Sunday, December 21, 2014

Conversations with Educators in India – Part 1

Teachers from all over the Country

I was at an educational conference in Lucknow in 2013. There were teachers and educators from every part of the India. They came from Kashmir, Kerala, Assam and Maharashtra, literally from all four corners of India. There were educators from other countries as well.

This was the second educational conference I was part of in the year. The first one I got to attend was the Asian Summit on Education that was organized with the Didactics Exhibition in Mumbai in the month of September 2013. I tried my best to speak to the teachers, principals and students at these events. I wanted to understand how they made Learning Beautiful at their institutions.

After that conference and my visit to hundred’s of schools and colleges across the country, I was inspired. I had met some incredible students and teachers along the way. Stories I had to share. That is why I write this series titled, 'Conversations with Educators'.
A Passion for Education

I started reading books on education and educational psychology. I made a list of the top educational conferences and meet-ups in the world and saw all the videos put up online by the organizers. I wanted to understand what educators across the world were doing. These included:- 

1)         SXSW edu (US)
2)         BETT Conference on Educational Technology (UK)

There was so much information about such events available online. I was blessed that I was born in an era where I could conduct all my research online. 

The Teacher from Bangalore and Why become a Teacher?

At my table, I meet a young teacher from Bengaluru. He taught at a primary school in Bengaluru. He came to the conference with a friend from Nepal, who was the principal of a school there.

After introducing ourselves, Yuvraj told me about an pre-payment system that was pre-valent in the Indian education system. After teachers give the UGC exam, they have to pay a certain some of money to get a secure job at a renowned school. The school would be open to such a donation. He had many colleagues that had to go through this experience. It was interesting how many people looked at teaching as a source of income or a way to get a secure job and not a way to impact young people’s lives.

I thought about what would happen, if I went into schools and colleges and asked teachers, ‘Why did you become a teacher?’ I hope the answer would not be as such, ‘Because there was nothing else to do at the time’

There was an ice breaker session at the conference, where we then had to change tables and become part of a new table. I did so along with all the other participants. Soon I settled down in my new table. There were two people from a leading institute in Kota, a lady from an education NGO in Mumbai, a representative of the Global Classroom program and a man that delivered programs about integration of mind maps and lateral thinking into school curriculum.

Each Person is Different

While speaking to the educators on my table, we realized that each person was an individual and had their own personal interest. When we were asked to describe our hobbies, some of us said music, being with students, reading books,  education and more. Would it not be the same in a classroom? Isn’t every student in that class an individual as well?

If there are 30 students in a class, there must be thirty personalized curriculums, because each student is an individual with his or her own unique needs and passion.

Let us Learn Together
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