Month: July 2018

Changing Face of Global Classrooms

With an ever-increasing level of uncertainty about the future, be it in terms of skills or jobs, it is imperative that students are better prepared. Three International Institutes have been implementing innovative practices in their classrooms to help their students be future-ready. These have not only erased the physical boundaries of a regular classroom but have ended up transforming them like never before.

 

Global Classroom
Image source: https://flipedu.parenting.com.tw

A Virtual Experience

Established in 2006, Stanford Online High School (Stanford OHS) has been one of the first schools to have embraced the power of digital learning, that too in a big way! The school has been consistently featured as one of the best schools in USA by Business Insider.

The school, which has produced one of the highest enrollment rates in Ivy League colleges, has been implemented entirely online. Some of the key features of this virtual school are:

  • Virtual classrooms: Classes are conducted online through a dedicated platform. On an average, around 12-15 students are part of one class with a teacher, along with readily available class materials. Students can ‘virtually’ raise their hands to answer questions and meet up for a virtual discussion.
  • Global connect: Students from all around the world can tune into the classroom
    Global Connect
    Image Source: https://ohs.stanford.edu

    through video-conferencing technology. So one wouldn’t be surprised if the same class had students from all 7 continents answering a question on Hitler’s invasion of Austria!

  • Proactive Career Counselling Network: The career counselling unit at Stanford OHS works with students and families to chart out career plans. They help in identifying the student’s interests, personality and aptitude to identify best-fit career choices.

 

LearningLearning through collaboration

A legacy institute like Phillips Exeter tops the list when it comes to introducing collaborative learning in the classroom.

Established in 1781, this school has been consistently ranked as one of the best schools in USA, and even in the world! The school has alumni ranging from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to renowned novelist Dan Brown.

The school has implemented the Harkness philosophy, under which a group of 12 students sit around an oval table to explore a topic, with a teacher serving as a facilitator. The following 3 elements are included in this:

  • Space: An oval table has long been the accepted statement piece to denote collaborative learning spaces.
  • Student-centric: With students discussing topics from geography to politics, it is ensured that a sense of equality is achieved within the classroom. This helps in developing a sense of tolerance and sharing in the classroom.
  • Discussion mode on: With lectures being replaced by active student engagement, the classroom learning becomes experiential and more peer-based. Here, a ‘one size fits all’ approach is no longer valid as every participant receives a fresh perspective out of the discussion.

 

Hands on experience, Matters!

A recent addition to disruptive education has been Ecole 42, a coding school in Paris which has no teachers!

The school was set up by Xavier Niel, a French billionaire in 2013. It is a free school and works entirely on the system of merit. Assignments are meted out to students right from their entrance tests and all the way to the very end of their duration in the school.

Some of the key features of this school are:

  • Rigorous selection: All prospective students have to undergo a one-month long entrance test to secure a place at the school. Students who manage to clear the assignment-based tests get to attend the school for free for the next 3-5 years.
  • Time management: At 8:42 every morning, students get digital projects to complete. This has a deadline of 48 hours and thus, requires them to manage all their activities in a time-bound manner.
  • Gamified learning: All the modules (be it tech integration, AI module development or formulating algorithms) and languages (Python, C, etc.) have given rise to a virtual gaming experience for students. All their assignments require earning points in order to advance to the next level.

 

 

To prepare a future-ready workforce, our students today need to be more hands-on than just being rote learners. Thus, teaching practices are evolving to cater to an ever-increasing need for skilled students who can take any problem thrown at them head-on.

 

Has your school incorporated any cutting-edge innovations in its classroom? Let us know by emailing us at

mary.joseph@univariety.com

Who knows? Your innovative classroom practices might end up being added in our next blog!

How to be an effective Mentor to Students

Professional development of teachers has been advocated by the government and academia over the past few years, and a number of programs have been introduced. But is your teacher training program giving REAL results? Let us help you understand how you can derive the maximum benefits out of your school’s teacher training program. And consequently, develop an active mentor-network in your school.

 

Is your teacher training program ‘Dead’?

Any comprehensive teacher training program worth its name is usually expensive and stretches over a stipulated duration. While the training is on, a teacher is exposed to multiple concepts, from improving teaching practices to counselling students. The catch is that this requires implementation in real time classrooms and thus, it is essential to have guidance and opportunities within the school. The reason is that as soon as the training is over, teachers are pushed back into the same classrooms without any effective handholding or guidance or even a peer network to discuss and monitor progress.

