bright posters, organized space and cooperative learning arrangements strengthen learning. Schools look for classroom layouts that boost creativity, collaboration, and flexibility. The psychological environment is also an essential factor. A teacher needs to be calm, patient and should focus on helping students learn both intellectually and socially. She should be a role model with values. Another crucial aspect is the instructional environment. Teachers should plan what to teach and how to teach, as differentiation is the key to active learning. They must adopt the best-fit learning style to cater to students’ different learning abilities.

Beyond tools and technology, students must develop new skills to solve severe problems, collaborate effectively, and express ideas in new ways. Incorporating problem-solving, coding, and STEM subjects into pedagogy will work wonders for them. Teachers are essential in making classrooms lively with an air of fun and excitement. They build a community of learners, make learning relevant, incorporate active learning, and help students feel secure.

Neelu Sharma
Principal, Imperial Heritage School, Gurugram

Reflective Teaching: Boosting Classroom Effectiveness

The new education system has changed the role of teachers. In the past, teachers were a major source of knowledge. They were the authority in the class and often took over the parents’ role. Nowadays, teachers have become more of a facilitator than a teacher. They should be updated with the latest in teaching-learning activities. They have to be learners rather than being teachers and should think critically about their teaching practices so that their students maximise their learning. This is possible through reflective teaching. Dewey believed that teachers should take time to reflect on their observations, knowledge, and experience so that they can effectively nurture each child's learning. Reflective teaching plays a big role in a teacher’s professional development.

What is reflective teaching?

According to Julie Tice, “Reflective teaching means looking at what you do in the classroom, thinking about why you do it, and thinking about if it works—a process of self-observation and self-evaluation.”

It is a systematic reflection on teachers’ practices within the classroom. It is a personal tool that teachers can use to observe and evaluate the way they behave in the classroom.

Why reflective teaching?

Reflective teaching plays a major role in the professional development of a teacher. It informs that a teacher is in charge of the teaching-learning process and that they have a major contribution to make towards its success. It helps teachers have a deeper understanding of their own teaching styles, beliefs, and identities. They think continuously over their teaching practices, analyzing how something was taught, and how the practice might be improved, or changed for better learning outcomes.

Process of reflective teaching

The process of reflection is a cycle which needs to be repeated.

  • Teach.
  • Self-assess the effect your teaching has on learning.
  • Consider new ways of teaching which can improve the quality of learning.
  • Try these ideas in practice.
  • Repeat the process.

How to be a reflective teacher?

1. Record your own teaching—Audio/Video

Many things happen simultaneously in a classroom, and some aspects of a lesson cannot be recalled. Many significant classroom events may not have been observed by the teacher, let alone remembered. Recording helps to assess:

  • Your communication skills
  • Students’ engagement in the class
  • Resource management
  • Efficiency
  • Movement in the class
  • Students’ dynamics

2. Students’ Feedback

Getting feedback from your students is invaluable. Instead of waiting for delayed feedback from end-of-course surveys, get your own student feedback! Students will feel more involved in their own learning and help shape the class, increasing motivation and engagement. At the end of each week, ask students to give anonymous feedback that can be put into practice immediately. Guide them by framing the feedback in the form of sentence prompts, e.g. I’d like more…, I’d like less…, My favourite aspect of this week was…, My least favourite aspect of this week was… Build an environment of trust before taking feedback.

2. Peer Observation

Invite a colleague to observe your class and provide you critical feedback. Peer observations work best if there is a positive, encouraging, friendly atmosphere amongst you and your colleagues. Such activities foster a team spirit that is conducive to continued professional development.

3. Personal teaching diary

Keep a daily diary to record your thoughts on the day’s lesson reflecting on various areas of interest (e.g. What went well? What could I have done differently? How will I modify my presentation of that language in the future? Were there any problems and did I deal with them effectively?). By spending time thinking and reflecting on each day, the diary-keeping process raises self-awareness, which is the first step in improvement.
If you take time to reflect on your teaching, how different parts of what you do work well, aspects which you can improve, that is bound to help you to improve your teaching. You are regularly going to come across the need to make decisions, but the results of your reflective practice will help you make those decisions in a more informed, thoughtful and objective manner.

K. Krishna Rao
Principal, Delhi Public School, Andhra Pradesh

The Secret to School Success

‘Human being’ translates to ‘Vyakti’ in Hindi, which means something that wants to express (vyakt) itself. In the current education system, students do not get opportunities to express themselves, resulting in a lack of joy, and later leading to uninterest. Every student must get a chance to express themselves. Through Group Reciprocal System/Group Responsibility System (GRS), encourage children to take other children’s responsibility. It inculcates a feeling of co-operation in their behaviour.

Self-discipline is far more joy-giving than imposed discipline. Start a children’s parliament, wherein children elect other children among them. For a month, they can decide and execute various operations of their class and school. Every month, the duties should be rotated among students. This way, each child contributes their maximum, and their contribution makes them happy because maximum happiness can be gained by compassion in relationships and proper understanding rather than from physical objects. Develop good habits in children through activities and by giving special time.

A person asks a question freely only when the other person is supportive and does not ridicule. Children do activities by being useful and complementary to each other. “Khag hi jaane khag ki bhaasha” (only a bird knows the language of another bird) is a famous Indian proverb. Similarly, children are better able to solve the queries posed by other children. So, a teacher should play the role of motivator, facilitator, supervisor, and partner for the child. Students should feel comfortable to put forth their questions backed with logic before the teachers and management.

The curriculum should ideally comprise skills and values. Emphasise correct understanding and habits. Equip students with critical skills like entrepreneurship, shorthand, Vedic math, and acupressure. Teach them foreign languages such as Japanese, French, Spanish, German, or Arabic to make them multilingual. In addition to these, teach students Bhaarat Bodh, which would make them more aware of Indian history and traditions, thus making them proud of their own country.

Human values, in the form of correct understanding and habits, should be made an integral part of the character-building of children. Include both the ancient and the modern pedagogies. The ancient principles have been listening, comprehension and application. These have been modified according to today’s times, and UPLC has been created as an inseparable form of education.

The ancient methods of education can be used in the form of Group Reciprocal System/Group Responsibility System (GRS), where a student becomes a mentor for other students. Make students aware of social responsibilities by adopting a system called Half Kilometer, in which students take responsibility for the education and health of people in the half-kilometre radius from their homes.

To keep one’s own body healthy is each one’s responsibility. Each child can be given the training to use their own home’s kitchen like a health laboratory so that by using various spices and other ingredients, they keep themselves and their family members healthy.

Form a student research team to keep track of the current events in society to predict future events and possibilities, thus making the required changes in the school syllabus. Saturdays can be planned as a Celebration Day when everyone appreciates each other’s good work and inspires each other. In contrast, Thursdays can be celebrated as a Revival Day in which a knowledge festival can be hosted. Goodness flourishes on the foundation of goodness. PTMs can be designed as a Gratitude Day when teachers and parents together appreciate the excellent work of children. Adopting these practices will facilitate schools to improve their enrolment, attendance and quality of education, leading them to become the best academic institutions.

Ashok Thakur
Founder, Muni International School, New Delhi

NEP 2019: Laying the foundation for ber education and a future-ready workforce in India

The Indian education system has been criticized time and again for being too straitjacketed in its approach and methodology to have any room for individual creativity. The true purpose of education has been lost somewhere in the battle for higher marks. The Tamil Nadu education system holds testimony to the same. Recently, the state has reported many instances of students adopting unfair means to increase their test scores, which has attracted a lot of criticism.

Largely producing inefficient students, it has brought India to a stage where graduates are driving unemployment, which has reached 13% according to a study by Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). The case of Indian engineering students is a glaring example - currently, 80% of Indian engineering graduates are not employable due to a lack of industry-relevant skills. “Literate and unemployed” today is a new challenge for India.

Considering this scenario, one cannot help but wonder - while enrolment numbers are increasing, are Indian students really learning within the current education landscape? The truth is that the entire system requires a complete transformation wherein the focus shifts from rote learning to clearing concepts and acquiring skills.

Early childhood education as a tool to strengthen basic concepts

It is with the vision of laying the core foundation of a holistic education that the Indian government has introduced the New Education Policy (NEP). The NEP is a roadmap that has been created to prepare students to deal with the world beyond the classroom. For this, it emphasizes upon many aspects, starting with early childhood education. Taking into consideration that over 85% of cumulative brain development occurs prior to the age of six, it places special importance on creating a stress-free environment for young students to prosper by integrating play into learning. It proposes to ensure effective foundational literacy and numeracy, with distinct attention on early language and mathematics. By catching them young where they lack, it aims to fill out any possible gaps in their basic knowledge that could create a hurdle later on.

Keeping brain development central to its approach, NEP offers a curriculum and pedagogical structure, which lays equal emphasis on all subjects. Moreover, by combining vocational and academic streams, it throws an open plethora of productive skills for the students to grasp, make them more employable in the long run.

Vocational education and tech-integration for industry-relevant skills

With such a new-age approach to learning, the policy aims at making it much easier to address the gaps in higher education. Proposing to break “rigid boundaries of disciplines”, it aims to make way for more broad-based and flexible learning. Moreover, it has renewed the focus on high-quality research, which can go a long way in augmenting their competency from the industry viewpoint.

Considering the ever-changing needs of the business ecosystem, the NEP aims to dislodge the present scenario by giving vocational and industry-focused subjects equal importance. It has separate clauses for vocational education and technology integration to assimilate into students’ learning. By 2025, it aims to provide access to vocational education to at least 50% of all learners across the country.

Improving the quality of education with an updated faculty

While the old system did not look at teacher training more than a check-the-box exercise, this policy gives teacher education a new meaning. It looks at updating them rigorously with current trends as a means to further improve the quality and relevance of education being imparted.

In spite of these advantages, the NEP’s clause on school management can be a restricting factor in bringing about the desired change in the education system. Its proposal for the School Management Committee to evaluate improvements in schools and the teaching-learning process can place undue restrictions/pressure on private sector schools. It is no secret that the private sector has played an active role in supplementing the government sector’s efforts to make quality education available. However, this clause could discourage new players from entering the space and even shake the trust between the private and public sector. An education system arising from such dynamics might have problematic gaps in it.

Looking at the broader picture, the government should modify the clause, enabling a vision of partnership rather than rivalry with the private sector. By pooling public and private resources, they can together build a truly forward-looking system of education.

This can power much-needed elevation in what is taught to students and how. Keeping in mind that today’s students will play a critical role in driving growth for the economy tomorrow, the NEP takes the front seat as a subject of national importance. That said, the forthcoming generations of students, with the right balance of practical as well as theoretical elements, will be able to accelerate the country's journey towards emerging as an economic superpower.

Amol Arora
Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Shemford Group of Futuristic Schools

Helicopter Parenting: Helping or Hovering?

Gone are the days when children played outside until sunset, came home with muddy clothes and bruises. Today, we live in an era where playing in the mud is ‘unhygienic’ and getting a scratch on the hand is scary. The definition of play for a 3-year-old has changed to sitting on a couch scrolling through the app store for new gaming apps as parents fear to send them outside.

What has gone wrong down the lane? Is it our parenting style? And to no surprise, the answer to that question is YES. According to recent research, 75% of the Indian parents are knowingly or unknowingly adopting “Helicopter Parenting” as their parenting style.

What is helicopter parenting?

It is a highly overprotective and over-controlling parenting style. A helicopter parent, just like a helicopter, hovers closely over their child and is rarely out of reach.

As a parent, it is natural to have those mama bear instincts as soon as we sense our child is in danger,

Protecting the child from any possible danger and taking complete control over their life hamper the child’s overall development. Parents should not constantly shadow their child and should not dictate to them what to do, what not to do, and how to do.

Causes of helicopter parenting

Helicopter parenting has various facets that impact the physical, psychological and social well-being of adolescents and emerging adults. To ensure their child's well-being and success parents consciously or unconsciously become over-involved in their child's life and tend to take all the decisions on their behalf.

They often do not consider their child an independent individual and treat them as a part of their being, which adversely impacts the development of the adolescent.

Parents see their own reflection in their children and at times, try to fulfil their lost dreams and ambitions through their children, regardless of what their child desires to achieve. They try to ensure their child's academic success to maintain their social standing.

Negative impact of helicopter parenting

  • Lack of Independence : Children find it difficult to do a task independently (e.g., eating food, holding a glass) as they are entirely dependent on their parents.
  • Inability to cope with life’s challenges : Lack of autonomy in early years has long-term effects on a child’s coping skills. It is commonly seen that kids of helicopter parents find it challenging to cope with life situations like success or failure.
  • Impact on physical well-being : Helicopter parents restrict their child from outdoor play as they feel the environment is not safe or the child may get hurt, which in turn hampers a child’s physical growth.
  • Lack of confidenceChildren of helicopter parents are not confident about the abilities they possess as they are rarely allowed to explore them. Due to low self-confidence, children might also lack communication skills.
  • Anxiety : Children growing up in an overprotective environment, generally, experience uneasiness, nervousness, and uncertainty as they lack confidence.

How to stop being a helicopter parent?

  • Gift them independence : Sit down with a cup of tea and analyse all the basic activities your child is unable to do independently. Help them become more self-reliant like letting them eat on their own even if it means spilling the food all over the table.
  • Let them take risks : We all grow up falling, getting hurt, and standing back on our feet again, so stop fearing and let the children grow naturally. Allow them to go outside and have a muddy and grassy play with their friends. Don’t panic if they get a little hurt. In fact, tell them to get up and dust themselves off.
  • Let your child struggle : Allow the child to face their own challenges and let them experience both the happiness of success and the disappointment of failure.
  • Give them responsibility : Early years are perfect for teaching children to work independently and develop the skills they will need later in life. Start giving your child small responsibilities like arranging their toys after playing, cleaning their face after eating, etc.

All in all, parents should never impose their dreams and ambitions on their children. They should treat the child as an individual and should involve them in every decision-making, whether it is selecting a school or clothes.

Dr. S. K. Rathor
Founder and Chairman, Sanfort Group of Schools

A New Educational Dimension for Future-Readiness

The Draft National Education Policy envisions an education system that contributes directly to transforming our nation into an equitable, all Inclusive community, right from the early childhood. It also focuses on building a nurturing education environment to empower each child to be ready for the future and stand b in the face of global challenges. India aspires to be the third largest economy by 2030 . This is the same time period during which this Policy will bring about the biggest transformation. Our economy will be driven by knowledge resources. To do this, we will need an education system, which would have the attributes required for the challenges of the outside dynamic world.

Learners of today need to be empowered to be values-oriented citizens equipped with competencies and skills to face the real-life challenges and be successful. Studies in India and abroad have also given similar conclusions.

Let us take a look at the following, which is a report from Conference Board P21 et al.

The image below explains what shall be the global skill requirement in the 21st century :

In Indian context, the India Skills Report 2019, by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Association of Indian Universities presents the following finding on the skill requirement:

RANK PREFERENCES
1 Communication Skills
2 Adaptability
3 Learning Agility

(https://www.aicte-india.org/sites/default/files/India%20Skill%20Report-2019.pdf page 35)

https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED519465.pdf page 9

In this backdrop, what we require to be future-ready is a focus on acquiring the 21st century skills. These skills are as follows:

LEARNING AND INNOVATION SKILLS DIGITAL LITERACY CAREER AND LIFE SKILLS
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving ICT Literacy Flexibility and Adaptability
Creativity and Innovation Information Literacy Initiative and Self-Direction
Communication Media Literacy Social and Cross- Cultural Interaction
Collaboration Media Literacy Productivity and Accountability
Leadership and Responsibility

The National Curriculum Framework 2005 also recommends providing opportunities to learners to question, enquire, debate, reflect, and arrive at concepts or create new ideas. It further maintains that an element of challenge is critical for the process of active engagement and learning various concepts, skills and positions through the process. ( NCF, 2005, p.no.18). This all would certainly help in inculcating the 21st century skills among our students.

All the above requirements necesitate our educators to remain updated with the changing world and adopt such practices which can develop these skills to make our students future-ready. Task is huge, and the preparation to accomplish this task is already on.

Central Board of Secondary Education has taken the steady and trend-setting measures to promote real-life skills among learners. Introducing Arts integrated pedagogy, mandating one period per day for Health and Physical Education, thrust on Experiential and Active Learning pedagogy are a few such steps. Even teacher capacity building programmes have been extensively taken up. Hubs of Learning ( a group of 5-6 CBSE schools) have also been envisioned and created by the board to be transformational towards this goal.

Another step in taking education to a new dimension forward, towards making students future-ready, will be having Competency-based learning in our classrooms. A Competency means demonstrating knowledge, skills and attitudes/ability needed to do something successfully or efficiently on repeated occassions, naturally, without thinking consciously. Competency based learning model focuses on the demonstration and application of learning, rather than on temporal aspect of taking a course. This actually means unbinding learning with the 35-40 minutes in a class . Learning takes place on its own pace and a student is able to follow his/her own pace.

Thus, this form of learning enables students to demonstrate their learning. Students are able to participate in conversations about their own learning, and decide how and when to demonstrate what they have learned. Further, students are able to spend more time working in those areas that are more difficult for them. This model of learning also allows the teacher to strategise and plan interventions where students need maximum help while also ensuring they learn what is required by them to advance to the next level of learning

This will be a win-win situation for all: students, teachers and overall education scenario. Let us work in this direction collectively for enabling our students to be ready for the future.

Anurag Tripathi

IRPS Secretary, Central Board of Secondary Education

Education at Seth M R Jaipuria School

At Seth M. R. Jaipuria Schools, our aim is to impart education that help students excel in their life. Our academic curriculum is designed in such a way, which allow students to focus on creativity and innovation. Our educational framework help students improve self-confidence through participation and involvement in co-curricular activities. We strive to provide a value based education and training. We help our students to make effective decisions that enable them to compete in National and International examinations. Our aim is to foster discipline and fraternity and to give special emphasis on national integration and foster international understanding & brotherhood.

New innovation in education

Innovation in education, especially in the education sector has now become very essential. Schools and teachers need to remain updated with the current happenings in the industry. They need to constantly learn newer things. Firstly, teachers need to become expert learners, only then they can make their students expert learners. The teachers need to stay informed, only then they would be able to plan an effective curriculum acknowledging the needs of the students. Also, we need to embrace technology. Online classes, workshops, and innovation labs in school are all a part of technology & new innovation. In school education system, the assessment framework need to have right tools and methods that help evaluate learning in the true sense and it should not merely be examination driven.

Student centric

When it comes to learning with innovation, then student centric learning plays a very significant role, In this type of learning approach, the information to be learned is conveyed to all students in a more organized manner. Students get a clear cut explanation about the subject matter. Irrespective of that students get the personalized attention that they deserve. Also in this type of learning, the classroom environment is comfortable, which allows the students to express freely. The teachers acknowledge the answers of their students appropriately and elaborate the answers using probing questions. The teachers elucidate their answers with real-life & practical illustrations. The most important aspect of this type of learning is to make students learn newer things easily and to develop self-confidence & mental alertness.

Teacher centric

In a teacher centric learning methodology, teacher is viewed as the sole source of knowledge and authority. When education is teacher-centric, then teachers have their full control over the classroom and other activities. Here, the students are viewed as empty vessels who receive information from their teachers passively. Also, the teacher is an important source of information regarding how the learners are doing.

However, you need to know that there are many pros & cons associated with this type of learning methodology. The biggest advantage is that the classroom remains orderly and students remain quiet. But the disadvantage is that students don’t learn to collaborate with their fellow mates. Also, this type of learning approach doesn’t allow students to express their opinions freely and most of the time they get bored.

Mr. Kanak Gupta
Director - Seth M R Jaipuria School

Greta Thunberg and Global Citizenship

Greta Thunberg, a Swedish student and climate activist, has become a household name in the world. She has returned to her home country from Madrid where the Conference of Parties (COP25) under the UN umbrella, unfortunately, failed to reach a conclusion on the urgency to deal with climate change. Thunberg is fatigued not only by the arduous train journeys she has been undertaking for quite some time. She is also hurt by the patronising and condescending comments by the people in power from around the world. Thunberg is undaunted, regardless. What has motivated her to go on a school strike and become a crusader of a global movement to control global emissions? After all, she is just one of the seven billion people living on the earth right now.

Roots of Thunberg’s concerns, speeches and the clarion call lay in an identity that she embodies. And that identity is global citizenship. Our identities characterised by our work, families, location, and ideologies get submerged into a common core – Global Citizenship. Mahatma Gandhi nudged us to this path when he said that his status as a citizen of the universe is more encompassing than the one as a Gujrati, an Indian, or that he spent several years outside India. Therefore, it brings us to the conclusion that the more we broaden our identities, the more we move closer to Global Citizenship.

Oxfam International, a confederation of 19 independent charitable organisations, offers a useful working definition for global citizens. A global citizen is someone who:

  • is aware of the full world and has a sense of their role as a world citizen.
  • respects and values diversity.
  • has an understanding of how the world works.
  • is outraged by social injustice.
  • participates in the community at a range of levels, from the local to the global.
  • is willing to act to make the world a more equitable and sustainable place.
  • takes responsibility for their actions.

Global citizenship should be the vision for each of us on this planet. And the good thing is that global citizenship can be cultivated. Therefore, global citizenship education should be the agenda of educators. The United Nations has accorded an essential place for global citizenship as target 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goal 4. The target reads: "By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and culture's contribution to sustainable development.”

An effective global citizenship education requires young people to be sensitised towards the needs and the problems of society. They need to be able to solve the problem, make a decision, take a stand and communicate their ideas effectively. These are the same 21st-century skills and attributes which the world has recognised as the essential qualification to succeed at workplaces and in life. Global Citizenship education is about placing our young children in a larger context where their idea of the universe is broad and deeply connected with the world outside their immediate community.

We must encourage children to make choices, indulge in exploring and inquiring, and help them to feel free to ask questions. They must also take affirmative actions based on kindness, gratitude and responsibility. Accountability must move beyond their books to the environment. Deprivation and lack of opportunity, which many of our children and adults are facing should agitate each one of us. John Dewey has rightly remarked that "Education is not preparation for life; it is life itself."

The education for global citizenship and Sustainable Development become more critical, as societies become interconnected and interdependent through media and telecommunication, culture and economics, sharing of environmental resources and international exchanges. The youth of today will assume leadership tomorrow. It is imperative that we support their voices.

Ashok Pandey
Director, Ahlcon Group of Schools

What Do We Look for in Our Students and Their Parents?

It’s admission season again… and parents who have spent months, sometimes years, looking for the ideal school are going through the process, and the anxiety of their child clearing tests, handling interviews and working their way through whatever imaginative selection procedures schools are coming up with to fill their seats and beds with the best students. There is even a parasitic industry of coaching centres, counsellors, and tutors out there offering to groom students for admission to the country’s most selective schools at a cost comparable to the school fees.

The Indian educational landscape, in which as many children go to private schools as to government schools, provides enormous choice for parents. For certain schools, it also provides as much choice for their admission departments and I think that this is something that is not talked about enough.

What parents should be looking for in a school is the subject of many discussion forums, kitty parties, and books. What a school is looking for in its students and their parents is a little more opaque.

I want to share what I think schools should be looking for in their students so that everyone can make the most out of what is, from my experience and all too often, a stressful and unpleasant experience… not only for the children. Can you imagine what it is like meeting 200 children who have been so highly prepared that thy no longer know what they really think about anything?

Schools like the one I work for are all trying to put together the most interesting, curious, collaborative teams they can so that whatever curriculum they deliver, activities they do, or opportunities they provide, their staff will be able to use the experiences, the interests and the enthusiasm of the children to bring out the best from every opportunity that they have to learn together.

Certainly, they will want to know whether they can read, write, and have a reasonable understanding of mathematics, but there is so much more that we are looking for… we can teach all of that stuff. Make no mistake! Life is competitive, but we will very rarely be competing on our own, we will always be part of a team, a partnership, or as we tend to do it in school, part of a class; this is why all of our admissions interviews are group interactions with four children together.

So what can we as parents be doing to prepare our children to be the people who others will want to work with?

  • Read with them from the moment they can sit up and do not stop when they are able to read to themselves; this is as much about cementing your relationship as it is about the reading itself. Think of reading as nutrition for the brain, it is like a software update.
  • Ask them questions that do not have clear answers; they will never learn to think for themselves if they are only asked to give the right answer to unimaginative questions.
  • Understand what is really relevant. With our outdated obsession for quizzing and general knowledge, we are leading our children down a rabbit hole that has no end and almost no utility. When my smartphone can answer almost any question in no time at all, the value of knowing anything becomes far less important than knowing what to do with the information and how to use it, how to create something new from it, or how to collaborate around it. Challenge them to tell or give you something more interesting than facts and play with them in ways that build their capacity to get things wrong and not worry about it.
  • >Recognise and reward effort and hard work rather than achievement. No one becomes good at anything without putting in time and practice or without making mistakes from which they learn. By focusing on the outcome, we enable our children to give up too soon or to see themselves as not good at something. This fixed mindset is the opposite of learning.
  • Realise that the work you do in establishing their core values and attitude towards work will do more for their success than any school you can send them to. Don’t think that you can spend the money later to make up for something that you missed out on along the way; solid foundations are what allow things to grow and are very difficult to fit later on. It is far better to invest the time sooner than any amount of money later; you just cannot buy neural connections as an afterthought!

The earlier we practise this empowering parenting and teaching with our children, the greater their learning will be… and the better they will do in any admissions process… and I will have far more interesting conversations around the table at our group interviews.

Matthew Raggett
Headmaster, The Doon School, Dehradun

Augmented and Virtual Reality in School

I was recently asked what I thought about the use of augmented and virtual reality in school. My immediate response is that any and all learning opportunities should be welcomed and for young people to experience new technology, it is essential for them to project and build in these possibilities into the toolboxes of their imaginations while young. I did see and work on some projects when AR/VR products first began to appear for use in schools. The possibilities they brought to the classroom were amazing – being able to simulate situations that young people would not normally be able to experience; being able to see locations as they had been; stimulating their senses far better than the use of the animations and simulated labs we previously used, and so on.

