Lessons for life

Gita Krenek

Rules are important for no society can function without them. But insistence on blind obedience of rules only encourages passive acceptance. As responsible influential adults in the lives of children, teachers have to ensure that they nurture critically thinking children who understand and imbibe the values behind those rules. And perhaps the best way to do this is perhaps to become role models they can emulate.

A courageous classroom culture

Chintan Girish Modi

Are human beings capable of achieving great feats? Can a heroic act be attempted by ordinary individuals? How can we nurture heroism in the classroom? Heroism is an attitude , the act of heroism is being able to take the jump into the unknown, to take a stand, to ask why or even to challenge the status quo. Can these attributes or heroic habits be developed ? Can a teacher be a hero by willing to take risks in terms of the pedagogic choices she makes, by her presence in the classroom, in the way she relates to her students? Answers to these questions can help decide whether we are all heroes in waiting.

Beyond justification: what students learn from the arts

Jessica Hoffmann Davis

The arts have always had to fight for their space in the curriculum. To justify the presence of the arts we talk about the value they add in our learning of the “more important” subjects. While it is true that we can learn math from the beats of the drum, language through song and science from works of art, perhaps arts should be taught not for what they do in service of other subjects but for the intrinsic value they bring to us as human beings.

Start, Camera, Caution!

Ardra Balachandran

CCTVs in the classroom, cameras in the toilets…. can this happen in schools in our country? Make no mistake. Slowly, but surely, Big Brother keeping a watch on teachers and children is becoming a reality. This idea of school surveillance is our Cover Story this month and our correspondent spoke to several teachers and students to get their view on this invasive mechanism. The use of CCTVs in classrooms and schools may have improved safety systems, but using them to monitor teacher activity has raised a few hackles. Is surveillance or monitoring necessary to run a system? How far can one go and when does it become invasive? The questions are many and the answers difficult to comprehend.

Sustaining vision: replication or renewal?

G. Gautama

By striking a different path in the field of education, alternative ideas have made a space for themselves.There are more people experimenting today than before. But unlike what is popularly known as the “mainstream”, alternative ideas haven’t yet managed to take strong root. Some alternative ideas have succeeded, others have faltered. What is it that helps sustain an idea? Is there a model that can be followed?

The Heart of the Matter

Susheela Punitha
Devraj, who teaches undergraduates, is entrusted with an additional task of taking evening classes in the absence of another teacher. Does Devraj live up to his new role or does he find teaching burdensome? How does he tackle the unruly set of students that he sets about to teach? Does he manage to win their hearts with his patience and motivated talk? This story wins the first place.

How teachers are diversifying

Mehak Siddiqui

The teachers of today are no longer confined to the four walls of a classroom. The role of the teacher has become multi-dimensional now from its earlier uni dimensional avatar. More and more teachers are finding that they can put their skills and experience to use even outside the classroom. Whether as examiners for standardized tests, curriculum designers or trainers, teachers have these and many more options to choose from.

The pros and cons of outsourced testing

Garima Bansal
The introduction of CCE has compelled teachers to assess students’ learning levels continuously, provide timely feedback and remediation. This has increased the workload of teachers leading to stress and overwork. In this scenario, the notion of outsourcing assessment by schools to external bodies has gained ground. What are the pros and cons of this kind of outsourced testing? Is it a convenient tool to assess students’ learning levels comprehensively? Are all schools able to invest in technology and human resources? Finally, what are the positive effects for the teaching- learning process?

(Un)learning economics

Alex M Thomas

Economics textbooks teach students only the now popular and mainstream economics otherwise called ‘neo classical economics’. But studying this will be a uni-dimensional way of understanding the subject especially when several noted economists have charted out different ways of understanding the subject. So to understand what economics is we have to unlearn what we learnt as economics and explore the subject in several different ways.

Navigating the non-curricular stream

Devika Nadig
Most schools have a purpose and goal in their educational process that can be broadly divided into economic and social. This is towards attaining what is called ‘holistic development’ of the child. But how can the schools realign their goals to include certain individual aspirations of some students ? This is something that needs attention and is now neglected. Here are some smart strategies that schools can employ given the complexity of achieiving the two important goals — one that is school driven and the other that is individualised