 

A typical teacher training program has the following elements:

  • Lecture style of delivery – Conveying theoretical concepts over a platform
  • Practical exercises – Providing a hands-on experience for teachers

But what they miss out on are:

  • Effective reinforcements to track actual progress
  • Guidance from senior teachers
  • Recognition from the school’s leadership and peers

For a teacher training program to be successful, it is essential to have positive reinforcements introduced within the school. Adult learning takes place more efficiently when it is interspersed with reinforcements.

 

How Oakridge International builds mentors

One of the leading schools of the country has implemented the Global Career Catalyst Program by UCLA Extension to develop its teachers as effective mentors. Under this program, teachers are made aware of the cutting-edge practices in the domains of career counselling for students.

A follow-up program like its ‘Mentor of the Month’ is essential since a teacher needs to be hands-on with career discussions in the classroom. Through this program, the school leadership selects teachers who have been able to provide clear guidance to their students in terms of courses and careers.

CLICK HERE to have a detailed discussion regarding Oakridge’s Mentor Program

 

How do these programs help?

As per Vroom’s Expectancy Theory, teachers are more motivated to excel and work harder if they know about the rewards and recognitions that lay ahead of them. By having a school principal felicitate teachers for their outstanding contribution of being an able mentor for students, it helps in bringing in a positive effect on the school’s learning environment.

The benefits of this would develop along the following lines:

 

Development of new mentors for students

This can be done by having senior teachers handhold their junior teachers in becoming better mentors. In this way, new teachers would get an opportunity to implement the learnings from their training in the classroom. This would also help in building rapport and credibility on campus. A new line of able student mentors would be built at the end of the process, thus contributing to your school’s learning environment.

For additional reading, refer to Why Teachers Require Mentors.

 

From the classroom to the staff room

By having teacher felicitation ceremonies on campus, your school’s staffroom would be a place buzzing with activity. By having teacher success stories being discussed in the classroom, teachers would become more aware about what a certain teacher is doing to up her practice, and they would be inspired to work towards improving their own skills.

 

Development of a Feedback system

By having senior teachers mentor other teachers on various facets of teaching from tips to increase classroom engagement to building rapport with students, this would help put in place a periodic review system. This would help teachers to engage and discuss improved techniques on campus which would ultimately benefit the students learning. A positive reinforcement technique when implemented at the ground level, would transform the learning environment of your school.

 

By adopting training programs with positive reinforcement systems in place, your teachers will not only be able to mentor your students better but also contribute to the overall learning community on campus.

 

To learn more about how you can make a positive change in your Teacher Training program 

CLICK HERE

 

Why Teachers Require Mentors

 

When Teachers, whether fresh out of a B.Ed. Program or with years of experience, join your School, they need extensive support to settle in quickly. The faster they adapt to the new working environment, the quicker they will be able to settle into their teaching.

What are the challenges?

Mentor Needed!

 

Teachers face a number of issues while settling into a new environment, and this can possibly affect their productivity. Some of the core issues are:

  • Learning to plan: Teachers right out of a B.Ed. program have limited exposure in preparing lesson plans for real-time classrooms. This is a skill which takes time to develop and thus, it serves as a major obstacle for new joiners. Making this activity more stressful is the pressure to complete the curriculum on time. Imagine having a deadline of 2 months to finish 10 chapters for term exams!
  • Adjusting to the new environment: Teachers who have relocated or shifted to a different location have to acclimatize to the new place. Stress can accumulate and build up as they search for a new accommodation, understand the geography and understand the students. A teacher might have to work with students from a different curriculum or of a different cultural orientation which could make it more challenging.
  • Making a mark: Teachers who have relocated to a newer school need to find their place in the new school setup. This adds an extra sense of stress and powerlessness as one needs to start all over again. This has two dimensions attached to it:
    1. Social: Building rapport with peers and with a new set of students and their parents,
    2. Professional: Growing into the new role and adding value to the school management.
  • Learning new skills: Fresh B.Ed. graduates, usually have limited working knowledge of the administrative aspect of their teaching job. When confronted with the integral responsibility of evaluating students, awarding grades and so on, it can take a toll on new joiners. This is usually an overlooked aspect of a teacher’s job but marks as one of their KRAs.

How to address this?

Simple! By having senior teachers, who can serve as mentors to the new joiners in the system, your school can promote increased productivity.  This can be achieved through a 3 step process:

Induction

Induction 

Like every organization, even a school needs to have an induction session for all its new teachers. Here’s how can you make your induction better:

Make it engaging: Have a group of senior teachers conduct this process through interactive sessions and games. This will not only break the ice but also serve as a possible point for rapport-building between teachers

Discussing the serious stuff: Cover all the evaluation processes in an overview. The details can be introduced over a period of time but the basics like lesson planning, administrative requirements, etc. must be covered.

