Staff rooms in schools are spaces with endless possibilities for fascinating journeys. While they can mean different things to different people —- either a sanctum for communication and collaboration or just simply a place to unwind, or a breeding ground for gossip and discord, there is no denying that staff room dynamics reflect the attitudes, values and work ethics of the school as a whole. What is important however is that the dynamics can also generate a synergy that is both productive and creative.
When you arrive at your school every morning, does it welcome you with a smile and open arms? Or are you overwhelmed by it? Discipline, punishment, rules and authority are words usually associated with schools. But how do teachers teach freely when bound by rules? Can children learn when gripped by fear? Learning environments must be happy and safe places, if any learning is to happen at all. Happy people and some minor adjustments in terms of infrastructure is all that you need to create welcoming learning spaces.
Physical Education needs to be redefined from its present idea of regimented drills, marching and annual sports days. Children must have access to proper play spaces to engage in rigorous physical activity either through games, free play or any other sport. A look at how sports can be taken out of the confines of school spaces.
Is holiday homework an oxymoron? Every child you know wants to be left free during the holidays. Most parents however believe that too much freedom will spoil their children. Therefore schools step in to give their students holiday homework that they believe is both fun and educative. But between reluctant children, distressed parents and anxious schools, does holiday homework achieve the results it is meant to?
Alex M. Thomas & Varun Nallur
How much does the Government spend on education? Should school leaders and teachers engage themselves with this exercise to know and learn how their own schools allocate their funds? Does a lower allocation mean that there is a learning crisis or even a shortage of teachers? The manner in which this kind of data is collected, classified and analyzed can yield useful insights.
Once upon a time we used to consume news through our morning newspapers or the TV at dinner. Today news has become perennial. We are constantly surrounded by it. Every ordinary citizen is able to dispense news, journalists are competing to bring us breaking news and opportunists are looking to take advantage. The ability to sift through this barrage of news stories is becoming more and more necessary. Try out some of these exercises to help your students cultivate the ability to consume news.
Has entrepreneurship in the education sector become a movement that is reflective of a trend that is likely to revolutionise this space in the coming years? While there are huge challenges to be met especially in the government schools in the rural areas, what is heartwarming is the rise of a new breed of innovators who are trying to create a new supply of public and private schools and school systems.
Why do we value only that which is measurable and devalue things that cannot be measured? Math, science and computers are valued because they can be measured in terms of their gains to the establishment while the other subjects are not. Schools are places of learning and an approach where the difficult- to- measure attributes are given due attention will make for a more sensitive and humane society. Our Cover theme this month explores the science versus the arts narrative.
The idea that the school is a safe haven is fast turning utopian. From the moment a child leaves for school until he gets back home safely, a parent is more often than not anxious. Transport mishaps, accidents on the playground, physical and mental abuse, infrastructural lapses, danger seems to be lurking everywhere and all the time. Let us work to make schools safe again.