Mentor Magazine, October 2016; Volume 10 Issue 5

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October 2016 | Volume 10 Issue 05

Mentor Thoughts


Sultan Speaks Page - 05

Will creators of content consume content?

Mentor Research Page - 34

Solving school problems through education research...


Intersecting Theatre and Autism Page - 06 Connecting the Dots…

Internships- The experiential way to learn Page - 10 Let’s Change the Way India Teaches!!!

School Leadership


Student-Centric Education Preparing Students for LIFE...

Revisiting the Leadership Approach Page - 20

Exploring different systems of school leadership...

School Governance

E-Governance in Schools Page - 24

Using technology for administrative tasks...


Events-Based Learning Page - 27 Experiential Learning...


Design for Change Page - 29

Transforming the education landscape...

Fostering Creativity- the need of the hour Page - 31 Creativity is a part of the humanistic approach...

20 29 Publisher & Owner: Syed Sultan Ahmed Editor-in-Chief: Kalpa Kartik Associate Editor: Yashika Begwani Designed by: Harpreet Singh Production: Praveen U.M., Sathish C., Guna V. Printed by: Manoj Printed at: Elegant Printing Works, # 74, South End Road, Basavangudi, Bengaluru - 560 004. Ph: +91 80 26615507 Published at: # 175, 2nd Cross, Lower Palace Orchards, Bengaluru - 560 003, India. NOTICE: As an author/contributor you are responsible for the authenticity of the information you provide in your article. The publishers do not accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication. By submitting letters/emails or other publication materials to Mentor Magazine you agree they are the property of Mentor Magazine. All communication to Mentor Magazine must be made in writing. No other sort of communication will be accepted. All decisions regarding publishing of an article is the prerogative of the publisher and editorial team of Mentor Magazine. Mentor Magazine is owned and published by EduMedia Publications Pvt. Ltd. for and on behalf of Mr. Syed Sultan Ahmed. All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the competent courts and forums in Bengaluru City. Source for a few pictures - Internet

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Final call for Entries st 21 October 2016 We invite you to participate in

my Greatest learning

- A CONTEST FOR TEACHERS! Tell us what your greatest learning has been as a teacher. Word Limit: 150 words | Send your entries to: You could also post your entries on Selected entries shall be published on our Facebook page and the top 3 entries shall be featured in the upcoming issues of Mentor Magazine. Note : Please share your Name, School Name, City and E-mail ID along with your entry.



Traditional education through the years has followed a regular pattern that has remained unchanged. It has followed and continues to follow the essence of passing on knowledge. While there were people with knowledge and experiences on one hand, there were people, invariably children who were keen to learn. A very simplistic modern explanation to education would be that there is content and there are consumers of content. This format of education has always existed and has consistently evolved over time. Before languages were developed man used sign language and sounds to communicate and teach. However, when languages got developed learning was passed on through stories, incidents and epics. Traditionally, learning was passed on through generations with day to day activities and unorganized skill learning processes. As societies evolved there were organised learning spaces like the gurukuls and the madrasas with organised learning processes, organised curriculum and specialist teachers who taught children. As time progressed, we moved from basic to secondary and then to university education. With the recent advent of technology there has been a lot


of innovation that has come into classrooms from films to digital content to games to robotics and so on‌ Sending children to school is a basic human right and is one of our societies biggest concerns. Getting educated means that our children need to learn what we are teaching them. Infact, our benchmark for good quality education has always been measured with the child’s ability to reproduce the content that is being taught.

The new generation of content creators are not going to sit back and learn no matter how engaging we make our classes or curriculum, they want to participate in creating content.

I have been living with a very interesting thought, through the last few months – we live in an era where almost everyone creates content. Every message we type, every photo we take, every video we shoot, every comment we make and every presentation we create is content creation. What is even more interesting is the fact that children love to create content since they are

not happy to simply consume content. This reality around us is asking a very pertinent question to our education system - How will creators of content consume content? This has never been asked before. Our processes, our focus and our planning has always revolved around ensuring how children learn what we believe they should learn. The new generation of content creators are not going to sit back and learn no matter how engaging we make our classes or curriculum, they want to participate in creating content. I am very excited about what this question will lead to. Finding an answer to this question will lead us to a completely different era of education where the focus will not remain on teaching and learning, it will evolve into Creating and Consuming Content.

Mr. Syed Sultan Ahmed, Managing Director, LXL Ideas



With an experience of thirty years in the field of education Mrs. Pratima Sinha is a Post Graduate in Early Childhood, B.Ed and M.Ed. She has headed schools with Indian (ICSE & CBSE) and international curriculum (IB &IGCSE). She has audited and mentored schools as the Regional Academic Head of Pearson Education and conducted school audit on Academic Quality Management, Evaluation and Academic Interventions. She was featured in the Digital Learning Magazine as one of the top 100 Principals. She is passionate about theatre and is currently pursuing research on Theatre as Alternative Therapy for teaching autistic children which was initiated by her in Meridian School, Hyderabad. She shares her views around the same topic in this informative article to MENTOR.


“I strongly recommend that students with autism get involved in special interest clubs in some of the areas they naturally excel at. Being with people who share your interests makes socializing easier.” - Temple Grand in This article is in continuation of my previous article in Mentor (Vol.8, December 2014), Theatre and Education – A lifelong learning, in which I had mentioned about a colleague Sowmya who was taking an online course in Applied Drama for Autistic Children. Sowmya affirms how tools and techniques aid special children, especially those with learning difficulties, to be confident and improve their learning. “Mime can teach children life skills. Children who have speech problems or those who cannot communicate and are scared to talk will benefit from it,” she adds. We organized a workshop to create awareness and spread the word on Alternate Therapy for Autism among the Special Educators of Hyderabad Schools. It was heartening to see the responses to the workshop.

Before proceeding further, I would like to share three documented case studies of Sowmya’s theatre practices: Case 1- A Social Studies chapter of class VII included learning the lineage of Mughal emperors. The special educator found it challenging to make children understand the chronology of the emperors and therefore sought the help of drama. The chapter had clear reasons why one emperor was dethroned by another and this was taken as the basis for drama. Each child in the team was given a character and an action related to the characteristics of the emperor. They were then made to take turns and present their character in an order (this included taking names of their own character and the era they ruled). After 4 to 5 rehearsals children not only remembered the order and the era of their own characters but also of their classmates who represented another character. Case 2- Student ‘K’ (Name not spelt due to privacy reasons) from the spectrum is a nineyear old, studying in a regular school standing on the mild autism scale as on June, 2016. He experiences high auditory vibrations and therefore makes vocal sounds due to the discomfort. His first reaction to a jungle scene in the class room was to fight the sounds made by the other participants imitating animals, by producing vocal rhythmic sound patterns of his

October 2016 choice and close his ears. A small variation was then made in the skit and he was given an ear mask of a rabbit and his vocal sounds were merged with the sounds of other animals. He loved to run and hop like a rabbit. After this change, K was never secluded in the act. He was happy doing what he wanted and be part of the applause!

Through dramatic situations, settings and plots with no fixed storyline children are made aware of their body so that they speak through their body

These are just a few examples of the success stories achieved through drama covered in fun ways like theatre games, story telling, MIME, improvisations and role plays. Having worked in this space for a while now, I would also like to share a few characteristics, learning disabilities, strengths and requirements of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Characteristics of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) • Difficulty in relating to others • Resistance to change • Stereotypical behaviour (motor) • Echolalia and literalness in language • Attachments to objects rather than humans • Obsessive and/or compulsive behaviours • Sleep and eating problems • Poor pretend play and lack of imagination


• Inability to express pain • Deficit in pragmatics (social nuances) of language and communication Learning Disability Autism if defined by an educator can be termed as a learning disability. The children with autism are visual rather than auditory learners. Most of the children react adversely to high decibel sounds and general noise, learn well one to one, and are comfortable with adults than with age peers. Children with autism are concrete thinkers. Levels of stress and anxiety are heightened when changes from the ordinary happen to the daily routine. Wait period is always very traumatic for children with autism. Strengths • Good rote memory • Language is mostly self taught • Fascination with language • Good visual spatial memory • Perseverance to meet needs • Methodical and organized Requirements • Strong communication system which is universally understood • A sound behaviour

management plan • Structured (the child should know what to expect) daily life routine • Trained personnel who know the functioning of the child. • Consistency in the manner in which all the caregivers “talk” to the child • A learning environment where the child can interact with children without autism. • Sensory integration therapy (by a trained occupational therapist) • Auditory Integration Training • Stress relief Success Stories The book Social skills, Emotional growth and Drama Therapy by Lee .R .Chasen, gives a wonderful insight in the use of drama therapy for children with ASD. Lee Chasen is a drama educator and drama therapist whose methods are playful and creative. Both devoted their professional careers to demonstrating how children with ASD respond and change through play and drama. There are many case studies shared in the book which showcase the amazing positive changes seen and identified in the children. This could serve as a reference book for educators.

