Month: April 2018

Read now to be a great teacher!

‘Without Teachers, there would be no other professions’, said a very wise someone. Teachers are critical for the society to sustain, evolve and introspect. There are hundreds of Awards across the Globe to recognize teachers who empower students and communities. Some of the renowned ones like The Global Teacher Prize, India’s very own National Awards and The Milken Educator Award, USA identify teachers who have made a great impact on their students, schools, and communities.


The evaluation criteria of these 3 Prestigious Teacher recognitions are as follows:

Focus Parameters Global Teacher Prize (2018)


National Award for Teachers (2017) -IndiaNTA Milken Educator Award (2017-18) -USA


Dedication towards profession Achieving student learning outcomes in the classroom Commitment to his/her vocation beyond the call of duty Exceptional educational talent as evidenced by effective instructional practices and student learning results in the classroom and school
Contribution(s) beyond the classroom Recognition of a teacher’s achievements in the classroom and beyond General reputation of the teacher Individuals whose contributions to education are largely unheralded yet worthy of the spotlight
Displaying innovative leadership traits Employing innovative and effective instructional practices Creativity and innovation in teaching practices Early- to mid-career educators who offer a strong long-range potential for professional and policy leadership
Being an active Mentor Helping children become global citizens through providing them with a values-based education High degree of social awareness with special reference to the needs of children Engaging and inspiring presence that motivates and impacts students, colleagues, and the community
Excellence as a Role Model Achievements in the community beyond the classroom that provide unique and distinguished models of excellence Active participation in life and activities of the society at large Exemplary educational accomplishments beyond the classroom that provide models of excellence for the profession
Drive for continuous professional development Encouraging teachers to stay in the profession and develop their skills Academic acumen and upgrading through participation in orientation programs/ refresher courses/ workshops, etc.


Among the above mentioned 3 Awards, and other notable teacher recognitions in the world, we derived 5 criteria that commonly emerged across the board, which distinguished great teachers from good ones:

  • Consistent achievement of stellar Academic results
  • Active involvement in school and community life
  • Implementation of novel learning techniques for improving student learning levels
  • Being aware of global trends in education and their implementations
  • Being involved in continuous professional development programs


global teacher prize
The Global Teacher Prize 2018 edition winner- Mrs. Andria Zafirakou


The Miliken Award Ceremony
national award
The National Award for Teachers (India)







While Awards are not the only yardstick to measure the tremendous hard work put in by millions of teachers in our Educational Institutions, it serves them well to know the key areas of focus for Teacher development.


Want your teachers to be trained on global trends and become certified mentors to the students?

Click Here to schedule a discussion with Emily Jonathon, School Advisor-Asia Support Team, UCLA Extension



CLICK HERE to access the full list of winners for Global Teacher Prize (2018)

CLICK HERE to access the full list of winners for National Award for Teachers (2016)

CLICK HERE to access the full list of winners for Milken Educator Award (2017-18)


To apply for the Global Teacher Prize: Please click HERE

You can read more about the National Award for Teachers HERE

You can read more about the Milken Award HERE

Is that Teacher Training any good?

As per an OECD report, nearly 89% of teachers across 23 countries were involved in some sort of a professional development program. Informal dialogue to improve teaching as well as being enrolled in relevant courses saw more than 80% participation rates from teachers. Taking a cue from global teacher training trends, the MHRD has decided to train 11 lakh teachers across India under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. These include nearly 6 lakh government and 5 lakh private school teachers.


In the last 13 years, nearly two-thirds of World Bank education projects had teacher professional development components. Still, Teacher training remains a drop in the bucket relative to national expenditures.

Do we need more programs to fill the gap? Sure! But do we know how good are the ones we already have?

In 2016,  the World Bank searched for existing instruments that would help them map the nature of Global Teacher Training Programs.  But came up with naught. So, it created its own teacher training survey instrument. It surveyed 26 of the world’s largest Teacher Training Programs to arrive at a host of features that characterized an effective Teacher Training Program.

This, along with our own extensive experience helped us list the features that are clear winners. These are what distinguish a Great Teacher Training Program from a good one.

