Parents play an integral part in giving the right values to the child
Suggests Dr. Sharda Muni, eminent educationist & Principal,
Blue Angel Global School, Faridabad
Do you think school & society play a parallel role in shaping future generation?
Society and school are inextricably linked. Society plays an immense role in fixing the mindset of the people, both positively and negatively. School, on the other hand, is a means to serve specific social needs. It would, therefore, not be wrong to say that the aims and objectives of a school are sourced from the society in which it functions. The thrust and content of a school is also determined in accordance with the frame work of a society in which it functions.
School and society, both are equally important stakeholders in moulding the future of a child. Therefore, it is the responsibility of a school to ensure that the curriculum and the activities covered in school, are in tandem with the prerequisites of the society. The significant and necessary requirements of a society can only be met through a good and systemic way of teaching, an organic culture which meets the growing demand of a dynamic society. The right strategies, teaching methodologies and value systems need to be given so that every child is future ready. In return, the society, which comprises parents, families and institutions, need to take ownership of their responsibilities; so that we can look forward to a positive thriving society which is respectful, innovative and energetic.
When we have a proactive school and society working hand in hand, a child will automatically be led onto the right path.
Parents and School, both are very important stakeholders of education. Today school is no more considered a sacrosanct place as certain incidents have fuelled in losing faith. What would you say?
Parents and school both play an equal role in shaping a child’s life. It is rightly said that home is the first school of a child. As the child grows and takes the first step towards societal assimilation, the school becomes an integral part of his/her life. Hence, both the stake holders need to take ownership for building a strong foundation for the child’s future. When parents and teachers have a strong relationship, the child gets benefited at multiple level.
With the changing mindset, it is unfortunate that the school is no more considered a sacrosanct place. Instead of blaming each other, parents and school have to go hand in hand. Establishing a relationship is a two way process. While the parents need to take an active interest in the school activities, the schools too need to have a fair and impartial way of dealing with situations. Emotional connect combined with the right strategies can be mutually beneficial. At the heart of it, all we have to learn to trust each other and believe in the innate goodness of the human heart. When we can truly learn to trust and have implicit faith in the system, then the child will be benefited at all levels.
CBSE follows inclusion policy. Are all the subject teachers aware of the types of learning disabilities? Do you counsel parents for this as well?
We have special educators who are trained to identify different types of learning disabilities. Simultaneously, teachers are trained and equipped with the updated policies with strategies and pedagogical methodologies so that we can reach out to the children.
Yes, we do train the teachers and upgrade them and conduct workshops in order to make them class room ready, They are also sensitized to identify any discrepancies in the learning curve of the child vis-à-vis the normal learning curve. The constant endeavor is to ensure that every child reaches his potential. In most of the cases of learning disabilities identified, parents are not even aware that their child has some issues. Common people have started to realise the types of learning disabilities today. Still, the awareness is not up to the satisfactory level.
Apart from knowing more about learning disabilities, schools must embrace and understand the multiple intelligences. Every child is born with certain intrinsic skills. Some children are musically inclined. They only understand through rhythm or music. Some children learn through activities, they are kinesthetic learners. So, it has become essential to monitor and tap the right potential. If we judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will fail, as it is not good at it.
Yes, we do try to counsel parents as well. Sometimes it is difficult, as it is heart breaking for parents to accept certain realities. However, the school acts in the best interest of a student and the parents, with the ultimate goal of making the child future ready, making him able to deal with any exigencies that he might encounter in life. It is with this purpose that the school has a very strong inclusive policy.
Now teachers are change agents who are expected to lead reforms in curriculum, in students and communities worldwide. Ideally what amount of reform should they bring in?
No effort at reform can succeed without support for the faculty which is at the helm of all change. Teachers also need to address the demographic differences in the student body. Children today are the millennials who are smart, technologically savvy and with more exposure than the preceding generations. To handle them, teachers need to upgrade themselves continuously. Chalk and talk method doesn’t work now. The classes have to be interactive. Students learn a lot from their peer group. Teachers need to play the role of mediator and let the conversation be on, spontaneously. Such reforms need to be long term and sustainable to be successful.
Not just in curriculum, reform needs to be brought about to ensure that a child is brought up with the right values. The value addition of integrity is an important feature. To me, integrity is a situation when the child would be ready to sit for an exam without an invigilator.
That is an idealistic situation. Is it feasible in India?
If there is a vision, it would be feasible also. Integrity is a powerful value which needs to be inculcated in every member of the institution. It has to be an organic culture in school. Once we get that culture, we will certainly find a dynamic, substantial change. So, to get the paradigmatic shift, we have to work harder with time.
If we give children the right values, they carry that throughout their life. Society and situation can mould them but can’t change them. Every school should instill this sense of responsibility in a child, so that they have faith in themselves and do not need supervision. When a student starts realising that carrying forward a task assigned to him, is his responsibility, he takes ownership of all his actions.
Rote learning still play a major role in India. We speak on education 4.0 and we make the students rote in class. Isn’t it contradictory?
That rote learning still plays a major role in India, is a sad truth. We majorly depend on textbooks, notebooks and syllabus for learning to take place. However, of late there has been a growing realisation that rote learning does not allow for a deeper understanding of a subject nor does it encourage lateral thinking. CBSE has rightly identified these lacunae and there is a new thrust on experiential and active learning. Both of these strategies, if employed gainfully, can result in reaching the desired learning outcomes. Teachers need to employ their creative skills to make the class interesting. This can be done by constant upgradation of knowledge, awareness and creativity can help us move away from rote learning and become true representatives of education 4.0.
How long have you been associated with Blue Angels, Faridabad? What is your vision?
I have been associated with Blue Angels Global School since 2017. I believe that effective educational leadership can help endorse vision and bring about the best in a school. I wish to take this school forward and create environment of sensitivity which encompasses the school motto, “we care, we nurture, we create”, together with the intrinsic values of excellence, commitment, discipline and integrity. I am blessed to have a strong team with the right professional and ethical values who have worked enthusiastically with me to create the environment for reaching the common vision.
How tough is it to mentor a team?
It is challenging to bring everyone on the same side. Principals and institution heads face that challenge every day. Human beings everywhere have got their own psyche, their ways of thinking and working.
Today a participative rather than a dictatorial leadership works. An institution has to have a vision to be successful and everyone should share that. Only then, something can be achieved. Though time consuming, it is rewarding to mentor a team. I believe in hand holding and inspiring them to share a common vision, so that the team works cohesively and consciously towards a common goal. A positive spirit combined with unflagging energy and the will to do, sets the tone for everyday activities.
Being a Principal, I need to give feedback in many cases. I do keep in mind human dignity and ensure that my words are thought-provoking and not harsh. I believe in a congenial atmosphere to bring out the best in the staff and that has always worked.
Would you like to share any message with our readers?
All the academicians around the world are working whole-heartedly, sincerely, towards creating the right atmosphere for the students. They are putting in their best for sure. I would like to congratulate them for the wonderful work they are doing. I would entreat them to continue on the same path. Swami Vivekananda said, “Arise! Awake! Stop not until the goal is reached”. Education is such a sector where goals are never ending. New batches of students, young minds keep on refreshing us. We must take them to the right path. This responsibility has to be discharged with the utmost sincerity.