Unfortunately, as I have, in recent years, been working in schools that needed to spend their financial resources in developing elsewhere, I am not in the position to discuss details or which product compares to another. However, the question did remind me of the warning often heard before using other innovations in education: ‘If the technology is being used to replicate what you already do in your teaching then you’re not using it well.’ So, two thoughts came to my mind:

  • If your learners and teachers are lucky enough to have the chance to use AR/VR, have they thought through in what ways it can be used to enhance learning and, more importantly, develop the attributes (habits, skills, dispositions) of learners?
  • If you don’t have the opportunity yet to use AR/VR in your school what attributes would your young people need to have well-developed in order to be able to make the most of it when they do eventually encounter this technology?

To answer this, consider the following:

How will you use AR/VR (or any other tool) to provide your learners with the opportunity to develop: different ways of thinking; care, compassion, empathy and perseverance; where are the opportunities to improve their ability to notice, be curious, develop their powers of inquiry, reflection, to test out their open-mindedness and define more clearly the landscape of their values; how will it enable your young people to develop their belief in themselves – that they too could not only master such technology but one day be part of creating and extending it? How will this technology help them become collaborative, independent, communicative learners who can engage and innovate with this technology rather than simply be in awe of it or be remote from it?

And, if you don’t have access to such technology yet, what are you currently doing to create opportunities for your learners to develop the attributes mentioned above? There is an approach we can take to any curriculum you currently use that enhances the opportunity to develop learner attributes as well as fulfilling the needs of the said curriculum. I call this a ‘learner-development-centred approach’ and, if you want to know more about that, then I am happy to explain for sure.

Robert Thorn
Head of Academy, English International School of Bratislava

Intersecting Theatre and Autism

As Adam Blatner, a child psychiatrist, states “Drama offers a rich range of activities which can be applied in the service of developing spontaneity and a broader role repertoire in education.”

I was very excited when I came across a wonderful theatre artist who had pursued a Diploma in Theatre as Alternate Therapy for Autism. I immediately introduced this therapy to the school’s Special Education Department. It brought unbelievably positive changes in children who came on the autism spectrum and had communication and behaviour issues. I saw these children blooming, imbibing new skills at an amazing speed, and having the confidence to present themselves.

To share the practice with other special educators, we organize regular workshops to create awareness and spread the word about the Alternate Therapy for Autism among the Special Educators of Hyderabad Schools.

Before proceeding further, let’s quickly understand autism in children. Autism, a complex neurobehavioral condition, hampers a child’s ability to interact socially. They have trouble understanding other people’s thoughts and feelings and find it extremely hard to express themselves.

Children with autism are visual rather than auditory learners. Most of them react adversely to high decibel sounds and general noises and are more comfortable with adults than with peers. They are concrete thinkers and learn better when taught one-on-one.

Needs of children with autism

  • A good communication system.
  • A sound behaviour management plan.
  • A well-structured everyday routine.
  • Trained personnel who knows the child’s functioning.
  • Consistency in the manner all the caregivers “talk” to the child.
  • A learning environment where the child can interact with children without autism.
  • Daily routine should have some choice-making option for the child.
  • Sensory integration therapy (by a trained occupational therapist)
  • Auditory integration training
  • Stress relief

I would like to share three case studies of students on the autistic spectrum learning through theatre practices.

Case 1

A chapter of Social Studies of class 7 involved learning the lineage of Mughal Emperors. The special educator found it challenging to make children understand the chronology of the emperors and therefore sought the help of Drama. The chapter had clear reasons why one Emperor was dethroned by another and this was taken as the base for Drama

Each child in the team was given a character and an action related to the characteristic of the emperor. They were made to take turns and present their character in order (this included taking names of their own character and the era they ruled). After 4 to 5 rehearsals, children not only remembered the order and the era of their own characters but also of their classmates’. This was done in July 2015 and my children still remember the chapter today after coming to class VIII.

Case 2

Mathematics is all about knowing the basics thoroughly. If the concept of the number line is not understood correctly, the possibility of learning addition and subtraction becomes lean. Therefore for a class that was struggling with the number line, a theatre game of number line was devised. This special number line had a few properties kept – for example – towards the right side of ‘Zero’ there was 1 ‘pen’, 2 ‘pencils’, 3 ‘erasers’ and so on kept. And on the left side of ‘Zero’ were kept photographs of 1 ‘Laptop’, 2 ‘Phones’ and so on.

Now, children were given the props in hand from the right side of the line. And when the teacher named them, they had to go and stand on the line, matching the props on the line. Children are told things that they have in hand, are represented in a ‘+’ sign.

They were asked if they have a laptop in their hand when they answer in negative they are told that these objects and their numbers will be represented in ‘-‘. So now it becomes easy to understand the basic concept of the number line. With 3 or 4 reruns of this game, it will become popular with the children. Now the teacher can build on this topic to even teach ‘Carrying’ the numbers from one side of the number line to another.

Case 3

Student ‘K’ (Name not spelt due to privacy reasons) from the spectrum is a 9-year-old, studying in a regular school stands on the mild autism scale as on June 2016. He experiences high auditory vibrations and therefore makes vocal sounds due to the discomfort. His first reaction to a jungle scene in the classroom was to fight the sounds made by the other participants imitating as animals, by producing vocal rhythmic sound patterns of his choice and close his years.

At this, a small variation was made in the skit and he was given an ear mask of a rabbit and his vocal sounds were merged with the sounds of other animals. He loved to run and hop and the character of Rabbit suited him. So after this change, K was never secluded in the act. He was happy doing what he wanted and still be part of the applause!

These are just a few examples of the success stories achieved through drama covered in a fun, Theatre Games, Story Telling, Mime, Improvisations, Role Plays and Rehearsed Responses.

Drama can help autistic children in:

  • Improving eye contact and communication.
  • Increasing attention span and facilitating learning.
  • Improving social skills through role-playing and group work.
  • Engaging the child/adult in pretend play and igniting their imagination.
  • Identifying the hidden talent through acting.

Drama offers a” rich range of activities” that can bring about a transformational and experimental education system. I have personally recorded the role of theatre in providing catalytic experiences for self-transformation. Increased levels of confidence, improvement in self-esteem and positive behavioural changes coupled with improved academic participation/performance are observed.

Pratima Sinha
CEO, DSR Educational Society, Birla Open Minds International School, Hyderabad

Early Childhood and Education

The child’s earliest years of life, especially from womb to the age of three years are for brain development. In this brain building process, the child neural connections are shaped by genes and life experiences –namely good nutrition, protection and stimulation from talk, play and responsive attention from the family, home culture and the caregivers. This combination of nature and nurture establishes the foundation of a child’s future.

Early childhood education should strive to transform education into an art that educates –The heart, the hands as well as head. A child, with curiosity bubbling in it, is the face of future that could be molded to near perfection by giving them adequate environment where they can be taught to think, not what to think. From birth to the age of 3 years child is at home and they are acquainted with family and relatives only. From home they step out into the society when they come to school and for that, selection of right school is very important. Parents need to select the school on the basis of not only the infrastructure but the policies of the school as well as their execution and fundamental values.

The first six years of life are very critical since the rate of development in these years is more rapid than at any other stage of development. To build a b foundation and to meet the specific milestone pre primary education plays a vital role in child’s life. Where school and parents role is very important parental participation and involvement gives confidence and support to develop self-esteem among the children.

The chief Objectives of these years of education are :

  • Ensure each child is valued, feels safe, secure, respected and develops positive self concept.
  • Provide the b foundation for physical and motor development.
  • Enable effective communication and foster both receptive and expressive language.
  • Imbibe good nutrition routines, health habits, hygienic practices and self help skills.
  • Enable a smooth transition from home to Early Child Care Education to a Primary School environment.
  • Enable scope for overall personality development.

With these objectives and ensure development for all children there is need of designing pre primary curriculum which develops all the skills such as Physical, Cognitive & Linguistic, Aesthetic and Creative skills as well as Socio-Emotional Skills. This creates healthy and skill based growth which creates healthy and happy learning atmosphere for the children .It also makes them aware about their social responsibilities which later helps them to become a good citizen.

Theme based approach of teaching promotes integrated concept and helps in developing skills as well as understanding culture and values. As the children learns best through play and learning by doing. Children of this age group are naturally curious to explore their immediate world using their senses they want to touch everything they see. So teacher should use integrated approach while making a lesson plan which largely based on creating a stimulating learning environment for the child through planed activities which are joyful, and involves active thinking. Children must be engage in various kinds of play such as physical, language, object, dramatic, constructive and games with rules .This helps later to develop positive approach to learning and life as a whole.

It views children as happy , healthy and confident each child with unique identity , grounded in their individual strengths and capacities ; and with respect for their unique social, linguistic ,and cultural heritage and diversity. Circle time is a place to regroup and reconnect to develop their listening skills, learn new vocabulary, practice language skills, following directions, build self confidence, and learn about being a member of a community. As children grow and learn, they explore ,enquire, make discoveries and apply their understanding to become self regulated lifelong learners.The important learning corners that need to be set up in preschool classroom are dramatic play corner, reading corner, puzzle corner, and drawing painting corner The other corner such as the creative art, writing, science and music could be included and set up. Various co curricular activities develop active listening, verbal and non verbal communication skills. To develop the creativity, varieties of drawing, coloring, collage making and paper folding must be there in daily lesson a plan which not only develop the creative and aesthetic appreciation but also helps to refine their motor skills.

Development and learning of children happen hand in hand and largely depends on the influence of the child’s family , immediate environment community and at broader level the society . Every culture has its own norms, structure and behavior and more so each culture has its own way of interpreting children’s behaviour and development. Educator must be sensitive how their own culture has shaped their thinking and also consider the multiple environment in which different children live and how they need to be considered while making decision for children’s development and learning . A good learning programme at early childhood stage helps to ensure appropriate opportunities for holistic learning and development particularly in these sensitive periods.

Abha Meghe
Director, Meghe Group of Schools, Nagpur, Maharashtra

Can Technology Replace Teachers?

Technology by no means can be a replacement for teachers, but yes, it can be used effectively by the teacher’s to enhance the learning process.

The role of technology in education is continuously expanding from projectors to smart boards and enabling better interaction between teachers and students in the classroom. Every day we see that various aspects of technology becoming an inherent part of the educational experience for students, teachers, parents, and management alike.

Teachers do more than just the one-way task of instructing a student. They identify social cues that would be impossible for a machine to parse, especially non-verbal or invisible interactions that affects the learning experience. They help identify roadblocks for students that might be more personal or emotional in nature that a machine cannot pick up.

Technology has the ability to enhance relationships between teachers and students. When teachers effectively integrate technology into subject areas, teachers grow into roles of advisors, content expert, and coach. Technology helps make teaching and learning more meaningful and fun.

Technology Improves engagement of the students when it is integrated into lessons. It encourages collaboration amongst the students and the teacher. Students can also learn life skills through technology. It helps the teachers for better classroom transaction and support for both teaching and learning Wherein technology infuses classrooms with digital learning tools, such as computers tablets, hand held devices and learning materials, which builds 21st century skills.

Think back to your favourite teacher – “did you enjoy her teaching because of her infallible library of knowledge or because of how she made the subject she taught, come alive for you”?

According to the research findings, the use of technology changes the role of the teacher from a traditional knowledge provider into a facilitator guiding the students' learning processes and engaging in problem-solving jointly with the students.

It's also supports the teacher right from the multimedia presentations to computer simulations to clickers thereby enhancing their teaching.

Instead of asking whether technology has reached a point where it can replace human teachers, we must ask what aspects of the job it can take over to make their lives easier and how technology in the classroom is effective and support teacher.

So will technology displace teachers' jobs? The real answer is yes, and no. Technology is not going to eliminate the need for teachers because of the emotional relationship between the teacher and the student, but teacher needs to constantly upgrade to replace the traditional method of classroom teaching to digitally interactive teaching.

Dr. Kavita Aggarwal
Director / Head of school, D.G. Khetan International School.
Chairperson
MISA

Leading With Courage in Education

Every school is torn apart by three conflicting demands from the world and the community that it serves. Firstly, there is the ‘economic’ demand for high scores and university placements that promise financial returns for parents. Secondary, there is the ‘social’ demand for graduates that will have a positive impact on the planet and the society that they live in. Finally, there is the ‘personal’ demand for schools to provide opportunities for each child to grow in their own way and to fulfil their unique potential. School leaders need to pay attention to all three demands as they make decisions on a daily basis.

Now, with countless new ideas in education battling for attention and the evidence base flimsy, contested, and often politically biased in all areas, we need to rely on a clear vision of what it takes to lead an educational community in the twenty-first century. As we move forward through the jungle of rapid social, economic and technological change, these, I believe, are the five tenets that we need to hold onto:

1. You have to believe that relationships come first and that people are always more important than a system.

Any system that you set up is not going to be equitable or work for all the stakeholders. Systems need to bend, and when they do, everybody needs to understand the difference between what is ‘fair’ and what is ‘equal’.

Relationships based on trust and support have to be built throughout the whole learning community. You cannot run cooperative learning experiences if students are more interested in competing with each other and if it is in anyone’s interest to ‘beat’ anybody else. You also can’t expect any student to be courageous enough to present their work in front of others, share their ideas comfortably in a group, or risk failure by attempting a more challenging task if there isn’t the safety-net of a supportive community of students, teachers, parents and administrators protecting them.

2. You have to believe that our task is to prepare students for the future, not just for their university career.

If we are willing to shoot for a more noble goal, then we can justify spending time on getting students involved in real-world learning activities, wading into the murky waters of interdisciplinary challenges, getting out of the school building to work with local organisations and businesses, and helping them connect their learning to the kind of things they will probably be doing after academia.

Of course, students need to practice for university-entrance exams, but not at the expense of ‘getting an education’.

3. You have to believe in a more democratic sharing of power, both in the school and in the classroom.

We need to understand that not only is “my way” (the teacher’s methodology) appropriate for many students, but that there is also a “highway” (presumably for the more gifted students in the subject), and there are even numerous alternative routes that will get students to a variety of desired destinations. This may manifest itself in increased student voice in the curricular decisions made in class, differentiated instruction and assessment, mixed grade levels, an approach to ‘inclusion’ that is more push-in than pull-out in a school, and flexible scheduling with students determining how to spend their time. Teachers and administrators need to be okay with the mess that such an approach inevitably results in.

And on a whole-school level, administrators also have to be comfortable allowing teachers to experiment and to run their classes in their own style, a style that will hopefully allow them to remain true to their own personalities rather than being sucked into a standardised system of instructional practice.

4. You have to believe that students, when or if they want to, are quite capable of learning whatever is necessary without you.

If you are going to pretend to hold on to the knowledge that students need to succeed in your course, then you are constantly going to be resisting so many of the initiatives that hold so much potential. If students are spending time completing projects connected to their passions, or if they are given the choice of what to read, or if they are given time for self-directed learning, they are inevitably not always spending time doing what you think they need to do in your course.

You may argue that there are things they need to know to do well in your course, but we need to have faith that, given the resources and clear expectations, students are quite capable of learning such things by themselves. They will do so when they need to, not necessarily when you want them to.

5. You have to believe that it is ‘growth’ that matters, not ‘achievement’, and that learning cannot be easily quantified.

The battle that administrators face is to make sure everybody knows that high average scores in external exams are not necessarily an indicator of success for the school. The easiest way to ensure high scores is to control admissions and limit the number of students taking such tests. Put qualifying criteria in place, and you are safe.

Administrators have to focus on ‘growth’—on showing the community the things that students learned due to their enrolment in the school, on the progress against academic indicators with reference to where they started from, on the things they tried for the first time, on the reflection that they engaged in during challenging learning experiences, on how they were able to meet their goals and, perhaps, take steps towards their dreams.

That’s much harder than putting up a bar graph to show the performance of the graduating class in the recent exam session. Administrators have to believe that it is worth the effort.

Joe Lumsden
Secondary School Principal, Stonehill International School, Bangalore

Positive, Strong Relationships = Successful School

What is the most significant aspect of setting the stage, so a school is successful? The answer is one simple word: RELATIONSHIPS, yet it is complex. The key to a successful school is to build positive, effective relationships between all stakeholders. Relationships between all the people within the educational community set the culture of a school. This results in the learning environment becoming a safe zone for everyone. Students LOVE coming to school. They want to learn, so they are more actively engaged in their learning. Teachers and staff feel valued, which enhances their work ethic. Parents feel that they are truly part of the learning community, so they are supportive. Relationships build trust and instil a positive culture where hard work by all is valued and appreciated.

Knowing the influence that b relationships have on the success of a school, how do we build positive relationships between all stakeholders? First, relationships are personal, which means that one must make personal connections with one another. One of the most precious things in life is TIME. Relationships take time to develop, and each person must be willing to invest their time in building them. Appreciating people’s efforts, attitudes, and accomplishments is an important way to foster relationships. Another vital piece of the puzzle in fostering relationships is active listening. The heart of a successful school is its culture, which is defined by the relationships between students, faculty, and parents.

Connecting with people on a personal level is one of the building blocks to fostering b relationships. Recognizing people as individuals is imperative. At every opportunity, people should be addressed by their name. This lets them know that they are seen; they are not just students, teachers, or parents. Showing genuine interest in their personal lives deepens the personal connection. Merely asking a student what his favourite sport or book is, or anything that does not have a connection with the school goes a long way. It validates that he matters and that the relationship is not based solely on school. Personal connections are vital to cultivating positive relationships.

According to Terry Heick in his article published in TeachThought, teachers make about 1,500 decisions a day. This statistic illustrates the limited amount of time educators have daily. Whenever the opportunity arises, time must be given to students, peers, and parents. When students ask questions, even if it is a repeated question, teachers must take the time to acknowledge the question and answer it. When students share stories in excitement, they should, in turn, be acknowledged excitedly. Ensuring that teachers have adequate time to have frequent, purposeful dialogues with parents is paramount to the development of positive relationships. It is essential for school leaders and teachers to allocate time, at the minimum, weekly for dialogues and discussions. Maximizing time is extremely important to sustain positive, working relationships.

Appreciation is key to any positive relationship. It has been defined as “acknowledging the value and meaning of something-an event, a person, a behaviour, an object-and feeling a positive emotional connection to it” (Adler and Fagley, 2005, p.81). Demonstrating appreciation can be done in many different manners. One can simply verbalize it. For example, “Ashok, the variety of colours that you put in your drawing catches the viewer’s attention. Your attention to detail is appreciated.” Emails can also be used as an avenue to communicate one’s appreciation. Within the email, visuals can be added to deepen the message. Lastly, a hand-written note is the most personal way to illustrate appreciation. Margaret Cousins, an Irish-Indian educationist, said, “ Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.”

What is active listening? Active listening involves listening with all the senses. Relationships are solidified when all stakeholders actively listen to one another. When a person is talking, eye contact is essential to convey that one is listening or paying attention to what is being said. Paraphrasing is another way to communicate that one is listening. Finally, a person’s posture confirms or denies if he is actively listening. Is the person leaning in or leaning away as you speak? People feel valued when people listen to them. This is a key component of b relationships.

b, positive relationships between all stakeholders are the key to a successful school. Creating personal connections with one another deepens the bonds between people. Time is one of our most precious commodities. For relationships to flourish, teachers and leaders must make time for students and parents. When a person is shown appreciation, he will always do more than expected. Actively listening to one another is a sign of a positive relationship. Relationships are the heartbeats of a successful school.

Addie Christian
Head of Junior Programme, Heritage Xperiential Learning School, Gurugram

Teaching life Skills in Early Education years

It is not necessary that an adult is always wise and a child is the innocent element of this nature. The seeds of how an individual will lead his upcoming life is hidden in the secret of what was sown while such an individual was a small kid. It is necessary that a child is taught how to lead a positive life that is not wholesome for an individual but brightens the life of people who surround them. Let us dig deeper into the importance of life skills in a student's life. Children at Bachpan and AHPS are taught these skills at a very early stage which makes them an informed person capable of leading a life full of possibilities. Thus, it is necessary that a child's energy is channelized and synergized at a place where they can reap maximum results. Teachers working with Bachpan and AHPS work on the same set of principles and have nurtured over 5 lakh kids so far.

“Do parents prepare the child for everything they are to face in future?” No! No parent can actually do that, he says Therefore, it is important that the value of life skill development should be inculcated in a child so that they can take informed decisions confidently. There are numerous life skills which are learnt at every stage of life. There is a different set of life skills for kids which are important to be taught during early education years. In this write up, I shall enumerate Top 10 important life skills for kids who are attending their kindergarten, Preschool, play way or a nursery class.

  • Respect for self : A little child does not know the importance for self respect nor do they know the clear meaning of it. You should tell them that they must ensure that someone doesn't overpower or say demeaning words in any situation.
  • Respect for Others : With self respect, respect for others is also important. A child must be taught that they must respect other's decision and speech and try to have an ear to listen to and analyze the situation.
  • Timeliness : A famous proverb 'A stitch in time saves nine' should be taught in a way so that a child knows the importance of doing everything and being everywhere on time.
  • Tidiness : Cleanliness of your own body and the surroundings is important. Meaning of keeping the vicinity clean and tidy should be inculcated so that the child learns how to manage and keep safe their things at a designated place.
  • Faith in God : Even if you think that you do not want to teach your child that god exists, you at least have to tell them that every good or bad they do in being watched. This instill a sense of differentiating between right doings and wrong doings.
  • Optimism : Being positive about leading ones life is important. Adults get depressed very easily owing to tough situations. Always let your kid know that if they learn to keep happy and satisfied in every situation, they shall find new avenues coming up every now and then.
  • Self-belief : It is important that the child learns to be confident and believes in whatever they do. They should never be criticized. They should be taught how could they be correct instead of to what extent they are wrong.
  • Language and Conduct : Language signifies character of a person. A child should be groomed so that they conduct them gracefully and refrain from using any foul or rude language.
  • Mannerism : Body language and mannerism is an important part of life skills for kids. Respecting elders, eating habits, table manners are some of the key skills important for kids.
  • Prioritizing things : Children should be taught the meaning of urgency and things which can be postponed. It should be clarified that an individual cannot take care of all the tasks all by themselves. They should know how to seek help and manage things. We might not use a heavy word like life skills as these little ones are too small to understand the real meaning and intention behind this.

WRITER

Mr. Ajay Gupta, (CEO of Bachpan Play School & AHPS group of schools) has always lead a life of prudence and thus has been an author of several books and articles like this one. He feels instilling Life Skills at a tender age is important and should be taken care of by the schools as well as parents.

For life skills in kids education, he says, “Let's call these skills the 'FEEL GOOD HABITS' so that a child can relate to the life skills in the form of developing habits which will enhance the feel good factor while leading a positive life.”

Mr. Ajay Gupta
Founder CEO of Bachpan Playschools and Academic Heights Public Schools.

Effective Teaching Techniques

Head of IB Diploma Program, GD Goenka World School, Gurugram

“True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create.”

-Nikos Kazantzakis

The pace, with which the progress is visible in the real world, is rendering many old jobs redundant while creating many new profiles which were simply unheard of a few years ago. Hence, it is very pertinent to impart an education that develops skill sets among the children which cater to this emerging scenario. This demands different life skills to be taught, inculcated and imbibed in children. So the challenge for us today is to prepare children for the future that is unfolding, bearing in mind the sustainability of the resources we live around with. So, it makes prudent sense to prepare children for life ahead. The teaching in the classroom has to be useful as well as relevant to meet the demands of this fast-changing world.

First and foremost teachers should maintain an environment of mutual respect and trust. A teacher should act as a facilitator and develop a conducive learning environment. A teacher should establish an emotional connect with the child so that the learning can happen in a more congenial way. Then, the teacher should endure to ensure that every child in the classroom is involved and adjusts his/her pace accordingly so that the slowest and the fastest learners are onboard. The teacher should empathize with the students to enable a child to share and learn. Let us look at a few effective teaching and learning techniques which are relevant in today’s context.

Flipped Classroom: It’s a situation where the role reversal takes place. A topic is provided to students, and they prepare for the same to assume the role of a teacher later. This induces a sense of deep learning and research skills in students since they explore different resources and come prepared with various aspects of the concept/Topic. The actual teacher just facilitates the learning of the concepts. It results in students imbibing in-depth knowledge.

Team Teaching: Here a particular topic is taught by different teachers providing multiple perspectives on the subject. Let’s say Global Warming as a topic being taught by an English teacher and chemistry teacher will enable a student to learn the same subject from different discernments and sensitivities. Team teaching helps to build bridges of understanding across disciplines for both faculty and students.

Role-Play: Role-Play: Here, students are made to assume different roles in given-real life situations. Various roles are then assigned to different teams of students where they explore the available options and present their perspectives before the groups. A teacher here moderates the sessions by giving examples, options etc. Model United Nations (MUN) is a typical example. In another example, students can also be taught the dynamics of political discourse through students playing the role of parliamentarians.

Real-time Learning:Real-time learning is knowledge acquisition based on immediate needs. The students are given a real-world situation/problem. Let’s say a group of students are made to conduct an event like an international inter-school competition. Here teams are formed for doing different activities like fundraising, invitations, event scheduling, arranging speakers/performers, working out minute details like provisioning, personnel-relations etc. The students indirectly learn the economics of money management, problem-solving skills, organizational skills, debating skills, social and soft skills, journalism etc. They acquire knowledge and a skillset, which are long-lasting.

Bridge-Courses: Whenever there is an intake of students from different schools, different backgrounds, especially in grade 11, their knowledge and skillsets are different, for the same subjects. To enable them to bring on a common platform for future knowledge dissemination, it becomes imperative to refresh the concepts through a bridge course on different subjects. This also helps students to not only understand the type of pedagogy but establish bonding with the teacher.

Blended Learning: Blended learning involves in-person classroom time as well as individual study online using e-learning software. It incorporates tutor-led activities, images, video, digital tasks and face-to-face discussion. Courses that follow the blended learning model often take place in a real ‘brick and mortar’ classroom with a dedicated tutor but offer additional learning opportunities by way of a digital platform. Digital learning elements are often open to self-pacing by each individual student and can usually be logged in to at any time and in any place.