1 Additional Reference Material

While the course modules are critical, the additional reading material has a significant impact on what can be considered a successful Teacher Training Program. This material encourages teachers to go beyond the prescribed training curriculum to research the ambit in its entirety. The repository of additional reference material could be in the form of reading material, webinars & Academic Research papers among others.

It is important here to make the distinction between ‘Reading material’ for teacher training & ‘Teaching Material’ for student learning.

2Impact on Classroom Engagement

The impact of a program on the teacher’s ability to make her subject and classroom more engaging also emerged as a critical factor. Helping students make the connection between a subject and its real-life application helps in improving learning outcomes.

3Delivered through Blended Learning

A training program that includes online modules with elements of physical training or intervention is an effective format for the teacher of this era.

4‘LIVE’ Programs

Just like school textbooks, training program curricula is often outdated. This can defeat the whole purpose of training. Updated knowledge through outdated course modules is not achievable. Continuously updated as per latest global trends, techniques, and practices in the teaching domain. This adds the “LIVE” component to an otherwise static program. The course should be modified with the correct exam patterns, student learning techniques, etc.

5Regular Assessments

A program that integrates assessments at regular intervals can help teachers monitor their own pace and depth of learning, identify gaps and supplement with support from additional reference material provided during the training.

Feedback from candidates

Integrating feedback from candidates who have/are undergoing the program, to improve it is a mean task. But, a seriously evolved training program does that effectively to make it ‘learner-centric’. This is also a major factor in making the program ‘LIVE’ through organic, learner-led improvements

To know more about globally best-selling teacher training programs from UCLA Extension

Click Here

It’s never too early to talk about careers!

Gallup conducted a survey in 2017 and among those surveyed, 51% of the adult respondents said that they would like to change an aspect of their higher education. 51 %!! While the number seems high as it is, whenever I have had the opportunity to interact with the students at the college level or in their first jobs, I feel the percentage is much higher…

More than 32,500 students from 43 randomly selected colleges, both public and private, responded to the survey last year. About 34 percent of those students indicated they were confident that they would graduate with the know-how to succeed in the job market, and 36 percent said they believed they had the skills and knowledge to be successful in their careers.

” Students are not nearly as prepared as they could or should be, and they actually know it while they’re in college,” said Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup’s higher education division.

I wonder what changes in a college setup that the students suddenly realize that the career path that they set out upon was perhaps not the ideal one. Hmm.. could it be that they actually learn more about the career path that they set out to study? It seems like a deceptively simple statement. Is college the first point of exposure for the student about the career that he had chosen? How did he choose the career in the first place?

Things have changed a lot since I left school. Careers were something that you heard about from your uncles and friends. There were certain careers with a “Halo” around it- you know the preferred ones that everyone ended up doing. Only once we hit college, did we actually realize that this was not our chosen career path and our interests were different.

Nowadays almost every school worth its salt conducts a lot of activities around career counseling, career fairs, and the whole rigmarole. Things have changed.. or have they? The survey results cited above clearly indicate that perhaps we have moved far beyond the starting line just to have strayed back to it.

Instead of just informing students about colleges, can we expose them to careers at an early age? And can this introduction happen in an organic fashion? Can the conversation about careers be linked with the subjects that the students study?
After all isn’t civics the basis of Law and don’t the different civilization styles in History give a preview to different architectural styles. It is important for students to understand their natural skill sets to understand the careers best suited for them. Career options should not be dictated, they should be chosen by the student based
on his or her aptitude. And this choice should not be made in college or in your first job, it’s a realization that the student should come to on his own… much before college. The subjects that are selected in the senior school should not be based on the marks obtained, but based on the natural skills and inclination of the student and completely related to the career that he wants to pursue. Just like “Halo” careers should not exist, “halo” subject streams should neither.

A world where the students understand their strengths and skills, choose their
career streams accordingly will not only lead to happy students but will also transform the society. Why should I take a roundabout trip to my dream job, why should I change multiple courses or careers before I finally understand my skill set? It is said that the journey is as important as the destination. But land me in my dream career and I’ll take the vacation and do the journey!