A matter of our times

Usha Raman
History as a school subject is a pedagogic challenge. More often than not, it always comes under pressure of nation-building more than other subjects. The role of history in arousing an interest in the past and respect for it and also imparting the means to study it usually gets sidelined. As the constant revisions of our school textbooks suggest, history is very much a matter of our times.

Being polite to being nice

Usha Raman
Are being polite and helpful no longer valued? It is almost as if we are conditioned to expect rudeness all the time, so much so that little acts of kindness take us by surprise. We need societies that are more considerate and pleasant to live in and clearly moral science classes are not the way to build them. So how do we build polite and nice societies?

We need more than lip service

Usha Raman
How can teachers be given their due? While rewards and awards do exist, the profession as such is not considered valuable or important as compared to say, medicine or engineering. The best way would be to get society to acknowledge that this is a keystone profession, one without which other professions cannot grow.

Productive disruptions

Usha Raman
As much as the world outside is tumultuous and conflict-ridden that much we like to keep our classrooms calm and quiet. In our effort to maintain the serenity in our classrooms and avoid disturbances, however, we often ignore opportunities to effect necessary changes.

Getting smart about data

Usha Raman>
Data has always been a crucial component in the education space even before the advent of the Internet. But in recent times, with new tools emerging to collect data, there is a need to be aware of the possibilities and pitfalls of using data. Schools and educators of late are growing increasingly dependent on edtech firms which have access to important data that is linked to individual identities. Therefore caution is the need of the hour – treat data as a friend and not as a foe but also ask important questions along the way.

Information and inspiration

Usha Raman
Climate change is not a fad; it is a reality that is staring us in our faces. We talk about it, attend seminars on it, take out marches to protest against it, and then we go back to our high consuming lifestyles. As the biggest threat to human survival, climate change is something that we have to respond to, both as a society and as individuals, consistently and regularly like a ritual.

Figuring out what’s (not) working

Usha Raman
While there has always been a learning gap in our country, the pandemic has only served to deepen the divide. Though enrollment in schools has increased and drop out rates have declined, teacher shortages, absenteeism and poor infrastructure continue to pose severe problems. So what is really happening inside our schools? The Annual State of Education Report (ASER), that is produced every year by Pratham gives us an insight into the issue. It helps us look at the macro picture and provides evidence as to where and why the learning gap exists.

SEL: That special ingredient

Usha Raman
Over the last few months, life has almost returned to normalcy and the virus that threatened to consume us all is no longer being seen as a killer. The effects of the pandemic, however, continue to linger, both in terms of physical health and mental. Now more than ever, empathy and emotional support are important. Social and emotional learning can aid us in rebuilding our classrooms and societies.

Tackling the tsundoku

Usha Raman
Do you have books piled up on your shelf that you intend to read later? In that case, you would most likely be part of a tribe that engages in tsundoku. Tsundoku, a Japanese word, is a practice that has been around forever but was recently popularized by social media. Most of us who are bookworms cannot resist buying books with a promise to ourselves that we will certainly read them all at ‘some time’. The books get piled up and although we do manage to read one or two books, we know that there is always more to pick from the pile.

It’s always possible to learn new tricks!

Usha Raman
You are never too old to learn something new. Learning is second nature especially for teachers. Whether it is finding new ways of managing the classroom, or developing new teaching techniques, or discovering new facets of their students, teachers never stop learning. Learning and growing is human nature and that is why if one has the curiosity and the willingness, one can learn anything at any age.