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.

Sweating the small stuff

Usha Raman
Why does caring for the details matter? Detailing is a skill that needs to be acquired because it is the details that create the magic in any sphere of activity. When we pay attention to the little things, big things can happen giving us a feeling of satisfaction that ‘we did it right’. The little things also teach us some important life lessons. Teachers need to inculcate these skills in their students so that they realize it is the small stuff that leads to perfection.

Sciences beyond silos

Usha Raman
When we think of science, we think of biology, chemistry and physics separately, why then are we talking of general science? science maybe taught and learnt in three different periods in school but in life it is connected and our pedagogy must reflect this so that children are able to understand this fact. This issue of Teacher Plus explores how we can look at science through a single lens.

Difference need not be disruptive

Usha Raman
The ‘hijab row” is now an issue that the nation is caught up with. How does the ban on the hijab make students better learners or more focused on their education? When we talk of inclusion, should we not be providing flexible and open spaces so that there is room for dialogue, so that children will stay in school and not drop out of studies altogether?

Time to recharge

Usha Raman
After two years of complete or partial lockdowns and meeting online, we have begun going back to school again. When the boundaries between work and home had disappeared and we were left with little or no “me time”, work felt like a chore and energies were always low. It is time to redraw those boundaries that separate work from home so that we can be the best both in school and at home.