Dr. Munmun Nath, Principal, Calcutta International School, speaks to Pritha Roy Choudhury on how the school makes the students future-ready, for life and work...

Q. Is our school education too focused on traditional teaching mode?

A. The focus should shift away from content delivery to development of skills. The assessment pattern should also change as we need to assess the personal traits of the child and the skills he has acquired. Changing the question paper will totally change the perspective how teachers should teach in a class. A school should provide opportunities for internship to develop hands on skills and community services to sensitize the children towards their society. 

Focus on skill development, not content delivery

Q. How should schools deal with slow learners and low scorers?

A. In our school, once the teachers identify a student to be a slow learner or a student who is not performing, the student is referred to the special education needs department who get the child tested for IQ or learning disability. Based on the diagnosis, the child is given extra support under the guidance of special educator. If the child does not have a learning disability but has the required IQ, then the child is referred for psychological counselling to understand if the child has an emotional insecurity or the family atmosphere is not conducive for learning. Counselling is done for such students and they are equipped to face the challenges and focus on academics. If a student has a low IQ, then tailor made individual learning programme is designed for the child so that they can complete their formal school education. 

Q. Isn’t student security a huge concern these days? How does your school deal with this?

A. The school security is outsourced. No visitor can enter the school premises without a confirmed appointment. Attendants with escort card need to accompany children from the school. The school ensures that there is an updated fire-fighting system and regular fire drills and earthquake drills. We also organize workshops and assemblies addressing safety protocols and sensitizing the younger children regarding bad and good touch.

Q. How do you ensure that teachers are abreast of latest techniques?

A. Teachers are trained in their respective subject as per the specification of the board. Apart from this, the teachers are sent on school visits and workshops on relevant topics. The school also organizes in-school workshops for teachers on teaching strategies, intervention of students with learning disability and understanding student behaviour etc.

Q. Any thoughts on ‘no detention’ policy?

A. I do support ‘no detention’ policy. Detaining a child in a grade does not increase the learning outcome but demotivates the child and makes learning a boring experience as it is a repetition of the work he has already done. Students respond better to new learning. Students should always be promoted to next class with careful educational plans for them and required support.

Q. Any unique features or programmes of your school you would like to discuss?

A. We focus on learner-centric education and we try not to teach or prepare the students for examinations but make them future ready for life.

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