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The world’s first SOLE Cambridge School – Paradise School Goa

We are a school in Paradise (ie Goa) hence the name. However, the meaning goes deeper than that. The Cambridge English Dictionary definition of Paradise is: ‘a place or condition of great happiness where everything is exactly as you would like it to be’.

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Shilpa Mehta, Founder, Paradise School Goa, tells MARIE D’SOUZA what goes into making this SOLE Cambridge School a real game-changer

What's in a name…? Tell us the reason and significance of the name 'Paradise School'.

We are a school in Paradise (ie Goa) hence the name. However, the meaning goes deeper than that. The Cambridge English Dictionary definition of Paradise is: ‘a place or condition of great happiness where everything is exactly as you would like it to be’.

This most perfectly sums up the ethos of Paradise School because we are daring to forge new ground-breaking paths in education. We are genuinely interested in the potential and well-being of our learners, as well as teaching faculty. In that sense, we are not just a school but an educational community, with wider concerns at heart.

This is why we use the SOLE at the centre of our learning culture. Sugata Mitra’s method of Self-Organising Learning Environments allows children the intellectual freedom to discover concepts for themselves and be enchanted by this process (rather than jaded as with most schoolroom practises). This liberation is important. We use it to fuel our mainstream curriculum of the International Cambridge Board, which also supports active and dynamic learning. We find the two complement each other perfectly. Best of all, the learners thoroughly enjoy it which makes for a happy environment.

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We are a SOLE Cambridge School – the world’s first. Fusing the present and the future. Hence the name Paradise.

How does Paradise School perceive the Future of Learning?

It is mainly an attitude. One has to let go of the old shore in order to find the new. However, going out to sea takes courage, fortitude and resilience when familiar landmarks disappear. One has to be willing to reinvent the wheel. But if any area needs it, it’s education, as the future stakes of our children depend on it.

This attitude needs to show up in management, infrastructure, classroom design, tech choices and overall the culture and community of the school. The biggest shift is putting the child’s voice at the centre. Often schools and institutes silence children and force them to accept the way of tradition. We have to teach children to be their own leaders, otherwise, they will never survive in the new world of not just the 21st but also the 22nd centuries.

Moving away from a patriarchal, top-down, hierarchal, authoritative structure to an inclusive, collaborative, child-centred, self-organising model is the key. We are all in together. Education should be the most exciting place on earth, for students, teachers and school creators. It’s where the best innovation can happen. Instead of suppressing it, we have to wholeheartedly allow it to emerge.

As Abraham Lincoln said, ‘the best way to predict the future – is to create it’.

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'Taking education to the next level'… How does Paradise School strive to achieve this?

There are many important aspects of changing the game.

Firstly, we are creating a personalised learning experience for our students, rather than a standardised one. This is the most vital shift. It is good they move at their pace so learning is authentic and real. We favour stage, not age, and keep our class sizes small, no more than 15. In that sense we are a boutique school, offering a bespoke and tailored educational experience.

We like the latest thinking in pedagogy and have therefore chosen the most modern and contemporary subjects from the Cambridge programme including Global Perspectives, Enterprise, Environmental Management, World Literature, Fashion and Textiles and Digital Literacy. At A’level we hope to add Media Studies, Marine Studies and Psychology – as well as all the usual STEM subjects.

We offer the full flexibility of the Cambridge system by allowing our IGCSE learners to schedule their own exams over the November, March and June series. This means they don’t have to take all their exams in one go (which is stressful). Much better to stagger them in order of preference. We feel this puts the learner in charge of the examination process rather than at the mercy of it.

We embrace the internet and technology, harnessing these forces for educational purposes. Secondary children are allowed to bring their phones and devices to school; we often have digital reviews about best policy on their use, as discussed with the children themselves. Self-control is our ultimate aim. We would like our kids to be creators on the internet rather than mere consumers. As a school, we have been studying Digital Citizenship since the onset, to give children a positive and informed handle on the virtual universe.

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We don’t skimp on quality. Paradise tech is iMacs and iPads. We favour the IOS platform as it offers the best and most magical experience of the internet and technological advancement. An Apple Developer teaches in our school a programme he designed called ‘The A Game’. This is where kids get to use and become very proficient at the full suites of apps the platform affords.

Practically, we have personally designed all the furniture in the school so that it is dynamic, flexible and interactive (you can write on the surface, like a whiteboard). Once again, this gives children and teachers the day-to-day power to express themselves in the classroom rather than be stuck in a rigid grid of conformist infrastructure. 