Kamraj University, who has been working relentlessly with autistic children.

Another organization that has done extensive research on theatre based therapy is - Emotional Neuro Science Endocrinology (SENSE) Theatre, a community-based intervention program in the United States of America. It uses a pre and post treatment design in the context of ‘enjoy a theatrical intervention program’ designed to improve the socio-emotional functioning of children with autism by utilizing behavioral intervention paradigms to be implemented in combination with theatrical techniques. The approach arose from the SENSE translational research program (B.A.C.) and extensive experience in theatre.

broader skills and individualized target behaviors. The peers also performed the participant’s role on video, which was broadcasted on a secure password-protected website, allowing participants to watch, imitate, and practice their roles from their homes via video modeling. This helps in providing a good foundation of supportive, and active social experience. In India, I have come across Dr. Parasuram Ramamoorthy, Chairman Velvi, Madurai and ex-professor at the School of Performing Arts, Madurai

He introduced a simple tool used in traditional Indian theatrethe face mask to develop and improve eye contact for children under the spectrum. This is the first challenge the educator faces. He says, “Children avoid eye contact to feel safe, the mask gives them the feeling of safety. It cuts off the peripheral vision and the child’s gaze is not distracted.” Through dramatic situations, settings and plots with no fixed storyline children are made aware of their body so that they speak through their body. He says, it helps in building an image of self confidence. Drama for Autism helps in improving: • Eye contact and thereby facilitates communication • Increases attention span and facilitates learning. • Improves social skills through role-play (group work) • Engages the child/adult in pretend play and ignites imagination • Identifies the hidden talent through acting

The SENSE participants were paired with typically developing actors who in addition to being co-actors in a musical production, served as the peer models for participants. These actors were conceptualized as master models of not just verbal but also non-verbal communication, socio-emotional perception and expression, as well as behavioral and affective control. Under the supervision of the clinical staff (psychologists and behavior specialists), the peer models worked with the SENSE participants to acquire


October 2016 Drama therapy classes generally divided into following sections:

are the

1. Under 10 years of age • Group activity inclusive of theatre games focusing on the gross motor movement and body balance. It also makes the children learn a few social skills while working in a group. • Individual and one-to-one, sessions to increase eye contact and concentration. • Pretend play and imagination activities to trigger imagination and translate it into communication. • Focused art, craft, music, sport and movement based session to address the sensory issues. • Role play activities to address day to day hurdles faced by the child. Introducing friendship and sibling bonding. • Focused speech-based voice training session to improve speech for non-verbal students. • Introduction of a few safe life skill activities like folding clothes to increase attention span and making them learn a new skill apt for their age. (As the age increases the levels of skill sets increase) • Focused individual education program can be made with the help of the special educators to facilitate progress in education.

• Differentiating between public and private spaces • Need of role plays to teach empathy and communication. 3. Between 14 - 18 years of age Apart from the above mentioned sessions, as required by the young adult’s mental health, the other themes that are focused are: • Sex Education- Addressing puberty and levels of intimacy with the opposite sex appropriate for the age. • Introduction of rehearsed responses to face a few important situations like attending a birthday party alone or welcoming a few guests at home or attending a college interview. 4. Between 18 - 24 years of age Apart from the above mentioned sessions, as required by the adult’s mental health, the other themes that are focused are: • Sex Education- Levels of intimacy with the opposite sex appropriate for the age. Safety and precautions to be taken both- psychologically and physiologically.

• Introduction of ‘rehearsed responses’ to face a few important situations like attending college/work interviews or dating.

The teachers do not need formal training in Dramatics to connect the dots. All they need to have is to understand the ‘Art of Life’ and make it interesting to connect Drama Therapy provides children who are on the autism spectrum with opportunities to interact with others in a fun and supportive environment. The teachers do not need formal training in Dramatics to connect the dots. All they need to have is to understand the ‘Art of Life’ and make it interesting to connect. If management students could be taught lessons through William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” – what other proof does one need to establish this ‘connect’!

2. Between 10 - 14 years of age Apart from the above mentioned sessions, as required by the child’s mental health, the other themes that are focused are: • Knowing oneself- body, space, proximity and safety. • Knowing others- body, space, proximity and safety. • Differentiating between - male and female.



Dr. Rajeev Gupta is the founder Director for Telescope Solutions, a multiple intelligence based teaching foundation; Founder Director of Golden Bells, Founder Director of De Indian Public School; Director of India’s leading educational publisher, Rachna Sagar and Founder Director of Swa – Adhyayan, the learning app for school students. He is a strategic advisor and transformational coach, working with individuals, groups, corporations and educational institutions. With over 24 years of vast global work experience, his training models and empowerment workshops have helped many schools incorporate value infused methodology in their governing styles. He has received various awards and recognitions for the innovation in teaching pedagogies and has recently been appointed as the governing body member of Delhi University. In this article for MENTOR, Dr. Gupta emphasizes the importance of internships for school students and suggests ways to incorporate experiential learning in schools


Experiential learning is a process through which students develop hands – on knowledge, skills and values from direct experiences outside a traditional academic setting. it encompasses a variety of activities including internships, service learning, undergraduate research, studying abroad, and other creative and professional work experiences. Well-planned, supervised and assessed experiential learning programs can stimulate academic inquiry by promoting interdisciplinary learning, civic engagement, career development, cultural awareness, leadership, and other professional and intellectual skills. Experiential learning opportunities are an integral way for students to gain insight into the world of work, explore vocation, and participate in servant leadership. Engaging in experiential learning opportunities can help the students gain valuable work experience before they graduate and experience new work environments; establish a strong work history and develop career-related skills and abilities; apply knowledge gained from coursework to onthe-job situations; reality-test tentative career choices and determine how their values fit into the workplace; meet and work with professionals in their

field and establish contacts for references; gain a competitive edge for employment or graduate school admission’; boost their self-confidence. Experiential learning helps the students relate classroom theory to the world of work through internships. An internship integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical experience in a professional setting. Internships can also give students the opportunity to make connections in career fields that they might be considering. Students can either receive academic credit for an internship or participate in cocurricular internship programs. Finding an Internship There are many great internship experiences available, but the students must be persistent in their search for an internship. They should not depend on someone to find them an internship. If they look into all opportunities, their chances of obtaining a meaningful experience are much greater. Students can also meet with a career counsellor at the school if they need help with their internship search strategy. To receive academic credit for an approved internship, schools may suggest them to complete the following steps:

October 2016 through leadership training.

• Advise them to write down goals for their internship. Tell them to think about what they want to learn and determine what type of experience could give them a chance to meet their goals. • Make them apply and prepare for interviews for internship possibilities and help in securing an internship. • Guide them choose a faculty supervisor to sponsor their internship. They can check with their faculty advisor for potential faculty supervisors in their major, if they do not already have someone in mind. • Encourage them to talk to their faculty supervisor, ask for assistance and begin negotiating their internship learning agreement. • Tell them to work with their faculty advisor, faculty sponsor and site supervisor to finalize and secure all signatures to their internship learning agreement. • Ask them to return the signed learning agreement to the school for approval, where it would be stamped. • Finally instruct them to drop off their learning agreement at the School Office.


