SELF ASSESSMENT BY A TEACHER: Session: 2005 - 06
What method of teaching & teaching aids do you use in your class?
I adopt a ‘learning-by-doing’ approach in the classroom situation. My approach is to enable and empower every child to develop the right ability towards the subjects I am responsible for. I take up both math and physics with kids in the game format. This ensures that every child enjoys the subject and attempts it with a sportsman spirit. I also use technology as part of my aid. Students conduct Math Picnics in groups at home and also do Energy Conservation Projects at home. Power point presentations are prepared by kids and we have these presentations in the class room too. I feel if an Audio-Visual (AV) Room is provided the children will benefit tremendously. A lot of interaction with my students occurs through the internet from my home. Most of the project forms are emailed to students at their class email id’s - to be downloaded and used.
I ensure that every child actually attempts questions in the class – so that problems are sorted in my presence. Students are motivated to present their methods of problem solving on the board as well. Best practices in problem-solving are thus shared through an ‘open source’ approach. I give points to kids for whatever they do as part of their learning – blackboard/powerpoint presentations, asking intelligent questions in class, giving ingenuous answers, helping others by sharing their knowledge, getting copies checked without pressure, doing work with honesty, expressing inability frankly without fear etc. These points are later converted into marks to be added to their assessment marks. This I have found works wonders with kids. They begin to love the subject and the element of fear disappears. Education then becomes a synonym for ‘freedom.’
Our approach can open new vistas for the growing and evolving child within the class-room situation. Education should never mean imposition of knowledge. This approach is fundamentally flawed since all knowledge resides within. As instructors we need to provide the spark to unravel it. This also leads me to believe that the word ‘teacher’ is a misnomer. I feel I am an ‘instructor’ or a ‘facilitator’ rather than a teacher, whose function is to guide the child discover him/herself. A teacher by definition should be teaching kids in the class. I cannot do that because I have nothing to teach! Infact, I have much more to learn from kids than teach them since they are still not as prejudiced as we adults are.
To nurture the ability has to be my function – and that is what I really enjoy doing with every child.
In both math and physics I encourage kids to make a lot of visuals – figures/diagrams etc – and to colour them wherever possible. Child art is a beautiful method of getting kids on the right track.
What activities indoor/outdoor have you done with the children to enhance their book learning experience this past year?
These have been explained in the above answer in detail. These are:
1. Blackboard presentations
2. Power point presentations
3. Website development by children
4. Developing math copies from re-cycled old copies/pages
5. Sharing of best practices amongst students.
6. Energy Conservation Projects – home/neighbourhood based.
7. Online/internet based communication with kids/parents.
8. Normal classwork/homework – but with an approach that promotes freedom of submission, expression, honesty of effort and discipline from within.
9. Point system to motivate kids.
10. Would love to take kids into the open for physical practice sessions to enhance their levels of alertness, fitness and co-ordination. All these have a direct bearing on mathematical ability. I seek permission to do this from the school management.
How much time do you take to evaluate the class and homework? And when?
Since both my subjects are based on mental ability, I prefer checking copies in front of kids – and keep pointing out wherever a better/more practical method/approach can help. I generally check a topic once it has been entirely covered in class. However, kids always have the freedom to ask me problems anytime before we end a given chapter.
There is not much differentiation between my classwork and homework as both merge into one-another. A lot of time – say 60% - is used in the class when kids actually do things themselves. 40% is used in explaining concepts as also doing one-on-one checking work. The 60% time includes the time I move around the class resolving issues or enabling networking of kids to share best practices.
What steps do you take to handle the average and the weak students of your class?
Average and weak students invariably have a special place in my classroom instruction approach. I spend a lot of time with a pen in hand moving from one desk to another assisting such children. I try to encourage many of the brighter kids to share their knowledge too. A fundamental approach always is to convince kids not to copy math and physics. I insist that even if they don’t know a question and want to see the solution (after having failed to answer it) they must only read and understand the solution. Subsequently, the question should be attempted themselves. Soon kids get convinced with this approach. Often, despite seeing the solution and then attempting themselves they get stuck. This only indicates that they had not understood the solution in the first instance. They must retry – and keep trying till they are able to do it themselves. This develops the right ability – with an appropriate tool-kit – to answer questions themselves. The weak/average child benefits tremendously if are able to convince him/her of the efficacy of this approach. I keep doing it on a daily basis.