Providing relevant details: Introduce the different ‘go-to’ people within the school premises, say the admin manager, transport in charge, or anyone else whom the new teachers would be interacting with on a day-to-day basis.

 

 

Professional Development

Introduce Professional Development Programs

These programs provide newer teachers with an opportunity to experience a sense of belonging. Through premium professional development programs like UCLA Extension’s Global Career Catalyst (GCC), the following can be achieved:

Increased classroom engagement: They will be better able to integrate subjects and career discussions within the classroom. This helps new teachers in breaking the ice with their students and helps in increased classroom engagement.

Improved rapport with parents: PTA meetings are no longer meet and greets. Today they include more in-depth interaction between teachers and parents. By being able to guide parents in promoting better career decisions for students, a new teacher would be better received by the parents.

A sense of reward: New teachers would feel recognized by the school management by receiving a course completion certificate. The UCLA Extension’s certificate has a certain amount of value attached to it and thus it helps teachers feel valued.

 

 

School

GCC Participants at a Leading School

 

Mentors Provide Mentors for Teachers

 In this system, an experienced teacher is usually assigned to a teacher from within or outside the school premises. This system usually follows a longer term (beyond 2 years) and includes planning for the future. It has a number of benefits attached to it:

Constructive Feedback: The mentor usually plays the role of an observer more than that of an evaluator, thus her feedback could resonate more with the new teacher. She would no longer feel that she is being evaluated.

Increased performance: A mentor observes rather than evaluates and can thus help in monitoring progress. A mentor can visit the new teacher’s classes and help in identifying possible areas of improvement, like effective lecture delivery.

Better informed students: The end result of having senior teachers handhold new teachers ultimately translates into better results for students. After gaining exposure, new teachers can bring in effective teaching strategies to the classroom, thus promoting student welfare.

 

Every school requires quality mentor programs to guide its teachers and students, and thus ensure that the school as a whole transforms into a learning community.

 

To Know More about how you can introduce Professional Development in your school to create Mentors

CLICK HERE

 

3 ways to address Student Stress

School forms an integral part of a student’s life with academics and extra-curricular activities playing an essential part. What is surprising is the fact that it could lead to increased stress levels for students themselves.

As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), every hour a student commits suicide in India. What actually leads to this alarming number? Allow us to guide you through this dark aspect of the Indian education system.

Causes of Student Stress

  • Academic Pressure:

Academic Pressure

 

With cut-offs at colleges being set at 100%, there’s very little reason to not believe that academics isn’t the biggest contributor to student stress and anxiety. This stress is not just reserved for Board Classes of 10th and 12th, but has extended to kids as young as those in Class 5th and 6th.

Children at even this level are actually being asked to get into early coaching classes for IIT JEE preparation and work towards a goal that they haven’t dreamt of. In certain other cases, where students have learning disorders, this situation aggravates even further.

Academic Pressure

 

How can you address this?

  • Incorporate periodic teacher interventions where each student gets individualized attention where he or she can voice their concerns.
  • Introduce 10-minute Vipassana (Meditation) sessions before and after class sessions to increase focus and reduce stress levels for students. Read more about the importance of Meditation in schools here.
  • Connect with CBSE’s Student Helpline Number: 1800118004 for external guidance.
  • Have a special unit on campus to address the learning needs of children with special needs and learning problems. Read here to know more about it.
  • Conduct weekly sessions between students and your school’s psychological counsellor. The activity can be monitored by the school management and the student’s progress can be tracked over a period of time. Parents can be involved as an active participant in the same by sharing weekly updates with them.

 

  • Career pressure

Career and college concerns start plaguing a student’s mind as soon as they enter senior classes. The additional decisions that need to be taken such as stream selection, college applications and entrance tests to appear for, add to the list of things the student has to worry about.

Usually, an uncertainty about the future can affect even the brightest of students. Thus, this stress on its own is quite significant as it actually makes or breaks a student’s future.

Career Pressure

 

How can you address this?

  • Conduct career counselling sessions with students and their parents so as to have realistic expectations from day one.
  • Conduct workshops to make students aware of the different career options available, from traditional professions to upcoming ones. Read more on this here.
  • Train teachers to be better prepared to address career discussions within the classroom. By training teachers, students are sensitized to natural conversations on careers and can start planning in advance, rather than make last-minute decisions and compromised career choices. Through the Global Career Catalyst certification program from UCLA Extension, teachers can become catalysts in shaping their students’ future. Read more about this here.

