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‘School students should strive to attain excellence, good marks are its by-product’

By HT School,

Academic grades rarely assess qualities like creativity, leadership and teamwork skills, or social & emotional intelligence.

We provide support to students to carve a niche for themselves, writes principal Abha Sadana.

Amidst these unprecedented times and the transition in modern education system, school students are constantly driven by high marks rather than gaining real knowledge and life skills. In fact, they consider good marks as a path towards achieving success in their careers. Addressing this issue, Abha Sadana, the Principal of The Modern School, ECNCR shares her viewpoints with HT School regarding the much-needed step towards altering the school curriculum where students will be motivated to attain excellence rather than chase marks-oriented learning.

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

Schools represent a powerful medium for shaping the development of any country’s future generations. These citizens in the coming decades will influence the country’s economic, social and civil behaviour. What direction India will take and the zenith it will reach will depend on today’s budding teenagers. Politics is an integral part of any society and it channelises development of any country. In today’s times, students should not be kept in silos and isolated from political changes. Middle school is the right time to introduce this subject to them. In our school, news is read in the morning assemblies & then discussed in classes. Cartoons, articles, newspaper clippings on various political issues are shared and used for debates. Freedom of expression by students who have not yet developed any preconceived notions results in teachers inculcating in them a pragmatic approach towards viewing political developments.

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

Sensitising the students for sustainable development is being weaved in intricately in the curriculum. The pre-primary department in our school celebrates special weeks every month for training the students to develop habits of tree plantation, recycling products, saving electricity and water etc. Morning assemblies are the platforms where the students give talks, share thoughts, give presentations about the steps that their peers can take to make their world sustainable. Different departments and the Interact Club take up initiatives and projects at intra-school and outreach level.

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

We advise the children that knowledge is imperative, and one should strive to attain excellence at the personal , state , national and international levels. When the students strive for excellence, good marks are its by-product. As an institution we are aware that academic grades rarely assess qualities like creativity, leadership and teamwork skills, or social & emotional intelligence.

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

At The Modern School, teachers are very dynamic and versatile. Constant training and upgrading skills have helped them adopt, adapt and practise the needed pedagogies to help students absorb, retain and apply knowledge and skills. They encourage collaborative and inquiry-based learning. They take advantage of neighbouring communities and environments and organise regular field trips and educational excursions to boost student learning. Teachers encourage Immersive learning by putting students in a realistic, virtual or simulated environment so that they can analyse a setting or context and re-enact scenarios.

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

The name of Modern School is associated with creating sports legends since its inception. Special experts coach the students in sports of their choice and sports legends are invited to have inspiring interactive sessions with the students. Early morning sports classes are scheduled for the students to hone their talent.

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

Ten years from now, I see my students to carry the 100 years legacy of Modern School forward by being agents of change in society. I foresee each Modernite will be kind-hearted, strong-willed, self-realised, and socially responsible global citizens.

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

The toughest challenge that we are facing in our profession is helping the students overcome the evils of digital social media, as well as use it effectively for online learning.

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

We counsel and provide support to every child to carve a niche for oneself. Students are exposed to various career choices by keeping interactive sessions with experts of various fields, taking the children for trips and career fairs along with individual counselling sessions. The children are also inspired to choose research and education as a career option.

Are you still in touch with your teachers?

Certainly! Online teaching requires as much connectivity and networking as teaching in brick-and-mortar structures. Daily online visits by departmental heads, head mistress and the principal into virtual classes is an accepted norm. Online coordination meetings are held periodically.

Three inspiring words for your students?

Three Cs -- be compassionate, courageous and curious.

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