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‘Students should be aware of national, international issues’

By HT School,

Deepika Chaudhary, Officiating Principal, GEMS Modern Academy, Gurugram, expresses her views on a wide range of issues.

Professional development is integral to the teaching and learning process, says Deepika Chaudhary.

In the modern times, it is challenging for students to keep pace with the constantly changing landscape of the society, education and politics. It is the responsibility of their teachers and parents to help them move in the right direction while keeping them motivated. In this interview, Deepika Chaudhary, Officiating Principal, GEMS Modern Academy, Gurugram, talks about changing pedagogy, inspiring students to be green citizens and much more.

In these politically volatile times, should students be insulated from political upheavals? How do you inform/educate them about the changing scenario?
Students need to be politically aware of everything happening around them because they will inherit the country in the future and hence, should keep themselves abreast of all aspects of national and international problems. They have every right to form their own opinion and their impressions. At the same time, we should not try to mislead them by forcing our beliefs and opinions on them. In our school, students are given the opportunity to display leadership role by being active members of School Council who are empowered to take important decisions in the working of their Councils.

How do you motivate children to be ‘Green Citizens’?
The school has many ongoing projects on environment issues mainly coordinated by the Student Council members responsible for the environment. The Green Warriors from the Environment Council has initiated many projects in the school such as – Each One, Plant One, Seed Bomb Squad, 5 R’s Revolution etc.

Our PM Narendra Modi, in his annual Pariksha Pe Charcha speech, repeatedly motivated the students by saying that they shouldn’t just strive for high marks. Do you say the same to your students?
We agree with the Prime Minister. We keep emphasising to our students to be lifelong learners and invest time and energy on holistic growth.

Pedagogy is changing by leaps and bounds every year. How do you keep pace with it?
To keep pace with the ever-changing educational scenario, the teaching community must implement new or modified methods of teaching-learning process to suit the requirements of the day. Teachers attend workshop, seminars, TED Talks etc. This development of teachers can be broadly classified into three areas viz. Personal (Self-Centreed); Professional (Student-Centred); and Social. As part of the GEMS community, Professional Development is integral to the teaching and learning process.

How do you inspire/motivate students to take up sports as it is a vital part of school education these days?
In GMA, Gurugram we have a very sound sports facility backed by some very good sports trainers who are capable of providing the right motivation for individual sports. Motivation impacts everything that influences sports performance of the students. The school is a serious promoter of Fit India & Khelo India movements.

We encourage all our students, staff members and parents to actively participate in sporting activities and Yoga. The Fit India Month celebration witnessed massive participation from students, parents and teachers along with students from other schools in Haryana and Delhi.

Where do you see your students/school 10 years from now?
Our students will be playing an important role not only in India but globally as leaders in various fields and will be promoting the UN Sustainability goals. The lesson learnt in GMA will help them to adapt and respond to new challenges. I see the school grow to a Centre of Excellence under the guidance of GEMS Education, a global advisory and educational management firm which is the world’s largest operator of kindergarten-to-grade-12 schools.

Your profession has many challenges. What, in your opinion, is the toughest?
The toughest challenge is to keep adapting to new challenges and to motivate the team to keep adapting and implementing the new programme that is mandated by the government to change the present system of education and bring it at par with the International standards. As educators we also need to be convincing students and parents to understand the advantages of the new programme and keep evolving.

Would you inspire your own children to take up this profession?
Yes, because teaching is a rare combination of creativity, intellectual challenge and fun. Being a teacher is having the opportunity to give back, and to make a difference in others’ lives. By being an educator, you’ll clearly see the fruits of your labour every single day as you use knowledge and intelligence to encourage students to become excited and eager. Teaching provides the chance to make a significant contribution to the society.

Are you still in touch with your teachers?
Teachers change lives. Teachers have a positive influence in the form of making or breaking a human being. Years after we are out of school, we remember the teachers that changed our lives. In most cases. these were the first people that believed in us. Their belief that we could succeed carried us forward for forever. I do have many such teachers who guided me during the difficult times. I have tried to keep in touch with some of them but sadly I have lost many of my teachers who shaped my life.

Three inspiring words for your students.
Don’t set limits.

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