Activities and/or responsibilities handled other than academics in the school?
I enjoy extra-curricular activities just as much as academics simply because both are inter-linked and together contribute towards the development of an integrated personality in children. The more I mix with kids in extra-curriculars the more I will be able to synergize my efforts in the class room situation. I am myself a sportsman and therefore feel very strongly that both need to go hand in hand. I have been helping out in the following activities:
1. Co-ordinating for school level quizzing activities.
2. Co-ordinating for the school newletter Drishtikon.
3. Co-ordinating for the TERI-DJB Jal Jaagrukta Project in which our school won the best teacher co-ordinator (won by me), best lesson plan and best skit awards at Delhi state level.
4. Co-ordinating for Times NIE and HT-PACE activities.
5. Currently engaged in developing a Resource Center within the campus from where we can handle website issues, publications, quizzes etc.
How do you think you can constructively use the time given to you during the free periods and between 2pm – 3pm?
Currently, I spend my free time developing learning modules for kids. I would love to spend my free time after school coaching kids in TT, Badminton, Squash etc. I hope this can be possible once the auditorium is ready. I am also spending a lot of my free time developing quizzes for kids. My laptop helps me multiply my productivity tremendously. I would also look forward to being able to work online during school hours too once the Resource Center is ready. The AV Room will also be of great help to use my free time more constructively for kids. I also suggest that between 2pm – 3pm kids be taken to Sports Complexes like the one at Siri Fort. I really look forward to being able to develop kids this way during my free time.
I would love to guide teachers into learning sports during this time. This would be a great stress buster besides inculcating sportsman spirit in us.
What steps do you take to motivate the students to participate in extra-curricular activities other than academics?
Most of my responses in the above write-up have the answer to this question. I keep telling kids that finishing the syllabus has to be the starting point and not the end. I have given them an open invitation to meet me after school at Siri Fort Sports Complex any day between 3pm – 4pm. I go there 4 days a week where I coach my son Mudit in Squash. I try to read the daily newspapaer – the child edition – in class along with kids as and when possible. The other day we discussed weather Zidane did the right thing by head-butting Matarattzi of Italy.
I feel our school still has a long way to go in as far as extra-curricular facilities are concerned. I am willing to share my knowledge in developing them to the best of my ability. Table Tennis, Badminton, Squash, Tennis etc facilities need to be made available to kids at the earliest. Also, a register needs to be maintained where teachers can book the outdoors for taking kids out as per their plans. The school must encourage this and the games equipment made easily available to them.
I am prepared to help out in organizing guest lectures for kids too. These will open out their minds and help them communicate better.
What method do you use to discipline a problem child? And why?
I firmly believe that no child is a problem child. Most often it is the ineptitude of care givers like parents, guardians and teachers that results in situations which compel us to brand a child as a ‘problem child.’ However, children who do become a ‘problem’ need to be handled with great sensitivity. They must never be ridiculed in public. The teacher must try and bring out/appreciate their positive attributes as much as possible in the class.
Thus, the first step must be to gain the child’s trust and confidence through direct communication. Similarly, parents too must be won over. Once this is done, half the problem is already solved. The child needs to be interacted with separately. I make it a point to invite the child for a special discussion at the earliest. The sooner the better. A one-to-one counseling ensues, and a relationship gradually built. If required I also share my email id with the child so that he/she can confide whenever he/she feels comfortable and requires my intervention.
I explore the reasons behind the ‘problem.’ The roots of the problem must be deciphered. Gradually, solutions begin to evolve over a period of time. Classroom appreciation goes on hand-in-hand with separate counseling. Both complement each other. I also practice firmness as often as it is required in either or both of the situations. I try not to lose control over myself in handling the child even when provoked. If I do get provoked it only conveys incompetence and is likely to make my work so much more difficult.
There is no problem which cannot be rectified. A slow and steady progress is the best sign of positive change. But teachers must ensure that they remain very patient and optimistic. I make it a point to practice non-judgment. The moment we pass a verdict – a scar is created in a child’s psyche. We too become prejudiced.
A collection of all these steps helps me to adopt a very scientific ‘thought through’ strategy to handle the problems of every child. I would conclude by saying – no child is a problem child. However, most children do have problems – physical, mental, or emotional. As care-givers it is our duty to find solutions to such challenges without complaining.
How do you handle and counsel parents who are difficult in their behavior?
