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‘In the end, it is knowledge that will open new avenues and create opportunities’

By HT School,

Teachers should be unprejudiced while discussing sensitive topics with students so that they exhibit balanced behaviours.

Marks give you a certain direction but marks without practical knowledge are of no use, says Principal Neeta Dua.

In these unprecedented times, school students often find it difficult to keep up with the constantly evolving socio-political as well as educational scenarios. However, teachers, parents and the governments must work in collaboration to help them deal with such challenges, guide them towards the right direction, motivate them to prioritise knowledge over marks and become responsible citizens. In this interview with HT School, Neeta Dua, Principal of Little Flower Sr. Sec School, Shivaji Park, talks about the need to develop suitable teaching strategies and pedagogy to adapt to the changing time.

In these politically volatile times, should students be insulated from political upheavals? How do you inform/educate them about the changing scenario?

A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor. First of all, we need to know the difference between being protective and overprotective. Actually, protection means teaching our kids to manage risks on their own, not shielding them from every hazard. The students are the future voters, future policy makers, future caretakers of the world. We cannot afford to keep them insulated from political upheavals if we want them to take fair decisions in future. As educators, we nurture the students in such a way that they are capable of expressing their opinions and striving to take part in shaping the decisions that affect our lives. But, as we know, such delicate issues must be handled with care and prudence. The teachers need to remember to be unprejudiced while discussing the sensitive topics to make our students exhibit balanced behaviours.

How do you motivate children to be ‘Green Citizens’?

It is a fact that words may inspire but only actions create change. Green citizenship culture is deeply imbibed in our curriculum. The students are motivated to take care of environment by getting them involved in various campaigns, projects and activities. I can say we are preparing eco-crusaders because now is the right time to create sensitive citizens who take sensible actions for the betterment of coming generations. We conduct webinars, seminars, workshops, competitions etc. on regular basis to promote the message of going green. In addition, the students also participate in Youth Climate Conclave, Litter Less campaign, Freedom to Breathe campaign, Swacchta Pakhwada, Tree Plantation drive, etc. Our Eco club has also started a unique project ‘Bottle water harvesting’ in which the students pour down the leftover water from their bottle in sinks which are linked with rainwater harvesting system in the school.

Our PM Narendra Modi, in his annual Pariksha Pe Chracha speech, repeatedly motivated the students by saying that they shouldn’t just strive for high marks. Do you say the same to your students?

Our honourable Prime Minister has struck the right chord with his dynamic opinions in Pariksha Pe Charcha. He sagaciously inspired the students to sharpen their skills instead of focussing on just marks. Marks are important but they are not final destination. Marks provide you a certain direction but marks without practical knowledge are of no use. Confidence comes with knowledge and skills. I advise my students to gain knowledge and become capable of upgrading the society. In the end, it is knowledge that will open new avenues and create opportunities.

Pedagogy is changing by leaps and bounds every year. How do you keep pace with it?

We keep on updating pedagogy to equip the students with complex skills, proficiencies and capabilities to solve real life problems, innovate, and be resilient in tough times. It is equally crucial to enhance the learning of teachers. The teachers are motivated to participate in capacity building programmes, seminars, workshops and upskill themselves on a regular basis.

How do you motivate the students to take up sports as it is a vital part of school education these days?

I believe that sports are not just vital for physical and mental fitness, they also give micro lessons on how to lead life. Sports teach the importance of regularity, discipline, team building and persistence. We provide various sorts of coaching to hone the skill of our budding sports persons. We organise various sports events, including Annual Sports Day, Athletic Meet, etc. Even during the pandemic, regular yoga sessions and fitness sessions were organised for students as well as parents. Our school is also supporting Khelo India Movement ,Fit India Movement , International Yoga Day and is participating in all the activities at mass scale.

Where do you see your students/school 10 years from now?

My school has completed glorious 40+ years and produced thousands of socially responsible citizens. I am proud of our students who went on to become IAS and IPS officers, doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, army personnels, artists, music composers, actors. Actually the list is endless. Some of my students have been working consistently for sustainable development goals through their NGOs. So, after 10 more years, I see my students shining brighter and brighter and making the nation proud of them.

Your profession has many challenges. What, in your opinion, is the toughest?

Challenges are the part and parcel of life. The challenges also change with time. When I started teaching, there were other issues that seemed serious at that moment but now those issues seem like child’s play. Two years ago ,nobody had imagined 100% online teaching and learning ,but all of us braced ourselves and gave our best to the students . Challenges are not there to intimidate us, instead, they are to make us more prepared for unprecedented times.

Would you inspire your own children to take up this profession?

My children are already associated with the education sector and doing great to make a difference. For a teacher, the term ‘ own children ‘ is fairly broad. I treat all my students as my children and I inspire them to aspire for their dreams. Teaching is a great service to humanity. I motivate my children to serve the society with altruistic intention. You can choose any profession, still be a mentor. Teaching is not only a profession, it is an art, social service and devotion. I would advise all the readers to share their knowledge with others and take up the role of teachers.

Are you still in touch with your teachers?

Of course. Teachers are our well-wishers just like our parents. We owe our success to them and they too feel our achievements as their own accomplishments. I am in constant touch with some of my teachers.

Three inspiring words for your students

Decide, Commit, Succeed.

 

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