June 29, 2013: Preparing for the new school year is something everyone at Ekya takes very seriously, because it sets the tone for the next twelve months. April and May had the school offices and Ekya Learning Centre working hard to coordinate operations and turn out quality curricula. Before the children were back from their holidays, Ekya ran a comprehensive orientation program for all its teachers, to equip them with the tools necessary to start the year with positivity and high energy – and what a week it was! Ekya witnessed some amazing synthesis of thoughts, and idea exchanges from our teachers. They also had a range of team-building exercises to underscore their philosophy of collaboration and integration. Ekya also noticed that teachers were practicing the kind of culture they were meant to be replicating in their classrooms, as well.
As part of orientation week, Ekya Learning Centre facilitated teacher education workshops on topics like What Makes a Good Teacher, Lesson Planning, Making Learning Visible, First Impressions and Non-verbal Communication, Effective Classroom Routines, Puppetry, and Storytelling. In class, teachers work very hard to encourage higher order thinking skills, and create opportunities for learning every day. The faculty at Ekya recognizes that this kind of support and innovation rests only in the hands of a capable teacher. At Ekya the management spends a significant amount of time and effort to encourage teachers to reflect on their practice and learn about new teaching methodologies to incorporate in their teaching. The workshop modules are designed by the Curriculum Specialists who are constantly encouraging teachers employ evidence-based teaching strategies in class. It is heartening to see the teachers’ learning in action, almost immediately.
Schemes of work are prepared over the summer, and handed to every teacher for every subject at the start of the year. More time now becomes available for teachers to use the Teachers Resource Centre to creatively plan their lessons. Education research today has a lot to say about collaborative group processes, and making classrooms live, interactive displays of the learning taking place in it. The Ekya management works with the teachers to implement these active learning approaches in their classrooms so that a lot of the learning is student-led, experiential and visible. We find that the students are responding very well to these methods. These ideals of successful learning have become very real to everyone at Ekya, over Ekya’s first year and we look forward to a year even more successful than the last.
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