Reflections of Teachers on June Orientation

At Educate for Life, we believe that it is our teachers who enable us bring our vision of creating an amazing school to life. The 10-day June orientation programme was a time for teachers to explore new methods of learning, understand formats that will enable them plan their lessons, sessions and the year better and reconnect their work with the values that form the foundation of Hunar Ghar. With the new academic year started, teachers at Hunar Ghar reflected upon their experiences at the orientation, their takeaways from the sessions conducted and their plans for the year ahead.

As the teachers reflected upon the 10-day orientation, they felt that some of the most engaging sessions for them were the ones centered on improving the learning experience for children.

The sessions conducted by our Special Educational needs intern, Leah were greatly appreciated by the teachers. The teachers felt that these reflected her understanding of the community and the children at Hunar Ghar and were tailored according to the needs of the children. The concepts of self-assessment and self-learning for children were a highlight for Pushpa Dama. She is confident that tools created by Leah will enable more self-learning for children and enable them to learn with one another in addition to what they learn from the teacher. Ajeet Sangia, too felt that self-assessment by children will go a long way towards making them confident.

Self-assessment by children will remove undue pressure from them, enable self-learning, foster greater participation, help them overcome hesitation and increase their confidence.

– Ajeet Sangia, teacher

The teachers found sessions by Apni Shala, who have been partnering with us for capacity development of teachers, very interesting. They found these sessions helpful in creating a healthy and positive learning environment for children and understanding children’s needs so that they are able to grow freely. The games facilitated by Apni Shala have inspired one of our teachers, Shakutala to create similar games to convey different concepts in her classroom. Ajeet Sangia also reckons that planning classes which are interspersed with games and activities, will help increase concentration of children.

The sessions by Apni Shala also focussed greatly on team building, experience sharing, building better communications to improve clarity in understanding and developing a growth mindset. For Gopal, our school coordinator, one of the most memorable aspects of this orientation was a focus on adopting a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed one. He believes that this is an important value to inculcate both within ourselves and in children.

Sharing of experiences also helped the teachers reflect upon understanding children’s needs better, and come up with new ideas for activity-based learning so that children can learn with one another, outside classroom.

It is important to understand children’s needs, emotions and experiences to promote unrestricted, free and independent learning.

– Buddharaj, teacher

The sessions on nurturing leadership among students, conducted by school leadership expert, Madhu Sareen, were very interesting and novel for the teachers. Teachers felt that helping children form and manage their own committees will enable them assume a greater sense of responsibility and make better leaders of them in future.

The June Orientation was also a time to plan the new academic year. A detailed chapter and session planning enables our teachers to adapt the state curriculum to meet the needs of our first generation rural learners.

Ajeet Sangia says that pre-planning and reflection upon scope for improvement formed the core of the Orientation for him. The teachers found sessions on lesson, session and annual planning very helpful. Pushpa says that she found annual planning, which was a new exercise in this year’s orientation, an extremely effective tool to help teachers plan their work better. She also appreciated the fact that the lesson plans have become more structured with defining the objectives at the outset, detailing the activities and seeking feedback from children at the end.

Another important objective of this orientation was working towards the holistic growth of children. It enabled the teachers to think beyond classroom education and equip them to assist children in all possible ways. The sessions on integrating aspects of healthcare into education were particularly helpful to our teachers in this direction. Buddharaj, feels that teachers’ understanding of first aid, cleanliness and hygiene and nutrition is crucial since they are closest to children most of the time and can bring about a lot of change at their level.

Teachers at Hunar Ghar were conscious of the fact that the preparations for this new academic year went beyond lesson plans and session plans. They felt that this was evident from an increased focus on translating rules and values into their work, improving teamwork and adopting a growth mindset. The orientation programme was indeed a platform for our rural teachers to gear themselves for the ongoing transitions within the organisation aiming at a larger impact.