Innovation and technical advances in education is happening in Indian schools at a much rapid pace than before. Smart classrooms, white boards, innovation labs set up by NITI Ayog and several other initiatives are making our schools in the government and public sector more in tune with the latest trends world wide.
CP Goenka International School has been in the forefront in introducing new teaching methodologies, technologies and creative learning environment in its Spring Buds International Pre School, CP Goenka International School in Juhu and Swami Vivekanand International School and Junior College in Kandivali.
Mrs. Archana Goenka, Academic Director and Trustee – C.P Goenka International School believes that a paradigm shift is required in teaching methodologies and equipping teachers to meet the changing demands of school education. A commerce graduate , she was also trained in fashion technology and personal counselling. Mrs Archana shares her views on what needs to be done with Indian school education system with Sreekumar Raghavan of Corporate Ethos:
#There is lot of talk of innovation, creativity and use of advanced learning techniques in education in India. However, the opportunities for entry to higher educational courses is still based on academic achievements in terms of marks scored in the exam. How far do you think in such as scenario, parents will be interested in an innovative program in school and how it will help the child in his career?
Advanced learning TECHNIQUES would help a child in many areas of development. I have highlighted the word technique, to imply that it is a skill they learn, that eventually becomes second nature to him/her as they continue the lifelong learning process. It would in fact improve his/her test scores as these creative learning methodologies gradually teach them how to apply knowledge learnt rather than rote learn the same and forget it soon after, in the absence of these techniques. Parents, need to be explained the same with examples and testimonials, for them to buy into the thought process and align to the vision.
#A view often raised in academic circles is that our system is still focused on the industrial age when the requirement was for a large pool of people skilled in languages, engineering or sciences who could fit into particular industrial environment. Thereafter, computer, knowledge era and now the era of artificial and machine intelligence has dawned. What changes in teaching methodology would be required to meet the changing milieu?
A paradigm shift is required in teaching methodologies. The entire teaching fraternity and more importantly the newer generation of teachers who understand the fast-paced advancements, in technology, should now become the torch bearers; bringing about this shift not only within themselves, but also in the parent’s mind, who are the main stakeholders and the decision makers for the next generation.
Globally we are seeing a tsunami of pedagogical advancements, which are encouraging DIFFRENTIATED LEARNING, NURTURING DIFFERENT STRENGHTS EVERY CHILD MIGHT HAVE, FLIPPED CLASSROOMS, ONLINE SCHOOLING, which is gaining huge momentum. These practices already exist globally, and we are yet to move away from chalk and board method. We really need visionaries who can get everyone to align to their thought processes and no one person can be responsible. These require large organisations to come forward and help bring about changes in the governing bodies at the state and central level.
#It has been recognized that the goal of education is not just imbibing knowledge but formation of character, desirable behavior traits and attitudes. Now success in career, business or industry are often linked to attitudes, social behavior, engagement and motivation. Since you have expertise in counselling, could you elaborate your views on these issues?
Well the question itself really is the answer!
Success is a relative term and is not quantifiable. Nonetheless, success in any form will be dependent on your thoughts because as SWAMI VIVEKANAND famously said “YOU ARE THE CREATOR OF YOUR OWN DESTINY And you can carve your destiny by following what you think is right or wrong. Making decisions that will decide their future, which will be based on these very thoughts.
Its only when a person is exposed to the right values and right education can he discern between what is right or wrong for him/her. Positive reinforcements like not giving up but persevering through tough times. Also providing them with opportunities where one builds confidence and self-belief. All of these instils in a child, values and belief that help in moulding them into confident and successful adults.
#Are you happy with the teacher training outcomes in India? Are we building a pool of teachers who can make the life of children enjoyable and meaningful at school understanding the unique needs of the child? Or do you think there is need for further improvement?
Words fall short, for me to express the mammoth shift required in teacher training to achieve any kind of meaningful outcomes.
This is also due to the fact that globalisation is a recent phenomenon. Thus, the pace at which we need to evolve in the orbit of school education did not match the other advancements like technology, contemporary dynamics etc. This scenario is changing albeit slowly. Also, today’s children demand a swift and intelligent redressal to their queries from a teacher, as they themselves are very well informed due to their access to technology. So YES!! A huge investment towards teacher training in terms of finance and advanced modus operandi is required from government and policy makers.
#Do you think the new Apps; smart classrooms will make a revolutionary change in learning and lead to better scholastic outcome for students?
Absolutely…need of the hour. This is only the tip of the iceberg. If we have to survive this tidal wave of globalisation, we will have to brace ourselves and join hands at all levels to ensure that we understand the need for providing our children with new age methodologies- like technology or concepts such as flipped classroom etc. These are only some of the ways in which the learning curve of a child can take a leap, as slowly the teacher’s role is shifting from being a teacher to a facilitator. By using these methodologies and other teaching resources that will enable them the to engage a child in a creative learning environment.
#In India, parents are often seen to be putting their desire and ambition above that of the child and putting pressure on them to conform to society norms. They may be forced to take careers not suited for them. Do you think schools and teachers can do some orientation for parents?
Definitely, in fact there are many testing tools available today to gauge what might be the child’s interest and aptitude. How would they match the two and guide them with suggested careers? Parents are oriented, with a one on one approach, as each child’s needs and dynamics are different. They are first asked about what their thought processes are pertaining to the child’s interest and what kind of a career do they, have in mind for them. Subsequently they share, the scientifically analysed tool that the child has appeared for. Suggestions are made, but the final decision will be obviously with the parent in consultation with the child.
#Could you brief us on the innovative practices of CP Goenka Group of Schools in pre-schooling, international school and junior college?
C.P Goenka Group of Schools has adopted a plethora of innovative practices. We have digital boards in classrooms across all our schools; the adoption of which has really made a huge difference in the conceptual understanding of the learners.
We have several concepts of ‘CLASSROOM WITHOUT WALLS’ where a learner learns outside the confines of the four walls of a classroom. A “FARM TO TABLE CONCEPT”, where children plant their own little kitchen gardens and then actually prepare a meal in class and share it amongst friends. “MY DELIGHTFUL MOMENT”, which provides a platform for every child to display any talent that they might have, in turn helps them to build confidence. These are only a few from a bouquet of innovative practices that we strive to constantly create, retaining the enthusiasm of a learner.