Children and education: why policy matters

Anjali Noronha
Finally after a long gap of more than 25 years, India is ready to overhaul its education policy. A draft of the much needed and awaited New Education Policy was released in June this year to public scrutiny, advice and suggestions. As the committee led by Dr. K. Kasturirangan sieves through the overwhelming feedback received and finalizes India’s New Education Policy, eminent educationists look at and comment on the document for Teacher Plus and its readers.

Embracing risk and uncertainty

Sheela Ramakrishnan
Can a teacher afford to take risks in her class and experiment with newer ways of teaching? Or should she stick to the tried and tested path, of not leaving her comfort zone? The moot question is how can she even begin to think out of the box? The first step would be to nurture a mindset that says that it is alright to fail and to start looking at effort and not result. Fear and failure need to be a part of the process of learning. This month’s Cover theme looks at risk and experimentation in the classroom.

An exchange of stories: what I remember my students by

Ankita Rajasekharan
As a new teacher, Ankita always presented herself as someone that her students could grow into. But a book, a cloud and several beautiful experiences later, she now understands that she is not their inspiration. It is the other way round.

A room where no one hears the bell

Sunita Biswas
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.

Beyond the culture of fear

Lakshmi Karunakaran
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.

Playing outside school spaces

Anirban Ghosh
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.

How do we handle holiday homework?

Ankita Rajasekharan

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?

Public education and its social accounting

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.

Breaking news, making news, faking news

Usha Raman

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.

Entrepreneurship in education: the way forward?

Nupur Hukmani
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.