Besides a few techniques mentioned above, peer learning, enquiry based learning, differentiation, project-based learning, and scaffolding should be used as an effective means to teach in the classroom.

Dr. Manisha Mehta
Head of IB Diploma Program, GD Goenka World School, Gurugram

Good School Practices

Dr. Raghuveer Y V is a sincere teacher and well known academician from the past 25 years. Evolving innovative and creative teaching methods, research in science and education, curriculum development, authoring text books, teacher training, resource management, academic team building and hassle free administration are his areas of contribution to institutions set to global standards. He is sensitive to the needs of the student community and keenly attentive to the aspirations of parents and guardians. He is known to operate on four genuine pillars in School education. They are evident as skill, attitude, knowledge and environment (SAKE) which are democratically provided for every growing mind in his leadership.

I felt the importance and need of executing the following good school practices ‘after successfully executing them’ in the last 24+ years. As this profession is all about getting ‘genuine satisfaction for self’ and motivate other colleagues, students and their parents, I have consolidated major good school practices as guiding pointers to all readers.

Academics:

  • Define the School’s Curriculum to be followed by all educators
  • Establish systematic daily lesson plans, concept maps, work sheets & projects in ‘learner centric’ class rooms
  • Form the 'conspectus' across all subjects and classes to be given to parents
  • Do horizontal and vertical planning among different section of classes to tally the modalities of work like critical thinking, concept handling, board work, activities, games, worksheets, homework, assessments & periodical experiential projects
  • Introduce a number of Visual, Auditory, Read & Write, Kinaesthetic (VARK) based ‘teaching variants’ in class rooms and maintain teacher ‘log sheets’ for its accountability
  • Develop Minimum Learning Outcome (MLO) in each subject across all classes by giving the subjective policies (SP) according to NCERT norms.
  • Establish the standard 'examination corner' that includes month wise syllabus to be done, test and exam time table, subject wise blue print and revision strategies in term wise learning cycles
  • Stream line note book corrections and homework allocation schedules through daily log books
  • Strengthen 'English culture' in the school using proven methods like Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) technique, English Inspectors, word for ever, Spell Bee, Olympiads, Vocabulary exercises, School Forums, etc.
  • Do regular class observations and consolidate credentials and concerns of each faculty in each term

Administration:

  • Provide School policies, guidelines, SOP's, Rules and regulations, check list, formats, job profiles, work calendar, meeting schedules and action plan, etc.
  • Do periodical ‘mentorship’ programmes for teachers, parents and students
  • Establish ‘target system’ for teachers and students
  • Establish special education, remedial education and individual educational plans
  • Maintain profiles & ‘anecdotal records’ of teachers / students through a multi-purpose register
  • Do positive re-enforcement of ‘teacher's performance' and 3600 feedback for term wise appraisals
  • Supervise different kinds of 'field trips' and 'experiential learning' to students across all the grades
  • Follow board and institute policies regarding the budgetary process and procedures for planning and execution of library, laboratory, hostel, musical, art and all other academic and administrative requirements
  • Create subject specific, qualitative reporting system with graphical representation along with action trigger plans on term end tests and exams.
  • Establish primary and secondary school libraries separately with relevant books, e-books, magazines, articulates, spell bee, group games, etc.
  • Balance the administrative and academic wings of school by group outbound activities
  • Allocate floor wise ‘break duties’ and bus duties to faculty to maintain discipline in campus

Innovations:

  • Use school ‘Building As Learning Aid (BALA)’ for children to add ‘value’ in learning
  • Establish curriculum based sports, art, music and dance classes across all grades
  • ‘Integrate the study system’ in senior section of classes, catering both to board and entrance exams
  • Do parental orientation programmes like ‘art of parenting’ and ‘counseling’ sessions
  • Make ‘Origami’ in math lab as an alternative tool to emphasize on 'active learning'
  • Establish 'Student Parliament' & ‘Oracle Platforms’ to give ‘student empowerment’
  • Establish Science and Math ‘teaching tools’ for giving hands on training to students
  • Arrange for ‘professional school interlacing’ through inter-state & international school tours
  • Prepare ‘teacher manuals’ on the types of formative / summative assessments and question tags

Visibility:

  • Balance ‘school calendar’ to justify academics, co-curricular & extra-curricular activities
  • Create 'open house, show case and theme based annual day sessions to create parental awareness
  • Liaison and establish academic and administrative contacts for territorial rapport.
  • Publish / Present educational experience articles in national & international forums / in work-shops, conferences & educational magazines
  • Broadcast school newsletter and magazines through teacher and student resources
  • Arrange for theme based 'assorted assembly' to benefit the different set of students
  • Make principal's ‘signature event’ on fortnightly cycles
  • Establish network of faculty / non-teaching staff to conduct all the school functions / community service to enhance school visibility
  • Create and coordinate to work for different innovative hobby clubs, inter-house activities, inter-school competitions and their smooth functioning
  • Involve in CSR initiative themes like go green, no plastic, human chain, etc.

Research & Development:

  • Cater to Physical, Intellectual, Spiritual & Emotional quotients (PISE) of students using Skill, Attitude, Knowledge and Environment (SAKE) development through ‘creative teaching methods’
  • Ideas & tools to improve academic standards and establish result oriented high quality teaching-learning pedagogy
  • Rationalize the ‘vacation home work’ task both for quality and quantity analysis by teachers
  • Implement the applications of multiple intelligence, blooms taxonomy, Montessori, home room teaching, shadow teaching and play way methods in the theory and practical classes of students
  • Establish performing and visual arts (PVA) bank and create visibility and mileage
  • Give references to text books, web sites, power point presentations and other e-books to strengthen teacher resources
  • Introduce international ‘teaching – learning’ practices by establishing reliable contacts abroad
  • Establish R&D centre and knowledge bank for the school

Sustenance of quality:

  • Regular 'Teachers training' and team building
  • Give ‘democratic leadership’ and teacher ‘empowerment to team’ for consistent harmony and results
  • Conduct periodical teacher's evaluation before teachers (TEBT) to boost up their morale and confidence in their language, scholastic and Co-Scholastic areas
  • Add values to science, maths, social, language and integrated labs in the school by adding TV, tablet and other electronic modes of learning applications
  • Establish PTM's in two way and three way conferences with mapping system
  • Equip the school counsellors with academic knowhow to get good admissions
  • Arrange for entrance test and evaluation system with OMR sheets
  • Establish higher, brighter and ber levels of smart classes
  • Establish college counseling and career counseling options

Dr. Raghuveer.Y.V
Principal, G D Goenka Public School, Patna

Education - How to make it accommodative?

In the present scenario of greater competition for faster growth, education sector has assumed higher significance than ever. Scoring 100 still remains the main objective of School education. However, this has increased the complexities and challenges of education system as a whole and class – room teaching in particular. The patience is on the wane and hunger of quick success on the rise. Secondly, the fast pace of urbanization, reduction in open space in cities and almost disappearance of the concept of social guarandianship have practically robbed the opportunity of learning life skills of how to handle failure and celebrate success, from our children. Again, higher level of migration is making our society more and more heterogeneous. Where, it has increased the opportunity of cultural amalgamation on the one hand, on the other, it has also heightened the chances of cultural conflicts. The onus of synthesizing all these issues has obviously fallen on the schools to a large extent. Hence schools cannot feel satiated by excelling within the limits of curriculum, they will have to go beyond the contour of academic curriculum, to discharge their social responsibility.

One answer to all these questions is CEAT. It will not only teach the students vitals of life skill but it will also sharpen their skill for academic and career success.

C (Communication) – Communication is an art. Students are required to be developed in verbal and written communication. It will enhance their confidence of self expression also.

E (Etiquette) – Good etiquettes are the signs of positive personality. Students grooming in etiquettes are socially accepted and respected.

A (Attitude) – Attitude is developed in the environment when the child spends his/her maximum time. Positive attitude towards life is an important trait of happy life.

T (Technology) – To be a professional, a child is required to be technically skilled. Now technology has become an integral part of our life. It is the need of the hour that students should be trained to use the latest technology.

It is the biggest challenge of today to sensitize our young minds with the urgency and importance of environment protection. The real crux of the issue in this regard is that on most of the time society is more moralizing and less adoptive. Hence a child should be taught to be more adoptive and less moralizing.

Dr. C. V. Singh Chaudhary
Principal, Rawal International School, Faridabad

The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Child Is "TIME"

“If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family” -Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa delivered the truth in a palatable and achievable manner. Her words of wisdom regarding the family are timeless treasures that we can apply even today. The highest virtue in our modern ambiance is happiness. Being a parent our basic prerequisite is to give our children the attention they need and deserve.

Here are a few ideas to help you develop relationships with your kids in spite of a hectic schedule:

  • Outings – Take your child for just a ride with you to run some errands. The time you spend with them is invaluable. Children have curious minds and bringing them along to even post a letter or buy some groceries gives them the experience they only read about in their books. Sharing such simple things with parents is always an adventure for a child they might never forget.
  • Nicknames – Each one of us has grown up being called by one or more nicknames in our childhoods. These are the special tokens by our loved ones and we always hold these names close to our hearts. We want our children to know they hold an extraordinary place in our hearts and this ensures that their position is uniquely & individually just for them.
  • Go on a date with your child – Every once in a while take your child for an individual outing. This is more than just getting your child with you to run chores. It’s time you exclusively make to give your child undivided attention. Surprise them by picking them up from school or a class and take them out for an ice-cream or a run on the beach!
  • Listen to them – Talk and discuss anything and everything under the sun with your children. We must get to know their likes and dislikes. Ask them what super powers they want to have? What would they do on a holiday? Who is their BFF?. Listening carefully helps you understand your child’s values, aspirations and desires, and enables them to be comfortable in talking to you about things they might be encountering and need advice on. To have an open communication helps us stay connected with our children even when they grow up to be adults.
  • Eat together – Having meals together as a family gives the chance to celebrate victories, share the sorrows, a joke maybe, or anything that anyone one of us has experienced during the day. This brings a sense of being a family and hence acts as a constant in the child’s life. They associate themselves with this constant and as their “happy place”.
  • Be accessible – Let your child know you are always there for them when they need you. They should be allowed to call you for a simple reason to say “I love you dad” or “I’m missing you mom”. The best quality time spent with kids is before they fall asleep in bed. They want to talk about their day and you should be there to listen!
  • Display interest – Each child is different and has varied interests. We must notice them, as a parent’s approval and interest is one of the most crucial aspects for a child. Their special interests should be enhanced and we must try and include in their little games of UNO, snakes & ladders, carom etc.

Do we fail sometimes? Yes we do, as parents we cannot be everywhere and do all the things but we surely make our best efforts to give our children what best we can. A vital aspect we need to take in consideration is that in this bargain now a days our children are suffering from a deficiency of an important vitamin “N” or the dose of hearing “NO” from their parents. The incapacity of being able to say “NO” to our kids. Some of us who are busy with their careers and don’t have the time to give to their child compensate by giving the child whatever materialistic things he/she asks for. Studies show that children who are used to such a behaviour grow up to be emotionally stunted & self-centered adults. All we need to do is learn to say the big NO to our kids when it is required.

Nevertheless, being parents is one of the greatest things that happens to us and we must be appreciative to have our beautiful children in our lives.

Let’s make a conscious effort to give our children 100% of what they need & 25% of they want!

Aditi Agrawal
Director, Bloomz International School, Goa

Should Science & Culture be Promoted for Child’s Holistic Development?

“I love school.” For educators, such declaration from a student is the best testament of ‘success’. However, Priya, 8, is not among our ‘usual’ preschoolers. She lives under the flyover in the slums of Kandivali near our school.

While it has been a while since we opened our doors and hearts to the children of Humanity Foundation, around 30 feisty street children aged 4 to 16, this most impromptu confession, with twinkling eyes and one that prompted other more reluctant children to also coyly break into a jiggle and express their happiness, is perhaps one of the most surreal moments I have experienced.

It is during such moments that we realize the impact we can have on improving lives through some additional basic efforts. In this case, it would be helping Priya and other children like her experience the joys of well-kept school premises and other resources, or even dedicatedly training a group of tribal children in self-defense, education and hygiene.

It made me think how much we could really achieve if each of our children could attend quality school programmes (which is the fundamental right of each and every child as per the Indian constitution) right from the preschool level and not just from the primary. What does the term inclusion really mean?

We have always prided ourselves in being an ‘inclusive’ school. Through our initiatives, we have tried to extend it to ‘social inclusion’ too. While our children at Kangaroo Kids Preschool and the children of Humanity Foundation have already set the wheels in motion in terms of learning to respect and share each other’s spaces, I constantly wonder why must there be a need for schools to be ‘inclusive’ in the first place. Should that be our goal?

The RTE Act has set in pace a mission to achieve universal elementary education but can inclusion be suddenly forced upon when there are so many learning, cultural, and linguistic obstructions to grapple with? Have reservations at colleges and institutions helped us get the desired effect of ensuring that the opportunities presented be translated into effective outcomes?

Education is one aspect through which science and culture can be promoted simultaneously to strengthen a child’s well-being, healthy development and transferable learning. It addresses adversity and supports resilience to enable a child to find a positive pathway to adulthood. However, we need integrated insight into multiple fields and connect them to the knowledge of successful approaches that are emerging in education. We need to provide a supportive scientific environment, productive instructional strategies, social, emotional and cultural learning that fosters skills, habits and mindsets, leading to the holistic development of children.

That is the keyword we must analyze - the outcome, in terms of empowerment. A dipstick survey report by Parikrama Humanity Foundation, a non-profit company in the field of primary education, found that only 8 per cent of the jobs in well-known IT companies in Bangalore are held by people who have emerged from government schools. Yet of the million-plus schools in this country, 94 per cent are government or government-aided institutions. Alarmingly, in India’s emerging knowledge industry, more than 90 per cent of jobs are held by people from 6 per cent of its schools.

Higher education fares better than primary education but has only about 10% of the population having access to it. Also, 3 million graduates a year being dispensed out of faulty education systems into various enterprises – locally and globally. Out of these, a whopping 90% are deemed unfit for the job market. What do these numbers tell us?

  • We need a well thought out and tailored approach for real ‘inclusion’ to take place factoring in the social, economic and bureaucratic elements. It must clearly run deeper than sweeping Acts and Reservations that sound ideal but must be pragmatic and in sync with ground realities.
  • In a country where 74% of the population still depends on agriculture as the primary means of livelihood and earnings of less than 100 rupees a day, where do we stand at vocational education and training (VET) in this skill-based economy? A dismal 10% of workers receive formal education in vocational education, compared with 65% in the US and 70% in the UK. China is training 90 million youths against our 3.5 million youths in VET! We need more and more social enterprises that also focus on truly empowering people across communities.
  • We have the lowest spends on Education and Health – the two most critical components that build a nation! India beats sub-Saharan Africa, known all over the world in terms of hunger parameters. How do we expect our children to study when they aren’t healthy? How does anyone grow financially if bogged by debts due to escalating healthcare costs – since our public healthcare is also such a failure? Our public expenditure on healthcare is just over 1% of GDP. In education, it is about 3% less than that of sub-Saharan Africa.

For true empowerment through inclusion, one that transcends the social, economic, and cultural factors, it must have 100% involvement from the entire ecosystem. We need to start early, young and work together. And not just through reservations or categorizations, which further divides us. We need to connect at the ground level and encourage the communities to explore, engage and enrich each other’s perspectives while also advocating their equal rights to be included in the societal framework with the freedom of also retaining their respective identities.

While inclusion is a way of abolishing various degrees of inequalities, it shouldn’t be an end. The goal must be empowerment.

After all, doesn’t the term ‘inclusion’ imply prejudice?

Kusum Kanwar
Director Principal, Kangaroo Kids, Kandivali and Andheri, Lokhandwala, CEO, Add Up Skills

Can Math’s be taught in an interesting way in Kitchen?

Ofcourse Yes.

Math’s is literally everywhere around us, be it in any form or the other.

Teaching math to a kid is a tedious task for any mathematics teacher. This is so, because, in a subject like math’s there is very less scope of imaginating the concept being taught result in the child not able to understand the concept being taught to him. To achieve so, starting from the concepts of junior classes or to teach mathematical concepts of Middle Classes, Kitchen Math’s is the one of the most ideal ways to perform so.

In a setup like Kitchen, the best thing that happens to a child is all concepts are right in front of him. All the educator has to do is develop a connect between the physical things present in front and the concept he plans to deliver.

Concepts like fractions and decimals, ratio and proportions, quantities and estimation, conversions, symmetry etc. can be taught very efficiently via Hands on Learning experiences of that happen in the process of cooking.

Before you start cooking, you need ingredients and raw material for cooking, basically meaning shopping. Shopping at a supermarket gives the child a firsthand experience into understanding the following concepts:

  • Quantities:While fruits and vegetables are usually bought in Kilograms, the spices are often bought in grams. This allows the child to visually see, how much grams of chili pepper will constitute a kilogram of chili pepper. Practical application to teach Quantities helps him understand the different conversions and estimate volume as to how much big container will be required to fit in a kg of chili powder or how much smaller size required to fit 100 gms of chili powder.
  • Unitary Method:A particular recipe for 2 people requires this much amount of raw material and spices, how much material will be required for 6 people? Ask your student, if he doesn’t answer you in a classroom, he definitely will while at a super market.
  • Discounts and Calculations: While one shops at a supermarket, the trip ends at the billing counter where the child is able to understand how much money to give for the weight of material purchased and how much balance the teller is going to return. Also, while calculating discounts (if applicable) the child can again understand the concept of percentage and subtraction.

When you are done shopping, we head back to our kitchen where again a lot of mathematical concepts are laid out in the open. In any kitchen, the child is able to visualize against himself the following:

  • Shapes and Sizes: The pan is a circle, container box is cylinder, and serving tray is rectangle. Some containers are bigger than other. Some are elliptical at the bottom and become pointed as we go up. From basic shapes, to complex shapes, we got it all in a kitchen.
  • Ratio and Proportions: A good cup of tea requires half a cup of water and half a cup of milk. How much water and milk required for 7 cups of tea. Congratulations, you just taught your child the concept of ratios and proportions. So easy, right? And you were trying so hard in the classroom.
  • Fractions and Decimals: 1 tbsp, ½ tbsp, ¼ tbsp, 1/8 tbsp. 1 tbsp, 0.5 tbsp, 0.25 tbsp, 0.125 tbsp. You just cracked a jackpot deal of teaching decimals with fractions. And you thought teaching maths was hard.
  • Time: Heat a cup of tea, 10 seconds. Bake a cake 10 mins. Prepare a lavish recipe, 1 hour. Concept of time, done.

Once you are done preparing dishes with your students, there is still a concept you can teach them while setting up the eating table which is SYMMETRY.

Setting up table is an Art. There are fancy restaurants that set up the table to upto 1/10th of an inch. So setting up table can be an activity where in symmetry can be taught to children efficiently.

Teaching mathematics in kitchen to children is a fun activity for the children as well as the educator. The clarity students get while they are having hands on learning in a kitchen helps them remember the concept for lifetime. And this is all basic maths, complex concepts like integration and differentiation need this basic skill set only to have a good command on mathematics. So next time, you are planning a lesson plan for your mathematics class, do plan a visit to the kitchen.

A fun idea for assessment is, tastier the recipe, better the grading, because if the child’s concept ratios and proportions are good, he read the time right, the bought the required material in a required and right quantity, not only his Math Skills are great, the recipe will be tasty too.

Happy Teaching , Happy Eating.

Harshit Bansal
Director, Abhinav Group of Schools, Pitampura, New Delhi

Talent Development Strategy

The function of the leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers!!!

INTRODUCTION

Organizations know that they must have the best talent in order to succeed in the hypercompetitive and increasingly complex global economy. Along with the understanding of the need to hire, develop, and retain talented people, organizations are aware that they must manage talent as a critical resource to achieve the best possible results.

Few, if any, organizations today have an adequate supply of talent. Gaps exist at the top of the organization, in the first- to midlevel leadership ranks, and at the front lines.

Talent is an increasingly scarce resource, so it must be managed to the fullest effect.

Are today’s leaders able to do more with less?

Many organizations are reducing their workforces, but let’s be careful not to cut so deep that talent is scarce when the economy rebounds. The idea of managing talent is not new.

Now, talent management is an organizational function that is taken far more seriously.

Your organization can create a new product and it is easily copied. Lower your prices and competitors will follow. Go after a lucrative market and someone is there right after you, careful to avoid making your initial mistakes.

But replicating a high-quality, highly engaged workforce is nearly impossible. The ability to effectively hire, retain, deploy, and engage talent—at all levels—is really the only true competitive advantage an organization possesses.

Talent Management Defined

Talent management is a mission critical process that ensures organizations have the quantity and quality of people in place to meet their current and future business priorities. The process covers all key aspects of an employee’s “life cycle:” selection, development, succession and performance management.

Key components of a highly effective talent management process include:

  • A clear understanding of the organization’s current and future business strategies.
  • Identification of the key gaps between the talent in place and the talent required to drive business success.
  • A sound talent management plan designed to close the talent gaps. It should also be integrated with strategic and business plans.
  • Accurate hiring and promotion decisions.
  • Connection of individual and team goals to corporate goals, and providing clear expectations and feedback to manage performance.
  • Development of talent to enhance performance in current positions as well as readiness for transition to the next level.
  • A focus not just on the talent strategy itself, but the elements required for successful execution.
  • Business impact and workforce effectiveness measurement during and after implementation.

What's driving the current emphasis on Talent Management?

Organizations have been talking about the connection between great employees and superior organizational performance for decades. So, why the current emphasis on managing talent?

There are several drivers fuelling this emphasis:

  • There is a demonstrated relationship between better talent and better business performance.
  • Talent is a rapidly increasing source of value creation.
  • The context in which we do business is more complex and dynamic.
  • Boards and financial markets are expecting more.
  • Employee expectations are also changing.
  • Workforce demographics are evolving. Organizations wage a new “war for talent” these days.

Best practice for Effective Talent Management:

1: Start with the end in mind—talent strategy must be tightly aligned with business strategy.

Effective talent management requires that your business goals and strategies drive the quality and quantity of the talent you need.

2: Talent management professionals need to move from a seat at the table to setting the table.

When we gather groups of HR professionals for events, we often ask them who owns talent management. They point to senior management. Many have a seat at the table, where they’re involved in discussions about business and leadership strategies that were previously held behind closed boardroom doors.

But securing the right to listen in is not enough. Talent managers need to own parts of the process and serve as partners, guides, and trusted advisors when it comes time to talk talent.

3: You must know what you’re looking for—the role of Success Profiles.

Numerous studies show that companies with better financial performance are more likely to use competencies as the basis for succession management, external hiring, and inside promotions.

4: The talent pipeline is only as b as its weakest link.

Many organizations equate the concept of talent management with senior leadership succession management. While succession planning is obviously important, our belief is that talent management must encompass a far broader portion of the employee population.

Value creation does not come from senior leadership alone. The ability of an organization to compete depends upon the performance of all its key talent, and its ability to develop and promote that talent.

5: Talent Management is not a democracy.

Invest in the Best. Many companies do the opposite, and make a mistake by trying to spread limited resources for development equally across employees. We’ve found that organizations realize the best returns when promising individuals receive a differential focus when it comes to development dollars.

So who should get these benefits? Two major categories: high-potential leaders and individuals who create value for their organizations.

6: Potential, performance and readiness are not the same thing.

Many organizations understand the idea of a high-potential pool or a group of people who receive more developmental attention. But sometimes, they fail to consider the differences between potential, performance, and readiness.

7: Talent management is all about putting the right people in the right jobs.

Why should an organization place the higher priority on selection rather than development?

  • Not everything can be developed. Many elements of Success Profiles are impossible, or at least very difficult, to develop. Training people to improve their judgment, learning agility, adaptability—all core requirements for most of the talent hired today—is difficult, if not impossible.
  • Lack of motivation for a specific role or a poor fit between employees’ values and those of the organization leads to poor performance, and no classroom experience or learning activity will change this fundamental mismatch. But you can get a read on these areas during a well-designed hiring / promotion process.
  • Hiring for the right skills is more efficient than developing those skills. What about the areas that are developable, like interpersonal skills, decision-making, or technical skills? Assessing those areas at the time of hire is likely to cost less than developing them later.

8: Talent management is more about the “hows” than the “whats.”

Organizations have many “whats” relative to talent management, including executive resource boards, software platforms, ninebox grid comparing potential to performance, development plans, and training, training and more training. These “whats” promise nothing on their own. Guarantees come from “hows” instead. Our five realization factors for sound execution are:

  • Communication— Links the talent management initiative to the business drivers, puts forward a vision the organization can rally around, and sets expectations for what will happen in the organization.
  • Accountability— Role clarity so that each individual in the talent management initiative knows what is expected of them.
  • Skill— Developing the right skills and providing coaches and mentors for support.
  • Alignment— Must align talent management initiatives to the business drivers but also need the right kinds of systems to identify high potentials, to diagnose for development, to link to performance management, and to do development that really changes behavior.
  • Measurement— You can’t manage what you don’t measure. It creates the tension, and objectives become clearer to help execute a talent strategy.

9: Software does not equal talent management.

Claiming a piece of software can provide a full talent management system is a bit like a food processor will produce a five-star meal. These tools are valuable in support of a good plan or recipe. The right tools clear the path for smoother execution and may improve the end product. But tools mean nothing without the right expertise and the right ingredients behind them.

Talent Development Strategies to Enhance Long-Term Employee Engagement and Commitment

While effective job design and talent acquisition strategies can encourage employee engagement for new hires, what can you do with existing employees?

If you don’t integrate employee engagement considerations into your on-going talent management process, you risk eroding employees’ interest and commitment over time.

Improving long-term outcomes requires investing in talent development. A well-executed talent development strategy can maximize person-job fit, increase job satisfaction and engagement, and secure enduring employee commitment.

Since talent development is essentially continuous, it provides perhaps the best single avenue for fostering employee engagement. The benefits of employee engagement should be enough to convince any executive to invest in these critical talent development strategies.

1. Talent Development Starts on Day One

Training and development begin with the on boarding process.

