It’s a very special experience to be a teacher!!!
I have been an educator for the last 21 years and it has been an amazingly joyful journey. All these years seems like a grand collection of millions of shining moments. I must confess, I am a teacher by chance. In my younger college days, teaching never came to my mind as a profession. I was fortunate to begin my career with one of the best Academic Institutions in India, City Montessori School, Lucknow. It was a love at first sight not only with the students but with the institution itself.
As teachers we face many challenges in our profession. Some of these challenges are large classes, disruptive students, and a lack of supplies etc. At times, these may make a person feel low, however I strongly believe that teaching offers innumerable opportunities to experience joy, both in the everyday work environment and internally satisfying. The most enriching is the honour of knowing that I touch lives each day.
I begin each day with a belief that every child has a unique character in the diversity of learning towards growth and development. They all are potentially the Light of the World and God has sent them to this world to remove the darkness around. There’s so much reward which I derive from being able to impart knowledge to the growing child and share the attitudes that will govern him/her through life. According to this belief I pattern my teaching strategies.
The tempting rewards for being a teacher is that my profession earns me a large amount of respect from friends, family members and those in the community. I earn praise and admiration from people who can never imagine themselves spending the day in a classroom full of middle-schoolers or who are tempted to run after spending five minutes with a kindergartener.
I find it extremely touching when my former students contact me for an recommendations or sometimes ask whether I will tutor them on certain aspect of their college curriculum, or even read a paper they researched and wrote! This happens frequently and I am overwhelmed by the progress they have made, sometimes a decade after our last lesson together. It’s beyond wonderful! That’s why I say it’s amazing to be a teacher!!!
The biggest challenge has been to get people to realise that life-long learning should be pursued and there is more value in learning difficult complex things, because simple straightforward tasks will be automated by AI, and as humans we should learn to be able to do better than intelligent automation. And that anything that is worth learning, is worth learning well.
A student of class 8, from a School in Jorhat, who asked me a few years ago as to what Quantum Computing is and how is it different and superior to present day computing. That gave me great optimism about the future of the young in India.
Because we don’t have great educational leadership, we will end up with a larger pool of self-determined, self-motivated, and self-directed learners, who will explore all dimensions of knowledge, rather than just follow the fancies of some leaders.
To be fair, this question can be responded to, only after the implementation of the NEP-2020, which according to those who matter is a very long-term plan.
This is an absolute must. All educators will find themselves much more effective and fulfilled as they leverage advanced technologies to help achieve their educational goals.
What does an AI empowered educator need to be equipped with?
The most important step is to appreciate the limitations of a big class with ‘one size fits all’ teaching. As a concerned teacher, one realises that different students are motivated differently, need different learning experiences, and can demonstrate what they have learnt differently. Once that is done they can deploy the most useful technology for that purpose. The goal of AI in education is to ‘personalise’ the learning experience to help the learner achieve his or her full potential.
I am in fact, a Scientist turned educator. So, I try to be an explainer of Science, my most recent mission is to make School leavers “Quantum Ready”.
a. Birth date: 22nd July 1947
b. Place of Birth: Allahabad (now known as Prayagraj)
c. Zodiac Sign: Cusp of Cancer and Leo
d. Your favourite book: The Act of Creation, a 1964 book by Arthur Koestler.
e. First Educational Experience: Teaching Physics at Motilal Nehru Engineering College, Allahabad
f. The quote you live by: Voltaire’s “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking”
I have had a good innings, inspired by many good teachers and mentors who were a great source of inspiration. Books and now educational videos are a great source of knowledge, motivation, and inspiration. Follow the path trodden by the great! This has been said in the episode of the Yaksha Prashna in the Mahabharat : महाजनो यन गतः स पनथाः
Flourishing in Post Pandemic Teaching
The present students are digital natives. They grew up with computerized innovations. Educators should tackle significant issues connected with the transformation of the growing experience towards students who have different learning styles and new prerequisites for instructing and learning.
Gamification: It is one of the instructive methodologies and procedures that increase inspiration and commitment of students.
With regards to picking up, being engaged and inundated can further develop your experience greatly. Gamification offers a unique method for making schooling more pleasant and fun, as well as expanding efficiency.
Teaching methods of Commitment: It is a mutual growth opportunity that spotlights on student teacher contact, co-activity among them, and the dynamic commitment in the educational experience. Models include:
Teachers are continually attempting to track down ways of engaging with youthful personalities and students. There are, obviously, advanced perspectives to educating and more current methodologies. Notwithstanding, Gen Z play a ton of games for no reason beyond school. With changing trends, why not integrate what they know with pedagogical methods.