Handling difficult parents is a ‘totally different ball game!’ The best and most straight-forward approach is to invite them for an early appointment between 2pm – 3pm. They need to be firmly told how their adverse behavior is negatively affecting their child’s development. Their trust must also be gained. A strong communication channel – mostly through their child – should be established. I also give them my email id if required. Parents andchildren appreciate a lot if they know that there is someone there in the school/class with whom they can communicate at any time. This generally gives rest to their fear psychosis, if there is any.
Parents have to be convinced that their child’s development and growth – physical, mental and emotional – is a collaborative effort between them, the school system, the child’s peer group and the child him/herself. An accusatory approach takes us nowhere. As responsible care-givers they must complement the schools’ efforts and must trust our pedagogical approaches.
I find that parents become very co-operative when I approach them like this. They soon become ‘partners’ in the schools efforts in the integrated development of their child.
What steps do you take to ensure that your classroom is neat and clean?
Cleanliness is a habit. I always try to convince children that we must always respect public places just as much as we do our homes. Infact, there is an open invite to them to see my car from inside – where I have made a small dustbin! This prevents me and my son from littering the roads as I drive. This way I try to set a good example for my son, I tell them. I also try to win them over on this issue by asking them to re-cycle waste as much as possible. I award special points to kids who can prepare math copies from blank sheets of paper from previous unused copies.
The best way to win them is through ‘practice’ and not preaching. Children have very good observation powers. If our actions are contradictory to our preaching they immediately brand us as ‘hypocrites.’ I encourage kids to put litter into the bin even if they have not put it there. I do it myself whenever I see it. I also explain why this is important – as responsible citizens we must do our duty to keep our surroundings clean.
• For school: Yes (at times get late due to increased traffic and a distance of 25km from my house. Still, this should not be an excuse and I keep trying my best to rectify the problem as much as possible. Often, the bad traffic puts my plans into disarray.
• For scheduled activities: Yes (I am very particular not to let people wait for me)
• For completion of given duties: yes (try to do them before/on-time as committed)
• What books have you read recently?
1. Who moved my cheese?
3. Osho’s books
• Which periodicals do you read?
1. Readers Digest
2. Down To Earth (from Center for Science & Environment)
3. India Today
4. Online – Wikipedia etc.
• What are your hobbies and interests?
1. Sports (playing as well as following in the media) – Squash, TT, Badminton, Tennis, Cricket, Soccer.
5. Browsing the net
6. Spending time on my NGO – REACHA (www.reacha.org) activities.
7. Listening to my favourite old time music – Police, Dire Straits, Pink Floyd, Kishore Kumar, Cliff Richards, Abba, Carpenters etc.
What efforts do you think can contribute to a positive learning environment in the school?
• By you:
1. Development of organized sports/inter-house activities.
2. Development of extra-curricular activities like quizzing, debating, group discussions etc
3. Organizing inter-school events/competitions.
4. Drishtikon development
5. Development of a Resource Center in school – AV Room etc.
6. Preparing kids for out-of-school competitions.
7. Developing responsible internet usage attitudes.
8. Conducting workshops for children on relevant topics.
9. Co-ordinating with math/science teachers as also English teachers to improve these in school.
10. Any other activity that can help our institution grow.
• With your colleagues:
1. Conducting workshops for my colleagues on relevant topics.
2. Developing responsible internet/computer usage attitudes.
3. Helping in team-building activities for Math/Science/English development as well as other subjects.
4. Promoting an interest in playing games as a stress-buster between 2pm – 3pm.
5. Organizing guest lectures for them.
6. Any other activities that can help our institution grow.
• With your students:
1. Sports – in a very organized way.
2. Improving their communication skills – debates, group discussions etc.
4. Helping them learn Power Point Presentation skills.
5. Event Management skills.
6. Team Building approaches.
7. Photography and website development.
7. Any other activities that can help our institution grow.
Name - Nikhil Pant
School MANAVA BHARATI INDIA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, Panchsheel Park (South), New Delhi – 17. India
Address C-64, BEL Officers Colony, Chandernagar, Ghaziabad
Contact No. 9811447613; 95120-2624362
Qualification B.E.(Civil Engg), Diploma in Counselling
Year of joining Manava Bharati 1997
Teaching Subjects Math, Physics, Students Counselling
Classes you are teaching Classes VIII-X