Educational Outcomes During their internship programs, students develop new, practical, usable skills of the workplace. Ideally, they learn: • Work ethics and work values, • Skills to help them compete effectively on the job and in life, • To improve their interpersonal relations and communications skills, • To improve their organizational skills, • To improve computer literacy and technology skills, • To work independently, • Research skills, • Report writing, • Team-work skills from working cooperatively on group projects, • To complete work on time, • To be positive, professional and articulate, • To be dependable, show initiatives and to be selfmotivated. Students can make real and tangible contributions during their internship programs while accenting both their personal growth and their career development. Students garner self-confidence as interns and develop their leadership skills

Advantages: • Internships provide invaluable experience and can change students’ lives. Interning can increase students’ maturity levels and can improve their self-confidence and selfconcepts. • They also strengthen students’ academic resumes on their college applications, give them a head start on internships they may participate in, during summers while in high school or college and assist them in deciding on their college major. • This assists students in planning for their future and helps in transitioning them to post high-school life at college and the future workforce. • Internships provide a way to raise academic achievement for some students. • They are an effective means to get students interested in school and to make learning matter. • Students can use internships to try out specific jobs or types of positions, orientate and test certain occupational areas of interest and potential future careers. Internships aid students in identifying, clarifying and developing career goals and professional aspirations and also confirm career-path options. • Student internships help female students particularly to explore non-traditional career fields. Internships can improve students’ jobreadiness skills, future job prospects and starting salaries. Internships provide students with valuable, firsthand, work experiences and relevant workplace skills. • Internships can be part of an alternative high-school program and help students

who do not do well in traditional programs. • Some internship programs are set up and developed to provide internships for economically disadvantaged students. Student internships for inner-city job seekers are valuable for modelling, adult-employment success and exposing youth to longterm, advancement-oriented employment. Experiential learning opportunities are an integral way for students to gain insight into the world of work, explore vocation, and participate in servant leadership

Disadvantages: • Work-based internship programs have associated costs for their design, delivery and sometimes for student participation. The number of hours students are involved in internships may have negative effects on some aspects of their school performance and may interfere with students’ homework time. • Some high-school internships are geared for boys and girls, yet female students are more likely to participate in workbased internships than male students. • Additional internships must be developed involving activities and settings that appeal to male students. • Some large national corporations have auctioned off internships for highschool students. Local school systems have used the internship auctions to raise


money. • The internship auctions ultimately affect equality in the workplace in that they give unfair advantages to affluent students. Relevant Research • Research has shown that experiential-education programs, including internships in government and businesses, have a positive impact on student participants. The two factors which are the best predictors of personal growth are opportunities to act autonomously and to develop collegial relationships with adults. • Experiential learning, such as internships, affect the social, psychological and intellectual development of secondaryschool students. • Empirical evidence shows that school-to-work programs, which include internships, are especially advantageous for men who would be less likely to go to college, as they boost employment and decrease periods of idleness for men after leaving high school. • High-school students perceive that internships, job shadowing and mentoring are the most helpful school-towork programs. • Research has also shown that there is a high correlation between the career paths students select and the

internships served. • Challenging, high-quality internships continue to demonstrate their efficacy as experiential, school-to-work educational programs that impact the lives of those who have chosen to participate in them. In career services we view experiential learning as having three main components: Preparation – including finding a site, interviewing, identifying a supervisor, setting goals for the experience and learning how to make the most of their experience. Experience – including working with a supervisor and co-workers to not only develop job skills but to learn about vocational choices and journaling as a part of active reflection. Reflection – including making sense of the student’s experience and what it means for their future vocational choices; implementation of this reflection between different programs Ultimately, these “co-curricular” experiences will enhance not only our students’ vocational or job choices, but also their academic choices when it comes to decisions related to majors/minors or graduate/ professional school.



“Education is to prepare the students for life. They should be able to step out into the real world with the confidence to deal with the diversities and negotiate their way to life. Along with core skills like literacy, numeracy etc., life skills are equally important subjects that need to be taught. Conventional education needs to be re-visited or rather reconstructed in certain areas. Subjects like music, dance, art, theatre are labelled extra-curricular in most schools. We consider them as part of curriculum and mandatory till eighth grade.” MENTOR delves deeper into the world of education and tries to understand the philosophy and practices of Mallya Aditi International School, Bengaluru while in conversation with Principal and Higher Education Advisor Mr. Sathish Jayarajan and his key staff members. Mallya Aditi International School, founded in 1984 by Anne Warrior, Geetha Narayanan, and a pioneering group of committed teachers and parents, remains true to its values and to the continuous development of its core competencies: teaching and learning. The school strives to create a learning environment that is child-centric, international in perspective, engaging, active and critical with democratic and decentralized leadership. The school celebrates student and teacher-led initiatives and values creativity, excellence and a social conscience. The school believes that developing a sense of community and a social


conscience lie at the very heart of education. The school’s community service programme includes a project where seniors providing educational support to students at the Indira Gandhi International Academy, a school for the children of Sri Lankan refugees and at a government primary school in the city serving a less privileged community. Another of the school’s enduring commitments is to the creative and performing arts. The school’s innovative Creative Arts Department has produced critically acclaimed musicals and has led several initiatives to integrate creative arts into several other parts of the curriculum resulting in the

creation of riveting learning experiences for students. Teachers are the school’s most valuable resource. Aditi’s emphasis on the professional development of its faculty is legendary. Ten days in a year are devoted to in-service training, reflection and review of current practice. The school offers teachers opportunities to update their skills in institutions in India and abroad. Vision of the School Mallya Aditi International creates opportunities for students to become confident, thinking , independent individuals who are sensitive to diversity, aware of their heritage, and able to face the challenges of their time.

My Journey I was always interested in teaching with stronger inclination towards teaching college students. This was way back in the 80’s. I vividly remember that I wanted to take up Political Science and Economics. When this opportunity came along, I wrote to Mrs. Warrior, the founder of the school, and she agreed to meet me. I have been working here for three decades. I worked as a teacher and then went on to become principal. I have been principal for about 13 years. My team is my strength and it helps me work comfortably. The school is broadly divided into four sections- Elementary School (ES), Middle School(MS), High School (HS) and PreUniversity(PU)

• The child is allowed disagree • Taught how to develop an argument • Taught to apply and reconstruct the theory

Our school is affiliated to ISC and IGCSE boards, both of which conduct workshops and training sessions for teachers across the year. For the new teachers that join us, we have a two-year Mentorship Program, wherein an experienced teacher shadows and mentors the new teacher.

What are the best practices followed by the school that you would like to share with us? We have done a lot of things in the past few years. For example,

I believe learning happens when the teacher is able to: • Engage the child • The child is allowed to question


Emergencies are well taken care of. The camaraderie between teachers makes it a healthy environment. I wouldn’t be working anywhere else Ms Rekha Chari, Head of Curriculum, Elementary School

While grades are not pivotal, they are still important as they ultimately lead to the path of higher education. We try to help students build a future but by no means would we like to confine ourselves only to getting good grades.

• Providing extended support for students with learning needs by working with the board to provide extra time or technological facilities to accommodate their needs. • Life skills have been introduced and we have a dedicated team working on it. • The Right to Education Act

(RTE) is implemented as per the government guidelines. • We invest a lot in teacher training. Teachers are sent for exchange programs to schools across many countries. • Small class size and more teachers allow for time and individual attention to each child. • Use of technology is not mandatory, rather it is included where ever required. • Ours is an inclusive school and our students with learning disabilities are specifically given technology aids to enhance their learning outcomes. • I ensure that parents can approach me easily. • We welcome ideas old and new and adapt these after discussions. Making changes while in the system is important and so is pressing for changes in the system, because this ultimately affects the school at large. Tell us something about your team? The school has a senior diverse team that primarily consists of eight people. Four of whom are the heads of the four sections. Each member is given the autonomy and freedom to function within their own sections. I rely a great deal on that team. We meet once a week for discussions. There are varied set of teachers. We have someone as senior as about 65 and on one hand and we have a former student who has recently joined us as a teacher, on the other. It helps in keeping the diversity alive and also brings in different perspectives. What are the key challenges that you go through as a Principal/ School Leader and how would you overcome those?

October 2016

Recruiting good teachers is a major challenge for most institutes. We have perhaps been fortunate in this regard. It is difficult to find teachers who are willing to teach, furthermore, those who are willing to learn. Salaries are not lucrative, but teaching is motivating. In most schools, teachers retire at the age of sixty. However, we have extremely experienced teachers working here, who have crossed the so called retirement age Apart from recruitment, infrastructure development too is a challenge! The importance and the relevance of training for teachers? Training is extremely important and must be an ongoing process. You need to keep learning and keep updating yourself to teach effectively, especially when dealing with students. We invest a lot in training. Teachers are sent for exchange programmes to schools in New York, Dresden and Sweden during summer. They bring back the essence of the teaching and learning environment experienced in that duration and we blend it with our learning.