Orientation is often the first substantive touch point for new hires. It provides a great opportunity for getting employees acquainted with the organization – its structure, culture, values, policies, and so on.

This is equally an opportunity for fostering employee engagement and commitment by explaining how their position contributes to the organization’s overall mission and business goals.

2. Invest in Training to Encourage Long-Term Commitment

Training adds value to employees and to your organization. Aside from the benefits of more skilled labour, it also fosters long-term employee engagement and commitment.

Employees who receive training get the satisfaction of mastering new skills and increasing their employability. Training demonstrates your organization’s commitment to employees, makes them feel valued, and fosters reciprocal commitment.

3. Use Performance Reviews to Optimize Job-Person Fit

Regular performance reviews can help optimize job-person fit. Reviews can help reveal an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. They are also a chance to get to know what that person enjoys about their job and learn about their long-term aspirations.

Using that information to tailor job responsibilities and promote people into suitable positions enhances fit, engagement, commitment, and business outcomes.

4. Set challenging Goals to Keep Employees Engaged

Feedback sessions also provide an opportunity to link employees’ job objectives to organizational objectives. Doing so helps employees keep broader objectives in mind, shows that you recognize their value, and encourage commitment.

Including employees in the goal-setting process is a great way to enlighten commitment and engagement. When employees have input, they’re more likely to identify with and actively work towards organizational goals.

5. Learn to Recognize and Rely on Experience

Experienced employees are your most valuable assets. Not only do they have useful skills, they can also function autonomously, manage projects, and train other employees.

Learning to recognize, acknowledge, and rely on their expertise boosts their feelings of value and self-efficacy.

It also increases organizational efficiency. Some workers know what they do better than their managers. Leverage that. Give them more autonomy and allow them to oversee projects.

If they intend to leave or retire at some point, make sure they pass on their deep knowledge to others so you don’t lose the benefits of their expertise.

Rajeev Gupta
Director, Golden bells Preschool, Ashok Vihar, New Delhi

Environmental Education Practice (EEP): Go "Green School" Concept

Our future generation is going to have a tough time to deal with the environment. The reason behind this is the way humans have properly and wilfully destroyed the environment by commercial activities. In the name of development, carbon footprints are rising at an alarming pace.

The concept of 'use and grow' instead of 'use and throw' needs to be inculcated from a young age. Each student should be encouraged to plant a seed/sapling at school or home. In fact, making it a compulsory activity would make them realise the importance of trees. Educating them on better water management systems and efficient waste management systems can make them future environmental managers.

Honestly, we have a hundred reasons to teach and practice EEP in schools, and it has several unending advantages; few are listed below.

1. Hands-on learning part

Environmental Education Practice is not just limited to textbooks only. It connects students with the real world and thereby enhances their imagination and unlocks their creativity. EEP can be integrated into the curriculum as a practical course, taking into account the school environment or classroom as a lab for student’s work.

2. EEP increases social connect.

EEP helps learners build a social attitude, understand cultural values, and imbibe ecological solutions for humanity deep into their hearts.

3. Creative thinking and imagination development.

While finding solutions for environmental problems within school fosters a sense of creative thinking and imagination in them, they will become problem solvers and not problem creators. This can be achieved under the able guidance of their mentors, and they can undoubtedly reshape the school’s environment under the Go Green School concept lines.

4. Increase love towards natures.

By exposing students to nature and allowing them to learn and play in a green school campus, they will start taking care of it by their own will. It will significantly increase their interest and love towards nature.

5. It is a win-win situation.

Go green school concept is beneficial for both the students and the management. Students who will practice environmental activities in and around the school will stay fit and become healthy. These practices are capable of addressing the health concerns of obese students and students with other disorders and depression. The same program can ease out a lot of pressure on management too.

6. EEP makes students responsible for their actions.

How students' actions and behaviour influence nature and make nature angry or friendly can be addressed by EEP. Students build knowledge and necessary skills to resolve complex environmental issues, fostering a sense of responsibility in students when it comes to dealing with the environment.

7. Empowerment of students.

We know schools are just like a small world for our kids. Educating them on how to take care of this world on green lines is not enough, but we also need to empower them to deal with it. We can have our green schools an example for our society and can learn from it. So, EEP can surely inculcate good habits in students and can give them the liberty to deal with it. When we were in command, we destroyed our mother earth for our greedy needs. Now, we must empower our future generations by sensitising them about what went wrong and giving them free will to deal with it. We can expect good results because our earth has seen so many enemies. Let us motivate these young nature lovers to give nature so much of love back to it so that it regains its past glory and forgives us all.

Javid Qadir Zargar
Assistant Director, AICTE, New Delhi

Expanding the Horizons of Leadership

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Today, everywhere, everyone talks about leadership. Each institution or firm spends a lot of money on leadership training, so the need for it seems the most urgent. But is it possible that each one becomes a successful leader? When the matter is in the discussion, many arguments can be put, but in practice, very few are real leaders!

I believe a leader is the one who leads. In every sphere, there are role models. So, in today’s age, the leadership of just one type is not at all effective. A leader must be a carrier of change. It is inevitable for the leadership to expand its horizon. Successful leadership is built on basic and self-evident principles that are timeless but need constant repetition.

Then what do leaders need to remember? Many things! But here is one – it is always showtime. A leader is leading people. You lead by example. And what that means is that 24/7 or at least the 18/6 when people are at work, you must understand that you are putting on a show. People dissect what you are wearing and who you are talking to and the way you present yourself and the kind of questions you ask, and so on. If you are a leader and if you are a boss, it is always showtime.

Today’s age is the age of competition. The leader has to perform consistently with advancement each time. But one thing that remains constant in this highly volatile age is the relationship.

“To be is to be related.”

- Jiddu Krishnamurthi

Whether it is in personal or professional life; even in devotional life, relationships matter. So, in my opinion, a leader has to expand his horizon to develop and maintain a relationship with all the stakeholders he/she is dealing with. This is great when it comes to managing a school.

Plato once said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” The world is continually changing, but the one constant that drives organizational success is the power of connecting–connecting with colleagues, employees, and customers. That is what leaders were doing, are doing and will continue doing.

Manish Purani
Director, Vidyamangal School, Surat

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience or learning by doing. Students of any age group can learn a concept effectively through role play, filed trips, experiments and various other group activities. Experiential learning first immerses the learners in an experience, followed by reflection about the experience to develop new skills, new attitudes or new ways of thinking. Experiential learning allows students to see how their learning applies to life outside the classroom.

Experiential learning enables children to pursue their own areas of interest and to work through problems as they arise in real-life situations. For example role play enables children expressing different ways of social or emotional situations.

The general concept of experiential learning is very ancient. The ancient Vedic education was all about learning through experience. Even the great Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “For the things we have to learn, before we can do them, we learn by doing them".

The modern concept of experiential learning was first explored by John Dewey and Jean Piaget, among others. As the name suggests, experiential learning involves learning from experience. According to Professor D.A Kolb, this type of learning can be defined as "the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combinations of grasping and transforming the experience." Kolb’s theory of experiential learning is well known and widely practiced across the globe.

Kolb’s research shows mastering expertise is a continuous process of experience, reflection, conceptualization and experimentation. These elements make up the experiential learning cycle which shows the relationship between each phase.

Methods of experiential learning:

Method:1: Incorporating simple experiential activities in class.

1. Determining the objectives:This is the first step of integrating experiential learning into the classroom. Teacher must figure out skills students need to acquire and content they need to understand. This will help the teacher design experiential activities which line up with teacher’s goals for the class.

2. Select an activity which helps meet those objectives:Teacher must select an activity that meets the educational goals she has set for her students. For instance, if a teacher is teaching the democratic process, she can hold a mock election. If a teacher is teaching economics, teacher can put students in groups, give them a budget, and tell them to spend their funding on a business idea. Then, have them determine how they’ll turn this startup into a thriving business.

3. Ask students to reflect on the activity:Teacher must challenge her students to take time to consider the lesson they’re meant to learn. This can be done individually by asking students to write in journals or respond verbally, or they can reflect in a group discussion. Teacher can ask few direct questions to help them get to the point. In the example about democratic process, teacher can ask questions like, “How do you think this outcome will affect citizens or businesses?” For the economics project above, teacher can ask something like, “How does the concept of supply and demand impact the efficacy of your business plan? For struggling students, teacher can ask something specific like, "Do you think the election of this candidate will lead to changes in legislature regarding education?"

4. Apply the activity directly to the lesson:Teacher can conduct a quiz or any other relevant activity or otherwise directly address the topic she is teaching. The goal of experiential learning is to improve the students’ comprehension of the topic, so teacher must make sure students have actually learned the topic by applying her lesson directly to an assignment or test. For instance, school Management extends the school time by twenty minutes for secondary classes, students can write an analysis regarding the effect of extra class time and how it affect their learning ability.

5. Reinforce what was learned in the activityNow that you’re the students have completed the in-class experiential learning assignment, reflected on how it relates to the course, and directly applied their learning to the topic, it’s time to reinforce the subject matter. In the example of economics teacher can ask students to consider the economic ramifications on existing businesses. If they were going to use their money to open a book store, teacher can ask them to consider whether or not their new business would impact profit.

Method: 2: Utilizing advance Project Based Learning:

1. Create a project that teaches core principles. In most cases, these are group learning experiences or learning projects can also be assigned to individuals depending on their specific educational needs. For younger classes teacher can use a simple project like having students make a picture books about a history lesson. Teacher must give time for younger students to work as a group during class, or let them do a project on their own. In middle or secondary classes students, can practice leadership and time management skills by having them meet outside class.

2. Provide specific standard proformas: Teacher can give students a rubric at the start of the project, for clear understanding of teacher’s expectations. If rubrics is not used, the project must be kept simple. Teacher must make an outline of each step in the project. For example, a rubric for the debate project teacher may include researching topics, writing the speech, delivering the speech, and answering questions following the presentation.

3. Analyze what students learn: Following the group project, teacher must take time to assess students’ comprehension of key ideas. This can be done in a number of ways like giving a quiz, assigning a written essay, explaining what they learned from the project or simply conducting a class discussion about how the project is related to the lesson plans.

4. Reflect on the lessons of teamwork: If a teacher chooses a group project, it is important to build in an opportunity for students to assess their experience with the group. Many students struggle to work together, high achieving students may struggle to relinquish power over their grades to their peers. At the end of the assignment teacher can ask each student in the group to evaluate the other’s performance and their own. Teacher can ask students to outline their personal contribution to the project. Then, request an outline of the contributions of the other group members.

5. Provide an opportunity for students to reflect on the process: After each experiential lesson, teacher must allow her students to self-reflect on their learning process. Teacher can ask students to write a short reflection about the experience, any issues that may have arisen, and provide feedback about their experience. Teacher can create a questionnaire with questions such as:

  • How did the experiential learning process go for you?
  • What did you learn in terms of subject matter?
  • What helped you learn this material?
  • What was challenging about this process?
  • What was easy about this process?
  • What do you want to improve for the next lesson?

Method:3: Taking Learning outside the class:

1. Make a museum or zoo your classroom. Teacher can use community museums, zoos, or historical sites as an interactive classroom for experiential learning. Teacher must talk to the curators or Managers of the sites before the visit for making a good plan. Teacher with the assistance of the guides or the officials of the site must use the concepts/topics on display to teach the students about a given subject. For example, for biology, a visit to a zoo can be planned and teacher can discuss how the animals adapt to their habitats. For history lesson on the war, teacher a field trip to a battle site nearby can be arranged and teacher can discuss the battle that occurred there, and its impact.

2. Assign a trip to the theater.If teacher is teaching drama or theatre in literature, she must arrange to see a performance. It can be a professional show, local amateur theater performance or simply seeing the school play. Just attending the performance is not a complete experiential learning. Teacher must ask students to write a review or complete a quiz following the show, or discuss the performance as a class. In some cases, you can work with theaters to schedule a question and answer session for the class with the performers and directors of the show.

3. Visit nearby shops, restaurants, or parks.Teacher can incorporate a walk in a nearby park or trip to a local store or restaurant into a class lesson. For instance, if the students are studying economics, they can visit several local stores and compare prices on specific items. A trip to a local park can be turned into a civics lesson by discussing who runs the park, how the park is funded, and where the funding comes from, etc.

Dr. Nicholas Correa
Principal & Executive Director, New Horizon Public School, Airoli, Navi Mumbai

Uniqueness of a 'TEACHER' as a life long learner is a bliss.

Learning and teaching go hand in hand It is through learning that one realized the value of teaching, and through teaching I realized the value of learning. We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn. the best teachers are learning from their students. all the time. You have something to learn from everyone you meet. The more you learn about others, the more you learn about yourself. The values of teaching, the power to touch and change lives is uniqueness of being a teacher. As teacher, we too learn as we teach.

This uniqueness where we blend ourselves to the changing needs of society and students at large is gifted and inborn in teachers. Time has changed: methods of teaching-learning have Metamorphosed. The earlier chalk and talk dogma, I teach you learn, the docile kids’ is fading away taken over by newer variations where the learner is not passive. They are certainly more knowledgeable, more vibrant, alert and alive. As teachers, we too learn as we teach. This uniqueness where we blend ourselves to the changing needs of society students at large is gifted and inborn teacher. With the changing world and globalization, the learning needs of the society around us are also changing. The society is no longer the traditional learning society but has emerged as a “lifelong learning society”. The world today realizes the fact that learning occurs at all stages of life, in different forms and in variety of arenas. Learning never ceases and continues till death, hence the concept of ‘cradle-to-grave’ for lifelong learning gains prominence in the present day world and work environment. Thus we can say that the present society around us is a knowledge society; it is a human society in which thrust is on knowledge for justice, solidarity, democracy and peace. This is a society in which knowledge is a force for changing society.

Life long education covers “formal, non-formal and informal patterns of learning throughout the life cycle of an individual for the conscious and continuous enhancement of the quality of life, his own and that of society”. Lifelong learning is the provision or use of both formal and informal learning opportunities throughout people’s lives in order to foster the continuous development and improvement of the knowledge and skills needed for employment and personal fulfilment.

In this context UNESCO has highlighted the following four pillars of lifelong learning for the 21st Century: learning to know by mastering cognitive skills & collaboration; learning to do by mastering skills & production; learning to be by admitting multiple intelligent (MI) and sustainable human development and learning to live together by dialogue and tolerance. These four pillars of knowledge cannot be anchored solely in one phase in a person’s life or in a single place. There is a need to re-think when in people’s lives education should be provided, and the fields that such education should cover. The periods and fields should complement each other and be interrelated in such a way that all people can get the most out of their own specific education. As teacher, we always come across a spectrum of behaviours and we cater to the needs of everyone. The blessings and uniqueness of being a teacher lies in the fact that you blend yourself to make a difference in the lives of the little kids. Education does not end in good grades . It culminates in the overall growth of the child to gift him outside world for a better living. Here lies the role and uniqueness of a TEACHER.

Sumeet Puri

Director /Principal, Modern Jagat Jyoti Sr.Sec.School, Amritsar /Punjab

How Schools Can Solve Child Obesity

“ yuktāhāra-vihārasya yukta-cheṣhṭasya karmasu yukta-svapnāvabodhasya yogo bhavati duḥkha-hā ”

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 6, Verse 17

Meaning: Those who are temperate in eating and recreation, balanced in work, and regulated in sleep, can mitigate all sorrows by practicing Yog.

In this verse, Shree Krishna states that by being temperate in bodily activities and practicing Yog, we can become free from the sorrows of the body and mind.

Yog is the union of the soul with God and an excellent method to control obesity.

These days’ people suffer from different health issues related to heart, diabetes, depression, malnutrition, overweight and obesity. Amongst, obesity is one of the major issues leading to multiple diseases. Obesity is defined as having a body-mass index equal to or greater than 30, BMI is a value derived from the mass and height of a person.

The World Health Organization reports that the share of children and adolescents aged 5-19 who are overweight or obese has risen from 4% in 1975 to around 18% in 2016. It shows that in just 40 years the number of school-age children and adolescents with obesity has risen more than 10-fold, from 11 million to 124 million. WHO report also focuses on the relationship between income and obesity. The prevalence of obesity tends to be higher in richer countries across Europe, North America, and Oceania. Obesity rates are much lower across South Asia and Sub- Saharan Africa. Japan, South Korea and Singapore have very low levels of obesity for their level of income. (Source: WHO).

Evidently, people in the countries with lower obesity rate are more active and enjoy their life more along with being successful. Another example Adnan Sami, a famous Indian singer is undoubtedly an inspiration for losing weight. He lost close to 200 pounds by following a strict low-carb high protein diet along with regular workouts, making him more pulsating and handsome.

Key determinants of childhood obesity are changing lifestyle with unhealthy dietary habits, excess calories intake and reduced physical activity. In 21st Century one of the most sensitive challenges for Global Public Health is Childhood obesity, which is affecting almost every country in the world. Majority children do not consume diets as per the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines, nor do they achieve adequate levels of daily physical activity. Consequently, more children are overweight today. To promote healthy eating, parents at home and teachers in school play an important role and coalition between two is essential.

“The best way to teach your kids is mindful eating.” Eating habits is developed from the beginning at home, primarily by the parents. Parents should be careful what they cook. Taking time from their busy schedule mothers must focus on organic, raw and uncooked food rather than ready to eat, frozen and tinned food. Preparing food with high nutrition value must be preferred over junk and fatty food. I do not say and in fact not possible, to totally stop junk food. Yes at the same time, balancing kid’s preference one day in a week can be kept as kids’ choice food day. Children must be educated on healthy eating so that they recognize the type of food that is good for their health. An interesting way is to build a kitchen and school garden so that teachers/ parents can sensitize the connection between home grown foods. Physical cleanliness, food and environmental hygiene, classroom surroundings are also the prime areas. It is true that properly nourished children will be able to concentrate better in lessons and remain focused.

School plays an equally important role by giving daily physical education classes emphasizing health-related fitness activities. Government should also set strict guidelines for the amount of exercise every primary school child should receive and ensure that individual schools carry out successfully. Looking back at the earlier teaching methods, teachers gave punishments which scientifically benefitted the body. Punishing the students by holding both their earlobe with the index finger and thumb by squatting down and then get up slowly, is nothing else but what is named today; ‘Superbrain Yoga’. This stimulates the acupressure points in your earlobes and sends electrical signals to the brain, thus boosting cognitive clarity. This results in sharper and calmer mind, better performance in school with learning, retention, and recall. Teachers should give same kind of punishment today which will in turn make the kids physically and mentally strong. Yoga with dance, aerobics and different dance forms (Hip-hop, Zumba, Belly, Salsa, Indian Classical, etc) activities should also be encouraged both in school and home; this triggers weight loss and make kids more flexible. Parents should ensure that kids take their own glass of water, food plate, opening the gate at home when the doorbell rings. Along with enriching the good values in kids, it also reduces obesity and lethargies. Cycling and walking instead of travelling on car for few miles is another way of burning excess calories.

“The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is the best.”

Thomas Jefferson.

Ms. Maya Gupta
Director/Principal, Universal Public School, New Delhi

Experiential Learning and Its Significance

Kolb's Experiential Learning Theory (Kolb, 1984) defines experiential learning as "the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combination of grasping and transforming experience."

With my experience as a head and teacher trainer, I have observed that teachers confuse experiential with experiment. ‘Experiment’ may be a mode or a platform for experiential-based learning but is not a substitute. So why not go deeper into the flow of experiential-based learning?

The first step of the process is to ensure that the student has an ‘Experience’ which could be through an activity, an experiment, or an event like visiting a museum, watching a movie, listening to a motivating speech or investigating a phenomenon. Once the child has hands-on experience, he moves to the next step of ‘Reflection’ where they reflect on the same through some deep questions shared by the teacher.

Example: If the child has watched Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” they could be given the following questions from the talk by the teacher:

  • Why is the talk addressed as “The Danger of a Single Story?”
  • Reflect on the incidents quoted by the speaker as well as compare them with the incidents in your local setting.
  • What was the speaker trying to convey?
  • Predict how a single story will impact generations to come.
  • Imagine giving a talk on the same lines yourself, design your speech of 1000 words.

Similarly, if the student has conducted an experiment on the path of light through a glass block, the teacher could put forward questions like:

  • What did you observe in the path of rays before and after entering the glass block?
  • What could be the possible explanations for this observation?
  • Would it make a difference if we replace the glass block with a plastic block?

As soon as the child starts reflecting, he embarks on the third process, i.e. ‘Conceptualising’ which has four aspects of the process of re-evaluation, which will be considered by the learner. They are:

  • Association—relating new information to that which is already known.
  • Integration—seeking relationships between new and old information.
  • Validation—determining the authenticity for the learner of the ideas and feelings which have resulted.
  • Appropriation—making knowledge one’s own, a part of one’s normal ways of operating.

Thus students will connect concepts in the case of Chimamanda to history and geography stories, events and ideas shared in the class.

In the science experiment, they will connect the phenomenon to theories of reflection and refraction.

Finally, they move on to the last stage of ‘Application’, where they apply their learning to new experiences, concepts and phenomenon. Example: While reading the history of the place, they refer to incidents written by the natives and the outsiders. While doing the experiment of refraction, they connect the change in the path of light to a pencil appearing crooked in a beaker filled with water.

Imagine if you were to compare the pieces of evidence of learning graphs of students taught by conventional method and by the experiential method, my questions posed to you are:

  • Where would you observe maximum learning and why?
  • What steps would you incorporate to bring in the change in your own school?
  • What challenges do you expect, and how do you plan to overcome them?

Every new experience brings in challenges, but with the right mindset and support, we can create miracles.

Kavita Sanghvi

Principal, CNM School, Mumbai

How to deal with 'Tough' students

Effective educators discipline with encouragement and kind words much more often than rebukes or reprimands. The goal is to help students feel good about themselves and their behaviour in the classroom. We all come across students who habitually get into trouble.

Teaching a lesson to your class can become quite a challenge when you have to deal with the constant disruption of a difficult student. It may seem like you have tried every behaviour management tip known to man, along with trying to provide an organized routine to help the student manage their responsibilities. Inevitably, when everything you've tried fails, keep your head up and try again.

Effective educators choose discipline techniques that will encourage positive behaviour and motivate students to feel good about themselves and the decisions that they make. You may use the following guidelines to combat classroom disruptions and deal with ‘difficult’ students:

1. DEFINE EXPECTATIONS.

Specifically, define your expectations and help students understand there are consequences for unwanted behaviour. When students break the rules they need to be ready for the consequences. Clearly write out and define each expectation you have, and post them in a visible spot in the classroom.

Common Student Expectations for the Classroom:

  • Stay seated during classroom activities and events
  • Raise your hand before speaking
  • Show respect for school property and students
  • Wait to be dismissed
  • Be prepared for class
  • Be considerate and respectful

2. STAY IN TOUCH WITH PARENTS.

Make sure that the parents know what is going on; how often he/she is in trouble, and what trouble it was. Create this bond and you won’t regret it. A lot of the time the students that are being disruptive, may not be getting the attention that they need from home. By communicating your concerns with the parents, you may find that there may be something going on in the household that is out of your control. Find a way to keep parents informed of their child's behaviour at school.

3. EMPATHIZE WITH THE STUDENT.

It might be hard, because the student is ‘tough’ to handle, but try to find out what is really going on. Can you get someone to talk to the student? The student might need to take a safe seat to re-group. Never resort to blame or ridicule. Give the misbehaving student a chance to respond positively by explaining not only what he or she is doing wrong, but also what he or she can do to correct it.

4. STAY COOL AND MAINTAIN YOUR COMPOSURE.

It's natural to be overcome with frustration, resentment, and anger. But when you are, you become less rational, and your agitation becomes contagious. When you stay calm in a difficult situation, it will model for the student that this is the proper way to react. Sometimes overt behaviour can be contagious and that only leads to a classroom of unwanted chaos.

5. AVOID WIN-LOSE CONFLICTS.

Emphasize problem solving instead of contemplating punishment. Keeping the ‘difficult’ child in a trauma-free space is of quintessential importance. Showing students that you care about them and their problems will help you earn their respect and establish rapport.

6. TRY THE PEER TUTOR TECHNIQUE.

Ask yourself, is the difficult student good in one subject? Can he tutor a fellow student? Can he help someone else succeed? It works both ways.

7. MAKE SURE THE STUDENTS FEEL INTELLECTUALLY, CREATIVELY, EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY SAFE.

Be very clear about the details you expect your students to follow for a safe and smooth functioning classroom. Among other things that may be specific to your subject, these should include how to enter the classroom, where to find the assignment, what to do if a pencil breaks, how to get permission for a drink or the bathroom, how to walk through the halls, line up and take turns.

It is important that these procedures be both explained and practiced. When you notice a procedure being followed well, point this out. Reinforcement always helps.

8. TREAT ALL STUDENTS RESPECTFULLY AND POLITELY.

Be consistent in what you let them say and do. Be careful not to favour certain students. Also, figure out the following aspects:

  • Are you as considerate of your students' feelings as you want them to be of others?
  • Are you as organized and on-task as you tell them to be?
  • Are your classroom rules clear and easy for students to follow?

9. AVOID LABELLING STUDENTS AS ‘GOOD’ OR ‘BAD’.

Instead describe their behaviour as "positive," "acceptable," "disruptive," or "unacceptable." Focus on recognizing and rewarding acceptable behaviour more than punishing misbehaviour.

10. SET A CLEAR GOAL.

If the situation between you and the child has not improved after two or three months of your best effort, it may be time to recommend professional/psychological/educational testing. Some problems are very complex and beyond your control. In such situations, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional help.

No matter the behaviour, don’t give up on trying to reach out to ‘tough’ students…The negativity may be a defense for something deeper! Never give up!

Dr. Prashant Vasudev
Principal, DPSG Faridabad

Leading learning in Schools through elements of Learning

The science of learning unfolds the many mysteries hidden in the process of learning. Each one learns differently but what is common is that all learning is a series of success and failure. We try, we fail, and we gain and redesign and rethink strategies and try again. Learning is best understood by observing a toddler taking her first steps. She stumbles and falls yet learns to walk at her own pace. No amount of outside support in the form of walkers will make the process faster. If at all, keeping the home environment peaceful, happy and nurturing the child’s health can help reach this milestone smoothly. Learning is complimentary to this process of learning to walk, which though inherent still needs a conducive environment.

