When great minds come together, it creates a synergy of powerful thought igniting the drive to bring change. A wonderful initiative hosted by Aditya Birla Education Academy and Mpower in association with New Millennium Partners, Lead The Way was one such conclave that compelled educators to discuss, think and learn from each other.
The delightful morning at the Neerja Modi School, Jaipur teed off with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp and a prayer. Surabhi Goel, CEO, Aditya Birla Education Academy, introduced her initiative in her motivating welcome address: "The Aditya Birla Education Academy has been established with the aim to bring to Indian educators the best and most rewarding blended professional development programmes of Ivy League University of Pennsylvania and Iowa in the US and University of Nottingham, UK. These programmes are delivered by the world best faculty and aim to prepare educators and school promoters to future-proof themselves right at their door-step. We want to provide a platform to our hardworking and aspirational educators to become the best version of themselves so as to serve the students and community at large."
Following Goel’s address, Jugnu Roy delivered the keynote address where she emphasised the need for preparing global citizens through strong industry collaborations for an increased level of innovation. Roy ended by quoting John Dewey, "If we teach today's students as we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow."
Next, there was an interesting panel discussion on Future Ready Schools: Revolutionising Teaching and Learning from the Ground Up. On the panel, there were some eminent educators such as Indu Dubey, Principal, Neerja Modi School, Sangeeta Kain, Principal, DPS Jaipur, Meeta Sharma, Principal, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh Vidyalaya and Lt. Gen Surendra Kulkarni, Director, Mayo College, Ajmer. As Bharati Thakore, Founder & CEO, New Millennium Education Partners, moderated the session, she opened the panel by addressing key issues such as creating systems of natural growth and learning, the need for 21st century skills, social and emotional learning and the role of teachers as leaders.
When discussing the massive gap between skills learned and the skills needed, Thakore asked Sharma the essential teaching required to develop the required skill set to which she replied, "Teaching always needs to be student centric or personalised. Both learning and teaching requires collaboration. Children must be able to balance on their social and emotional front as well. They can do that only when we provide them with safe places for their thoughts and creativity to flow easily." Adding to Thakore's question, Kain said, "We need the best in the field to come in and because they are not becoming teachers, there's a wide gap that needs to be filled with better trained teachers." Further, Gen Kulkarni added "We need to walk the talk. For most parents, school is a problematic period before their kid goes to a nice university. First, we need to change this attitude. Secondly, we need to think about how much time are we giving our kids to focus on sports or hobbies? Introspection on our part is a must to put theory into practice."
When asked to give one tip on how to give the space to children to develop social and emotional skills, Kain answered "Our children need mental exercise to develop those skills. Are we allowing them to be in situations where they need to handle themselves emotionally independently?" Adding to Kain's point, Gen Kulkarni talked about the importance of having counsellors in schools and for parents to develop listening skills to understand their child.
Further, the panel discussed the fundamental responsibility of educators to learn the use of technology in imparting quality education efficiently.
On creating teacher leaders, the panel had a unified approach as they believe in shattering hierarchies for recognising talent and initiation and the need for self-motivated and self-directed learning or teachers taking ownership of their own learning. Sharma also initiated the conversation on developing interdisciplinary collaboration or project every four months to increase productive learning in both the student and the teacher.
Finally, the panellists recognised the need to invest in making a separate and personalised curriculum for young children for deep learning as opposed to following a rigid upside down pattern that initiates deep learning at the university level.
The conclave had an interesting group discussion on Child & Adolescent Mental Health - A Didactic Approach; the session saw scintillating views on the topic and the need to give equal importance to mental and physical health for both the student and teachers’ healthy development. Thakore believes, “We need a paradigm shift in education and even the most exceptional educators cannot rest on their laurels. CPD (Continuous Professional Development) has to be every teacher, principal and school promoter’s #1 priority. Just as students have to be lifelong learners, educators also need to be self-driven, research oriented, curious, life-long learners.”
We at ScooNews believe such events are a must to engage educators in necessary conversations and keep their drive to change the dynamics of education according to the changing needs of the age.
The Aditya Birla Education Trust marks the foray of the organisation into the field of education and since then it has always strived to nurture young minds. Right from establishing The Aditya Birla World Academy, an International School, to The Aditya Birla Integrated School, which acknowledges the need for a school that caters to children with special needs, the education trust, chaired by the very passionate and committed Mrs Neerja Birla, has always prioritised the importance of a child’s development.
The Trust has also established Mpower, a centre dedicated to creating awareness and ending the stigma associated with mental health.
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