teachers as many opportunities as possible. The ones with the boards tend to be subject specific but are relevant nevertheless. We believe in mentorship. When a new teacher joins the school, an experienced teacher is their mentor for the next 1-2 years. It is important for the teachers to pursue what they wish to; this adds to their personal growth which in turn helps the learning environment in school. Is it important to have a B. Ed degree? Is there an induction programme for teachers? Bachelor in Education I feel as a mandate from the board it is perhaps important. However, we also look at the enthusiasm and the desire to teach, to learn

and to grow while recruiting. An absolute fresher would definitely be mentored. However, people who bring valuable experiences with them must not start from scratch. We give teachers the freedom to be autonomous in their teaching methods. The experience bag that they have must be used to the optimum level. There is not one best method. You need to have different methods to teach and to help students to engage in the subject. Provided that the method falls in line with what must be taught, the teachers are given complete freedom to use their own methods to teach. I do not like to over-monitor teachers. What does the school do to include RTE students? We have hired a dedicated team for RTE with 3 English Second Language (ESL) teachers. In some periods teachers work with them on their English while other classes have been mainstreamed. The ESL children as they are called, come a little earlier than regular students. ESL team is present along with mainstream teachers to support them. The school as a community has included these children with approximately 5-7 kids in every class. The school is run by a trust. Are there challenges when it comes

Our affiliation with 2 examination boards- ICSE and IGCSE, both of which conduct training programmes. We try to give our


important nevertheless, but inapproachability and need for hierarchy must diminish. I have the luxury of saying I am accessible because we are a school with about 590 students. If a student wants to speak to me, I am willing to stop an ongoing administrative task. That is true for all my other teachers as well.

to investing in new projects/ processes? Infrastructure development is a huge challenge. We pay our teachers fairly well but that leaves us with very little surplus to invest in infrastructure. We recently undertook two major infrastructure projects, both of which were gifts from parents. If not for their support, we would not have been able to do it by ourselves. However, I expect this from the alumni in the long term. I hope that they would be able to cater to such needs and help will come from within the school community. The strength of the school is considerably small and we understand that the ratio is 6:1? There are advantages to having a small school. Almost all the teachers here, including myself, know the students and parents very well. We also almost know each student’s name irrespective The sound of laughter in the classroom talks a great deal about team bonding and it’s refreshing! We celebrate happiness together, even if it means celebrating an old staff member’s personal success Ms Rekha Chari, Head of Curriculum Elementary School


of having taught them or not. This really helps in building a long association with the family. It is important to engage with them. We also involve parents very actively in all different ways, however they are not involved in the policy making process. What is that one strong belief you have and what is the message you would like to give to fellow educators/ institutions in the making? Schools cannot be judged solely according to grades. Grades are important, but ultimately, it is important to construct individuals who can face life’s challenges. Therefore, it is important to engage with students constantly. Know your students, allow them to argue, ask questions, even disagree for that matter! Schools need to become less hierarchical, especially the leaders. It is important to surround yourself with people who you could learn from. To become a good leader, you must surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. That is how you build capacity. Teamwork and motivation are important. All of these have some takeaways for me and make me learn continuously as a leader. The Principal is

MENTOR spent a day at Mallya Aditi International School and spoke to its staff members to understand the practices, leadership styles and governing practices in the school:

Ms. Hema Mandana Middle School Head Your Journey at Mallya Aditi: I was an enthusiastic parent of the school. I came in to fill in for a teacher in 1998. It has been 19 years ever since and here I am. The school is very accepting and teachers are given a remarkable amount of flexibility but accountability is equally important. However, we are given the space. The Middle School Curriculum is ours completely. Your take on technology and innovation: I am a firm believer in technology. I teach History in Middle School and we have created our own curriculum We have introduced technology in the form of iPads. However, while you do not need to teach students how to use an iPad, you need to teach teachers. The first thing we did was running a whole year of training for them to be able to use it. We use digitized content

October 2016 to prepare and store lessons which has its advantages. Challenges: We have been very transparent in our approach. The parents have access to children’s notebooks and even can approach us at any given time. A huge change from previous times is with parents because they have become extremely competitive in their approach today. This is not a positive thing always. Expectations of parents have changed with the changing profiles of the parent. Highlights: • Inclusiveness is important • Training is important not just in pedagogy but also in pastoral care • Technology adoption is key • Pedagogy must be updated • Cross cultural teaching is very much a culture in the school. (For example, when I am teaching the Roman Civilization, the English teacher is teaching Julius Caesar. That really helps children learn better) • We must build a curriculum for the 21st century • Middle school is the time to gain skills

Ms. Suravi Banerjee; Head of Higher Secondary, Head of English Department. Your Journey: I have been here for close to three decades now. There are 3 of us here who are beyond the so called retirement age. We fondly call ourselves the ‘Geriatric


Band Gang’ and I must say the school has helped us grow. We are a very lateral-thinking school and I feel that trickles down from the top. We call each other by our first names. In fact, we have a classic blend of the old and new. What has changed in education from your times to now? Students have become extremely competitive now. Too the point of being aggressively competitive. It is perhaps a hard world that awaits the students out there! Highlights: Dramatics is important for students. We have a production for Grade 11 students, wherein the students are involved in putting up a play right from scratch. I feel drama enhances parts of your personality. We have been given the freedom to integrate this into our process. Even the teachers learn when you have projects like these. Also for the students, it brings out their hidden talents which otherwise might go unnoticed.

Ms. Nawaz H Head of Learning Support Services We are probably the first school with learning support services in Bengaluru. We have a team of five special education teachers plus a separate team of counsellors. It is important to provide a safe environment for all students. However, identifying learning disabilities is a daunting challenge. Each child is different and expecting them to fit into a mould is difficult.

Having said that, I must say that my colleagues are extremely supportive!

Ms. Preeti Sarin Head of Science and Food & Nutrition Teacher “One good thing about the school is that even if one student wishes to take up a subject, we will have a teacher for it and the student is allowed to pursue it. Ours is a very student-centric school.”

Mr. Joel Kribairaj Head of Administration Highlights: We have about 580 students and 100 teachers. The school follows a very holistic approach for students and a very open culture. Even for teachers, enough freedom is given to explore different styles of teaching. New initiatives and exchange programmes are encouraged and there is no dictatorship. We utilize Saturdays for parentteacher conferences or else have teacher trainings on that day. Challenges for the administrative department: • Teacher recruitment is a huge challenge. While we do have applications through the year, it is difficult to find good teachers.

• Admissions are a challenge and since we are a small school with lesser number of students, selection that follows admission applications is a challenge. That is one of the reasons we have restricted the number of applications.

Ms. Sateja Joshi and Ms. Geeta Paul, Heads of Pre University and High School Your thoughts on being a member of the Mallya Aditi Family: What we love about the place is the freedom to deliver a course in the best ways and most creative ways possible. For example, we introduced what we call the ‘skills programme’, an initiative that we designed for students to get ready for this huge jump from Grade 9-10 to Grade 11. We used the first week of Grade 9 to help students develop skills that are required for higher secondary and for life at large. Students are also involved in an entrepreneurial programme called ‘young enterprise’ in class 12. A group of students who might be interested, come together as a team and make their own self sustainable product. There is a CEO, a budget is involved and they need to market their own product and ultimately see if it sells. We believe experiential learning helps the child learn most effectively. Teachers that make students think are real teachers! Best practices:


• The fact that new ideas are encouraged and accepted keeps us going. We have never had a year where we have not had a new idea! • We are given the freedom to lead and design the way things are taught. • We also give enough freedom to students. We have had students telling us to do things in a particular way. We appreciate it! • We all teach across boards. We guide students based on the boards they follow, even though we may design the course in our ways or rather the best way in which students can remember it for life. • We appreciate risk taking.

Ms. Reema N, Ms. Anita K and Ms. Roopa P, Technology Team Highlights: • There is no syllabus for the elementary school. We focus on skills like logic building and problem solving. • Middle and high school follows a syllabus and 3-4 softwares are taught throughout the year. • The curriculum that is designed by our team across grades has the following guideline: • Design • Animation • Programming • Engineering We have creative initiatives like ‘claymation’, that blends

creativity and technology This supports cross subject learning. We also have the ‘I can animate’ application for standard 5 which supports student creativity by using technology.

Ms. Ratula Dutta Head of Social Sciences Best Practice followed: We ensure that the same teacher is assigned to teach a subject across grades 9 and 10; so also with grades 11 and 12. This helps the student learn better and also helps the teacher track the learning curve most effectively as we see the child grow through two consecutive years. What are the key social values that schools must instill in students for life? • Gender Sensitivity • Empathy and positive regard for the less privileged • Accountability for one’s own action

Ms. Neena D, Ms. Annie J and Ms. Radhika S Counselling Team Highlights: • We have been supported by other team members in helping us to maintain confidentiality.

October 2016 • The team and most other teachers have in fact been supported to pursue their higher education, their PhD programmes. This helps a great deal in keeping motivation levels up and supports development as individuals. • While the board has their own set of training sessions, we also conduct, trainings specifically for teachers if we feel that there is a requirement. • We also have workshops, paper presentations. In fact, we are having a conference this year wherein we invite other schools to participate, to come and learn and to contribute because it is for the learning community at large.

