Teacher Plus wishes you all a good new year, one that brings health, and peace. A look at what's inside this January 2021 issue ... Is procrastination about laziness or about poor time management? Why do most people procrastinate? And is this particularly prevalent among students? With education going online, students now have consistently multitask, and therefore there is a tendency to put things off for later. How can teachers put a stop to this? What measures can they take to guide students to deliver assignments or projects on time? Our cover story deals with this troubling issue.
According to the World Bank, India is among the top few waste generating countries in the world. A UN report estimates per annum food wastage in India to be at Rs. 92,000 crores. Unless we take drastic measures, it is believed that India will produce double the amount of waste it is now producing. All is not bleak though. Apart from NGOs and government organizations working to manage waste, there are also quite a few schools across the country that have taken up the mantle of going zero waste.
The corona virus story has impacted the education sector the most with teachers having to re-adapt themselves to online teaching. In the midst of all this, the fee debate rages on with parents demanding discounts in the school fees on one side and the managements of schools sticking to their ground on the other. Are parents expecting way too much? What becomes of the teachers who not only have a new learning curve but also as many domestic commitments as any parent? Is there a case for schools to be more considerate, and is it possible to bridge this trust gap between teachers and parents? Our cover story deals with this troubling issue.
Folktales and fairy tales are both loved by and familiar to all. In the Primary Pack the writer shares with us how she used this familiarity and interest to teach her students the English language. Learning how to write is one of the more difficult aspects of language learning because it involves communication between two people who are not present at the same place at the same time. In order to be able to express himself/herself to the reader without being misunderstood, the writer has to be clear and precise in his/her writings. In the Worksheet you have a few activities to train young writers in the different elements of writing. ... and many more!
Home Science as a subject has for long been on the backburner in the practice of school education. The low numbers of students opting for this subject, since it is largely perceived as a course for girls has not helped either. Be that as it may, since home science is an optional subject at the high school level in most boards, this issue of Teacher Plus looks at the theme broadly, both from the viewpoint of home science as a curricular subject and as a tool for overall development.
It has been more than a year since education moved online and it continues to be the primary means of transacting teaching and learning even today. This sudden and forcible shift has been anything but easy for students and teachers. We have heard from every stakeholder about the challenges, shortcomings and other difficulties involving online education; of how teachers and students are looking forward to sharing the same physical space of a classroom again. And as we hope to rejoin our teachers and students soon, Teacher Plus decided to find out if teachers have learnt any lessons from their online teaching experience that they would like to take back to their brick and mortar classrooms. Every challenge is an opportunity to learn. So what have our teachers learnt over the last year of online teaching?
Teaching is a profession that is built on the strength of relationships, particularly between teachers and parents. While parental engagement can be challenging, the solution too lies within these partnerships. Teachers are educators, some teachers are parents, and some parents are also teachers. Everyone is thus connected. A positive relationship between parents and teachers is said to improve children’s academic achievement. Students too recognize that their learning has value besides making parents feel involved in the learning of their children.
This Teacher’s Day we decided to take a look at the beginnings and endings and all there is in between. We bring you memories and stories that teachers and students have shared with us of how felt that first day entering a classroom, the first time they went to school, the day someone passed out, the day a teacher retired. We hope you enjoy reading their stories as much as we enjoyed putting them together. Happy Teacher’s Day.
This month’s cover story talks about how has edtech improved the education landscape and has it provided new, innovative ways to engage students of all abilities? While it is true that technology can never replace teachers, there is no denying the fact that edtechis definitely pushing the boundaries of traditional teaching. As a school principal says, edtech must not be seen as a competitor but as an integral part of education and teachers need to blend it in their own teaching and learning practice
Getting children into the habit of reading and helping them sustain it is an extremely difficult task these days. The benefits of reading are immense and that is why we share with you a few simple games to help you and your children get started on the reading path in this month’s primary pack. This month’s cover story talks about how the pandemic has brought health and hygiene into focus albeit more from the need for prevention of infection, it is time that schools realized that building safe and hygienic environments is linked to healthy and happy children who are ready to learn.
In the December issue Teacher Plus has attempted to offer a continuing exploration of what a library is and what it can be, drawing from varied experiences and contexts. It is a natural extension of this journey, bringing together in a very concentrated package some of the rich experiences of librarians, library enthusiasts, book lovers and educators. It takes us into a little bit of history, and gives us plenty of hope for what learning and the pleasure of knowledge seeking and even escape, can look like when books and other resources are organized into what becomes a library by many names.
