Poonam Kochitty, Principal of Seth Anandram Jaipuria School, Lucknow, discusses with Amita Jain the importance of technology, teacher training…
Q. How can schools make their education systems more interactive?
A. The very term “interactive” means that teaching is not a one-way process. It’s not supposed to be a chalk and talk method where students are passive recipients. Classroom seating arrangements should be altered to allow for collaborative and peer learning. The teachers must play the role of a guide or facilitator, who elicit information from the children through constant questioning. The students must be compelled to think, to observe, to question and research. This is an art that teachers need to learn. Teacher training is crucial because in this direction most teachers don’t know ‘how’ of teaching, but only ‘what’ of teaching.
Q. What measures do you undertake for the training of your teachers?
A. Teachers training is vital and an ongoing process. The training of teachers at our institution is mostly driven by the Principal and academic coordinator. Class observations are an almost daily affair and immediate written feedback is provided. We also have peer observation and feedback. Apart from this, training is provided several times a year by inviting external resource people. We have also introduced a Central Training Calendar since ours is an organization with multiple schools. Subject-specific training has begun to enhance the teachers’ delivery as well as subject competence. Teachers are also encouraged to constantly update themselves and enroll for online courses, attend webinars and share best practices.
Q. How have you fused technology with education while minimizing its ill effects?
A. Technology is a powerful tool that can aid the teaching-learning process. We have made conscious efforts to make our teachers more tech savvy. We are a Microsoft Certified School and I’m happy to say that this has opened new doorways for both teachers and students. We have had Skype sessions and field trips which have been enriching. Our children have begun coding and they are engaged in gamification, Kodu, Minecraft, and are using tools like Sway and Prezi. We also use visual mediums like the Smart Board, YouTube and movie clips. We have tied up with “Progate”, a Japanese technology program to equip children with more skills.
Q. Your thoughts on the no detention policy...
A. The no-detention policy till grade VIII was a great way to reduce school drop-outs as well as allowing children to learn at their own pace. Marks are not always an indication of a child’s true capabilities. There is ample evidence in real life which supports this. Children, who were declared failures or turned out from school, went out and proved by their achievements that the schools do not always nurture their interests or curiosity and failing at school did not prevent them from succeeding in life. I think that re-introducing the detention policy will only add to exam stress.
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