Waves of Change

Sandhya Siddharth

waves
Time and again, we had indulged in introspection, repeatedly turning over numerous questions in our minds about education, about systems that put shackles on each of us, about the direction in which we were moving. A feeling of discontent and frustration was obvious. We were trying to change teaching and learning to make it meaningful and joyful, but were we impacting anything at all?

How were we going to realise the vision of becoming a school system that was child-centric with a challenging and meaningful curriculum that nurtured holistic development? Thus began our soul searching – for answers, ideas, strategies. We then set out to undertake a school audit by a professional external agency – The Teacher Foundation, Bangalore. It became very clear that any school development programme would need to address the school as a whole without isolating either the curriculum, teaching, learning, assessment, staff management or policies.
It had to encompass

  • Evolving a shared vision.
  • Teacher and Leadership Development.
  • Planning a curriculum which would focus on objectives, high order thinking skills, and language development.
  • Transforming teacher learning strategies from being teacher centric to being student centric.
  • Improving assessment practices.
  • Evolving behaviour expectations.
  • Building and enhancing learning spaces.

With the support of WATIS, we embarked on a training programme conducted by The Teacher Foundation. Since training all our teachers at once was going to be a financial strain, we sent our teachers in batches over three years.

In 2004 our efforts received a boost when we accepted the offer to sign up for the Whole School Transformation Program supported by WATIS. The project, spread over two years, had weekly and long duration workshops to address specific issues.

Many of us failed to understand why we were doing this. After all we were a reputed and popular school, securing good results in public exams. It took us time to convince our teachers, but there is always the possibility that all may never be convinced.

However, sustained workshops got us interacting, sharing and learning. Gradually teachers realised the importance of resources like reference worksheets, organisers, books, CDs, teaching aids, etc. The teachers began sharing their experiences, both good and bad. As they tried to weave in higher order thinking skills, the curriculum got more challenging, and they felt the need for more resources, ideas, etc. The wall had finally been broken… our learning had begun.

An in-house Teacher Resource Centre (TRC) came into being providing a learning space for teachers, underlying the importance of ongoing learning in the school community. It also meant networking with neighbourhood schools and sharing resources, ideas, and concerns.

In-house workshops, discussions, dialogues, organising educational film shows, and melas that encourage teachers to collaborate and share are some of the things one can expect of a TRC.

At the A V Educational Society, TRC members are entitled to 5-10 membership cards. Members can use the Internet, the books, the CDs, etc., and can attend workshops/programmes on a bi-monthly basis.

The AVTRC will organise regular programmes every third Saturday of the month for their teachers.

The AVTRC was inaugurated on November 3, 2007. Schools or teachers interested in participating in or becoming the members of the AVTRC can contact
Ms. Sandhya Siddharth at sundhya@yahoo.com.