This month cover story is on Homework and assignments. These are part of every child’s school routine and every teacher’s responsibility. As teachers our job is not merely to give our students homework. If learning is to take place, we have to design creative and thought provoking assignments and we will have fulfilled our responsibilities only if we ourselves are clear about the ‘why’ of an assignment and are willing to share that ‘why’ with our students. For, the implications of not sharing that why are not small.
The pandemic has been difficult, challenging and tough for the world. People have had to find new ways of functioning and surviving. Educational institutions that were so firmly entrenched and comfortable in the old ways of learning and doing, like everyone and everything else, were also shaken out of their inertia. This was an opportunity for them to stop, reflect and rethink their ways of working. Sad as it may be that not many have been able to shed their old beliefs to think anew, there have been stories of ingenuity, innovation and individual brilliance in the world of education. Teacher Plus takes a look at how school leaders have steered their institutions through this pandemic.
While this was true even before the pandemic, now the problem of technology blurring the boundaries between work and home has become even more severe. With teachers freely sharing their phone numbers and email ids with students and parents, in order to stay connected, they seem to be in an “always on” mode. An increase in work on both the domestic front and from school is already encroaching on personal time.
In the last two years our notion of the classroom has changed. There has been a considerable loss of teaching and learning time and there is likely to be a long term impact on learners’ educational outcomes. However, with some schools opening up and others adopting various models of online or hybrid teaching, it is critical for educators to build and gauge their readiness to adapt to physical classrooms again. Moving away from the current text-based learning to an activity-based curriculum can be a first step. This month cover story looks at what has changed during the last two years in teaching-learning?
How can general science be learned differently? What are the various ways in which knowledge of the sciences can be acquired? This issue has many ponderables for the teacher, student, and parents. Who is a scientist? Does the history of science not have a role in the general science curriculum? Can a classroom become a place where students are encouraged to ask questions? We hope these topics will help enrich the general science classes. With articles on learning from nature, citizen science and hands-on science, sky watching, we hope this issue provides assistance to teachers wanting to involve themselves and their students in fieldwork. There are also topics that look towards the future. From the soil that gives us our food to the sun that warms our Earth and bodies, learning sciences in the middle school can be a fascinating journey.
How do schools measure the capabilities of their most crucial employees – the teachers? There are complex interactions at every level, so what practices do the schools adopt to evaluate their teachers? And can teaching be truly measured? The emotional labour that goes into teaching or the time and effort put into preparation cannot just be wished away based on someone else’s judgment. The growth of this ‘performance culture’ will only suppress creativity and innovation in teaching. Teachers tend to bring in their own imagination and creativity into the classroom. So, assessing teachers or teaching has to be holistic and conversation-driven built on mutual trust.
When we think of language in a school setting, we only think of it in terms of a subject or subjects to be learnt. But language is also used to transact lessons. As teachers we aim to deliver the perfect lesson but don’t give much thought to the vocabulary we use to deliver those lessons. We are also caregivers, guides, and counsellors to our students but may not always be mindful of what we say to them. Spoken words have the power to make or break the listener. Even seemingly harmless words such as ‘easy’, ‘simple’, and ‘straightforward’ can cause damage and that is why we have to be watchful of the words we use both to instruct and interact with our students.
Can working professionals ever be friends in the true sense of the word? Most would agree that this could be next to impossible. However, the education space begs to be different. In a school, when colleagues become friends, the relationship moves to a new level, bringing with it a sense of satisfaction and achievement that would not have been possible otherwise. Our September special issue in view of Teacher’s Day unfolds many such stories of friendships. From experimenting with pedagogies to putting together fresh material for textbooks that are still going strong, to sharing ideas that work and also being role models in collaboration rather than competition, there is much to read and learn.
Patriotism, happiness, kindness – once upon a time, it was the role of the home, the society to nurture these qualities in children. Today schools are offering curriculums to teach social and emotional skills to children. Are societies and homes no longer places to imbibe these qualities? Won’t adding these curriculums increase the school’s workload? Like most institutions, schools are diversifying too. Does everything need to be taught in schools? In this month’s cover story we take a closer look at SEL in schools, why we need it and how teachers can incorporate it in their classrooms.