Ms. Jhumki K V Head of Elementary School and Ms. Sandra Kunder and Ms. Gudrun Kelman Senior Elementary School Teachers Highlights: • We plan lessons a week in advance. We are then given the freedom to execute in the best way that we want to. • Lesson notes are made and we document these notes. In fact, we even document our weekly meets and those minutes of the meeting are shared with the entire team. • The inclusive set up helps a great deal in accepting differences and that I feel is very important. Each child is different and must be accepted likewise. • We also share practices that


work within classrooms with other teachers. This helps in integrating an informally formal learning structure.

Mr. Balakrishnan V P Head Creative Arts Ms. Anjali S and Dr. Uday Karpur, Dance and Tabla teachers Highlights: • Creative Arts is a compulsory subject until class 8. We feel that creative arts is equally important and hence have integrated into the curriculum rather than call it extracurricular. • Creativity is encouraged and we have budgets to conduct workshops, concerts etc. We even have courses for pottery or film-making wherein faculty is invited from outside. It is important to support children in their creative initiatives. • Exchange programmes in countries outside India, help us learn and grow too and eventually trickles into the learning environment in school while we can bring in new ideas from outside.

• It is also important to integrate creative arts to the subjects students are learning. For example, if they are learning insects, we use the dance class to teach them movements of insects like caterpillar, butterfly etc. This makes learning interesting. • It is important to learn from students too. In creative fields there is no teacher. Walking into a class with an open mind and as a peer helps in making it a healthy learni ng environment. Aditi graduates attend some of the best colleges and universities in India and around the world. Recent accolades won by Aditi students include the India A-Level Prize and awards for outstanding performance worldwide and nationwide in CIE examinations. In 2005, the school was awarded International Fellowship Centre status by Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). Moreover, examinations reveal only a slice of a student’s range of competencies. Success, both at college and in the world of work, is predicated on multiple skills including those of collaboration, inter-personal, thinking, problem solving and creativity. Aditi therefore believes and does considerably more than just prepare students for high stakes examinations.



Excerpts from an interview with the Headmaster of a municipal school in Delhi: Ms. Ritika Chawla is the Curriculum Head for India School Leadership Institute (ISLI) based in Mumbai and has also worked closely with the school leaders as City Head and under the ISLI National Fellowship as a Program Manager. She holds a masters degree in Education at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. She completed her Teach for India fellowship in 2012 and has taught municipal schools in Mumbai. She has also worked as a Business Analyst and a happiness consultant. A workaholic, a traveler and an occasional writer, Ms. Chawla, shares her perspectives on the needs and challenges of school leaders while exploring different leadership systems and citing relevant facts from the industry.

Me: How long have you been the principal of this school? Sir: About 2 years and 3 months. Me: So when you were promoted to this position, what training did you receive? Sir: Nothing. They used to have administrative and finance training earlier but it did not happen during my time. All that I have learnt is by watching and working with the principal of the school I taught in earlier. She was good with managing all the administrative tasks with the help of her staff members. Me: What about academics. How do you support that? Sir: That is not my job. Teachers take care of academics! John Dewey said “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow”. I believe this quote stands true for everything related to education. In other

words – If we let today’s school leaders function just as those of yesterday’s, we rob our teachers and students of a tomorrow. Schools today are part of the public domain. With the advent of Right to Education Act (RTE), not only are schools under the scrutiny of government bodies but the general public as well. Irrespective of whether it is a private or government school, there are people questioning the school’s credibility and quality of education provided, and the onus of maintaining that largely lies on the shoulders of one person – the school leader. When we say school leader it means one or all of the following – school owner, founder, employed principal, headmaster/mistress - basically anyone who is the head for overlooking the administration and academics of the school and also the link between the school and the larger community. Seeding School LeadershipRelevant Facts According to reports by MHRD, there are 1.42 million schools in India, which means more than 1 million school leaders in the country. Imagine the number of people heading schools in our country without relevant experience, training or support. Research has shown that school leaders can make a huge difference in the school and student performance. A study conducted by New Leaders for New Schools, USA, called the ‘Principal


October 2016 Effectiveness’ mentions that school leaders account for 25% of school’s impact on student achievement. An analysis of Ofsted inspection results in the UK showed that for every 100 schools with good leaders, 93 will have good standards of student achievement; and for every 100 schools that do not have effective leadership and management, only one will have good standards of achievement. If we let today’s school leaders function just as those of yesterday’s, we rob our teachers and students of a tomorrow In most countries with education on their agenda, school leadership is a priority area. As countries strive to reform education systems and improve student learning outcomes, school leadership is high on education policy agendas. The KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program - US) model offers various fellowships focused on 42 competencies which school leaders could develop, based on 6 pillars of


school leadership including – Operational Leadership, People Leadership, Instructional Leadership, Leadership for Equity, Leadership for Results and Personal Leadership. A slightly different model than this is provided by the National Leaders for Education, UK, which looks at the quality of the students’ achievements, their learning, attitudes and skills, and the quality of leadership and management as the basis for being called an excellent leader. These excellent leaders then provide school-to-school support and go beyond ensuring quality of their own schools but also in the city. In Singapore, potential leaders are identified within first five years of teaching and are put on a leadership track which provides them with opportunities for greater leadership responsibilities along with formal leadership training. Countries such as Canada and the UK have formal colleges/universities providing courses on school leadership development such as the Ontario University and National College for Teaching and Leadership respectively. These are the most popular models for school leadership support, but just as the education systems in countries differ, so does

the need for school leadership development. In India, this phenomenon of school leadership training is not new. Even though there have been various education committees and reports talking about the need for school leadership, it has taken a long time for the educators in India to take note of this. Beginning with the Mudaliar Commission Report (1952-53) emphasizing that in addition to the academic and professional qualification, the head teachers should have at least 10 years of administrative/ teaching experience, qualities of leadership and administrative ability; to the National Policy of Education (1986) talking about selection and training of heads of educational institutions both at State and District levels. From then to the current draft of NPE (2016) under discussion also talking about the need for training and developing school leaders. The seeds of school leadership development are now beginning to sprout up. Current Scenario and Challenges Various commissions and committees on the Indian Education system have viewed the status and position of the head teacher or school leader as highly significant. Currently the basic qualification for becoming a head teacher is the same as that of the teachers of particular level of school with 12 years of general education followed by two years of professional learning and a B.Ed degree in secondary schools the school leader also requires a university degree. The recruitment of school leaders varies across states and could be through a direct merit-based selection or promotion or seniority-based or a mix of these. This is similar to private schools. However,

private schools also give a lot of importance to both the knowledge and experience of the school leader, if it is a middle or high income school, whereas most low-fee schools are headed by their owners/ founders which may not have the relevant qualification or experience. Hence there exists slight variations in the qualification of heads of schools across states and school types. The way government and private schools function may be poles apart and school leaders’ selection may also be different, but both sets of school leaders have the same issues in common – dealing with parents, lack of qualified teachers, supporting the development of teachers and policies and procedures that they have to implement but do not have a say in developing. Private school leaders have more autonomy and can hold teachers accountable, whereas government school leaders lack the same when making decisions for their staff and students. Sandwiched between students and teachers below, school inspectors and other education officers above and parents and community forming the third dimension, school leaders hold a very critical position and are expected to play multiple roles. They are expected to build a shared vision, set high expectations from staff and


students, oversee the teaching and learning program, establish effective teams and distribute leadership among school staff, monitor their performance, work towards improving student achievement and much more. School leaders set the vision, mission and values for the school, along with managing the overall school culture. S/ he is the one who supports the teachers by observing classrooms, providing feedback for improvement, help build professional capacity of the teachers, motivating, supporting and guiding them, manage expectations of parents and other stakeholders such as school inspectors, CRPs, etc. With all of this, it almost seems that the school leaders carry out a Herculean task everyday of their lives. Hence, the school leader’s role is instrumental in changing the way a school functions. With 1.4 million schools and 190 million students, India is home

to arguably the world’s largest school system but lacks a single institution for training people to run schools.

