Mentoring – Dr. Ashok Kumar Pandey


ashokBRAINFEED brings out the second in the series of responses of eminent educationist
Dr Ashok Kumar Pandey, Principal, Ahlcon International School, Mayur Vihar, New Delhi to the questions of Principals about effective management of school by ‘Principal as Leader’.

Effective Principals are responsible for establishing a school wide vision of commitment to high standards and the success of all students. They ensure that notion academic success for all gets picked up by the faculty and underpins. Principals often view leadership and management as two different roles but the effective Principals know how to blend the two.

What is classroom management? How is it different today?
The concept of a classroom earlier was a teacher dominated scenario, one way transaction of information, student’s passive presence, no discussion and no questions.
It is different now. Teacher is a facilitator. Technology has entered our classrooms. Learners are diverse, learning styles are varied. Group work and collaboration is encouraged more. Classes have to be engaging and stimulating. An effective response to these classroom needs calls for new set of skills and preparation on the part of the teacher.

How can school leadership ensure better management of classrooms?
The teacher! Yes teacher competency is the key. Investment in teacher preparation and treating teachers as an asset is the foremost function of the leadership. Any classroom flow consists of a stimulating introduction, an engaging follow up and a crisp sum-up. Classroom experience of the students should build their curiosity and craving for learning. They should be encouraged to construct knowledge. These skills could be learnt and it should be part of in-service teacher education programme.

Parents’ aspirations are ever rising. Can that be managed?
Yes! The first thing is to treat their aspirations as those of the children. Both parents and students are important stakeholders. Howsoever unreasonable their demands appear on the face, it should be welcomed with respect. Building trust with the parents is the key to managing aspirations. They deserve a patient hearing without getting provoked even in the face of extreme circumstances. Besides, the feedback from them should be taken positively as guiding lamp posts. Every parent aspires their children to do better than they did themselves. It is better to work around it rather than against it.

Principal requires intense time-management. Please explain how to organize the day to meet various demands and commitment required as a school Principal?
The moment we talk about management be of time or anything, we are admitting that a leader is both a leader and a manager,And therefore lets remember that leadership is an art and the management a science.Leadership is at the level of spirit characterized by vision, management is at the level of mind characterized by processes, School principal has no choice but to be the both. The problem is that we blame our managerial role for our leadership shortcomings and the vice verse.Delegation, prioritization and personal discipline could be of help.

How to recruit and maintain quality teachers and staff members?
Recruitment of teachers of the quality. competence and calibre that one requires is rather tricky.Its a well known fact that the best from colleges do not prefer teaching as a preferable career option.Our teacher training colleges do not do full justice in preparing teachers either. Having said that I must add those who are passionate about teaching and wish to commit to teaching look forward to an institution known for good environment, growth opportunity and pleasant working conditions.School managements on one hand are encouraged to provide the best opportunities to prospective candidates and on the other are left with choosing the best out of the available.Once a teacher is in, their growth, learning, in service education is the responsibility of the organization.Every teacher has her first day. Only school leaders and mentors can make them first rate.

How to foster effective school-community relationship?
Schools are reflection of society they are situated in. They represent the community and they are potential change agents. Students and the parents are the extensions of the school taking it to the community. Therefore the first relationship should be forged with the parents. Integrating their resources, within the campus and sharing the school resources back to the community could be the agreeable model of out reach. Schools teach children subject competencies, sports and co-scholastic areas. There are parts of learning such as developing social sensitivities, empathy,service which can only be cultivated through direct connect. Students must be encouraged to involve in advocacy, campaigns, people-to-people connect for a variety of programmes. That includes energy conservation, environment. cleanliness,blood donation, care for the elderly and many more areas of importance in the local, global context.