 

  • Parental & Social Pressure:

It is extremely common for most students to have some experience where they’ve been compared to a certain Sharma ji ka beta. The dream of seeing their child successful usually drives parents to a point where only the end results matter.

Parental & Social Pressure

Friends and relatives have their own respective roles to play when it comes to adding on to the child’s share of pressures.  Relatives play the role of ‘advisors’ when it comes to making course and career choices. This advice is usually based on hearsay and not based on actual consideration of the child’s interest or aptitude. What this does is that it creates a vicious process of pressure for the child.

Parental & Social Pressure

 

How can you address this?

  • Invite parents for counselling sessions on campus where they can be updated on their ward’s progress and how his performance can be improved.
  • Teachers can incorporate clear and continuous communication strategies with parents to build trust. This resource will help teachers identify effective techniques to build communication with parents to promote student learning.
  • Arrange workshops to understand the types of peer pressure and how those can be identified and dealt with. This resource will help your educators be better prepared in mitigating this issue on campus.

 

To know more about how you can reduce your students’ career stress,

CLICK HERE

 

National Teacher Awardee’s take on Today’s Teacher

A teacher’s role has usually been associated with great respect and prestige but now that role is undergoing a rapid transformation. The notion of ‘Who is an Ideal teacher’ has undergone a rapid transformation over the past few years. Today, we have Mrs Lata Vaidyanthan, former Principal of Modern School, Barakhamba Road –Delhi sharing her views on what an Ideal teacher is like in today’s time and age.

About Mrs Lata Vaidyanthan

Mrs. Vaidyanthan is a renowned educator with over three-and-a-half decades of experience. She has been the Prinicpal of Modern School Barakhmaba Road, Delhi, Eicher School, Parwanoo and Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, Chandigrah. She has been actively involved in community development through her outreach programs and has been a leading practitioner of Total Quality Management system in education. She is a firm believer of the Multiple Intelligence system and in implementing burden free education to promote effective learning.

 

Mrs, Vaidyanthan has been facilitated with a number of awards for her outstanding contribution to the Indian education system:

• National Award to Teachers
Dr. Radhakrishna Award
• Bharat Shiromani Award
• Madhav Gourav Ratna Achievement Award
• International Lifetime Achievement Award
• Global Warming Reduction Award
Educationist of the Year Award

 

She is currently serving as:

• Member of Board of Management – National Bal Bhavan
• Director of EdCIL India Ltd.
• Member of Executive Committee of NCERT

 

 

 

 

 

According to Mrs Lata Vaidyanthan, a modern teacher has three important roles to play:

1. Source of Guidance: A student spends a number of hours in the school with the teacher. During that time the focus needs to be more than just transaction of content. A subject is just a point of contact between a teacher and a student. The teacher can serve as a source of enlightenment for the child by transferring her entire self to the child. The motive of this information transfer id to make a child feel worthy of his life.

 

2. Conversationalist: A Teacher lends her experience to humanize the learning for her student. This is irreplaceable by any form of technology. One usually remembers his teachers not on the actual content that was actually taught in the classroom but for the way the content was taught. For example, a Physics teacher might integrate real mechanics demonstration in the classroom to help students understand force diagrams better. Techniques like these which make a student learn better or the conversations that they have with the teacher are what serve as triggering points.

 

3. Active Learner: Children these days are digital natives as they are not only learning the technological advances faster than adults but are also better at it. In order to stay relevant, a teacher needs to expand her bandwidth so as to retain her influence on the student. Thus, there is an active need for teachers to update and train by dedicating time.

 

Why is Teacher Training essential according to Mrs Lata Vaidyanathan?

  • Teacher training is indeed an ongoing process as no one is perfect and requires training and mentoring to up-skill themselves. It is critical that each school has a certain time duration mandated for training for its teacher community. Teacher development is should be seen as an investment as teachers are grooming the future of the country i.e. the student.
  • Every school should have the Global Career Catalyst program incorporated as a part of their teachers’ continuous development initiative as it leads to the creation of a learning ecosystem within the school. Teachers can’t be the whole reaction but they can be an effective catalyst to shape a student’s life.

 

If you agree with Mrs Lata Vaidyanthan and wish to incorporate such cutting-edge teacher training practices at your school

CLICK HERE