Another area of focus needs to be shared or distributed leadership, which allows building collective team capacity and benefitting from the strengths of various individuals on school staff

Connecting the Dots Under NUEPA, National Centre for School Leadership (NCSL) was born to provide government school leaders training on the aspects of self-development, transforming teaching-learning processes, building and leading teams, leading partnerships, etc. While NCSL aims at reaching out to government schools, it leaves the need for something similar for private schools. One might say that high and middle income school leaders have access to conferences, seminars, etc. but that eliminates the low fee charging private schools. Leadership is even more important for these schools working under difficult circumstances with limited resources coupled with increased expectations from

October 2016 to academics than merely administrative as in the case mentioned above. They need to focus on instructional leadership and development of teachers to improve learning outcomes and ensure students build on the knowledge required in the 21st century. School leaders need to be provided higher degrees of autonomy with appropriate support.

parents and community. This calls for equipping school leaders with skills, knowledge and mindsets that enable them to critically analyze the challenges faced by and opportunities available to school in the prevailing conditions. Training needs for such schools’ leaders need to ensure greater participation of students from marginalized communities and healthy interaction among children from different backgrounds.

Leadership development needs to be a continuum rather than a one-time activity

Apart from NCSL, there are various private organizations or NGOs in the country today that are working on this important aspect of changing the education scenario. Wherein organizations such as Kaivalya Education Foundation work with rural government schools, Creatnet Education focuses on urban government school leaders’ qualities; with India School Leadership Institute (ISLI) working with both low fee


private and government schools focusing on overall school development. Even with these significant developments there is a long way to go in the school leadership space. There is an instrumental increase in student enrolment, but the question on quality of education continues to exist. In such a scenario, there is a need to question what leadership roles are most effective in improving student learning. Moreover, with multiple types of schools, systemic issues and lack of political inclination towards encouraging focus on school leadership, this area has lagged behind. School leaders either lack the relevant qualification, experience, support or all of these to do their jobs well. According to ASER data, 76% of students do not make it past the tenth standard, 52% of standard 5 students cannot read a standard 2 text signifying the crisis of our education system. With the growing need for improving quality in education, we need to find ways to ensure current and future school leaders develop the right skills for effective leadership. Hence, the responsibilities of the school leader needs to be redefined and the focus needs to shift

Another area of focus needs to be shared or distributed leadership, which allows building collective team capacity and benefitting from the strengths of various individuals on school staff. With the fast changing world and exponential increase in knowledge accessibility, the role of the school leader has become challenging and hence it is important that their role is professionalized. Leadership development needs to be a continuum rather than a onetime activity. There is also need for creating professional learning communities as well as spaces for peer learning such as school leaders’ forums. The next NPE asserts that school improvement and quality education is dependent upon the empowerment of school leaders. Hence, it is imperative to develop leadership capacities of the school heads for quality improvement and effective management of schools and go beyond the administrative tasks towards making them instructional leaders. If a school leader has been a teacher in the past, it is important to use his/her teaching experience for helping others on the staff learn from it, rather than dumping this experience in exchange of a horde of administrative and finance-related tasks. India needs not merely school managers but school leaders to change its education system.



Mr. Sameer Malkani, is an Education Specialist, for pre-schools, K-12 schools, international schools and Co-Founder of Food Bloggers Association of India(FBAI), Mumbai. He distributes learning products and services, including National Geographic Explorer across schools in India. He also consults in setting-up international schools, offering end to end solutions. His prior work experience include association with organizations like Ogilvy & Mather and Discovery Channel India. With an experience in the education space, Mr. Malkani shares his perspective on e-governance and how change in governance styles must be embraced by schools today.

Education is one of the critical building blocks for the progress of an economy. It plays a key role in the development of a country. Schools in India, today are constantly innovating and inspiring the leaders of tomorrow. Good governance plays a critical role in achieving objectives of the school, the education system and the economy as whole. One of the key enablers of good governance is technology, if used appropriately. E- Governance provides an effective system and solution for improvising the quality of an education system. What is e-governance in an Education system? E-governance is the use of technology that goes beyond just compilation and processes used within a campus. E-governance, besides providing analysis of data compiled, can showcase trends, optimum solutions and options for action in the system. It also encourages stakeholders

participation within the system. It is as a set of technologymediated processes that are changing both the delivery of education within an environment. When I was in school in Mumbai, e – governance existed in the form of processes.

Once the vision is clear, ideally a buy in from relevant stakeholders becomes important as e-governance ultimately reduces manual intervention in processes

I fondly recollect our Principal, Mr. Sharma, who was a visionary, emphasising the need of better systems within the school campus. Of course, we were too young to comprehend his vision. The school, of course has come a long way under his guidance and today ranks as one of the better schools in the country. How can schools embrace e-governance? School Managements need to identify the role of e-governance in the institution. Once the vision is clear, ideally a buy in from relevant stakeholders becomes important as e-governance ultimately reduces manual intervention in processes. The internal process points in the system, be it with students, parents, teachers, the community


October 2016 for each of the stakeholders is critical to the progress of the environment. Technology as an enabler for governance simplifies processes and creates active nodes to manage the large number. E-governance improves the efficiency, helps in tracking and allocating accountability, tracks progress, generates near real time reports and supports decision making.

or internal management needs to be defined, and the role of each stakeholder within. A technology /ICT system is then put into place, often which requires briefing and training of stakeholders. Remember e-governance is a multi-faceted tool, so for it to work seamlessly and towards achieving goals, ideally all processes must work smoothly and all stakeholders be in sync with operating the system. ...schools are increasingly using e-portals, sms alerts, news flashes etc. to form a more real time and interactive relationship with each other in an educational institution

parents responsibility to look up the notice online. If both stakeholders were not in sync, or did not know how to do so or did not adopt the system, it would fail and a part of the e-governance system would crash. Similar with marksheets or admissions. Challenges within an education system The sheer number of stakeholders, even within one school campus is magnanimous. Students, their parents, teachers and faculty, support staff, exstudents, school management and not to forget the community around the school account for more 1000+ stakeholders. Responsibility and accountability

An effective e-governance system needs to lay down needs, develop a roadmap, set standards, processes and procedures, allocate resources and hold accountability while facilitation solutions to reach the end objective. It should be easy to understand, simple, inexpensive, have minimal maintenance and should be easily adaptable, upgradable and scalable. The system also needs to be engaging for all stakeholders and have an ability to facilitate feedback as a twoway process. All participants must buy in to the system for it to work smoothly. The communication between stakeholders and transparency is critical as much as training the

To illustrate a simple example, notices in schools were earlier posted in a physical diary of a student or a separate notice sheet was sent along. Many schools now post this online in the parent’s section of an e-portal developed by the school. The student is informed about it, but it is the students’ responsibility to inform the parent, and the


The Future E-governance helps build the future of technology in education to achieve targeted results. The system needs to be expandable, scalable and most importantly future ready. As the environment and learning space evolves, institutions and e-governance within the institution evolve too and hence it is critical to embrace this.

requisite stakeholders, where required. E-Governance uses ICT and technology and is a system that can be partly automated. For example in a school admissions, fee and transport management, library, faculty salaries, maintaining report cards of students, managing accounts and communication can be easily streamlined and facilitated through an appropriate module. Right from admission day to the student’s graduation from school, every activity is tracked. For teachers, the e-governance platform works like an automated performance appraisal system as their activities—academic and non-academic—get logged. In a school environment, the realtime performance appraisal is a two-way process, and benefits both students and teachers. E-governance helps address— the reams of data that both state and central governments seek from schools for their various schemes and for policymaking. India’s school sector traditionally suffers from quality issues and several surveys, domestic and international, have pointed to its poor educational outcomes.


The government is looking to address some of the ills of the school sector. The government is planning to improve student engagement, base education inputs on proper assessment and gap analysis, focusing on mathematics and science from Class I, besides improving school infrastructure according to a recent report in LiveMint. ..enlightened schools, led by dynamic and liberalist leaders, involve parents in school matters so that they can collaborate on the development of the child The above reasons are strong valid reasons why every school should embrace e – governance within their system. Security is critical to the system, which must be secure and easy to use for all stakeholders. The modules being compromised either internally or externally creates havoc in the system of a school embracing e-governance.

Interestingly data and internet on mobiles and hand held devices are commonplace with everyone in the country and schools are increasingly using e-portals, SMS alerts, news flashes etc. to form a more real time and interactive relationship with each other in an educational institution. Schools across the country are increasingly using e-governance to streamline and achieve their vision, which in turn benefits all concerned stakeholders. Recently, the Goa government, on August 31, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Google India to start off the digital transformation programme in the state. “Google has created a curriculum in consultation with experts. Google India has initiated teacher trainings and it will soon expand to cover 460 schools, teaching over 80,000 students how to stay safe online,” said Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, according to an India Today report. The Vision of the school and the education system needs to be set by the stakeholders in the initial stages to ensure successful e-governance of a school.The above of course is an ideal situation, but each school must try and achieve their full potential in e-governance.