While in a classroom situation we are facilitators of teaching and learning. We can at best provide elements of leaning within the class, which encourage the inherent ability and tendency of a child to learn in every possible situation. The role of questions can never be undermined in enhancing learning. A student led class where students are free to question and in fact is joyful in questioning and attempting answers will always be rich in learning experiences. Small prompts in the form of simple questions can lead learning to new unknown territories. Knowledge that has been unfolded today must have been done through some one who was very curious and did not hesitate to say that I don't know but would love it if someone answered my questions and helped me learn.

Simultaneously we must as educators keep our focus on a child’s will to learn. It’s well said that you can take the horse to the water but can’t force it to drink. Much has been said about the reluctance of a child to learn, this reluctance is a complex situation and needs personal attention of the teacher. It may be a behavioural problem, a poor health condition, disharmony at home, personal fear or anxiety or a learning disability. If the vision of every educator were to help every child succeed in every situation the reluctance can be tackled depending on the need of the child. A school must create systems to monitor the process set for giving personalized instruction to each child. That's where instructional leadership plays an important role.

Providing space for students to fail and not be pretentious about knowing it all will remove a child’s fear of learning. Project based learning or engaging with children through activities or experiments stimulates a child’s desire to learn. The flip side is that as educators we are in a hurry to disclose the right answer to the child rather than wait for her to discover it at her own pace through questioning. The coverage of syllabus is the biggest enemy of learning in such cases. What one must focus on is that teaching the learning skill is far more important than rote memory operations in a child’s mind. Say for example if one demonstrated or covered one part of a the syllabus slowly and after connecting with children within class we would have ignited a child’s curiosity and the will to learn which in itself turns children into sponges who are ready to absorb quickly. After that uncovering the syllabus becomes a cakewalk.

Art and technology are two powerful tools that open a child’s mind to learning. While keeping the imagination and creativity alive they also harness the child’s competence in problem solving and critical thinking. Art education should provide a platform for children to create beauty around themselves, which then translates into positive inputs for learning. Similarly the role of technology in education today through its various innovations has opened a totally new era in learning. The classical duality that haunts every element of learning is the depth in which the element is used and not as a means to an end.

Much as learning is an internal process within a child its outward manifestation in the form of behavioural outcomes need to be monitored carefully and cautiously. Its also here the role of simple tools of technology comes in handy to provide short checkpoints to monitor the progress in learning. If we as educators were to create schools as systems of learning, the simplicity of the initial learning process will preserve the joy in learning while elevating it to territories unknown.

Much as the 21st century schools has blossomed in infrastructure and other frills and fancy, the central focus needs to be the very process of learning along with the learners. The elements of learning form the core of the quality and excellence in education and hence need attention at all times.

Vandana Saxena
Principal, Tribune Model School, Chandigarh

Role of Emotion in the field of Education

To start with an old saying,” The only way to change someone’s mind is to connect with them from the heart. “- Rasheed Ogunlaru

In today’s 21st century, the education scenario has changed completely. The Gurukul system was a conventional method of teaching has become obsolete. In recent days a teacher is not only a teacher but also a facilitator too. Learning new teaching techniques is also throwing a challenge to the teachers. Today’s children don’t need only theoretical knowledge but something more like, cultivating essence of critical thinking, analyzing and applicability of that knowledge. This can be a role of a facilitator. We often say that charity begins at home, but in the present scenario when the world is advancing at a rapid pace in technology we can say that human intelligence has also developed. The child gets attached with an emotional bonding with his mother at a pre-natal stage. The mother’s changing emotional phases gets connected with the child in the phoetus. The child is born with those emotional qualities. Gradually as the child enters school the bonding grows up with teachers. Recent days we find disturbed children in class. Most of them come from affluent families. If we go through the case history, then we realize that they are neglected in the family. Automatically, they go backward in academics. It is very much required to spend quality time with children. I have seen a student of primary class in school beating each and every classmate. Every parent complained about the single child’s behavior. Conversing with the mother it was seen that she is quite disturbed in her family life and that was the reason for venting out her anger on that child. The child comes to school with a disturbed mind. Education doesn’t mean getting good marks in class and achieving high degrees. Education means when one grows up as a good human being, mentally strong with skills to analyze. Here lies the role of a teacher. Here the teacher can motivate the child as a facilitator boosting up the morale, building confidence in the child by creating a congenial environment inside the classroom.

Emotion also plays an important role in the adolescent period. I have seen a student taking admission in Class XI. Her mother came along one day to speak. She confessed her helplessness stating that her daughter tries to spend her life the way she wishes too, and refuses to accept anyone’s suggestion. Her mood swings time to time. The child scored good marks in Class X. Now the question arises “What role does emotion play in education?”. The child got basic education devoid of emotional attachment. Later on the truth unveiled that her father though stays with them but has zero mental attachment. She was left all alone. They had admitted her in good school, involved her in many co-curricular activities but ultimately she became perfect but lost her mental peace. All mat eridishe comfort was there but devoid of warmth and love.

Another case study reflects that adolescent children are suffering from depression, getting involved in addiction. Students nowadays are unable to take up the challenges in life, feeling stressed, too much involvement in social media, fantasizing one in the virtual world. Children right from the innocent grow up with one thing in mind that is only performance is the measuring rod of assessment. We as parents, teachers are somewhat responsible for it. Right from the childhood we lay emphasis on marks and not on the learning outcomes. We fail to appreciate them on their honesty, sense of co-operation, team spirit etc. Parents get stressed out comparing their child with others. They gasp as they make their child run with the others to reach the goal at first. We forget to think that every child is unique in his or her own way but definition of success stunts their growth. They grew up being self centered, selfish, devoid of all moral values. Hey think it is the parent’s responsibility to help them to grow. Their sacrifice is no big deal. They think teachers oblige them by teaching. They make friends from whom their wish can be fulfilled.

Once I heard from a child mental health consultant that a parent entered complaining that his child is always engaged with mobile. So he need to brought out. The child when called separately confessed to rectify his parents as they are also too much involved with mobile and has no “Together Time”. So who needs to be rectified? We need to understand the present generation with the perspective at 21st century not 19th century. We are getting good doctors, engineers, successful businessmen but are they happy in their life. We as teachers need to play a very important role to bring this change. Some kind of emotional attachment must be created inside the classroom. More peer learning is needed, bonding is very important in life.

Mrs. Ruma Mukherjee
Principal, Kalyani central model school, Nadia district, west Bengal

Mindfulness Interspersed into the Curriculum

Mindfulness Interspersed into the Curriculum…What an interesting topic and frankly speaking this is the need of the hour. Academics is not the only thing which needs to be our focus. Our focus needs to be on children developing all round and becoming strong to face the challenges in the future. Are they ready for the future? Are they ready to face both winning and losing, are they equipped to accept failures, bullying, teasing, body shaming etc. Then how come we say that we are ready for the future challenges.

These days while browsing a little I came upon an incident wherein a boy just 21 year old took a grave step of committing suicide. Well and the reason was he was a - Gay. He was facing a tough time. He was in Chennai doing some professional course but he was always depressed as he was not accepted by the society. The bullying, teasing went upto the level that one night he posted on FB that he will end his life and he would go and ask God ….Why Me???? Sounds very harsh. Right???? The boy Avi wrote - Not my fault I am gay’

On July 2nd, Avi, was found dead on Neelangarai beach. A post published on his Facebook account indicates he ended his life as the ‘society did not accept him for being gay’.

Avi wrote-“Everyone knows I am a boy. But the way I walk, think and talk is like a girl. People in India do not like that,” read the Facebook post. “Please do not blame my family. Help them. We are poor. I love my mom, dad and sister. I thank them for supporting me. It is not my fault that I was born gay

So the question is what we are doing about this problem which we currently face in our school and society regularly.

Then few days later early one morning we came to know about the death of the founder of CCD. Few downfalls should not put one into depression. In a written note released by the news agency, Siddhartha — founder of India’s largest chain of coffee shops, Cafe Coffee Day, and a prominent early investor in the successful IT services company Mindtree Ltd. — appeared to apologize for “failing to create the right profitable business model.” He said pressure and harassment had become unbearable. And yet Siddhartha wrote in his note: I have failed as an entrepreneur.”

When I was working as a school teacher a girl from class 10th took away her life after her board exams got over as her mother was angry on her when she came to know about her relation with a boy of the same class. I guess the mother should have handled the situation in a more better way and if she couldn’t do it she could have asked for some help from experts.

This is an alarming situation. What if this happens with our family member, our child. Are we going to wait till the incident creeps in more closer to us. No….. We seriously can’t.

These examples makes me think-where are we heading? Why the elders and the children are not able to cope with failure, or are not ready to accept themselves as a Gay or a Lesbian. They are not ready to handle themselves if they have relationship issues. I have seen quite a few adults and children who are shy, introvert, are scared to open up. It is really scary, if they are not able to open up at this young age with parents, teachers or their friends, how will they cope up in life. They are not able to confide in anyone. But the question is who is to be blamed? We all are to be blamed because we talk a lot about winning but we do not talk about losing and how to handle the situation if you lose. How to reflect, introspect, find the short comings and move forward in life. We talk about normal relations and people but we never talk about people who are not normal. Actually we do not accept them as a part of the society. Even the parents are not ready to accept them and feel shy to open up in the society. So who will help them.

Its high time we need to talk openly to each other about relationship issues, respecting the girls, no body shaming etc. This needs to be compulsory in all the schools as a part of their curriculum in a very informal set up. No rules defined and confidentiality needs to be maintained.

A lot of movies like 3 Idiots, Chichore, Abnormal etc talk about failure, accepting yourself. Failing is fine. It is rightly said Failing is the stepping stone to Success. Failing is not the end of the life. We need to sit and introspect what were our shortcomings, the areas of improvement and work accordingly. There are many famous personalities who have failed but worked very hard and moved towards their goal. We need to accept everyone in the society.

I really sat down to think what is my contribution as a School Principal. How can I reduce this problem of students and elders who feel - Failing is a stigma in the society, We are not acceptable to the society and so on. People will not accept us. This leads to depression, heart breaks, suicide etc.

After a lot of thought and brain storming I took up the initiative of 'SHARE TO AWARE' Every week the teacher and the students in the class talk to each other, she will share her life experiences in a very informal setup, she will share where she had failed in life, It can be personal, professional, it can be body shaming or not being accepted by people for silly reasons. Not only the teacher but also the students share their secrets, their failure, their drawbacks. they both share, dramatize, role play, interact. They do this in a very informal way.

They have an unconventional chat where the teacher lets the students know that it is acceptable and fine to fail. Failure is acceptable. Accept it. Just compete with yourself without thinking about the society. Move on. Few failures in life doesn’t mean you will not do well in life. We call this programme “SHARE TO AWARE”. If the Principal and teachers talk to them freely, discuss at personal level, have confidence on each other. this really helps the students to calm down, relax, understand that I am not the only one facing these problems. There are many others sailing in the same boat. They understand that Sharing our problems reduces them, they feel better and light. They start feeling more accepted in the society. It helps them grow as an individual. They start becoming more positive and show signals of improvement in dealing with the situations.

This has not only helped the students personally but at large it has helped build up the relation amongst each other. They have started handholding the weaker ones, introvert ones, they have started believing more in their peers and have targeted to help them everywhere be it studies or anything else. This has led to develop a positive atmosphere in the school. Early morning soft music is played for the students which calms them down and helps the students get set in a positive mindset. After lunch there is soft instrumental music being played which settles the class, calms them down and helps them be more concentrated and focussed in whatever they do.

I as an educator always believe that - Catch them when they are young, that’s the reason we run this programme across all the sections from Pre Primary upto the Higher secondary. At times teachers plan their class and sometimes they take a very unconventional unplanned session as we never wanted this to be a informal lecture for the students.

I conclude with the reality in true sense and it is Talking helps. Talk to people in whom you can confide. Talk- it will help. Just talk and vent out.

To every question the answer is - Love.

Poonam Thakur
Principal, Jindal Vidya Mandir, Vasind

Cherish Your Dreams.......

It’s a challenge to be a part of the Campus Care. Its exam time once again and most of you youngsters must have been geared up to face, the Board and the University Exams. Yes, my dear readers, “Have you ever wondered at a few who made a difference in the world around them? Ask them the secret of their success and the answer would invariable be, Dream, Dream and Dream² No wonder Eleanor Roosevelt says, The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” So my young friends “ dream ” because hidden in them is the gate to achievement, a store of change in life and the world.

“I have a dream, a song to sing…..” was the song that filled the air of 70’s and it still lingers on. Remember, nothing is ever accomplished without a dream. Therefore, start dreaming high and never give up even if you do not know how they would ever come true. Once you build a dream, the dream will build you. It is only hard work and time that can make dreams come true. Every obstacle becomes an opportunity to grow if you start working toward the life you have always a better way to live your life.

Dear friends, remember, dreams make life colorful, fill us with enthusiasm and make life meaningful. Happiness belongs to those who have something to look forward to. Nothing happens unless we dream first. Dare to dream, therefore, so as to fly high in the sky of life. Keep your dreams alive. A few things to keep in mind to blossom your dreams into reality and achieve your goals in life:-

  • Believe in yourself. Remember you are “unique”.
  • Hard- work, determination and dedication are the key factors to achieve your dreams.
  • Watch over for your self-talk. Are your own worst enemy? Are you constantly putting yourself down? Do you think you are no good? If you are, change your self-talk. Think positively.
  • Remember that failures are stepping stones to success.
  • Compete with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Learn to let to go of negative threads of thought before they have a chance to take hold of you.
  • Make use of your creativity.
  • Acknowledge daily blessings, reward small achievements and give thanks to God for all the graces you have received.
  • Above all, keep in mind that exams are not the end of the world. Life is much more than answering an exam. In order to succeed, keep yourselves abreast of new developments in the field you have chose to specialize in. Expand your mental horizons. Don’t let examination blues bog you down and keep smiling.
  • Make each day a challenge. Challenges are what make life interesting.
  • Be aware of your capabilities and learn from your mistakes.
  • Let your motto be, “Start where you are, take what you have and make something of it”.
  • Be aware that life is a gift of God and make it smart and meaningful. Do what you enjoy doing.
  • Channelize your energies in the right direction.
  • Let the hard realities of life be balanced with appreciation of its beauty. Appreciate everything you encounter on your path. Tune in to the sunrise, sea, the river, little children, the birds etc.
  • Establish a healthy balance between studies and relaxation or play.
  • Be a source of Inspiration to your friends.
  • Listen to your mind, heart and feelings.
  • Be positive about everything you do. Greet everyone with a smile.
  • Thank God every morning when you get up. St. Catherine of Siena said, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire”.
  • Practice Yoga and Meditative exercises on a daily basis.
  • Strive to be creative.
  • Manage your time well. Don’t waste it, it’s all we have.

Lastly,

Think of the things that make you happy,

Not the things that make you sad.

Think of the blessings that surround you,

Not the ones that are denied.

Think of the days of health and pleasure,

Not of the days of woe and pain.

Think of the hopes that lie before you,

Not the waste that lies behind.

Think of the happiness of others,

And in this you’ll find your own²

Dream on and dream big. Cherish your dreams. So friends, may you dream for a beautiful country and a beautiful world. That is, dream a dream which is beyond you, yet which challenges you to stretch and achieve the impossible.

Zinia Esteves
Principal, D.M’S Higher Secondary School, Assagao Bardez - Goa

Values Validate- Importance of Value Education

‘Values are the guiding principles that help you determine what is right or wrong’

Education is not just learning, gaining knowledge or scoring marks but about holistic development. Holistic development means overall development of a child, to make them future ready as well as responsible citizen of the world in a broader sense.

Inculcating values among the younger generation through value education is not new .In culturally rich countries like India this practice is traditional and dates back to the education system of Vedic age as well. Nowadays we can see emphasis on knowledge based education for intellectual development of a child but need of the hour is to provide them with intellectual as well as emotional, social and spiritual development to make life worth living in this fast paced world. This education is passed on by our elders, be it in home, in school, in scriptures or organizations through reading, storytelling, examples from real life incidents and social activities. Young generation read, learn, understand and assess the effectiveness of value education in their life and enrich them. Apart from traditional spiritual and philosophical values these days the requirement is for value education that can be termed as secular, to be able to live unbiased in a society.

So we can say the main objectives of Value education are:

  • Overall development of a child’s personality - physically, emotionally and spiritually.
  • Inculcate values to become responsible citizens.
  • Develop positive attitude and respect individuals.
  • Develop sense of nationalism and spirit of patriotism.
  • Develop sense of brotherhood, sense of being tolerant through democratic way of thinking.

Values can’t be preached instead needed to be practiced. Students who are the future of tomorrow should learn desirable skills and values to respond and adjust in the ever evolving society. Thus the education system and policies to implement Value education in the curriculum became mandatory feature .Value education plays an important role in shaping up one’s life and helps in taking decision. Human beings through their actions reflect personal, moral or social values. Values can be personal, social, professional, moral, political and aesthetic .Personal values are led by individuals for whom family is the priority and so they try to shape their lives accordingly, in professional area people try to achieve their goals and become successful ,moral values make people wise and drive them accordingly to take the right decision whenever its required, aesthetic values are inculcated when people grow responsible towards society and tradition ,develop sense of beauty and try to evaluate the countries possessions, art work and architecture and learn to safeguard them.

Through advanced science and technology on the one hand mankind has created wonders but on the flip side we can witness the greed of mankind in the form of wars,violence,to prove themselves superior as a nation,racism,egoism,corruption.All these formed a vicious circle and led the world to be a gloomy place . So to save mankind from self destruction values in various forms are to be imbibed.

So questions like where are the values gone? Why we have become so self-centered? How can we restore sense of brotherhood and promote international peace and harmony?-pop up every now and then. To save us from going into oblivion the education system became one of the vital sources to promote inculcate and enhance moral and spiritual values like honesty, sympathy, fellow feeling, compassion, tolerance in students specially designed text books which impart value education through lessons . Students become aware of their social responsibility, understand the meaning of dignity of labour, become truthful, respect and tolerate other religion, selflessly involve in community service and embrace universal love.

In Schools these days a surge in co curricular activities along with the curriculum can be witnessed – education has become inclusive .While taking part in activities students learn to become responsible, learn team spirit, become tolerant, become knowledgeable, get to know the problems of the world, critically analyze the issues, become sympathetic and try to contribute their bit through various activities or contribution whenever there is a need to do so. Education can become the major instrument to promote unity in diversity and global compassion. . Since the future will be filled with complexities due to tremendous advance in technology students instead of depending on others need to take the required decision to exist.

Thus it can be said in a nutshell that value education improves thoughts, attitudes, overall behavior, it builds character, influences one’s personality, and it is an integral part of life, of human existence.

Mahatma Gandhi very aptly said “Keep your thoughts positive/because your thoughts become your words./Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior./Keep your behavior positive /because your behavior becomes your habit./Keep your habits positive/ because your habits become your values./Keep your values positive /because your values become your destiny.”

Mamta Sharma
Principal, C.S.H.P. Public School, Ghaziabad

Explore Engage Experience

“Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn”.----Benjamin Franklin

Explore Engage Experience is the new age mantra of 21st century Learning. The concept involves students fully in their own learning through wide range of active and participatory learning methods. Experiential learning , learning by doing engages the learner while developing their confidence, self esteem, skills of communication ,critical thinking, collaboration and creativity.

As educators seek to engage students in their learning inquiry based teaching can be an effective way or approach for transforming teaching learning practices.

Research has demonstrated that engaging students in the learning process increases their attention and focus, motivates them to practise higher level critical thinking skills and promotes meaningful learning experiences. When an educator adopts a student centred approach of instruction it increases opportunities for student engagement which then helps to achieve learning output more effectively. This can be achieved by Inquiry based Learning or Project Based Learning. Inquiry Based Learning is about discovering an answer, Project Based Learning is about exploring an answer. This type of teaching and learning involves engagement, exploration, explanation, elaboration and evaluation. In this model rather than initially presenting the desired material to their students the role of the teacher is to provide opportunities for students to explore and act as facilitators to encourage them to develop their own ideas through guided exploration. Rather than beginning with a more structured , teacher centred lesson teachers need to plan ways to “engage” the students in the topic and “explore” related phenomena.

“How are we going to do this?” or “What do you think this is going to look like?” should be the questions asked while discussing a topic.

When students are able to engage with the material in their own way not only are they able to gain a deeper understanding, they are able to develop a passion for exploration and the subject. So every resource should be used to enable children to express themselves, handle objects in an effective way.

e.g STEAM Activities provide a chance for all the students to have an experiential learning and hands on experience of all the activities. When children get an hands on experience the knowledge which they get or gain is permanent and it opens their mind to learn more and more.

Panel discussions and debates are also good methods for the students to explore and learn.

When a child explores and engages himself in an activity Creative and problem solving skill is developed. Problem solving skills is the self dependant and brain storming process to find some innovative solution.

As quoted by experts “Learning can be seen as the acquisition of information but before it can take place there must be interest. Interest peremeates all endeavors and precedes learning. In order to acquire and remember new knowledge it must stimulate your curiosity in some way.”

Inquiry based learning is more than asking students what they want to know It is about triggering curiosity.

Project Based Learning is also an innovative systematic teaching method that promotes student engagement through deep investigations of complex questions .At its best ,the PBL focuses on imparting specific knowledge and skills while inspiring students to question actively, think critically and draw connections between their studies and the real world.

Both Inquiry Based Learning and Project Based learning have a positive impact on the children’s mind.

A very common E.g.

Various of factors promote plant growth. When these are changed or absent, growth will slow or stop. This activity will allow students to investigate which factors are essential for plant growth and in what amounts.

Provide basic information regarding photosynthesis (carbon dioxide, sunlight, water, oxygen) and what elements are required for it to take place. Also give information on how soil nutrient levels, shade, and the presence of other factors that play a role in plant growth.

Give them different seeds for their experiment .Students can explore and put their knowledge in use to create favourable conditions for plant growth.By doing this they will learn in a practical way how seeds grow into plants and what factors can affect the growth.

“Curiosity is the fuel for discovery ,inquiry and learning.”

Let’s really transform teaching.

Sarika N.Wagh
Director , Educon International School, Pune

Teaching Profession - A Challenge

Every child is unique in his own way, he is a winner who is born to do something special. Right practice in the right direction, definitely increases the rate of success and student achievement. The diversity and requirement of each student must be respected. So, the educators have to examine what works and what does not, before embarking on anything new. As educators, we must establish and maintain healthy relationship with our students in a positive, supportive and engaging learning environment. The students should know that their teachers are always there to help them. This faith in teacher will encourage inquisitiveness, innovation and risk taking abilities in the students.

For a modern day teacher retaining enthusiasm in students is a challenge. For this the educators should embrace new methods and techniques in contemporary classroom. Since children are exposed to technology at a very young age, incorporating ICT tools into lesson plans can stimulate their creativity, increase engagement and help students succeed. The primary goal of a teacher is not only to empower the students to succeed academically, socially and emotionally but also to ensure that they take ownership of their own learning and remain independent learners lifelong.

In the environment, where students feel safe, respected and motivated, they reach their highest potential. The key to achieve this goal requires a teacher to be passionate about teaching, joyously motivated and enthusiastic to teach students. An educator needs to find out the factors that motivate the students, keeping in view their interests. Today’s students have a very short attention span, therefore variation needs to be included in teaching methods based on individual interests & needs of students, as we all know that – ‘a bird cannot swim in water and a fish cannot climb a tree’.

While we focus on educational achievements, social skills, improved behavior, sense of personal competence and efficacy of learning, we need to understand the challenges our students may face in future and for that our teachers need to be equipped with ideas and ways to prepare our students for tomorrow. The growing technology is the biggest challenge for today’s teacher. Whether we like it or not, it is a fact that we need to accept it in this fast-growing-world. Today’s classroom has computers, smart boards etc. to facilitate the teaching learning process and in this digitalized world, we all must evolve as per the changing scenario.

The digitalization of education system has tremendously helped students in their study and research. It is essential that the teachers are skilled enough to assist their students in learning through technology. The veteran teachers must learn to adjust to these new changes. The teachers can be the best mentors helping the present generation students to know the most beneficial ways of technology with proper understanding of ways to misuse it.

The students are a mirror of future nation - it is important that school development plan aligns with social and emotional wellbeing of students, allowing them to pursue their passion. Preparedness, passion for doing something, peace of mind and purpose of life are the four Ps which play important role in a student’s life. Classroom transaction is a dynamic process which defines the efficacy of learning outcomes. It is vital that a teacher is enthusiastic, passionate, sensitive to the needs of different learners and takes initiative to assist them in knowledge construction through enriching experiences.

Saroj Achra
Principal, Salwan Boys Sr. Sec. School, Rajendra Nagar, New Delhi

Adjusting Parenting Skills

As a child grows, develops, learn and matures, so does the parenting role, believes

The essentials remain the same trust, unconditional love and respect. However, the challenges a parent of today has to face are unprecedented. It is impossible to shield a child from certain things in this age. All the information a child wants on any subject is just a click away. In such a climate, much more sensitivity is required from parents. They need to accept that their children are well equipped to deal with life than they were.

Parents need to be school’s partners in their children’s development. Apart from monthly parent teacher meets to discuss students’ scholastic as well as personal growth, several steps to involve parents as much as possible should be taken. Parents could help the school in taking classes during short leaves of teachers. Besides, foreign exchange programmes also allow them to provide home stays and, as a result, play an active role in the cultural learning process.

The Modern parent is vying for their children’s time all the time. They not just have children’s friends as competition but the television, laptop, phone and the internet to compete with as well. Parents also feel pressured to push their children to take up courses that they feel are more ‘prestigious’. This need to be avoided at all costs. Patients today are often stuck with the feeling that they are not doing enough, because more and more families have two working parents which they perceive as detrimental to their children’s growth. I urge them to relax and make the most of the time they have by using it constructively.

