What was your reaction on knowing your name among the Top 50?
Words fail me to express my joy and happiness on being shortlisted among the Top 50. I feel an immense sense of gratitude to all people who have touched me on my path of professional growth be it my mentors, colleagues, students and parents. Their timely suggestions, feedback, criticism has helped to cut my rough edges for me to shine through.
Q: You are one of the 50 finalists, out of 20,000 nominations. Under which criteria your nomination has been shortlisted?
I have been chosen for experiential teaching in Physics whereby I let students have an experience, note the observations of the phenomenon or process; reflect on their observations and arrive at conclusions. The students are then seated in groups to discuss their findings whereby allowing them to accept multiple perspectives on the same topic. The learning is then transferred to new situations.
Q: What prompted you to choose teaching as a career?
I have been inspired by my mother who was also a teacher. Seeing her receive immense love and respect motivated me to follow her footsteps. Also having two younger sisters helped as I ended up tutoring them often.
They arrive at principles on their own and thus the learning is owned by them. They are able to carry this learning with them in the future as it has been a discovery and not passed on. Once this learning has been imbibed the results and marks are already guaranteed in the process
Q: How is teaching in your school different from other schools?
Our teaching is experiential and follows Bloom’s taxonomy of inculcating critical thinking and problem solving skills. The thrust is not on topping the exams but challenging yourself to perform beyond your potential. We focus on building skills and concepts.
Through experiential learning, they develop confidence on working with experiments independently, they are inspired to explore the concept without reservations, think critically on the results observed, collaborate with their peers and discuss the phenomenon or process allowing themselves to analyze their own thinking and perspectives in the process. They arrive at principles on their own and thus the learning is owned by them. They are able to carry this learning with them in the future as it has been a discovery and not passed on. Once this learning has been imbibed the results and marks are already guaranteed in the process.
Q: Who is eligible to apply for Global Teacher Prize? What motivated you to apply for this Prize?
Any teacher who teaches students between 5 to 18 years in compulsory schooling is eligible. Further information can be obtained from the link http://www.globalteacherprize.org/judging-criteria/. I have been desirous of taking the experiential method of teaching to all platforms and mediums of learning and this recognition would give me a platform to showcase the benefits of this methodology to larger audience and they would view it seriously and give it more thought.
Q: How does one qualify to be among Top 50?
The judging criteria can be found through the link mentioned above. Any teacher who has worked relentlessly for building student’s academic, social, environment, global values and has achieved recognition is qualified.
Q: How much does the prize mean to you and where do you stand?
All the 50 teachers shortlisted by Varkey Foundation deserve the prize. Personally, in my 15 years of teaching, I have been a constant learner always attending workshops, conferences to update myself with latest discoveries and inventions. Every few years I push myself into the role of a student. Currently too, I am pursuing an Advanced Course in Educational Leadership from Harvard University, it is a two year programme and the learning is awesome. All this knowledge is further shared with all educators through my blog regularly so that we all grow further.
As the Head of the school, my accountability deepens as the performance of the institution, teachers and students are synched with my performance and vice versa. Thus regular in house training has enhanced my teacher’s progress, they have blossomed into budding leaders shaping students profile to make them global minded.
We have been working tirelessly the past 7 years for environment conservation and achieved numerous awards from TERI for it. School has won the International school award from British Council for global outlook, Top Global award from School Enterprise Challenge for business initiative, Innovation in Math and Science whereby we use Experiential learning in our BEAMS [Becoming Enthusiastic about Math and Science] week.
My maxim in life has always been, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ as said by Mahatma Gandhi. Winning the prize will reaffirm that we are sailing in the right direction towards enhancing educational reforms.
Q: Now that you are among Top 50, what are your future plans?
I have desired to write a book on my teaching of Physics for some time but not being able to implement it. I wish to share all the learning I have gathered with all other educators through that and my blog. http://enrichingeducator.blogspot.in/ If I win, I would use the prize funds to finance professional learning and development courses for my colleagues and enable a review of our school every three years by other educators from around