Mr. Rupert Picardo is an entrepreneur who moved away from a desk and field job of international sales to chase his passion in team building, gamified learning, and employee engagement with his venture D’Frens Management Consulting India Pvt. Ltd. Bengaluru. His current goal is to learn a new musical instrument every year until he crosses a dozen (he is currently at 9). He paints, sketches, designs websites, writes and also creates immersive learning based activities for corporates. In this quick piece for MENTOR Mr. Picardo highlights the importance of events-based learning in schools.

This is the age of augmented reality, 8 second attention spans that challenge goldfish, and an age of devices. Information and learning is at our fingertips, barely a few swipes away. Yet we persist in archaic forms of learning. I am not talking about textbooks versus devices. I am talking about theory versus practical. In this article, I want to put forth the transition of experiential and event-based training instead of rote-something that we have persisted with, despite knowing that the theory does not stick for too long.

education is chosen by parents not by our passion/interests. And our career choices are therefore determined by whatever we can get rather than what we want to do. To a large extent this is because of our education system and our aversion to change.

We have always known that experience is the best teacher. It also provides for the strongest memory. Yet we persist with rote, memorization and note-taking as our models of learning. Our grades therefore are simply a reflection of how well we can memorize rather than what we have actually learnt. Our higher

So what exactly is event-based learning? It would be best to explain this with an example. Consider a sports day-that is your event. Every student competes, prepares, trains and improves in order to perform at the event. If this was an elective, then you have only a certain segment of students who will opt for the event and prepare for it.

Event based learning (EBL) is a method of bringing out some positive change. It can provide a better perspective of real life. It can help transform learning. It already has, especially to those who have adopted and embraced it.

Why does it work? • Firstly, the outcome is clear. You see the effect of training, the effect of preparation. • Secondly, it is not for everyone. Those with clear intent, ability or interest will opt-in. It is an aptitude test. It helps you explore what you think you are good at and betters you at it. • It is experiential. Therefore, you build in some form of muscle memory. This stays a lot longer than any memorization techniques.


So what other forms can benefit from event-based learning? Practically everything. How do you teach language and make it interesting? What else can you plug in? Here is an example: Imagine if your event was to live two weeks in a rural village in Karnataka. To do this at the end of the year, children have to prepare in multiple disciplines: • Learn your third language Kannada enough to interact with everyone in the village and have conversation with them and note down your learnings in Kannada. • Understand basic farming and agriculture • Appreciating food and culture • The history of the region Wouldn’t this impart better life skills? Wouldn’t there be a purpose to learn the language, understand geography, history and agriculture and know how rice is harvested? The collaborative learning approach in this model would also include children having to plan these events, prepare for it, grade internally to ensure that those going on this excursion are prepared - knowing the language, having brushed up on social skills, being


able to manage on their own, understanding the basics of agriculture, local culture and food habits. There is so much more that applies in the real world than improving one’s handwriting. It would also make children tougher for the experience. It would take away the routine of homework and transform it into a lifetime of memories. Various other factors come into play too. Ability to improve social skills. Empower children to make and take decisions. By providing these as electives, you are also recognizing and rewarding aptitude as educators. You are allowing children to make a decision towards their interests rather than forcing everyone to become doctors or engineers, only to work in BPOs later. How else would you recognize if someone has an aptitude for engineering? I sincerely hope your answer isn’t “based on their math and physics score!” Topping in theory-based studies is practically meaningless. Too often we see class toppers as having diminished social skills, possibly because they have spent most of their formative years trying to “learn” their subjects. I have met a few

toppers. They cannot remember simple formulae that they spent so much time to memorize in school. And what use did it have in the real life? A forgotten score card! The same applies to corporates and the learning methods that they employ. Thankfully, there a positive shift towards gamified learning at the corporate level and it would be ideal to permeate this at the school level itself. It is time to shake things up. It is time to really look closely at learning. The world has changed. Everything around us has changed. How people interact, has changed. Why shouldn’t learning styles go through a transformation for the better too? Event-based learning has always been around. But we hesitate to try new methods. If you want to see the power of event-based learning, get your children to plan a camping trip and invite their best friends along. See the level of detailing, the planning, the preparation. Tell the full group that they need to learn conservation, recycling, garbage disposal, basic cooking, route planning and so on. These are far more important skills than knowing the birth date of Lord MountBatten, or so...

October 2016


Ms. Kiran Bir Sethi, an alumna of the National Institute of Design (N.I.D.), Ahmedabad, is the Founder/Director of The Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India(an Ashoka Changemaker School), since 2001. In 2007, she founded ‘aProCh’ - an initiative to make our cities more child friendly. In 2009, she founded ‘Design for Change’ (DFC) - the world’s largest movement of change – of and by children and is now in 40 countries!! She is the recipient of the “INDEX – Design to Improve Life Award”, the “Rockefeller Foundation Youth Innovation Award”, the “Patricia Blunt Koldyke Fellowship 2013” by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and the “Asia Game Changer 2015” Award by the Asia Society, U.S.A. A proud Ashoka fellow, Ms Sethi has driven change and implemented the concept of design for change in her school. In this article for MENTOR, she elucidates the concept of Design for Change and its relevance in schools today.


Our work focuses on empowering children to believe in themselves and be fearless about the decisions and choices they make. Schools often remove choice from children’s lives, thus building a mind set of “I cannot”, scripting their understanding of who they are and what they can achieve. Instead, our work focuses on instilling the ‘I can’ mind set, where every child realises that they are not helpless and they can make a difference. Design for change firmly believes that children are the NOW – that TODAY they have all the ingredients to be the change. It gives them creative confidence and prepares them as global citizens to deal with uncertainty, develop an open mind towards accepting multiple perspectives and, very importantly, gets them to respect each other as equals by appreciating each one’s unique strengths. Thus, embedding design mindset in education builds the critical 21st century skills in children. Design for Change (DFC) started in 2009 from the Riverside School, Ahmedabad. DFC cultivates the ‘I Can’ mindset through a simple 4 step framework of Feel, Imagine, Do

& Share (FIDS). The framework equips children with the tools to be more aware and informed of the world around them, believe and realise the importance of their role in shaping that world, and take action towards building a more desirable present thus leading to a more sustainable future. Children go through the four steps of Feel, Imagine, Do and Share (FIDS) to break down a problem into different parts. They build an understanding of the multiple perspectives about an issue. Children design and implement solutions, incorporating insights from their understanding of the needs of stakeholders.

By incorporating the humancentered approach of design thinking, DFC cultivates this ‘I Can’ mindset through a simple 4 step framework of Feel, Imagine, Do & Share (FIDS)

Breaking it down The four step process of Feel, Imagine, Do and Share (FIDS) simplifies the design thinking process for children. Children go through these four steps to break down a problem into different parts. They build an understanding of the multiple perspectives about an issue.

FEEL – empathy – nurture the heart IMAGINE- ethics – grow the head DO – excellence – use the hands collaborative action and agency SHARE – elevation – inspire hope - I can , now you can too!

Design Thinking is a problem solving process with the core values of Empathy, Collaboration and Optimism

The core focus of Design Thinking is on understanding a problem from the perspective of people involved and affected by the problem. Children design and implement solutions, incorporating insights from their understanding of the needs of stakeholders. Through the DFC process, children identify something that bothers them. This unique aspect distinguishes it from other Design Thinking processes. They are guided in


this process by three lenses: social, emotional and physical. They are asked to observe the tangible objects as well as the feelings of others around them and describe their observations to their classmates. The process of sharing and collectively voting on one problem gets children and teachers to interact and understand each others’ thoughts and feelings. Also when children choose the problem themselves, they take ownership of it and this increases their engagement in the learning process. After choosing their hot spot and understanding its root cause, children move to the next step of Imagine. They begin by visualizing a “best case scenario”, which is a description of the goal they wish to achieve. Having an end picture in mind allows children to brainstorm for solutions that are relevant to their identified opportunity for change. Together as a class, children vote for solutions they feel will have the maximum impact and would be appreciated by people who are being affected by the problem. Then comes the step of “Do”, this is the phase where children

initiate their process of change by prototyping their solution. This allows children to get feedback on how their idea translates into action. After the quick prototyping, children refine their ideas to incorporate feedback from stakeholders. Children then move forward to prepare their plan of action and allocate responsibilities amongst themselves based on their strengths to implement their ideas. They create a timeline for their action steps and begin their transition into change makers. And finally share the story of success and inspire their peers and become a super hero. Children also share the stories on to the submission platform so that they can inspire the world with their stories of change. ‘I Can’ DFC is guided by the belief that children have the potential to bring change and the FIDS process is a platform to unlock their creative agency. It is a problem solving process with the core values of Empathy, Collaboration and Optimism. There are multiple ways by which schools can take Design For Change into their classroom, the School Challenge is the