There is no definite ‘method’ that works in every situation. This age is unprecedented in parenting. Parents require a fluid approach to tackle any situation that comes up without making the child feel belittled and engaging them in dialogue. Today’s children cannot be manipulated by lies or superstitions. Honesty and transparency is the only ‘method’ that words.

The first question that these students need to ask themselves is Do – really want to pursue this? If the answer here is yes, they need to look closer at their motivation for this particular field. If their interest is genuine and they feel that they have the skills to succeed, they should try their best to explain to their parents the benefits of their chosen field

“Parents require a fluid approach to tackle any situation that comes up without making the child feel belittled and engaging them in dialogue”

Mustafa Majid
Principal, St. Xavier’s High School, Bhiwani

Significance of Having a Vision and Ethos in School

There is no doubt that each and every unit, institution, company, business firm, market place, factory, shop and in fact each and every human being have some or the other vision about their workplace/life. It is a different matter whether the individual is consciously maintaining an awareness of the vision. Having a vision is as easy as drinking a glass of water; However, living it is what will make the difference. A VISION should never be scaled in terms of the size of the goal. A vision should be intense enough to make you feel POSITIVE irrespective of the challenges or the size of the goal. For this to happen, you need to buy your own vision first and then sell it across the universe with PASSION and PERSEVERENCE.

A vision is considered successful- Be it a Personal/Institutional Vision – only when it brings visible positive difference in the lives of the concerned individuals. These changes should reflect in their thought process, day to day dealings and in the way of life of the people overall. To ensure a vision doesn’t loss its potency ethos is very crucial.

Let me talk to you about the importance of Ethos in school in very simple manner.

It is the school which DISCOVERS, DIRECTS and DEVELOPS the people, society and civilization of tomorrow. In the language of technology “Output is all about what we install”. The same thing goes with the VALUES, CONDUCT and MORALS. The vision of schools should always be backed and protected by developing strong ethos. If students are exposed to an atmosphere of desirable positive behaviour right from day one at school, the impact of such students on then society would only lead to a great future.

The vision and ethos are complementary - They go hand in hand. “Students don’t follow instructions, they only follow actions.” When a strong vision backed by powerful ethos reflects in the behaviour of the leaders and the teachers continuously and not just in textbooks, the day is not far when we don’t have to teach our students:

  • To be on time
  • To be well groomed
  • To follow and pursue truth
  • To respect all
  • To protect all
  • To nurture nature
  • National integrity
  • To be what you are etc....

Educational institutions do not just have the responsibility of creating literate individuals to run the society, but are also greatly accountable for developing ideal human beings who can carry forward the legacy of the human civilization which stands strong on pillars of ETHICS and EXCELLENCE.

If teachers teach for outcome and not output they can inspire; Doctors to focus on treating the needy and not the rich; Engineers to aim for excellence and not functionality; Politicians to focus on Nationalism and not vote banks; Businessmen to focus on uplifting the society and not on profits; Innovators and Bosses to focus on making peoples life better and not on a fat pay check , in general individuals to think of themselves as a critical part of a powerful and vibrant society and not just as mere individuals.

Jay Hind! Vande Mataram!

Barad Jayendra Bhupatbhai
Principal, Podar International School, Veraval, Gujarat

Importance of Teaching Life Lessons

“Life Skills as the ability for adaptive and positive behaviour that enables individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life.”

Education today is highly technical and data oriented. It has shifted base from being child -oriented to being achievement-oriented. This is a direct result of the disintegration of the joint family system and lack of traditional support systems. It has resulted in an increase in academic stress, violence, sexual permissiveness and substance abuse.

Our educational system has shifted focus to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), which prepares students for course work and not for life. The onus, therefore, falls on the schools, who have assumed an important role in the society. The school has therefore, integrated Life Skill Teaching into the regular curriculum. Life Skill has become a part of every discipline and must be taught along with the subject.

Life Skills not only help a student in doing well in their academic courses and profession, but also play a critical role in promoting a well-rounded, comprehensive education. Life Skills are the building blocks of a person’s character. It helps a student to apply the knowledge they have thus acquired in school to real world problems and situations. This is also defined as soft skills- an ability to think abstractly, learn to communicate clearly and effectively. It helps the students in independent thinking, to socialise, to make new friends, to have a sound judgement and to exhibit good habits.

For example, how can Life Skills be a part of every discipline? The study of History can inculcate values like empathy and sympathy. Geography promotes creative and analytical thinking. The study of science induces curiosity, problem solving, scientific temper, resilience and perseverance. Dance/drama/art channelize emotions and help the students to experience them. Sports, which has become very integral to education is an important life skill. Yoga and meditation help in managing stress and to increase concentration. Sports and physical activity help in critical thinking and self- awareness. In all this, teamwork is very important. It results in self -awareness, improves inter -personal communication, enhances decision -making and inculcates empathy.

Holistic education can never be possible without the partnership between parents and the school. In teaching life skills, the parent’s role is very important. Charity begins at home they say and so the parents should teach the child sharing, caring, budgeting and gender sensitivity. Small jobs, which were traditionally thought to be women oriented can be assigned to the male child as well. Like, doing the dishes, or laying the table for dinner. Other household chores can also be assigned to children. The child should be taught to manage finances by letting him/her do small purchases, account for it and contribute to the family budgeting. Children can be asked to take care of pets and their needs. They should be taught to volunteer at community activities.

So, what are the important life skill lessons and how are they going to effectively help the individual students? Education has underlined some broad-based life skill lessons.

  • Communication:- Life is full of conflicts. The easiest way to get over a conflict is through violence. We need to teach our students to overcome conflict by working through it by using collaborative strategy, through effective communicative means, thereby turning conflict into something more productive rather than destructive.

    Here, I would like to stress upon the importance of reading as well. Reading not only builds vocabulary and strengthens language skills. It aids in creative thinking, builds self-regulations, teaches empathy, improves concentration and offers exposure to diversity and differing perspectives.

  • Financial Literacy:- Every child by the time he/she is in the middle school should learn to manage finances and funds. How to budget, how to save, cost of essential commodities, to buy and sell are strategies that they must be aware of.

  • Emotional Intelligence:- The current generation of students are rather violent and unable to adjust and manage their emotions accordingly. Emotional intelligence is the ability to carry out accurate reasoning and to use emotional knowledge to enhance thought. Higher emotional intelligence is associated with higher quality relationships, far better academic achievements and a better sense of general wellbeing. Feelings do affect life and how to control your feelings must be taught, when they are very young. Yoga, meditation and physical activities help tremendously in calming the senses and bringing down aggression.

  • Nutrition:- A major concern dogging parents, academicians and the medical profession is the high rate of obesity, overweight, juvenile diabetes, rising blood pressure and low stamina amongst students. Teaching healthy habits and a healthy diet must be a mandatory part of the curriculum. Children should constantly be told about right and wrong eating. Healthier eating shows cognitive development, fewer behavioural outbursts, improves self-esteem and boosts confidence. The parents play a major role in this.

  • Civics :- Every student should qualify to be a good citizen. He/ she should follow the civic code and engage himself/herself in community activities. They should know about their rights as instituted in the Constitution. Our education should enable them to have an opinion, to solve the problem and be a productive citizen.

  • Chores:- Day today chores are important for survival. The child should be able to look after his/her personal needs like polishing shoes, ironing clothes, laundry and other basic requirements. The child should be able to get to and from home to school independently. They must follow road safety rules and know state emergency numbers in case of an emergency.

    The children should be taught self defence to save themselves when bullied. Safety with kitchen items and electrical items are also an important lesson.

  • Empathy:- There is a pressing need in society today to be able to understand others and their needs. The school and the home must stress on qualities of sharing and caring for the less privileged in the society, thereby letting the children to experience the feelings of empathy.

Quite often, the biggest hurdle that we as educators face is the problem of overparenting and protective parenting. Even educators commit the mistake of either overdoing or underdoing life skill management teaching.

A set pattern, therefore, must be followed by the educators and the parents in order to carry out Life Skill learning effectively. It must be done in partnerships between the school and the home. A combination of academic excellence and good life skills will produce excellent students, who will be able to mark their journey and carve a niche for themselves in this global world.

Archana Narain
Principal, The Indian Heights School, Dwarka, New Delhi

What are the issues of concern in students in IX-XII levels?

Introduction:

The students in high and higher secondary fall under adolescent age group. Adolescence, the transition between childhood and adult life, is one of the most dynamic stages of human development. This stage in life is characterized by dramatic physical, cognitive, social, and emotional changes that present both opportunities and challenges for adolescents and their care givers such as parents and teachers. So one set of concern for students in classes IX-XII is universal and common to all the adolescents. The other set of concerns emanates from contextual factors which would be specific to a location and socio-cultural-educational factors. Some of these concerns based on literature and my experiences of working with adolescents.

  • ABILITY TO DO WELL IN STUDIES AND EXAMS

    Examinations are necessary to evaluate and know where one stands, and not to compete or judge oneself through marks, because marks don’t count, knowledge does. One should know that that preparation is being done to learn, not to score. Because mugging up may lead to achievement of good marks but then the knowledge is not gained. It all becomes temporary achievement, that has no benefits. The ultimate target should be to gain more understanding and apply it in daily life.

  • ABILITY TO DECIDE ABOUT A SUITABLE CAREER

    When one thinks about career, two thoughts always keep on battling in the mind, whether to choose a career that gives fame and money or to chose a career which is of one’s obsession and gives joy with satisfaction? Often students get very confused between these two thoughts, as choosing their passion may not earn them a luxurious life ,that pleases them. Well, in this case I believe that money comes from talent and focus, if one chooses to become a doctor even when their interest does not lie in it, I’m sure they won’t specialize, but on the contrary, if someone is fascinated in being a painter and has enormous talent, may earn more than the doctor, as the aptitude they have is exclusive and is full of enthusiasm. Moral here is, running after money should not be the objective instead, choosing their happiness will promise a blissful and rich person in all perspectives.

  • ABILITY TO DEAL EFFECTIVELY WITH THEIR PARENTS

    Parents are those mentors who teach us 24x7x365, in all fields, and are obviously concerned about their kid’s progress; as it is a world full of competition where we live in, and survival is very essential. Many times children believe that their parents are too worried and expecting too much, which builds up stress and nervousness for them. Here, it is the parent’s role to understand their need to be guided well and not pressurized, because one wrong step may change someone’s entire life. Yes, of course, marks are very important to win the race, but parents should keep in mind that students undergo a very hard schedule; which is tiring, so they need to guide them well only when their minds are fresh and relaxed. Also, children should build up faith with their parents and teachers that no matter how much they watch TV or play on the ground, at the end when it is time to focus on studies, no distractions will take place. Once the parents are confident that they do not need to tell their kids to study again and again, both student and parent will be positive and less worried about the future as this is about team work, where cooperation from both the sides is very necessary to accomplish all the goals

  • ABILITY TO DEAL EFFECTIVELY WITH PEERS

    These days it is very important for one to chose his/her company wisely, This is the age where popularity, recognition in the school and excellence are wanted by every individual. Students in the stage of adolescence may want to have a huge friend circle and have a lot of fun during school years, but this cannot be achieved on the stake of studies. Many must have heard teachers saying to some parents “she is a bright child, but is not focused enough”. The reason being student’s peer pressure generally , students don’t like to be around the toppers of the class, believing that they’re extra studious and nerds, and way too busy in their books to focus on the fun part ,but according to me, they should always be around such students superior to them where they can always learn something or the other. Keeping healthy relations with all the classmates is very important- to learn , guide as knowledge increases when shared . Whoever they chose to be with, they have to make sure they don’t ever achieve the power to either change or mould the children’s goals. Because each student is unique and has its own potential, and goals can be achieved only if one is determined and focused . So having those friends who motivate and cheer in all stages of life is very important, because a life of a student is full of mixed emotions, and channelizing those emotions is must.

  • ABILITY TO MAKE EFFECTIVE DECISIONS

    One will always want to make effective decisions to reach their goals. Consider the options, be aware that can external surroundings can be changed and all one needs is a proper mindset along with their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, to help them get what they want in life. Evaluation of the various paths available is very necessary, and then comes assess the probability that each path will get them to their goals. Then making a plan for how to proceed, and taking the path that seems best suited to go where you want. Every decision needs a lot of patience and a free mind that can welcome all kind of situations so that ahead in life none regrets about the decisions taken in the past. Students need to stay calm and positive for all the decisions that they think of taking in their life.

  • ABILITY TO MANAGE EMOTIONS

    When the age of adolescence and pressure of studies merge, it is natural that the students may get frustrated and may meet a series of mixed emotions. In such times, it has to be taken care that small stress boosters hang about in their life. Students should always indulge into small activities to keep their mind diverted and calm. Everyone has their own way to react to situations, some students take it easy ,while others feel depressed .So it’s upon every individual how they handle the circumstances, but always positivity should remain in the reactions.

  • ABILITY TO HANDLE SOCIAL MEDIA PROPERLY

    When kids grow to be teenagers, it is very normal that they may want to gain a lot of attention. Everything in their life is new as it’s their first step towards facing the real world. So every little thing fascinates them and without thinking a lot, they take hasty steps in hustle which may result in negative result. Social media is something which if used properly , will benefit but one mistake may be a disastrous .Pupils should be careful while talking to virtual people; revealing information may harm them. Also, pictures should be sent only to trustworthy. Students assume that using social media will make them look ‘cool’, but the high degree of risk is its compensation.

  • ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY

    Managing communications effectively is leadership . Taking time to review your communications strategy and ideas will be time well spent. Body language is also incredibly important. It is very much like a transmitter that is constantly pumping out signals. Awareness of these signals and its impact on the people around you. Activities to improve a child’s communication proficiency; for language acquisition and introduces them to a range of vocabulary, helping them to communicate with ease and clarity. As, reading provides an excellent opportunity for discussion, where a child can comfortably and confidently articulate sharing their ideas, impresses and the image of a confident and positive personality in fields of life emerges.

  • Ability to manage stress

    School can be very stressful .some stress may push you to meet your goals by working hard but sometimes too much stress prevents you from meeting your goals. Stress helps to work but then excessive stress may not be advisable. In order to prevent stress you can exercise, listen to music read good books to divert your mind and freshen you up ,while in stress, students get nervous and get frustrated. But if time is managed predicatively, the problem will be solved.

  • ABILITY TO MANAGE FRIENDSHIP

    A number of issues can affect one’s ability to study successfully with friends and family. The bonds that a student shares with other students is personal mostly, it may be childhood story, past conflicts, etc which may affect your studies. This can make it difficult to manage studies and preserve good friends. Having a good friend affects a child’s school performance, too. Children tend to have better attitudes about school and learning when they have their good friends there. Teachers notice the subtle impact of friendships —. Grades matter, projects and assignments are always done and achievement is a common thread. hang out. In this group, doing well in school can even be ridiculed. So at the beginning of every school year, when I give my “welcome to real world: middle school” talk to my sixth graders, I make it a point to emphasize to them that the friends they chose this year may determine the academic path they take in the years to come. So choose wisely...”

  • ABILITY TO CONTRIBUTE TO CIVIC AND SOCIAL ISSUES

    There are two points of view as a leader and a follower, if I were to be dealing with Civic and Social Issues in society ONE would try to be representative of the collaborative issues and problems that their society or people who might believe in me have. As we know the power of social media and various media tools that we've now, We should try to bring out the issues and put it forward to the authorities that can make the change or the difference and being a follower that one would also be if they're a leader, should try to be with the one who makes decisions and the opinions of the society that they belong in, and should contribute equally and also try to raise the voice if something is unacceptable and should not be there as a unit. The unity plays an important role, individual who makes decisions have to follow the decision of the majority Abilities to contribute towards the Civic and Social Issues includes two vital roles one as a leader and other as a follower or a supporter, being a leader, the best practice would be understanding the current issues and problems that their society is going through. Civic issues can be solved by individual and collective that is designed to identify and address issues of public concern that is also known as civic engagement. Practice and raise the voice against the cons of the decision and as a follower one should contribute equally and be with the feasible decision for everyone.

  • ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND DEMOCRACY AND THEIR ROLE IN IT

    The role of a student in a Democracy is to use fullest of the democracy but when a student has the right they also have the duties - as someone has rightly quoted “with great power comes the great responsibilities”, so only if one fulfils its duties he or she will be able to use the rights but being a responsible citizen It's their duty not to misuse the power of their democratic rights and any other things that our country has blessed them with .Citizen’s role is equally important and effective in the development of the community. Using it sensibly results in the progress of the country. As the democracy is the biggest power of any nation which makes a huge difference to every individual ‘s growth.

Conclusion:

Concerns like Career, Emotions, Parental and Peer Pressure are complex but need attention. My personal experience working with two DPS schools is very different from one another as one is in Gujarat and other in Telanagana.). Gandhidham being a business town the students of Classes IX to XII focused on business, commerce and financial sector, they had less parental pressure where as in my present school, DPS Warangal a town with agricultural background and less industries, parents coming from service sector put a huge amount of pressure on their children’s education and career in the fields of Science and Mathematics. This diversity clearly mentions that the adolescence is the stage of stress and tension, and to certain extent depends upon the environment given to them.

The in views of Sadler: - “Adolescence is that period in which a child tries to become capable of everything by himself”. The need here is to help the student based on their potential but not by the career beliefs around. Teachers and the parents have a bigger responsibility to guide the adolescents choose the right path to make their life better.

Dr. Narayan Purohit
Academic Coordinator, Delhi Public School, Gandhidham, Gujarat

Addressing Mental Health Issues in the Classroom

Mental health, and behavioral health for that matter are hot-button issues. In our schools, it is important to monitor the mental health of both teachers and students. The issues of mental health include depression, anxiety, and often, substance abuse, too. Such issues are difficult enough for adults to cope with, how can we expect children and teenagers to cope without help?

Depression is another disorder students may be experiencing. They may display a marked change in their interest in schoolwork and activities. Their grades may drop significantly due to lack of interest, loss of motivation, or excessive absences. They may withdraw and refuse to socialize with peers or participate in classroom-based group projects.

There is often a prevailing image society has of someone with mental illness. The stereotype is of a person who is out of control, with a “crazy” look in their eyes, and is highly dangerous. That characterization is not only incorrect, but also insulting. Mental health disorders come in many sizes and shapes and there is not a one-size-fits-all method of addressing them. According to the Indian Mental Health Association, about 20% of Indians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime. However, from my own experience as a teacher, I know that a much larger number of youth are never diagnosed. Educators are often in the front lines of their students’ lives so not only are they sometimes the first to notice symptoms of mental illness, but they strongly influence how students perceive mental health. While teaching, I was always aware of instructional strategies and practices that can help their students meet their full potential. I would like to share these strategies that I have used to address mental health in the classroom. Please keep in mind that every child is different and that with each disorder, there are varying degrees of symptoms and presenting issues.

Mental illness is still very misinterpreted and under-discussed in society and as a result, our youth often suffer in silence. They know that they don’t feel right, but they are also aware that they may be called “crazy” or “nuts” if they come forward. Those labels and any stigmas attached to mental health disorders need to be extinguished and educators need to be at the forefront of such actions. Remind your whole class that those who suffer from mental health issues deserve the same respect and dignity as those who suffer from physical health issues. You can illustrate this through lessons on the effects of stigmatization, prejudice, and discrimination. If a student has been diagnosed and confides in you about their condition, I hope my suggested strategies help students reach their full potential in an inclusive, positive, and empathetic classroom environment.

Here are some suggested strategies for addressing depression:

  • Reduce some classroom pressures.
  • Break tasks into smaller parts.
  • Reassure students that they can catch up. Provide step-by-step instructions and be flexible and realistic with your expectations.
  • Help students use positive statements about their performance and encourage positive and realistic Goal-Setting.
  • Encourage gradual social interaction (i.e./ small group work). Ask students who are more social to help bring that student back into group discussions.
  • Ask parents what would be helpful in the classroom to reduce pressure or motivate the child.
  • Encourage physical activity that will assist the student in getting daily exercise.
  • Never dismiss student feelings. Do not say “you will get over it” or “it’s just a part of growing up.”
  • When students approach you about their depression, ask questions to help understand how they feel and what they are experiencing.
  • Include information on depression in your teaching. Show students that there have been many famous and successful people who have had depression and overcame it.

I will begin my focus with the anxiety disorders that can manifest in different forms. Anxious students may be easily frustrated or be perfectionists, having difficulty completing assignments. Or, they may simply refuse to begin out of fear of failure. This can lead to absenteeism to avoid embarrassment.

A growing number of schools are beginning to realize the importance of mental health education. They are working to create an environment where mental health issues are recognized and support is offered.

School-employed mental health professionals work with teachers to provide support and with parents to better understand students’ needs and implement appropriate support.

Richa Gaba
Vice - Principal, Apex Public School, Fatehabad, Haryana

Teaching Vs. Learning

We all know that education is a lifelong process which brings out the best in a child’s mind, body and soul. During this whole process of educating a child, the teacher acts as a co-learner, a facilitator and a mentor who creates a teaching and learning environment that ensures the child’s growth in all the domains.

School is an institution where the darkness of illiteracy, ignorance and conservatism are addressed and banished. It brings the light of wisdom, knowledge and creativity into the sensitive minds of young children, on whose shoulders lie the responsibilities of the future.

We are called subject experts or teachers, but in reality, we are facilitators and supporters of learning. Not only do we teach, but we also learn from our students, and this makes us lifelong learners. Our education and learning are not restricted to the attainment of a degree from a university.

Also, mere degrees should not satisfy us because there is always something more to discover. Real education is a process that goes on forever. We start enjoying the wonderful procedure called learning once we interact with our students or rather co-learners. Trust me, some of the best and most challenging questions related to values and knowledge have come from regular classroom teaching atmospheres.

You cannot find such depth and clarity of the concepts in books of philosophy or journals on education which you can see during randomly-held classroom discussions with your students. It proves that knowledge is not limited to a structured environment. The most crucial tool to “know the knowledge” or to challenge ourselves - “are we really knowledgeable?” - is to generate enquiry.

WHY? This challenging word demands more from the educators and puts them into a never-ending thinking process. Sadly, some of us curb the creativity and curiosity of children the moment they say “Why”? We are so engrossed in the completion of the so-called syllabus that we suppress the thought process of our students. Students learn better and give a commendable performance in the subjects where teachers support their questions and appreciate them.

As educators, can we understand the needs of kinesthetic learners, visual learners or verbal learners, and facilitate differentiated learning? Do we explain to our learners that what connection our classroom teaching will have with their real lives? Do we explain to them that education is incomplete without learning?

Can we forget the way we were taught and start afresh? Because somewhere during my observation, I have found that we reflect the way our teachers had taught us. Can we “unlearn, learn and relearn”?

  • Why can’t we look forward to fulfill the objectives of being a life-long learner and not merely complete the “portion” for an examination?
  • Why can’t we cross classroom boundaries?
  • Why can’t we facilitate the learning process in a manner that a child imbibes the latest knowledge without making any compromise with our value system and traditions?
  • Why can’t we explain the true meaning of internationalism while maintaining the ethos, tradition and that very essence of a particular race? -Why can’t we make him understand the difference between tolerance and acceptance?

It haunts me when being in the education field for more than a decade, I still see teaching as one of the least preferred occupations and most of us are in this field not by choice. This will only change when we all will come together; we all will be on the same page; we all will be having the same educational philosophy, and we all will bring the change. We, as educators of the 21st century, need to ensure that a class includes not only teaching but also learning as this concerns both our students and us.

Neeti Tripathi
Vice Principal, CIDER International School, Chittagong, Bangladesh

Should Science & Culture be Promoted for Child’s Holistic Development?

"Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think."

Albert Einstein

Keeping in mind the importance of happiness quotient and experiential learning for holistic development in children, in today's education system, we have come up with a unique concept of interactive and fun-filled classrooms—full of creative, collaborative and exploratory activities for children, encouraging scientific and cultural aspects.

These structured activities help holistic learners develop higher-order skills of critical thinking, creativity, teamwork, quantitative reasoning, and digital literacy along with social responsibility. The learning outcomes from the project include the possibility to learn from natural consequences, mistakes and reinforcement of moral values in life. These activities contribute to a child's basic motor development and enjoyment of movement. The goal of structured activities is to have fun while learning. We tend to create an environment where children learn by experimenting and doing things on their own.

Most classrooms have at least one impulsive child; some have more than one. These impulsive children are frequently in trouble, and then display sincere regret for their actions repeatedly. These structured activities are a simple solution for the impulsive children as these activities enhance physical, mental and creative development.

Hence, such creative activities are the need of the hour for the betterment of children in today’s time.

Teachers play an essential role in the life of the students. In order to raise well-rounded kids, educational institutions must:

  • Ensure that a multidisciplinary approach is used in education.
  • Encourage cooperation between social and natural sciences.
  • Encourage learners to use a holistic approach to problem-solving.

For holistic development of a child, we need to address the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual aspects. A teacher prepares a child to grow in their reading and writing skills, teaches science and helps the students understand themselves. Hence, a good teacher helps their students become good human beings, provides a holistic education, instils curiosity, and grooms better social communication skills.

Education is one aspect through which science and culture can be promoted simultaneously to strengthen a child’s well-being, healthy development and transferable learning. It addresses adversity and supports resilience to enable a child to find a positive pathway to adulthood. However, we need integrated insight into multiple fields and connect them to the knowledge of successful approaches that are emerging in education. We need to provide a supportive scientific environment, productive instructional strategies, social, emotional and cultural learning that fosters skills, habits and mindsets, leading to the holistic development of children.

While promoting scientific and cultural temper in the child, we also need to connect home and school to provide critical support as the school serves as an immediate context in shaping children’s learning and development.

Dr. Onika Mehrotra
Vice Principal, Kalka Public School, Alaknanda, Delhi

Why Can't 'Students' Perform?

Life is beautiful and full of astonishments. It is shocking as well as pleasing for all. One way it is uncertain too. No one knows what will happen the very next moment. But desiring for anything with passion is sure to achieve.

Sometimes it is painful why life is not the same for all. It perturbs me and hammers me frequently, and I burst out saying "why can't 'Students' perform like others?” In a class of 30-35 students, teachers share knowledge and teach all equally. Parents take care of them beyond every limitation. Every child pays more or less equal attention in the class. Then why can't few perform up to the rewarded standard?

They engage their heads and brain in everything delivered by the teacher. They put their best effort to stand equally with the excellent scorer of the class. They fail to score even the passing target. Who and What is responsible? Certainly 'they' are not, fully. It's "we", the teachers and parents on a large extent. It should be our combined endeavour to build them to reach their Desired Destination. In a complex world, we must use an adaptive experimental approach to succeed. We cannot begin to predict whether our great idea will sink or swim until it is out there.

"They" must be told to expose to a lot of different ideas and try lots of different approaches on the ground that..."Failure is Common". If they are genuinely self-aware and listening carefully after a release of their idea, they can't go wrong. Being able to recognize a failure means that'll be able to recast it into something more likely to succeed.

Above all, it is essential for determining which experiments have proved right and which have failed. They must not be given the examples of one but of several. All failure is feedback--that means if they fail at something it is no proof that they cannot do it. It's just a rejection of their approach and methodology of attacking the subjects. If they take this concept and truly absorb it live up to it, they may overcome any obstacle in life. They must take action, no matter what happens. Why success starts with failures. This may be true, but they certainly don't act like it.

When their mistakes stare them in the face, they often find it so upsetting that miss out on the primary benefit of failing --the chance to get over their egos and come back with a stronger and smarter approach. It seems to be the toughest matter in the world to accept that we have failed and try to put it right. The reasons may be many that "Students" can't perform like others. Poor time management, work overload, anxiety about the task, poor concentration, negativity, insecurity about success etc. - the list is endless.

They cannot come out from this. They need the help and involvement of their parents and more form their teachers. They must be motivated to have a belief in their natural talent. They must be told anything less than 90% doesn't mean failure. Tell them not to make a target of 90%; if they think, then they are creating mountains of unnecessary stress for themselves. Provide them with an aim to do their best and make them consider none of us can be perfect all the time. This must be an extra effort of the teachers to find out their problems related to their course material and help them to resolve. Sometimes help from the better students or classmates may be proved fruitful. Provide them with an opportunity to rely on someone who will be supportive in many ways.

The burdens of routine studies, pressure from teachers and parents to secure good marks and above all examination phobia prevent them from taking a start. Let them know first why "Education is essential." Help them to set their eye on a goal, introduce them with their talents and possibilities to do anything that used to be impossible for them. Give the assurance and concrete belief that they also can do what others and all can. Be sure it will be a BEGINNING for them to go beyond the HORIZON.

Pratima Banerjee
PGT, English, Krishna Public School, Raipur, Chhattisgarh

Making Classrooms a More Introvert-Friendly Space

In traditional classrooms, we have often seen and feel for introverts—those who prefer to work alone and gain strength from their own thoughts and ideas. Today’s classrooms, i.e. the modern classrooms have been transformed by using innovative models of collaborative learning, a lot of teamwork and discussions with and about the people.

Introverts are those that enjoy solitude and feel drained by social interaction. They are not shy or necessarily social awkward. Finding energy in quiet and solitude, introverts are often left unsupported in the hustle and bustle of the school day. So how can educators take steps to care for their introverted students, young and old? Every classroom has some introvert students who gain understanding from their own thoughts and ideas. By providing a more introvert-friendly space in classrooms, the energy and thought process of these students can be increased manifold. Few ideas to share from my experience are:

  • Sometimes, it is good to reframe the seating arrangements of the students. One example is to provide a corner seat along with some fresh plant for giving room for thought generation.
  • A teacher can create an opportunity for a student for independent learning while designing his/her lesson plan. An introvert may perform best by giving his/her written response.
  • There is no correlation between students’ propensity for verbal participation and grades. Hence a teacher should weigh this while making decisions during instructional and evaluative methodology.
  • Reframe the way teachers discuss working alone or spending time alone. Rather than automatically labelling it “anti-social,” talk with students about how creative achievers often experience breakthroughs, generate new ideas and get more work done when retreating to solitude.
  • Introverts are generally good listeners. When people talk to them, they know they are being heard. It’s a very appealing quality in a person. An educator can constructively utilise this quality.
  • The response to an incorrect answer should be even motivating and encouraging as the introvert, and shy students feel immoral due to their highly sensitive nature.
  • Introverted children need time to process their thoughts and emotions before they speak. A slight shift in how teachers seek class input can help. When teachers pose a question but give kids a certain amount of time to consider the question before raising their hands to speak, kids learn to think first. This also offers introverted kids a chance to collect their thoughts and join the classroom conversation.
  • The last but not the least important point for a teacher is to avoid the “typecasting” in a classroom.

I will sum with a great saying “Being an introvert is great. Being an extrovert is great. The key is authenticity. Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” We need to pay that respect to our students too, by embracing them as they are.

Dr. Rashmi Agrawal
Professor, Manav Rachna International Institute of Research and Studies, Faridabad

Helping Students Develop Self-Regulation Skills

It is a skill to develop self-confidence which will result in self-growth.

Our students are our future, to equip them with all the possible 21st century learning skills is need of the hour. The secret of success is the set of learned skills and self-regulation strategies. It is through this we can analyse our students and make them realise so that they think about what are we meant for and what are we good at? Through following certain set of rules and regulations, social and emotional balance, planning every day’s time table, making to-do list right from the elementary years, setting goals, planning to achieve them, using available resources, being focused, staying on tasks, working independently and completing the tasks effectively, having a mentor to support in need and solving the problems.

5 Simple ways to develop self-regulation skills in students

1. Knowing oneself

It is very essential for a teacher to sensitise the students about their set of skills. It can be achieved by having a simple daily routine of Omkara chanting before starting the class. Enable them to realise their higher goals through circle time activities. Cooperative learning will enhance their social communication and they will learn to respect each others opinion. Through these activities they will understand what are they good at and even realise their areas of improvement.

2. Learning Self-Discipline

Self- Discipline is as important for a student as a hammer for a blacksmith. Teachers to practice this skill get mastery over it and then teach this skill to his/her students. It is a very vital skill to train oneself. It is an ability to get things done and learn to control one’s behaviour, emotions and thoughts in the pursuit of long term goals. It can be in the form of imitating the teachers and whipping themselves into shape of the disciplined students.

3. Plan the day

As a regular chore, teachers must train the students to spend ten minutes to design the day’s time-table irrespective of school’s time-table. They must make their to-do list and by the end of the day, the plan should be revisited to witness the successful planning. This will enable our young minds to utilise their time effectively and creatively. It is a first step to make our future design thinkers, giving equal importance to planning, creating, executing, learning, researching which will make them planners, creators, executors, learners, researchers and much more.

4. Being focused and staying on task unless it is done

The successful planning must follow the actions, staying focused on the allotted tasks makes the effort easier to get completed. Students must be guided by the mentor at every step along with the designated prerequisites of the tasks.

5. Creating opportunities to solve problems

It is the responsibility of teachers to discuss problems faced in the regular lessons with the students. This will enable them experience meta-cognition and come up with the solutions through group discussions.

Mrs. Kajal Chhatija

Principal, Global Talent International School

Magic Spells to Calm a Noisy Class

Classroom is a place that is happening and chaotic. There are little minds in the class that need direction, their energies need to be channelized constantly. The teacher is not only the source of knowledge but a source of inspiration. The teacher has to teach, motivate, discipline and care simultaneously. The teacher needs to display and acquire different roles. S/He has to be patient, understanding, committed, energetic, disciplined, dynamic, creative and communicative. These broad spectrum qualities make a teacher a multi-talented person. In today’s scenario, it is required for the teachers to be dynamic, engaging and positive. The teachers can hone their skills over a period and enhance their skills by more practice. Each moment that a teacher spends with their students they are learning themselves.

The teacher is the main source of energy in the class, the learning has to be student centric which means that the interaction with the teacher is stronger and much more than the teacher centric class. The teacher has to take the initiative to start an activity or interact with students by asking questions and giving ideas and suggesting solutions. The new class-room has to be buzzing with learning both ways. The students’ ability to think critically will only get enhanced when the teacher will allow them to learn independently. This method of learning gives a new dimension to student teacher rapport. The teacher is not someone standing in front of the class and teaching. She has to move about, reach out to each student to interact with him/her and give instructions and guide them and then supervise them through their activity or the task that they are doing. The close proximity of the teacher helps them to break barriers and makes the kids feel more comfortable in the class.

The student’s behaviour in class is influenced by several factors. The child’s own psychology and behaviour, his//her upbringing, social circumstances, culture that the child belongs to, family conditions, motivation level and even the ability of the teacher to manage the class. All these factors impact the class atmosphere. How the teacher can manage all these factors in her class is the ability that a teacher has to learn gradually.

The onus of students’ behaviour lies on the teacher’s ability to engage the kids with in the class. The class can be engaging if the teacher plans her/his lessons properly and in advance. More-over, s/he has enough hands-on activities. The regular course can be made interesting if the teacher researches the topic and adds on some practical application of the theory the kids are studying.

Student Teacher Rapport is the key to the success of the discipline in class. It helps generate a good atmosphere in the class. The students remain in discipline and follow the command of the teachers; if the teacher handles the children by understanding them individually and reading their minds. The teacher needs to know that each student is an individual and they have different learning abilities. Some might have good mathematical understanding whereas some might be good in linguistic abilities. Some are more social and some are shy. Some like physical moment and some are sedentary. The teacher also needs to understand the social and economic background of the child. The family conditions and life-style also effects the student’s ability to learn. The children with families having disturbed parental relation-ships have difficulties in learning. Access indiscipline at home also makes the child chaotic and unable to organize his/her study –skills.

Teachers have to observe and analyse the intricate issues relating to the child, this can only happen if the teacher has the ability to empathize with the child’s condition. Teachers have to go a step beyond subject teaching.

A lot of time teachers face very erratic behaviours and indiscipline in general, in the class. The teacher has to be patient and try to observe the behaviour of the child and try to find the reason for the particular behaviour of the child in the class. Why the child miss-behaves in the class? The teacher needs to take help from the school counsellor or the psychologist some-times. If the behaviour of the child is of particular kind then there might be a reason behind that behaviour. A lot of parents as well as the teachers hit the children and even believe that corporal punishment is the only method to control the child. It is saddening and dis-heartening that they do not have any idea about child –behaviour or human psychology. The teachers should totally abstain from such punishments. Not only corporal punishment is a crime but it severely damages the child’s ability to trust his/her elders. Controlling or disciplining can be done by several other measures. The kids need to be trained to take commands and follow routines; this always helps the teacher as well as the parents in making them disciplined from the young age. As observed in some kids if they have been beaten at a young age or closed up in a room or a bathroom they become scared, withdrawn and even adamant. The kids are all the time grasping, absorbing and understanding what the world around them is. The kids are evolving and growing each day of their life. The adults around them need to understand that they are each moment evolving. The teachers need to be patient with them and understand them.

In order to control and discipline the class the teacher needs to set the class-rules from the beginning of the year and stick to them. The teacher should reward the kid for good behaviour and punish for bad behaviour. The punishment should be such that the kids come to a realization that their behaviour is hampering learning in class and their class-mates also look at him/her in the bad light. The teacher should aim at making him/her realize his mistake rather than humiliating the child. The child who has behavioural issues should be regularly counselled and helped to come out of his behavioural issues rather than labelled as a badly behaved child.

The role of the teacher is not merely to be a subject expert but s/he should plan well, engage the kids, understand them and connect with the heart rather than just with the mind. The relationship of the kids with their own class-mates also helps the teacher to keep the class in order. The teacher has to strike a balance between controlling and not going over-board. This can be learnt by the teacher as they deal with the kids, day in and day out.

The schooling process can become a good memory for the child if the teachers make their journey easy and show empathy to the hardships of the process of learning. Thus some of these magic spells by a teacher can calm a noisy classroom.

Dr. Sherin Shervani
Director, Angel Global School, Aligarh-U.P

A Transformational Leader

The biggest dilemma today is to predict the needs of tomorrow and developing course ware to prepare the next generation for needs that are unknown. The challenge is to know what it will mean to be educated in future. Education, up to the present time, has largely been occupied with the art of correlating with past history and past achievement in all departments of human thought and with the attainments to date of human knowledge. It has been primarily backward-looking and not forward-looking. But the times have changed. We all know that many of the demands and expectations with which we entered the teaching profession no longer fit.

The new key words are: Twenty-first century learning ( which reflects fluidity, unpredictability and complexity), reflective practice, modern learning environments, building on self (Attitude), learn to remain relevant (Continuous learning),learn to live together(Social skills ),learn to be (existential), learn for contributing to society. Here’s where transformative leadership comes in.

The transformational leader does not simply run a school, merely keeping it afloat! Transformational leadership begins with a focus in leadership as the exercise of influence. While hierarchy may be useful to define accountabilities but it definitely does not define influence. Good leaders push for change but do so collaboratively and with the needs of the organization balanced by the needs of the individuals. They recognize that change will always be messy and their vision for the organization can change as the world changes.. Therefore constant adaptation of vision and innovation are key aspects of life.

Transformational leadership is about getting reflective. School leaders and teachers often rely on tried and true practices that may be comfortable, but ineffective. To truly transform a community we must question and sometimes abandon habits, beliefs, practices, and mindsets that no longer work.

Wishing, waiting and hoping are all ways of avoiding action!

“A shift in mindset empowers leaders to create change, not respond to change,” writes Eric Sheninger, author of Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools, Today

Leaders can start to pioneer change by reflecting upon and identifying their current practices and then considering how to challenge them to make room for new ideas and methods. They should create a culture of innovation and motivate teachers and students to continuously progress, ever aiming to create the best learning environment for students.

Leaders themselves should be willing to learn!

Here is where competency and capability come into play. Where competency is about delivering the present based on past performance: capability is about imaging the future and bringing it about. Competency is about control: capability is about learning & development. The capability to learn in itself will become the most important thing in future! Therefore transformational and reflective leadership is now required in schools. It’s for leaders to look for and also provide opportunities to its team for rethinking educational practices.

Dr. Vandana Gupta
Principal, EuroSchool North campus, Yelahanka, Bengaluru

Set Up Your School for Success

Set up a successful school is really a fierce task because it has to manage withparents as well as students with their different ideologies . You have to be sure to maintain the balance between their traditions and expectations so that nothings get slip out of ypur hand anyway . As per the most desirable , you also have to know that if your students are not successful, parents will never be satisfied , and your school is not successful; researches have proved this. So, as a managementee or a school leader, you can not merely focus just on the administrative success, you will have to be up to adte on academic success too .

There are some ideas to set up your school for success.

1. A clear vision

You should have an ascence to maintain a balance between above two main parts ( administrative as well as academics ), because one thumping the other would mean failure for you.

Keeping all the desired infrastructure , able teachers , team of other staff members , and specially what you want to give your society , must be very clear when setting a vision .All we should have a vision of where our school should head, or where we want it to head or the reputation we want it to achieve. These are indeed our visions. With a good and well implemented vision, you can make a success out of your school. Note that you cannot work towards this vision on your own, so you must enlist the teachers and other staff members into the same vision board with you.

With a good and well implemented vision, you can make a success out of your school. Note that you alone can not put the school there a team work towards this vision is an indeed a deed , so you must enlist your staff members into the same vision board with their according excellence skill with you.This is not simplly a task to be completed , this is a dream to be implement with its result in front of public . So a strong team work will be needed . you should expect to those who can make your vision dream true.

2. Organize yourself

It happens many time to be disorganized when carrying a huge responsibility,due to unlimited burden of different tasks to be performed at the same moment. Especially if organization has never been as your strong forte. But you have to know that to be successful in school administration, you have to run a tidy roost. Professional school leaders need clear, organized systems for maintaining documents and commitments.

Schedule your teachers evaluation on a regular basis , train them , meet them individually or through a high meeting. spare time for your students , schedule meeting with parents .

Meet with other staff members and spare time for you too , even blocks of time to attend to email and phone calls. By organizing your time and providing set hours for certain tasks, you’ll be less likely to waste time and will be more present and effective during each of your commitments.

It is your responsibility to set the expectations on all of your dreamed aspects for your school just as your teachers set the stage for their classrooms. It is very important that you should run in the same direction whatever you planned seriously because if a school administration loses his or her positive grind, it would reflect on the teachers, and the students can always perceive this, and they take it for vulnerability.Students are directly related to parents . If students find you out of the way , parents will get it soon and result will suffer.

3. Get your priorities straight

This is like the same as you go upstairs one by one , without leaving or jumping steps . If you do like that you know well or will fell .When running a school, the school administrator should be able to prioritize activities that go on in the school. Yuo should prepare a list of prior things, tasks to be performed as per the series requirements. School management involves multiple chores that one may likely get carried away by minor issues, when there a weightier issues seeking attention.

To ensure that your school is run successfully, you have to create a list of goals that you plan to achieve during the school day, month or year, and take a detailed look at how you spend your time each day.Prepare some survey tools to be done on a regular interval for the betterment of the school . Allow yourself set times during the day to close your door and focus on what you need to get done to help your school succeed.

Always keep your doors open for the ideas, you are not the 100% anyway , some other can have better ideas and can help to achiev that goal you decided.

4. Ongoing Evaluation

Evaluation is always found a best equipment . Evaluation of students is done regularly but teachers , other staff , even coordinators should go through evaluation on a fixed interval.A successful school is the ongoing screening of student performance and development. Schools should use assessment data to compare their teachers as well as students with others from across the country. Effective use of assessment data allows schools to identify problematic areas of training and learning at the classroom or the school levels, so that teachers can generate solutions to the problems.

5. Goals and Direction

Alway keep your goals in front of you, set directions to to run up to there in a straight way.A successful school show the existence of goals and direction, Accordingly .The successful school actively constructs goals and then effectively communicates them to appropriate individuals ( students, teachers, and the society at large). your enlisted taem must also be open and willing to incorporate innovation into goals for school processes and practices. So it's important to invite input from all stakeholders in the process of developing school goals. Student performance has been shown to improve in schools where the entire school community works toward goals that are communicated and shared among all in the learning environment.

6. Stay updated

Keep yourself updated with all the new methodologies, tools and techniques that are being implemented newly in the education industry. Regularly train your staff and teachers to keep them in touch with updated technologies, padagogies, guidelines in the syllabus and the teaching methodologies . Arrange for all the modernized equipment and apprise your staff with its execution and functioning. Networking opportunities for you and your staff are endless, so keep making efforts to keep in touch with all the regular updates.

7. Encourage new ideas

As per a human being nobody is hundred percent perffect or the master in every field . So you should have a flair to listen others too . Everyone have a different view of sight to the scenario . One other tip that would help you run your school success , is to always embrace new and beneficial ideas. If you or one of your teachers discover something new, that must be dicussed with whole of your favorite team members immidiately , so they can feel involved themselves or can give more better suggessions on that .Get everyone involved in through the school activities by learning and exploring together. Do not make it a habit to discard ideas because they are not what you are used to. Endeavor to give each idea a chance to see if it would be a good fit for your school.

8. Embrace technology

Technology has impacted almost every aspect of life today, and education is no exception.in many ways, technology has profoundly changed education. For one, technology has greatly expanded access to education.Today, massive amounts of information (books, audio, images, videos) are available at one’s fingertips through the Internet, and opportunities for formal learning are available online worldwide through the Khan Academy, MOOCs, podcasts, traditional online degree programs, and more.Technology has also begun to change the roles of teachers and learners.However, because of the access to information and educational opportunity that technology has enabled, in many classrooms today we see the teacher’s role shifting to a teacher to a director .

The world has gone tech, and you should endavour to meet up. Avoiding this issue would lead you nowhere and it can even help in bringing your school down in ratings. Learn to apply technology in the necessary areas in the school and teach your teachers to get conversant with them.

9. Establish a Code of Conduct

The Institute is a community of cultured intellectuals. It is expected that, the freedom should be with sense of responsibility. Being aware of the rights should go together with consciousness towards duties and other's feelings as well . All pleasures are to be enjoyed with sense of morality with an ascence of ethics. All arguments should take place maintaining the dignity. Mahatma Gandhiji’s seven principles are strived to be followed, that is: Wealth with work, Pleasure with conscience, Knowledge with character, Commerce with morality, Science with humanity, Religion with sacrifice and Politics with principle.

At the starting of each session, students and teachers must be supplied with a revised institutional code. In it, you will find the district’s policies for student behavior and discipline too. Using this as a guide, prepare a behavioral code of conduct that can be discussed and posted in the classrooms .

Teachers could not be kept aside from the codes to be followed .This exercise will even benefit a classroom of younger students who have not yet learned to read if you ‘translate’ each rule into simple, easy to remember words, and recite them together with a set of examples . This will lead your school to the path of success .

10. Hire the right people

Teacher. Must work extraordinary hours for measly pay. Must shoulder great responsibility for student success. Must balance curricular requirements with individual student needs. Must follow orders lock-step but also initiate creative efforts.You have to know that it is the teachers that stay and interact with the kids more often and as such if you make the wrong choice while hiring, it can have a lot of negative effects on your students. And the damage may have already been done before you and other school administrators get to notice.

Must remain emotionally detached but psychologically connected at the same time. Must possess otherworldly sense of humor. Required characteristics: self-starter, reflective, sensitive, dedicated, data-savvy, street-smart. Acting and dancing experience preferred.

The better qualified your staff is, the more attractive they and your service is to prospective customers. So what should you look for in the way of characteristics and qualifications? Specific education, certifications, and experience levels will likely be dictated by you .

11. Put your students first

As professional educators we cannot just sit down and plan lessons. We need to think about the students. We need to consider how the students will learn the material the best. Great teachers will look at their students, their strengths and weaknesses and plan a lesson to ensure the students understand the concept. With that in mind, it is essential that teachers know their students. A teacher will not just be able to tell the students to read, they are going to struggle with it . A great teacher is still going to use the reading material, but how they teach the lesson is going to be different. They will create scaffolding in the lesson so the students can understand and master the material. This is putting the students first. We as professional educators need to go beyond the idea that a topic was covered, we are teachers, we need to "teach" lessons and materials to students. Teachers have a special ability, not everyone can do what we do. However, anyone can "deliver" a lesson, but it takes a special person to "teach" a lesson. We need to know students understand the lessons we are teaching, so we need to craft lessons that teaches students.

12. Trust and parental participation

Parents are the first educators of their children. The support they provide affects their child’s learning and development and linked to subsequent educational outcomes.Parental support includes direct effects on learning before and during formal education, as well as monitoring and facilitating factors that are indirectly linked, such as nutrition, behaviours, health, and hygiene. Several factors are important for understanding these types of parental support including: support needed pre- and post-birth for healthy infant development, support needed during children’s early years and prior to entering formal schooling, support needed during primary and secondary school years, school strategies for involving parents in their child’s education, and costs associated with parent education programmes.

Successful parent involvement can be defined as the active, ongoing participation of a parent or primary caregiver in the education of his or her child. Parents can demonstrate involvement at home-by reading with their children, helping with homework, and discussing school events-or at school, by attending functions or volunteering in classrooms. Schools with involved parents engage those parents, communicate with them regularly, and incorporate them into the learning process.

The only real limits on what you can do, have, or be are self-imposed. Once you make a clear, unequivocal decision to change your school by casting off all your mental limitations and throw your whole heart into the accomplishment of some great goal, your ultimate personal success is virtually guaranteed, as long as you don’t stop.

Anupam Sharma
Principal, Shemford Futuristic School, Bulandshahr

Autistic Kids: Normal Schools or Special Schools?

Should autistic children be sent to normal schools or special schools?

Should autistic children be sent to normal schools or special schools? In the light of recent events where more than a few debates have flared up in different parts of the world for similar reasons, schools are left wondering if they need to frame special guidelines in regards to autistic children. Autistic children attending regular schools are being excluded from being a part of special activities and fun trips.

Autistic children are supposed to be treated as normal kids so that they don’t feel any less competent or humiliated in front of people. Treating them as abnormal children would only hamper their confidence and they would withdraw from people, try to keep distance from others and become reluctant to socialize. However, other children and mostly their parents fear that being with an autistic child will have adverse effects on them.

Many schools do not take in autistic children and make excuses like special children require especially skilled teachers to handle them. There seems to be a stigma attached to autism that people need to be made aware of in order to remove it from the lives of autistic children.

Normal school:

  • Violating human rights: When regular schools do not accept autistic children on excuses of various grounds, it is still a violation of human rights. It is important to understand that these children are also a part of our lives and we need to do what we could in order to make lives easier and better for them. Normal human treatment including education alongside regular kids could help autistic children realize their special potential and socialize better.
  • Getting rid of myths: While some autistic children develop multiple syndromes which require special treatment and education, it is a myth that every autistic child will have the same condition. An autistic child who doesn’t have syndromes like schizophrenia are completely apt for attending regular schools and other children need not worry about their reactions in any way. It is a big myth that autistic children could cause harm to other children.
  • Care and help: Studies have found that when autistic children attended school with regular children who were made aware of the syndrome, they actually took to caring and helping their autistic classmate. Not only did the child become more socially interactive but also contributed to awareness and removing the stigma surrounding autism from other children. There are so many autistic children in every country including ours that it is becoming very crucial to make them adapt to normal living.
  • Spreading awareness: Autistic children are bullied and teased because there is a social stigma about them being mentally retarded. This is untrue and spreading awareness is very important. Mostly, it had been found that these autistic children are especially talented or gifted in a particular field. Some are exceptional artists; others have implausible talent in music, etc. It is only when these children are made to feel like normal in normal schools, that they develop the confidence to pursue their skills. It is like talent lost and wasted when autistic children are kept aloof.
  • It is not a disease, yet is on a rise: It is important to understand that autism is not a disease that can be caught or spread, it is a syndrome caused by a difference of anatomic structure of the brain. It should also be noted that this syndrome is on a rise. Every year the number of children born with autism rises. The next autistic child could be born in your family and you will want to give him/her a normal life. It is time we become aware and appreciative of these children and give them the right to normal education and living.