Challenges and competitions: Challenges can be fun, connecting with present solid context. By transforming an undertaking into a test, students will feel more required than customary study hall techniques like a worksheet. Difficulties can be discussed in gatherings to support social joint effort or been given exclusively to energize friendly competition.
1.How ECE or foundational learning is critically important as a key determiner for a person’s success in adult life?
Ans-According to Robert Fulgam- everything I needed to know in life, I learned in kindergarten. As adults, we all know the importance of strong foundation. The skills learnt in the formative years go a long way & prepares us for the challenges of adult life. So, it’s basically the most important phase of one’s life. Your personality, your mindset, habits, and your attitude are important parameters and decisive elements for your overall success in life. Values instilled during the early years through stories, songs, rhymes, games activities are very valuable life lessons and play a crucial role in shaping one’s personality and contributes to one’s success.
2.How has NEP 2020 impacted ECE in India?
Ans- I am so glad that the New Education Policy 2020 has given due recognition to the early childhood care and education in India which was the most neglected section all this while and was handled in an unprofessional and unstructured manner mostly by the untrained people owing to the general feeling that early education is limited to reading and writing ABC & 123 and that no special skill is required to handle this age group.
The new policy for education has laid emphasis on making learning enjoyable engaging and integrated ensuring holistic growth in different domains of development specially in the early years of a child’s life.
3.What is the situation of Anganwadi?
Ans- Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the education in our rural areas and Anganwadi was worst hit. However, the Government has started various workshops and free training programmes to equip the teachers and volunteers with the necessary skills to run these set up more efficiently with community support. Some NGOs have also stepped forward to provide necessary support needed by Anganwadi and Baalwaadis.
4. According to you which are the two most important challenges in the field of ECE specially after NEP2020?
Ans- According to me, the two most important challenges are teacher training and transaction of the new policy from theory to practice. The new education policy recommends the improvement in the quality of education, which is possible through teacher training and development programmes. Changes in the curriculum and pedagogical innovations are some of the ways one could improve the quality tremendously and ensure smooth transaction of the policy into practices.
The training workshops are being organized remotely to facilitate teachers and help them understand various ways to make teaching integrated and vibrant unfortunately due to lack of resources some schools especially in rural areas have no resources to be able to attend the workshops.
Sited in the ancient and sacred city of Varanasi, Sunbeam School, Bhagwanpur (estb.1972) is the flagship institution of the Sunbeam Group of Educational Institutions (SGEI) which manages seven owned and 17 associate English-medium schools across Uttar Pradesh — India’s most populous state (pop. 200 million).
Promoted in a modest rented building by the late Dr. Amrit Lal ‘Ishrat’ Madhok and Mrs. Deesh ‘Ishrat’ Madhok to make progressive English-medium education accessible to the educationally neglected citizens of Varanasi, the K-12 co-ed day Sunbeam English School, Bhagwanpur has earned an enviable reputation in the holy city and beyond for providing high-quality English-medium schooling supplemented with sports and co-curricular education to its 3,974 students including 1670 girls.
Affiliated with the Delhi-based CBSE, the school’s well landscaped 4.1 acres campus in the heart of Varanasi provides excellent infrastructure for academic, sports and co-curricular education. The wide palette of co-curricular activities and clubs including the Literary, Eco, Heritage, Health and Wellness, and Design for Change clubs, Commerce Colloquium, Big Fight, MUN, Mock Parliament, among others, help students boost their special intelligences, communication, and leadership skills. Professional coaching and training are offered in several sports such as basketball, boxing, athletics, badminton, swimming, chess, and skating. In addition, vocal and instrumental music, dance and dramatics nurture the creative and artistic talents of students.
The distinguishing feature of Sunbeam Bhagwanpur is our focus on academic rigour and teaching-learning excellence. We believe that all children can be motivated to learn and it’s the role of teachers to encourage and enable them to realise their true potential. The school curriculum is rigorous with students given ample time and opportunities to pursue extracurricular activities. This combination of academically rigorous English-medium education and emphasis on sports and co-curricular education which has earned Sunbeam, Bhagwanpur a legendary status in Varanasi and Uttar Pradesh.
Asst. Director Ms Pratima Gupta Message
Education in its purest form is perhaps an eternal quest for perfection. The ultimate aim of every educational endeavor is to stimulate the human mind towards conquering newer dimensions of knowledge. At Sunbeam, this process is zealously pursued in the precincts of every school and the 50 years of the journey bear testimony to that.