October 2016 perfect way to introduce DFC in schools, with a short-term, highimpact DFC project carried out by the children. Here children design and implement solutions to problems which bother them in their school or community. At an individual level, this enables them to realize the power of the words “I Can”. 21st Century Skills are therefore the key focus area of education across the world. Advocating no particular cause, DFC is independent of age, caste, culture, geography and language since it is fuelled by the power of an idea. Since 2009, over 18,000 stories of change by children have impacted the world till date. The concept of design thinking incorporated in Design For Change makes it essential to understand the perspectives of all stakeholders involved in the problem and therefore works through a participatory approach. Thus, in many of the student led projects, the community has played a huge role in the same or the projects have led to community mobilization that results in community engagement and contribution. Children have used this knowledge and spread the word in their own communities, so the process of empowerment keeps on snowballing. For example, in 2009, a group of 10 year olds in Rajasthan, India got the people in their village together to carry out some simple and effective ideas for harvesting rainwater. In 2012, on the other side of the world, some 13 year olds at the Emiliano Zapata Middle School, in Mexico, decided that their school needed a civic square. They succeeded in uniting the entire Los Timbres community to build it with them. Another key aspect of DFC is creating a curriculum for schools, using stories as inspirational case studies,


allowing the children to become role models for other children. The Design Thinking curriculum is an interactive Design Thinking Guide (DTG) for students, through which children can engage with the FIDS process at a deeper level. This year long immersive ‘I Can’ design thinking curriculum develops and nurtures the required behaviour and skills both in students and in teachers as facilitators at a classroom level. This further empowers educators to create solutions that lead to larger school/ community level transformations. Thus, building an ‘I Can’ culture where teachers, as agents of change establish and design processes that lead to an environment that enables children to learn, engage and create; impacting not just the world of education but the world in general. Collaborative Learning Design for Change (DFC) builds 21st century skills in children through their engagement with the Design Thinking process. • It gets teachers to interact with their students on topics drawn from their shared reality of school and surrounding community. • Collaboration is another key principle of Design Thinking. Group activities are integral to each stage of FIDS. Children come together as a class

to collectively share their thoughts, vote for decision making processes and collaborate with each other to come up with innovative solutions.

DFC is implemented through a process of a dialogue between students and teachers wherein students act as critical coinvestigators

Therefore, implementation of DFC provides an opportunity to showcase collaborative learning in a classroom. The implementation of DFC creates opportunities for children and teachers to learn simultaneously. The constructivist method of learning transforms the role of a teacher to a facilitator as it requires them to provide students with opportunities to observe, to question, to compare and eventually to generate their own understanding. DFC is implemented through a process of a dialogue between students and teachers wherein students act as critical co-investigators. DFC activities lead to discussions in classrooms which are centred around real world context. This allows teachers to hear student’s

opinions and thoughts on their surroundings and the manner in which it affects them. These discussions were open and informal and both teachers and students discover new things about each other. The processes in DFC curriculum are designed in a manner where the content of the classes is co-created by children’s understanding of a problem and their ideas to tackle it, and emphasis is given to student voices driving the learning journey. The teacher enters a DFC class rather uncertainly as she has the prior knowledge of the process but not the outcomes. This is markedly different from other academic subjects where teachers enter with a pre-determined content. Therefore, the methodology of teaching DFC curriculum fosters a collaborative approach to learning where students and teachers participate equally. The freedom of expression is also helped by the premise that in a DFC classroom, children are not hindered by the fear of their answers being right or wrong. Rather it is a space for them to bring forth their opinions and importance is given to independent and creative thinking.


Implementation and Impact Today – using FIDS, children in over 44 countries are solving some of the world’s greatest challenges; from stopping child marriages to tackling bullying, from reducing the weight of school bags to preserving tribal culture - and telling all of us adults – if you believe in us and tell us we can – then we WILL. In 2009, DFC partnered with ‘The GoodWork Project’ at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, U.S.A. to gather feedback from the participating students and teachers. It showed clearly the development of skills like collaboration, creative thinking & empathy. According to impact

studies it has been validated that through DFC, children build skills of collaboration, creative thinking & empathy. Teachers have shared that facilitating DFC projects helps them discover strengths of their students, develop faith in their capabilities and makes children feel more responsible and confident. The results reaffirmed the impact of the DFC curriculum. Ongoing research also suggests that the confidence developed through the project, improves academic scores as well. This has made the DFC I CAN School Challenge, a yearly feature for many schools. Teachers share that facilitating DFC projects helps them discover strengths

October 2016

of their students, develop faith in their capabilities and get to know what the children think and feel about the world around them. According to them, children feel more responsible and confident. The impact study reveals the manner in which DFC Curriculum enables a platform for student voice in learning processes. This exploratory research has been able to ascertain that teachers have noticed a shift in their students, classroom dynamics and their own selves while implementing DFC curriculum in their classroom. The shift has been towards a more collaborative teaching process where the hierarchy between teachers and students breaks down as they work together as partners in solving a problem. Moreover, the discussions in the classroom are more contextual and this allows for a personal relationship to build between students and teachers as they get to know each other’s thoughts and feelings. Classroom discussions grounded in the real world context leads to learning being more relevant to both students and teachers.

need for learning transferable skills and creating a long term impact on students. If the impact on teachers and community is considered, the DFC program probably is one of the most cost effective means of inculcating attitudes, values and skills most needed for the 21st century. Given the transferability of the FIDS model, the DFC program lends itself to easy expansion and is likely to have a lasting positive impact on students and the community if scaled up. The government have been very supportive of the DFC program across all states in the country. In the last few years, majority of DFC India stories have come from the government school. However, some challenges are seen in terms of logistics and budget allocation to conduct

large scale training. Sometimes mobilizing a large group of teachers becomes a constraint. Quantification of the empathy aspect, which is a huge factor of the approach has been challenge in many cases. The project focuses on developing both socio-emotional skills in addition to academic skills. As mentioned above, the intangible nature of these socio-emotional skills make it difficult to quantify them. Therefore, it has been seen that implementation of DFC curriculum in classrooms facilitates dynamism in learning by involving students through conversations and discussions. It is able to strengthen collaboration between students and teachers. DFC curriculum is based on the principle of learning by doing. Children’s learning takes place when they act upon their thoughts, are able to see the outcome of their actions and reflect on their learning by sharing it with others. And through experiential learning, teachers are valuing the importance of building relationships with their students to teach more effectively.

At a cost of Rs 500 to train a teacher, a minimum of 10 students are impacted through the DFC challenge using conservative estimates. Therefore, at a highly costeffective rate of Rs 50 per student per year, DFC addresses the




The success of a school and its principal is determined mostly by the results of the students in grade 10 or 12 (board exams). Given the larger role that the principal plays in shaping school culture and the learning environment, this is incongruent. Numerous efforts at evaluating schools by standardized tests and models do not reflect the principal’s efforts in navigating the unique eco-system for effective functioning. Research in education has to encompass several problems such as: • Class size and student’s cognitive development • Teacher training and learning effectiveness • Educator’s personality and interpersonal relationships with administration and parents • Classroom organization and educational transformation Knowledge and awareness in these areas is inadequate and outdated. A research-based approach which includes

collecting data, evaluating significant variables, assessing impact of change, systemically introducing change and evaluating sustainability- will answer many questions that can reform education and how a school and its principal is perceived. We believe that solutions exist within the school and we need to look inwards to find them. Taking the first step, we at Mentor, surveyed 110 school principals and head teachers accross 9 cities. An overwhelming 90% felt that structured research and intervention were necessary for comprehensive evaluation of school functioning. Surprisingly, 51% were keen on working with an external agency having domain expertise in research for specific concern areas. Confirming the prevailing bias of how schools are perceived today, 71% felt detailed research methodology was required in student performance and teacher quality. It was also very encouraging to find that well over 50% felt that students’ personal development, school safety and

student-teacher relationship needed greater investigation. Interest Areas for Detailed Evaluation

Response Percent*

Students’ performance in academics


Quality of teaching


Students’ personal development


School and students’ safety


Teacher-Student relationship


Leadership and management style


The survey confirmed the need for a scientific and structured research methodology to provide information for school principals to improve education planning and decision making. Such an approach, we feel, will be a tool to communicate to internal and external stakeholders, the role of school as society’s agent for change.

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