Special school:

  • Special attention: Special children need more attention and in normal classrooms it becomes difficult, for the autistic child as well as for other children to learn properly. The teacher needs to give more attention to the special child and make him understand in the way he/she prefers. In this case the other children usually feel left out and are not able to concentrate well. In other situations it is seen that the teacher pays normal attention to all children in which case the special child is left clueless about the subject.
  • Disturbance: Most autistic children are known to need special attention and when they don’t get that they are known to scream and disturb others. Some are known to not be trained about their human needs at an age when other children of the class are well trained. They become the topic of humiliation and other children refrain from socializing with them. Why deny normal educational environment to an entire class for one special child?
  • They achieve better under special supervision: Special care and attention, special techniques of making them learn what is rather difficult for them can only be achieved in a special school. Autistic children are known to have special abilities in a specific field which must be made their special subject, to learn, grow and accomplish in that field. Moreover, they also need to feel comfortable in the beginning which is only possible in special schools where there are children who don’t judge them otherwise and teachers who are trained well.
  • It should all come down to what is good for the child: Society and media simply it as exclusion of an autistic child from the normal group of students. What they fail to see is that the exclusion in the beginning is actually good for the child. Instead of labeling issues we should be concerned about what the child actually needs – a normal environment or a special environment. If the child is more comfortable in a place where his needs are well understood, then so be it.

Autistic children are special - they need special care and attention to realize their talent and live a normal life. In a normal school where the other children treat them differently and bully one child, it could lead to serious damage in the minds of these special children. It should be better for the governments to make special provisions to have schools for these children in every state.

That being said, some children can go to normal school, a school where children and teachers are aware of the needs of the child. They can learn social skills and do well in life with the guidance and support of teachers and students. Only a school where awareness is possible, these children can be a part of the normal group.

Autism is a kind of developmental disorder in children, characterized by their impairment, communications and behavior with the society.

Many normal schools avoid admitting these kids and suggest the guardians to keep them under the guidance of proficient teachers who can tackle them.

Normal School:

It is not written in any rule book that autistic children cannot study with common children. They can also be taught in the same way as normal kids.

If theautistic child is free from any syndrome, they are expected to attend normal schools.

It is important to teach an autistic childhow they should adapt with normal children. This helpsthe former in their betterment in studies and other activities.

Mostly, autistic children are born with some special talent, like, painting, dancing, etc. For instance, the child protagonist in the movie TaareZameenPar was shown as a victim of Dyslexia (a disorder involving difficulty in learning or interpreting words). It was depicted that he was good in painting. So, talents and skills help them to develop confidence.

Special School:

Kids suffering from autism require special treatment in normal classrooms. It becomes difficult for other students.

Sometimes, their weird activities, like screaming, may scare and disturb other children.

Yet, special supervision will make them feel comfortable in learning and accomplish particular field. Generally, in some schools autistic children are bullied by the normal kids, which affect them seriously. This behavior must be taken care by the teachers or staffs.

Everybody should be aware that if, guided under proficient teacher, autistic child can also be a normal child.

S.K. Veena
Principal, Nalanda Public School, Hyderabad

Building Positive Parent-Teacher Relationships

Teachers and parents provide a vital support system to help students flourish. When parents and teachers communicate and work together effectively, it can significantly impact each student's long-term success. Much has been made about the need for teachers to foster healthy relationships with the stakeholders of the school

Likewise, a Principal must seek out opportunities to build cooperative relationships with parents. Though the relationship between Principal and parents are much more distant than the relationship between teacher and parents, there is still considerable value there. Principals who embrace the opportunity to build the relationships with parents will find it to be a worthwhile investment, especially nowadays when parents are more demanding and there is lack of trust and every move of the school is being scrutinized by the parents.

Principals have to make decisions all the time. Many a time parents may not agree with your decisions, but when they respect you, it makes those disagreements easier. Garnering parental respect and support helps to make those tough decisions a little easier. Principals are not perfect and some of their decisions may not be right. Being respected gives Principals a little leverage when they do fail. Furthermore, if the parents respect you, the students will respect you. This alone makes any time invested in building relationships with parents worthwhile.

Trust is sometimes the most difficult thing to earn. Parents are often skeptical. They want to know that you have the best interests of their children at heart. Trust happens when parents bring issues or concerns to you and know when they leave your office that it is going to be addressed. The benefits of earning a parent’s trust are fantastic. Trust gives you the space to make decisions without looking over your shoulder, worrying about being questioned, or having to defend it.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of having a relationship with parents is that you can solicit feedback from them on a wide variety of school-related issues. A good Principal seeks out honest feedback. They want to know what works well, but they also want to know what needs to be fixed. Taking this feedback and examining it further can spark great changes in a school. Parents have great ideas. Many will never express those ideas because they do not have a relationship with a Principal. We may not like everything we hear, but having feedback can challenge the way we think and ultimately make our school better.

A Principal’s job is difficult. Nothing is predictable. Each day brings about new and unexpected challenges. When you have healthy relationships with parents, it simply makes your job easier. Calling a parent about a student discipline issue becomes much easier when there is a healthy relationship there. Making decisions, in general, become easier when you know that parents respect you and trust you enough to do your job that they are not going to be beating down your door and questioning your every move

When Principals spend time after school at extra-curricular activities they should reach out and build informal relationships with parents. Principals are adept at finding common ground or mutual interests with almost any parent. Having these conversations helps parents see you as a real person and not just as a figurehead for the school and helps you know each other as individuals and helps build a rapport with them.

Randomly calling a few parents each week and ask them a short series of questions about the school will not only help you in soliciting feedback, but also make the parents feel good because their opinions was asked. Another strategy is inviting a small group of parents to join for lunch on a monthly or bi-monthly basis to talk about key issues the school is dealing with. Strategies like these can really solidify relationships with parents.

Finally, schools are almost always forming committees on a variety of school-related topics. These committees should also have parents included. Inviting parents to serve on a committee brings a different perspective that can be beneficial for everyone. Parents get to be a part of the inner workings of the school and provide their stamp on their child’s education. All these endeavors will make it a win -win situation for all stake holders.

S.K. Veena
Principal, Nalanda Public School, Hyderabad

Importance of Co-curricular Activities in School

‘Curriculum’ refers to the course of study which is followed in a particular school or by any board such as State Board, CBSE, ICSE or IB. Curriculum has its two extended branches for imparting quality education, which are co-curricular activities and extra-curricular activities.

These two terms, Co-curricular and Extra-curricular are quite similar in nature.

Activities beyond the limits of the curriculum are referred to as ‘Co-curricular activities’. These activities are the ones which complement the learning experiences of students in the Schools. These activities are connected with academics and are designed to help the students to comprehend the prescribed curriculum in better and easy way.

Co-Curricular Activities includes Quiz, Elocution, Declamation, Poetry Recitation, Plays or Skits, Spell-Debate, Symposium, Morning assemblies etc.

‘Extra-curricular Activities’ refer to those activities which are normally not related to the educational curriculum. However, they are very much essential for overall development of the Students.

Extra-curricular activities are: Sports, Swimming, Gym, Athletics etc.

Importance of co-curricular activities:

Academic education specially focuses on three Majorgenres of education:

  • Reasoning
  • Psychomotor and
  • Emotional Learning.

The objective of education is to foster all-round development, which cannot be catered only through books and within the four walls of classrooms. It cannot be typically, pen-paper type. All-round development means Intellectual, Physical, Moral, Sensible and Social development.

Hence co-curricular activities play a major role in ‘Holistic Development’ of the students.

Through these activities, practical knowledge and skills can be inculcated in the students, which further strengthen the theoretical knowledge. When a relevant Co-curricular activity, correlated to the subject content is organized, students become more receptive. This result in longevity of knowledge gained and is augmented to a greater extent. Consequently, the performance level shows a rising graph of achievements. Thus Co-curricular activities go hand-in-hand for all-round development of students.

These activities should be executed effectively so that they can give the right exposure to the student’s mind and the resultant experiences of these activities can be used to solve real life problems in real outside world.

Wide range of such experiences gained can prepare students to develop confident and multifaceted personalities, through a balanced exposure to academic and co-curricular activities.

Benefits Of co-curricular Activities:

1. It leads to theOverall personality development with following traits:

  • Students can deal with any difficult situation and circumstances in any walk of the life.
  • Become more responsible and committed as they are given specific task to handle.
  • Students become enthusiastic and energetic toward teaching learning process.

2. Co-curricular activities can help to boost up students’ confidence level and self-esteem.

3. Participating in these activities help to develop sportsman sprit, team spirit and competitive spirit.

4. Help in honing inner talents and specialized skills,which can be beneficial for the society at large and can also be used to earn livelihood in future.

5. Enhances vocal and written expression with the help of Declamation, Debate or creative writing.

6. Students develop managerial skills like; leadership, time management, disciple, judicial use of resources, politeness, presentation and patience.

7. Proven better academic result:

  • Students become academically sound when they are involved in the co-curricular activities which are the extension of relevant subject content.
  • Concepts are easy to grasp with better understanding.
  • This can help to achieve better grades and marks.

8. Students develop good listening and decision making skills and learn to respect views of others.

9. Students become innovative, creative and sensitive.

10. Channelizing energies of the hyper active students in positive direction.

11. It gives relief and relaxation from the stressful teaching learning processes.

Moral Values:

The students, through co-curricular activities, learn essential ethical values about different culture, religion, events of national and international importance as well as discipline and school life ethics.

Students become compassionate, learn patience, empathy, motivational skills, compatibility and contentment.

Role of Teacher:

Aptly said: ‘Teach me, and I will forget. Show me and I might remember. Involve me and I will never forget’.

  • Teacher should be agood activity planner so that it can be conducted systematically.
  • Teacher should have innovative and easy ideas for co-curricular activities so that learning outcome should be achieved efficiently.
  • Teacher should have good organizing skills for the better utilization of time.
  • Teacher should act as a facilitator so that students can ably conduct activities themselves, with confidence.

Conclusion:

Best aspect of co-curriculum activities is that they area part of academic and make teaching- learning experiences exciting for both students as well as teachers. Students can learn better through activities like quizzes, debate, recitation and academic games.

Thus, co-curriculum activities, along with academics, are essential for Holistic development of every student.

Devvyaa Naagarh
Principal, Arihant International Academy, I.C.S.E., Chhindwara

Have You Defeated The Super Parent Bug?

Every MOM knows how to give her child the best when she follows her MOM instinct. Yet the super parenting bug is leading to insecurity and depression amongst many mothers. They are often overwhelmed with advice on everything related to their child. Everyone in their circle has an opinion, even though no one knows the child better than the MOM. Generally the people giving advice mean well but it may actually sabotage the confidence of a new MOM.

The social pressure of a super parent syndrome is pushing young MOMS into a very difficult situation. They are forever reaching out for parenting best seller, parenting videos, creating 'well researched expectations' and what to do strategy based on collective knowledge. Once the baby arrives all this goes out of the window. That’s when reality hits. Babies and toddlers do not adhere to the well-researched expectations of the new MOMs which results in the feeling of failure, disappointment and heartburn. Pressure from the pursuit of parenting excellence and the aspiration for perfection to become a “super-parent” leads to depression and anxiety.

Young MOMS forget that motherhood is a journey and that there are no formulae. Each child has their unique milestones and the MOM needs to use her judgment. As MOM’s, we all love our kids, feel their pains and pleasures and are there for them whenever they need us. But what is important is to always listen to your gut feeling when it comes to your child’s growth and development. Your confidence will come through experience and not from the pages of the latest bestseller. MOMs need to be selective about who they allow into their circle of confidence and advice.

New motherhood is so challenging but it is ok to Trust Your Instinct. So the five reasons why mothers should Trust Their Instinct are:

  • YOU ARE AN EXPERT
  • Be yourself, there is nobody better qualified for your child than you. Believe in this, because at times people will make you doubt yourself.

  • NO RIGHT OR WRONG
  • As long as your child is safe and healthy, there is really no right or wrong way to parent them.

  • YOU ARE THE BEST MOM THEY KNOW
  • You are the only mom they know. Mom can do anything in their eyes and no one can do better or be better than you.

  • WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES
  • As long as we are learning from them and not risking lives they are mere hiccups along the way. There is no such thing as perfect parent, be a real one.

  • ALL THEY NEED IS LOVE
  • There is nothing more potent, protective and powerful as mother’s love. Love is all they need to be happy calm and content.

    So Trust Your Instinct, it will keep you and your child safe and happy. What other people have to say about you, your child and your parenting, is really none of your business. Don’t concern yourself with criticism and judgment.

    GO FOR A HAPPY UNAPOLOGETIC AUTHENTING PARENTING

    But there will be instances where mums need to pull back and rationally take a decision in the best interest of the child. So we’ll take the top 3:

    • WHEN A PROFESSIONEL FEELS STRONGLY
    • There are certain rules of childcare upon which pediatricians are in full agreement. Your pediatrician helps you determine healthy lifestyle for your child and guides you in anticipating your child’s needs. So before you ignore their warnings and go your own way, think long and think hard.

    • WHEN YOUR WAY IS NOT WORKING
    • Sometimes common sense must prevail, and you have to admit that your way isn’t getting the job done. Even if it makes perfect sense in your head sometimes it’s ok to take a deep breath and let it go.

    • WHEN YOU SEE A MOM ENJOYING A GREAT OUTCOME
    • Sometimes we meet this family which completely impresses us with happy, well behaved and joyful kids. You will try to catch a glimpse of their parenting philosophy and methods. But what works for them might not work for you. Remember that every child is unique and needs to be treated as an individual. One size cannot fit all.

      What is most important is that Young mothers start believing in themselves. In essence MOMs need to trust their instinct, even if it’s contrary to the given advice.

      Unfortunately, the beaten and well-trodden path for today’s first-time parents still begins with reading the best sellers on parenting, buying trendy baby gear and deciding on strategy relying on collective knowledge.

      Does it really have to be this way?

Pooja Dugar
Founder Director, Leap Year's Preschool

Release The Trigger

“A young child aged twelve hits his class mate injuring him over a small tiff of seat sharing in the school bus.”

“Fifteen year old school girl attacks her school friend as she was denied the permission to be amongst the first row of dancers in the school programme”.

The above are random examples of a school scenario where anger, a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility is evident. The reasons maybe myriad – frustration, defensive response, poor self control etc. but it is important that it should be identified and controlled .In a school, students come from different backgrounds but they get uniform treatment which at times is not accepted well. At school, we observe angry behavior of many children manifesting from primary classes itself. Therefore, we have had to start ‘Behavioral Intervention’ from early years. In order to make our school an Anger-Free Zone ( as per CBSE guidelines) , we collaborate with a good team of counsellors , parents , teachers and students in an organized and phased manner.

We depend on ‘teacher observations and feedbacks’ to identify the children suffering from this issue. We believe that a ‘PARENT – TEACHER Team’ together can make a difference. Our school day starts day with a ‘Meditation Session and thoughts on anger- management and human values’. Students do ‘Pranayam’ and Yoga teachers conduct their relaxing ‘Yoga Asanas’ .Language and subject teachers make the environment light by exchanging short, humorous stories, poems, anecdotes etc. Occasional puppet shows and cartoon displays also help in relaxing the students. They are regularly involved in physical exercises to channelize their energy so that it doesn’t get bottled up or get released in a negative way.

A ‘LET’S CHAT SESSION” of fifteen minutes in held in the zero period where kids just talk to their teachers sharing the events and happenings of previous day in school or at home. The students involved are just asked to speak or write their part of the story in case they were engaged in any unpleasant episode and these are taken up by the teacher or counselor to plug the issue.

Another tool used is a ‘My BEHAVIOUR RECORD SHEET’, with the help of this, a child self- analyzes his behavior for the day and marks his behavior as – Good (Acceptable) or Bad (Non-Acceptable) action, date wise. At the end of a month, their frequency of good actions is analyzed and they are ‘certified’ for their good behavior record.

Thirdly, a ‘BEHAVIOUR RULE BOOK’ is created by the students of each class where they write the ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ behavior as a checkpoint to analyze their own behavior. This way any unacceptable behavior or act gets pointed and realized easily. The environment is also kept happy by showing them interesting stories promoting morals and values in the class.

Every ‘Parent –Teacher meeting’ is a great opportunity to abreast the parent about their child’s behavior and teach him to ‘apply little intervention techniques’ ’customized for their child’ in need. Intervention at school and home shows a positive result. As young children learn and pickup a lot from surroundings so we encourage parents to ‘keep a check on company’ of their ward in the locality and suggest to ‘avoid any use of abusive word and act at homes’.

‘Mindfulness’ is the need of the hour .How we react to a situation shows our emotional strength and positive interventions can give successful result and keep the happy emotions flowing all around.

‘Group work’ maybe noisy at times but it also promotes development of ‘social skills’ of adjustment, cooperation and collaboration , so, lot of ‘fun element’ gets added when students are engrossed in ‘games and activities ‘promoting happy learning and co-existence.

Students are given ways and tips to ‘react positively’ to the same situation which annoys them. The students are told to ‘share anecdotes on self-control and self –discipline’ in a group. Some students need a ‘mentor to control’ their anger and we allot in the form of our counsellors. ‘The positive behavior of each student is celebrated’.

‘Life skills’ remain our focus and we keep developing them through our devoted periods for Life Skills. There are ‘student mentors’ also who are senior students, they share interesting, real life situations as funny presentations to the juniors where they share success story of ‘effective handling of their anger and rage’.

‘Happy schools lead to happy societies’…..So, it is vital to create a conducive, peaceful, cooperative environment in the schools for the benefit of all.

Rashmi Raj Biswal
Principal, DAVPS, Pushpanjali Enclave, New Delhi

Cultivating a Positive School Culture

We have seen and worked in schools with different physical and intellectual infrastructure, ranging from vernacular core teaching ambience to application based differentiated classrooms with experiential learning. A free and fearless, self-motivated, child-centred and facilitating learning in true sense ----wow…that’s an ideal place to work. But does this happen…really ?

I have heard that in some schools robots are conducting classes now. Fantastic…robots producing robots. May be they will do a better job than those humans who are thrown into teaching by accident or they had no other choice. Luckily, these robots have been programmed to teach. But there are teachers who were never programmed to become a teacher but teaching –learning has infected them as a virus and they are suffering from a wildly (not widely) spreading disease called education, with a mutant 4.0.

Schooling is ONLY for school and not for career. This should be the mission and vision of each school who want to cultivate a positive culture.

I swear…can we just let students play, learn, sing, draw, paint, make mistakes, have friends, explore the concepts, know the cultures and discover world, accept each other (not tolerate) and have differences ?

Instead, we ask them to prepare for NEET/JEE-IIT and so on right from class 6 onwards. I really wonder what a class 6 child be doing to crack IIT ? There are schools (?) claiming to produce IITians , CAs, Entrepreneurs and Doctors in enormous proportions.

I want to ask one question – what is the whole purpose of this objective if a highly successful entrepreneur and businessman cannot take the pressure and ends his life, what is the meaning of this whole drama called education if lively creatures end their lives in a city filled with aspirants to become so called successful professionals due to pressure and frustration?

If we wish to cultivate positive culture, we need to shift our focus from “education to learning”. We need to create Arjun but at the same time, we must ensure that any Eklavya is not left behind. Education is not certification. It is exploring interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary concepts and skills.

Let’s take our example. How much can we grow if we remain under constant pressure? Can we be happy and positive if there is a fear of failure all the time? Teaching and learning is just exam oriented. All those who score 99 and 100 percent marks, are they all successful?

We are programming a child, right from the beginning, to be successful and be a winner everywhere, always. As an adult, are we successful all the time? The best of the best brains, scientists, noble price winners, sportsmen have also tasted defeat, and many times. Some don’t get up again, but some take failure as a step towards success and not an end of their journey in pursuit of excellence.

Everyone teaches, rather coaches how to win? Let’s train them how to win but also how to accept failure so that someone does not fail the humanity. Will there be a possibility for a school where only failure can get admission? That will be the real positive culture and real education. Can we produce Human, please ?

Let’s teach positivity and not preach in the name of education.

Have a positive stay at Planet Education….

Gold Medalist/All India Topper-Post Graduate Diploma in School Leadership and Management Presently- Asstt. Vice President (Head-School Education), J K Cement Ltd. (and with an experience of being an IB Examiner/Moderator, Principal IB-CBSE Schools, IB-MYP-DP Coordinator, Member-CBSE Inspection Team, Master Trainer & Resource Person-CBSE, Member-CIS Accreditation Team).

Sanjay Tiwari
Asstt. Vice President (Head-School Education), L.K. Singhania Public School, Nimbahera, Rajasthan

Creating Pathways to New-Age Education

There’s a Chinese proverb that says, ‘Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself. So apt, so rightly put, and it is exactly what the Indian education system needs to instil in the young bright minds and encouraging them to operate independently. The major difference between Indian curriculums and International curriculums lies in the weightage given to rote learning and relatively lesser emphasis on application-based learning. Education in true sense should be about genuine understanding, building the ability to be self-sufficient, self-reliant and in being able to figure things out on your own.

Though we are advancing, the basis of assessing a child’s understanding of a particular subject is still very subjective. Children are assessed on the basis of writing down already-fixed answers to questions, leaving no room for creativity or intuitiveness. Traditional learning relying upon pedagogy that is based upon imparting knowledge within the boundaries of a classroom, where the teacher or professor explains and elaborates upon the key concepts pertaining to the subject at hand is still prevailing in most of the schools. Text books and theory is considered sacrosanct with ignorance towards experiencing the event. Infact, we learn quicker and better from the experiences we live than the theories we read. We need to enhance the logical and reasoning faculties in kids, by giving them more room for experiential learning.

In an ideal scenario, although the broader curriculum remains the same everywhere, schools can derive their own curriculums where the methodology varies. This gives the teachers the flexibility and space for experimenting, designing student-customised learning and getting kids ready for the real world. Another problem that comes to the fore, is that of limited number of subjects offered to students. If compared to schools abroad, Indian schools offer limited options for kids to choose from, depending on their talents and inclinations. Students should be offered a mix of subjects important to learn and options online to choose subjects of their interest. A complex, yet proportionate, stir of the online and offline learning models can make way for a hybrid model, which inculcates the traditional values of education along with the digital means of delivery.

Even if we look at learning history in Indian schools, we teach only Indian history, and merely touch upon World history. It is very essential for children to know all that happened before them to be able to know what shall happen in the years to come. This dearth of general knowledge and awareness about the world around them might hold them back from learning empathy and inclusiveness, which remain to be truly virtuous qualities.

Very few schools in India lay importance of having a value-based education system for their students. Real education should educate us into looking outside, becoming more selfless and giving and imbibing the right values from our families and cultures. It is largely observed that the character building of a child happens in the formative years. For instance, a good example of teaching self-reliance is exhibited by Japanese schools which teach its students that no work is menial, right from sweeping, to serving to cleaning, every single job is important. Some Japanese schools are said to have a day for every batch of students to stay back after class to clean their own classrooms. This needs to be propagated and taught in Indian schools too.

International curriculums also have a mandatory subject called global perspectives, which help students understand the world around them better. It is similar to the Social Science subjects taught in India, but with a little more importance given to global understanding. This approach, enables students to become worldly individuals capable of residing, living and thriving anywhere around the globe.

Lastly, it is our responsibility to create a future that belongs to the curious ones.

Observe, Learn, Create & Observe again!!

Roopal Sagi

Founder & Principal, The Learning Umbrella Preschool & Day Care, Telangana

How to Ensure Student Learning

This is a burning topic for any education sector starting from preschool to post graduation. Whether it is management, teachers or parents, all are worried how to ensure student learning, the question looms up at us, how to make it happen?

Will you appreciate, if I give a statement –It is simple, let them learn it ; their way.

Theory teaches us the process for ensuring student’s learning by asking the facilitator to know the content well, adapt to the circumstance or situation and deliver the lesson plan accordingly, keep student’s engaged and involved in the listening , if necessary reteach and finally reflect on the learning that has taken place.

When students are in charge of their own learning, they feel a sense of belonging—the classroom becomes a space defined by them. And paradoxically, in providing greater autonomy for students, teachers become more important than ever because only a skilled teacher can set up the scaffolding for this kind of learning experience and thoughtful guidance that students require at each step of the process.

Like adults, students feel valued and respected when an experience challenges them, reflects their interests, and allows their voices to be heard. And when students are the authors of their own stories, they attend to each moment because they care deeply about the rising action, the falling action, and the resolution—the triumphs and the lessons are their own.

But it does not change here, assessment is the most important parameter to assure quality. Focusing on quality and recognition of the facilitator’s efforts to improve student learning can greatly contribute to establishing the sometimes elusive culture of assessment.

Facilitators / Teachers who develop useful assessments, need to provide corrective instruction and give students a second chances to demonstrate success. They can improve their instruction and help students learn and relearn. Assessment should intrigue the learner to know more, questions like quiz, multiple choices, puzzles, etc. should make the learner think analytically and apply his learning to real practice. But the teacher needs to modify her approach while evaluating the assignment by providing accurate feedback on the learning progress and thus help students in identify learning problems.

The question here is do you teach to assess or do you teach to ensure learning? If assessment is the most important factor for what facilitator/ teacher is imparting in the classroom then we are right that we are teaching only to ensure that all students clear exams. But if we desire to establish learning goals as the foundation of student’s learning experiences then assessment or examinations are merely extension of the same goals.

I have always told my teachers, do not evaluate students but evaluate your teaching, if you want to ensure student’s learning has taken place. If a concept or skill is important enough to assess, then it should be important enough to teach. And if it is not important enough to teach, then there's little justification for assessing it.

But let us not ignore a teacher’s effort, who prepares well before entering in the classroom. 'Don't students have responsibilities in this process? Shouldn't students display initiative and personal accountability?' Indeed teachers and students share equal responsibility for learning. After imparting lesson plan if teacher has not reached half the class in the assessment, she/he needs to improve instructional methodology. Universal design of learning asserts that teacher should teach in the way student wants to learn and teacher should evaluate as per student’s self-expression where he /she can relate to the concept understood in the classroom. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a way of thinking about teaching and learning that helps give all students an equal opportunity to succeed.

To ensure student’s learning , we need to develop a flexible approach, build on student’s strength and needs and diverse learners at large.

Richa Kumar
Principal, Orchids The International School, Mumbai