Over 5 decades of evolution the organization has steadfastly held on to the tenet of imparting education with a modern vision albeit rooted firmly in the traditional values and culture of our heritage. The needs of changing times have necessitated corresponding changes in the academic delivery systems and pedagogy. Sunbeam schools have adopted and customized themselves to provide a learning environment conducive to accommodate these needs.
December is a very celebratory month with Christmas round the corner and everyone eagerly waiting to welcome the new year. We welcome you to 2022’s last edition of Edlines Today where we feature some very interesting articles and insights from educators in India.
The pandemic has clearly taught us many things, the most important being to keep going! The education industry also transformed in many ways, and in our Principal Desk segment Dr Shilpa Jejurkar from Billabong High International School, Thane gives insights into instructive methodologies and procedures such as gamification that were adopted extensively in the post-pandemic environment. Next, Ms. Bharti who is a master trainer with Early Childhood Education (ECE), India and also a puppeteer, storyteller, and writer speaks to us about the changes in ECE as a result of NEP 2020 in the Rendezvous section.
This edition features Sunbeam School, Bhagwanpur in our Big-League Institutions. The school strives to provide an interdisciplinary approach to students as well as extensive range of co-curricular activities such as Heritage, Health and Wellness, and Design for Change clubs, Commerce Colloquium, Big Fight, MUN, Mock Parliament, among others. using different learning styles. The Assistant Director, Ms. Pratima Gupta leaves no stone unturned to create an enjoyable educational experience for students and prepare them towards their journey to become global citizens.
The Voice of Educator section by Ms. Srilekha Debnath shares her journey and experience as an educator and how teachers play a crucial part in shaping formative years of students.
Our segment is incomplete without our favourite segment on Educator of the Month and this edition features Professor M.M. Pant in the Educator of the Month column. He shares his professional experiences from his life-long journey as an educator also talks to us about his thoughts on educational leadership and artificial intelligence in education.
May this edition be an enriching read for you!
The Only Way to Teach!
In the last two Blogs we have dealt with the What is? and the How? As well as the Traditional vs Competency. Let us now turn our attention to the Benefits of one of the most powerful pedagogical styles of transacting education in the classroom. The benefits of Competency-Based Education for today’s learners.
We know competency-based learning is a self-directed and self-paced student-centred approach. We also have been told that this is the best pedagogy to go by in every classroom. CBE mainly determines application of and final achievement of content, skills and abilities, hence it is beneficial for learners/students and teaching institutions. Thus, leading students to be able to achieve mastery over the content taught while allowing teaching institutions to achieve their long-term goals of making their students 21st century learners equipped to deal with all real-world scenarios.
We have been told this over and over again.
So having said that, let us now talk in some detail of the benefits of CBE to the learner of today. We can break it down further under these headings.
CBE is a personalized way of teaching, where the student and teacher work on a one on one basis, thus ensuring, that students work at their own pace. Further to this is the flexibility of time and place it affords the learner to conduct their learning. This would then mean the student does not have to wait for onsite instructions from the physically present teacher to impart learning, and the student can avail of the online platform which had become a necessity during the Covid pandemic; and has now become an integral part of all classroom teaching, where they can reach out to their teachers with any difficulties they may face or may encounter along their learning path. This in turn will ensure that all learning becomes purpose-driven so as to enhance student experiences.
Thus, allowing for different teaching strategies to welcome non-traditional learners. Making it a more skill-based training program that ensures quality over content. This will take us a step further in the right direction – A ticket to gain real-world experience – confidently and with aplomb.
Competency-based education programs will subsequently produce more competent student graduates who have gained mastery in all subjects rather than in only one sphere of their education. It also means that by the time they are ready to face the outside world, they are job-ready.
Timely support, feedback and assessments to the student then becomes the need of the hour. Assessments, that are based on different learning patterns of the student, and feedback, must be regular, continuous and on-going. As mentioned, assessments and grading which are novel in their approach and manner, keeping in mind the individual learning styles and abilities of the student are a must. An approach one cannot overlook or dismiss or even put on the backburner of the learning curve.
Our next port of call is affordability</strong . A minor benefit but an important one nonetheless. Taking affordability onboard basically means helping students heading out for higher career paths in education, to be confident in their areas of competency quickly when the need to showcase their ability in the outside world arises. Thus, saving time and money.
Competency-based education can also push students to be more mindful of their productivity levels. Students may work to finish their studies faster than the recommended period to gain said benefits.
In summarise – the Benefits of competency-based education can be listed as under: