The magic of sharing stories

Menaka Raman
Stories are the best ways to connect with people. For children’s author Menaka Raman, the best bit of writing books is that she gets to take them to schools and libraries and read to young children there. Did a joke she added the last minute land well with her readers? How did children react to the protagonist’s situation? What would they do in a similar situation? It is through these interactions that Menaka finds out if she has touched a chord with her book.

Teacher evaluation: time to rethink and reform

Dr. Gopal Midha and Dr. Tanushree Rawat
Evaluating and assessing students is a big part of the teacher’s job. It helps her understand where her students are on the learning graph and if and how she should change her teaching methodology. But what about the teacher herself? Who is to assess her performance? Are there systems in place to measure teacher effectiveness? Usually student performance is considered a reflection of the teacher’s performance, but is that all there is? How well a teacher knows and imparts her subject is only one aspect of measuring teacher effectiveness. Evaluating teachers and their teaching is a difficult and sensitive issue, but one that is also very important. While discussing the challenges of teacher evaluation, the cover stories in this issue also point to the tools one can use to make it fairer and more empathetic.

What art gives to the curriculum

Jaai Deolalkar and Sowmya Ravindranath
What is the place of art in education? Is art a subject? Does it have a curricular role? How then does one fan the fire of art engagement without an overwhelming focus on proficiency? When it comes to art and children – are we missing the trees for the forest?

Savitribai Phule and Fatima Sheikh: Pioneers of Indian education

Anjali Noronha
January is the birth month of two extraordinary women teachers – Savitribai Phule and Fatima Sheikh – who worked to uplift the downtrodden despite belonging to the less privileged sections of the society themselves. At a time when educating girls was shunned in society, these women braved insult, abuse, and atrocities to teach girls from the deprived communities.

Creating that sense of belonging

Anindita Bhattacharya
The need to belong has implications on our physical and mental health. A lack of belonging can cause depression or anti-social behaviour. The feeling of belonging, on the other hand, can positively affect academic performance and provide a lifetime of benefits. What skills will help students develop their sense of identity? What opportunities can schools provide to help students belong?

Learning to be human

Meenakshi Umesh
Work and education are inseparable. Play is the work of childhood and work is the play of childhood! The author delves deep into this taking us to her childhood as also explaining the approach at the school she is a part of. She also quotes Tagore, Tolstoy and Read to underscore the point.

Let us teachers continue to learn

Anjali Noronha
Teaching is perhaps one of the most challenging professions there is. The demands on the teacher are many — keep up with new knowledge, create innovative pedagogies, engage the student, stay abreast of the policies in education, tune in to the students and their needs, handle orders from school and answer questions from parents. While we are expecting all of this and more and asking a teacher to give us superior results, are we taking care of a teacher’s needs and giving her an environment that will help her grow? Given that professional development is not systematic and organized in the country, how can a teacher keep up?

The myth of the unbiased teacher

Kavita Anand
We all carry biases and many times are unaware of these biases ourselves. Teachers are human too; they not only have biases but carry them to the classrooms! Is this a matter of concern for them? Textbooks the teachers use too carry biases – those of the textbook writers. In what ways can these biases affect the students? How can teachers get rid of these biases? How do biases play out in times of artificial intelligence.