In terms of our day-to-day reality, we don’t have uniforms and are on first-name terms with each other (no Sir and Miss). We have found SOLE has gone beyond the classroom and has become part of our culture making us democratic, cooperative, innovative, seeking and unafraid to explore. Most importantly, we are able to manage people’s differences of opinions with goodwill and equanimity. This is the spirit with which Paradise operates.

This goes to the heart of our community, where we have open, supportive and genuine relationships with each other – from the Trustees, to our School Board, the parent body, faculty, and children. Bullying is rare in our school. Creating a bedrock of safety and harmony is key.

What is the vision of Paradise School?

Our vision is to be true to the real meaning of education – from the Latin ‘educere’ meaning to ‘draw or to lead out’. Most education suppresses children. Our aim is to encourage our kids to emerge as their truest selves. This is a spiritual goal, not just academic. Without the full and proper contribution of children to the future world, who knows what the consequences will be? The advancement of the human race and the planet are at stake. Hence as educators, we carry the greatest responsibility to allow our children to sink and not swim when the tidal waves of change hit.

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Therefore, we embrace the future and are not frightened by it. Rather we are inspired and encouraged by all the wonderful possibilities that await us. We truly believe our children will be at the helm of this ship, confidently and powerfully sailing to a brighter day.

Academically, we respect the Cambridge system and work well in alignment with their evolved position of active and dynamic learning, as well as honouring the examination process. We are excited about the doors that open at the university level and are consciously preparing our children for this now.

We are on the cusp of great change. We are handling this tipping point between the old and the new, with flair, courage and genuine innovation.

Optimism to create a better world for our children is what drives us.

Renowned educator and TED Prize winner Sugata Mitra is the main advisor to Paradise School. How are his ideas of SOLE and School in the Cloud being implemented at Paradise?

Sugata inspires us constantly. He really does take education to the next level, with an argument that is humorous, searingly intelligent and ultimately so wise.

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The best thing about Sugata is he puts everyone into a SOLE space, even us as a school. We are always asking ourselves, ‘What is a SOLE School’, ‘How can we best merge the old and new ways of thinking about learning’ and ‘If teachers are not necessary in the age of the internet, then who are we, as teachers?’

My favourite question as a result of my association with Sugata is – ‘What is a self-organising system ?’. This has opened up a profound and mystical journey for me as I establish the world’s first self-organising school. I am sure once this becomes second nature to me, I will be able to share it widely with all. Successful self-organising, on all levels, is the pathway to a very dynamic human race. Let’s start with children mastering it at school.

On a practical level, merging SOLE into a mainstream curriculum has been an amazing adventure in learning. We have found so many interesting techniques for doing so, entirely self-discovered, by my team of passionate and inspired educators. We are organising the first worldwide SOLE Conference ever, to create a forum for all of us to share our findings with other SOLE educators and like-minded teachers and school leaders.

But to give you a simple taste of how it works in our school, Rounak, our Lower Secondary English teacher, asked his learners ‘Why does humour make us feel good?’ as a SOLE question. This unlocked an intense and fun workout for the kids in the SOLE Room to come up with insights.

He then asked them how humour works as a genre in literature – and what does it contribute to the stories we read and watch?

By opening up the topic as SOLE, it ignited their curiosity and lit the flame of their open-minded exploration of the subject. Rounak was then able to take this intellectual enthusiasm and channel it down a curricular highroad.

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This, to me, is a perfect example of how SOLE and Cambridge work so well together.

Tell us more about the team behind Paradise School.

The strongest feature of our school is the key business people in our management structure (from trustees, to advisors to investors) who are from Goa. This gives us such a solid base to work from. Other Directors have lived or worked in Goa for over a decade, and we are all committed to creating a world-class, world-changing, inspirational educational hub here. We believe in Goa, what it stands for and its potential. For me, this team is a dynamite combination of power and expertise.

We are partnered with Newcastle University and SOLE Central as the world’s first SOLE School. Sugata Mitra is our Advisor and does workshops and talks with us often.

My Head of School, Academic Coordinator and Primary and Secondary teachers come from international schools from all over India and Goa. What marks them as Paradise faculty is they are serious about breaking new ground in education and are passionate and sincere educators. As the School Leader I give them plenty of space to mine their talent and stretch their wings. I have found giving teachers autonomy liberates their potential like nothing else. Seeing them blossom is as important to me as allowing our children to thrive. This is what creates a genuine educational community – because everybody is growing and learning. 

Other collaborators include Apple Education India (and UK) as we are using technology to innovate new learning platforms for our children. We are aiming to become an Apple Distinguished School in the future.

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We have also partnered with Alma, a US Student Information System, and are the first to be using their product in India. Alma has been designed by teachers so is intuitive and flexible, which suits us so well. We are really looking forward to getting on board with them, and opening up the app for enhanced parent communication.

Paul Dass OBE and the British Education Centre in Delhi have very kindly shared their huge network of UK Universities with us in order to forge academic ties for the launch of A’Level launch in March 2020. Having direct access to universities abroad is a wonderful feather in our cap for our older students.

Finally, our strongest team is our parents. Without them, the word about Paradise could not have spread so far and wide. We literally went viral on the parent’s network from Goa to Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore – to LA, the UK, Europe. We barely advertise, yet our admissions have soared. We listen closely to parents and see them as an integral part of our self-organising community.

The location of the school, including the large Goan mansion with various residential rooms, appears most, unlike the conventional school building structure. What is the motive behind this?

North Goa, where the school is based, is really a series of rural, networked villages. So, there is no ready infrastructure for schools. But when Aurelia came on the market, I knew it was just perfect. A 400-year-old exquisitely restored Goan heritage mansion with large rooms and spacious proportions – ideal for an International School. The owner was very kind to allow us to set up our school there, for which we are eternally grateful. Many people call it a Digital Hogwarts, which makes us laugh. Outwardly, it’s an old building but inwardly it’s high-tech.

We have also now taken on a villa nearby for our Primary School, so we have two gorgeous buildings. Many families have moved to Aldona and surrounding villages to be by the schools, so the whole area is coming up and becoming a lovely school community, of which we are extremely proud.

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However, this is just Paradise 1.0 and 2.0.

Paradise 3.0 is buying our own land and creating our own building. We’re putting this into place – talking to landowners, investors, architects. This will be our eco-futuristic vision of how a truly advanced 21st century school should look and behave. We cannot wait to share it with the world, and most of all – with our kids.

Inspiration

Archana Surana to represent India at the CUMULUS Global Association

Archana Surana, Founder & Director of the ARCH College of Design & Business, has been elected to the 8th CUMULUS Executive Board (2022-2025).

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Archana Surana, Founder & Director of the ARCH College of Design & Business, has been elected to the 8th CUMULUS Executive Board (2022-2025).

CUMULUS is the leading global association of Art, Design Education & Research. It represents a dynamic ecosystem with 350+ member institutions in 60+ countries.

She said, “I was nominated for candidacy to the Board by the Presidential Candidate Lorenzo Imbesi, a Full Professor from the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. 356 universities from 66 countries voted & today I am part of the 11 diverse members of the Executive Board, led by Prof. Lorenzo Imbesi.” She represents India among the 11 countries on the Board.

Regarding the opportunities her representation would bring to Design Education in the country she said that through this dynamic forum and platform for knowledge exchange and best practices she would be able to bring in committed advocacy for the positive role of designers and creators.

“I am an ardent advocate of the essential and positive role that designers and the Creative Industries can play towards helping shape a sensitive, empathetic, and better world. I would be initiating cooperation and collaboration from industry bodies and fellow higher education institutions of design, architecture, and engineering from India towards this purpose and further strengthen the ‘Women in Design’ initiative of Cumulus, alongside building a mentorship model within the CUMULUS network.”

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About Archana:

Woman Entrepreneur & Educationist for the past 27 years in the modern fledgling state of Rajasthan in India she has succeeded in firmly establishing and strengthening the perceptions and awareness of Design and Design Education in the country.

She has worked closely with the community via social projects, design intervention projects, and mentorship programs, and has contributed to the larger mandate of design & creative entrepreneurship on many levels through industry collaboration and as a member of the National Committee on Design India (2021-22) of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Also, being a US State Department and Rotary Foundation Alumnus, a Vital Voices Lead Fellow, and a Fortune and Global Ambassadors Program Mentee, she is supporting and mentoring women from all walks of professional life through the Women’s Mentors Forum founded by her.

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This Young Woman From A Tribal Village Is Teaching The Children While Schools Are Closed

The only graduate of a Tamil Nadu village has volunteered to teach the children of the village while the pandemic persists

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Where the digital network failed these tribal children in the southern part of India, their own stood to support them. Sandhya volunteers in teaching the kids of her village, Chinnampathy in Tamil Nadu. She is a graduate of B.Com, she is the only person from her village to have graduated college. Sandhya told India Today, “If it rains, we can’t go to school. We only have one bus to our village and so after a certain age, people drop out of school.”

Having gone through struggles herself, Sandhya knows how important a teacher and school is for growing children. So she volunteered to teach the children by herself, so they don’t lag behind due to school closure. Sandhya said "When I was a child, I had no one to help me study. These children here have me to help them study."

One must ask the children from a remote rural or economically backward area, how it feels to not have the proper learning opportunities. The pandemic took more than the ability to roam about freely, it snatched away the ability to go to school for children on a global level. While it is easier for families with better income to support their child’s online learning, most rural and financially challenged families are struggling.

The Indian government did start many projects for such students, but even learning via a television channel or free online course needs some basic gadgets and network connection. Many remote villages, like the tribal village, Chinnampathy, can not find enough network strength to have their children sit in front of a television and learn via the education channels. 

On being asked how her classes are enduring she said, “The children come and ask me very freely all their doubt and they are not afraid of me. I see these children learning well and answering all the questions when I ask them.”

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Youth like Sandhya, who appreciate and signifies the work educators do and want to help the cause, are the future of the education sector!

 

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Gujarat Teacher Finds Television Sets For His Students During No-School

This teacher from Dahod, Gujarat got old television sets and had them repaired for his students to be able to learn during schools are closed

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The digital divide is affecting education all around the world, especially now when the pandemic makes it mandatory for children to stay home and learn online. Many projects by the Indian government have begun to help children from rural and economically challenged backgrounds to learn through television. But what if families can not afford a television set, should such children be left behind? No, Ravindra Prajapati, an assistant teacher from Dahod, was determined to not let his students suffer.

At Dablara Primary School in Fatepura taluka, Gujarat, students could not attend school due to lockdown and were unable to learn online since most families do not own television sets. Prajapati did not accept this and set out to find some TV sets for his students. He appealed to many Whatsapp groups expressing the condition of education and requesting donation of unused television sets, disc-antennas and receivers. 

Soon after his appeal to the general public, he received five TV sets and seven disc-antennas. He asked a television repairman in Sukhsar to repair those TV sets that didn’t work. These were set up at different locations and those who had televisions were provided with receivers and antennas to complete the set. Prajapati said, “At least five students and a maximum of 12 students now study at seven locations using these televisions. In two places where there were TVs but no antennas and receivers, we provided only antennas and receivers.”

The officials of the education ministry have been appreciating Prajapati for his noble attempt to begin bridging the digital gap. Dahod District Education Officer (DEO) Mayur Parekh said, “The effort is what can inspire other teachers as well. If others start making such changes, education will definitely start improving.”

 

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Source Credit: TOI

*The image used is for representation purpose only.

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Letter From This Karnataka Teacher Cheered Her Students During Lockdown

Geetha wrote letters to her students expressing how much she misses them also inquired about their health and academics

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The art of letter writing feels so real and personal by unfortunately it has fallen in the last couple of decades. Though Geetha K H had a different idea in mind, she wrote letters to her students to boost their morale. Having spent 10+ years in the same school, Geetha is one of the two teachers at the Government Primary School in Yalagudige village, Chikkamagaluru, Karnataka. The school has sixteen students from grades 1 to 5, who are stuck at home since the lockdown began in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

Only recently, the children lept with joy at the mail each of them received. A letter in their name by their beloved teacher, Geetha miss. She told Deccan Herald, “It’s been almost a year since I met my students. I had decided to surprise them with the letters when they are off the school and write individual letters to all my students checking their health and also congratulating them for being promoted to next grade.”

She also conveyed her wishes to their families, asked her students to follow covid practices and suggested using the gadgets only for academic purposes. She told them how much she misses them and how special they are to her. In the letters, she also dropped her number and instructed the children to call her if they needed any help, supervision in studies or just felt like talking.

In response, Geetha received 10 letters from her students, clearly, her happiness knew no bounds. Her efforts go beyond plain academia, being present for her students in a manner that uplifts their emotional well being is what every teacher wishes for. Geetha is getting much love on social media and Secondary Education Minister, Suresh Kumar also appreciated her. 

Educators like Geetha are the reason, students today are able to keep their emotional and mental stress in check in the current unprecedented times!

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Pune ZP School Educator Is Determined To Teach Instead Of The Adverse Conditions

This teacher found some ‘out of school’ children working in a nearby sugarcane field, she decided to not see a child go uneducated under her watch

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Rohini Lokhande has been a Zilla Parishad (ZP) school teacher at Nandor in Maharashtra for over three years. She brought the children of the nearby sugarcane field workers to the school soon after she began teaching at ZP. Even today when the world is facing a pandemic and the education field is suffering gravely, Lokhande is keeping strong and trying to keep the learning going for these children. 

When she initially joined the school she realised there were sugarcane fields nearby that had makeshift houses for the workers who would migrate there. The children of these workers would also work in the fields with their parents. Being a teacher, she could not imagine a child ‘out of school’ and not being able to study. She held surveys with help of her ZP school students and had these kids admitted to the school. They used education guarantee card to make sure there was no hindrance in the enrolling process due to lack of appropriate papers. 

The worker families would usually leave the area during monsoons, but some started staying back to ensure their children’s education. However, last year when the pandemic hit and the world went under lockdown so did the ZP school. Lokhande told TOI, “The lockdown meant that many of the students, who had enrolled at the school, could not be reached. Teachers were also put on Covid-19 duty and we had to teach regular classes online. Although, I did get help from volunteers to go and teach them whenever they can, it was not enough. Then I realised that most of the children were also made to work due to the severe money crunch faced by their families. All of this meant, education was the least of their priorities. That is when I thought of conducting the classes for the students at night.”

She approached a local volunteer, who is a postgraduate herself, to teach the night classes for these students. Lokhande paid this teacher out of her pocket and also made sure the children would have books and study material. The volunteer teacher would teach some 20 odd kids from 7-9 pm every night using workbooks in Marathi and Math books. She would also teach them about basic personal hygiene, cleanliness and discipline.

They procured some gadgets as well so the learning would not stop dead in the track if a lockdown is to happen again. She said, “From teachers in my school to people outside, I have found help everywhere. Even now, when I wanted mobile phones for the children of sugarcane cutters, a Kothrud-based housing society donated five phones. The 20 children can be divided into groups of four, to use one phone and study. People can do wonders.”

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*The image is for representation purpose only.

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A tribute to Dr. GK Swamy – the educator who changed children’s lives

We are deeply grieved to learn that Dr. GK Swamy, founder of Purkal Youth Development Society passed away on June 11, 2021. Even though he has been taken away from this world, his loving heart has left behind a beacon of light for all in the community.

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We are deeply grieved to learn that Dr. GK Swamy, founder of Purkal Youth Development Society, 84, passed away on June 11, 2021. He had surgery recently and could not survive it. Even though he has been taken away from this world, his loving heart has left behind a beacon of light for all in the community.

A man who chose not to retire after working as an economist and started his journey post-retirement as an educator by selling his only asset i.e., his flat in Mumbai, and moving permanently to a village called Purkal near Dehradun with the mission of being a positive influence and support to children from an underprivileged background.

With the motto ‘Life is for Giving’, the PYDS started off as an informal free home tutoring facility in 1998. G K Swamy sir with his unwavering faith and generosity built this school into the PYDS Learning Academy, a full-fledged CBSE affiliated school for over 435 rural children, with infrastructure at par with the best.

Video Courtesy: Rajiv Gandhi Foundation

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“Our vision for the disadvantaged children is to create leaders for change: individual, society, and global,” he would say.

He will be reverently remembered by family, friends, and the children he touched the lives of and made them walk in the right path, the path of wisdom.

We will always miss his presence.

PC: TEDxEicherSchool

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This Gujarat Principal Mops His School Everyday Before The Bell Rings

A primary school, in a small district of Gujarat, has its humble principal mopping floors and sweeping the school every day an hour before the classes begin

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There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes. – William J. Bennett

While teaching children the lesson of 'Cleanliness is next to godliness' this principal 'literally' cleans his school. Girishbhai Bawliya is the Principal in a Government Primary School in the Vadod village of Gujarat. He has cleared his headmaster exam after being a teacher for over a decade. Girishbhai arrives at school every day one hour before time to see to the sanitation. Using brooms and mops he cleans the school himself for his students. 

One might think he probably does it because the school is in poor condition and has no funds to spare for cleaning. The truth lies far ahead, the school does receive several grants by the panchayat under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Girishbhai believes that the money can be put to better use and so he uses the sanitation grant money to create other facilities for the school and the students. 

The principal along with another teacher from the school, Jigneshbhai Dholakia, used up the vacation time to paint beautiful and captivating murals on the school walls for the children. These educators wanted to beautify the school campus with art while motivating the students.

On being asked, why he chooses to clean the school in spite of being the principal, Girishbhai said it was his duty to not just teach children about hygiene and sanitation but also show them. He believes in doing as he says and that no work is substandard for any dignitary. In his own words, “some lessons in life can only be learned through actions and not words.” 

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This educator who has not taken a single day off since he took over the position of the principal, is an exemplar of the kind of educators our great nation yields.

ScooNews admires and salutes the humility and virtue of such educators and feels proud to share such brilliant stories!

Source Credit: The Better India

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Nevada Teacher Becomes First To Be Awarded The National Teacher Award From Her State

The First Lady of the United States, Jill Biden, visited the classroom of the awardee of National Teacher of the Year Award. Being an educator herself, the First Lady recognised Urtubey’s hard work and called her the ‘Epitome of a great teacher’

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Juliana Urtubey is a special education teacher at Booker Elementary School in Las Vegas, Nevada. Having experience of over a decade, being an educator for kindergarten through fifth grade and her attempts to improve learning outcomes for her students, landed Urtubey the ward for 2021 National Teacher of the Year.

The Council of Chief State School Officers recognized Urtubey as the winner of the national award. She became the first woman since 2005 of Latin American descent and the very first Nevada state teacher to have won the award. The council CEO Carissa Moffat Miller told NBC News, “Juliana Urtubey exemplifies the dedication, creativity and heart teachers bring to their students and communities.” 

Urtubey has been named Ms. Earth (originally “Ms. Earth-to-bey,” a pun on her last name) with much love, by her students for her efforts to beautify schools with gardens. She along with her students formed a garden club called “Gnomies” along with a mini farmer’s market. 

Urtubey said, “We, as teachers, are much more open to this self-paced learning, this flipped classroom, which has been an invitation for students who think and learn differently.”

Starting from individualizing lessons, tending to the emotional and behavioral needs of her students to spending hours with struggling pre-K kids, helping fifth-graders and strategizing with teachers, Urtubey does it all.

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The award is usually presented at the White House by the President but due to the pandemic the ceremony has been delayed. This did not stop the First Lady, Jill Biden, from congratulating Urtubey during a surprise visit to her classroom. Being an educator herself, the First Lady knows the struggles and importance of the education system. The First Lady said, while appreciating Urtubey’s work, “She (Urtubey) is just the epitome of a great teacher, a great educator.”

During her childhood, having had troubles in finding a good school and correct learning environment, made Urtubey realise the importance of educators and the right classroom. This inspired her to become a teacher herself and work with differently abled students. She said, “There’s always strengths to find, and so once you find those strengths, you start there.”

ScooNews wishes Juliana Urtubey, Ms. Earth, heartfelt congratulation on winning the National Teacher of the Year 2021 award!

 

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Read About The Teacher Who Set A New Record In Cycling

Gurpreet Singh, a teacher from Jalandhar cycled 32,000 km in the lockdown

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3 June is known as World Bicycle Day since the United Nations declared it in 2018. Apart from being a world-class sport cycling is also considered a good alternative to no pollution transportation. This physical activity is known for supporting a healthy way of living while also backing emotional and mental well being. 

Gurpreet Singh, an accountancy teacher at Apeejay School, Jalandhar, is an inspiration to us all. At the age of 48, he has set a new world record by bicycling for over 100 km daily for 300 consecutive days. In his own words, a ‘teacher by profession and a cyclist by heart’ Singh is one of the most active members of the Jalandhar Biking Club.

Singh told The Tribune “From May 19, 2020, to March 14, 2021, I cycled 100 km to 400 km every day. I have cycled more than 32,000 km during this period. During this journey, I had faced scorching sun, dense fog of the nipping weather, strong thunderstorms and rain but never gave up. I used to cycle four to 15 hours a day, come what may.”

He applied to be named in the Limca Book of Records and India Book of Records, for his accomplishments. Apart from that Singh is also a three-time Super Randonneur having completed rides of 200-300-400-600 km in one season.

He was not a health fanatic all his life, rather weighed a lot and has many medical conditions. His decision to begin cycling came from his son who had an accident and eventually feared riding two-wheelers. The dawn time cycling became a thing for Singh and soon he realised he loves to ride. Aside from becoming fit health-wise, Singh found a new way of living. Today he is being celebrated for his dedication and resilience.

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Singh is an inspiration to all the educators who find it difficult to take some time out for themselves. This World Bicycle Day, educators must promise themselves some individual time and maybe go cycling once in a while to promote their mental, emotional and physical wellness.

 

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Thimmappa Kodlady Teaches English To His Students Without Alphabets

This primary school teacher does not begin with teaching the alphabets while teaching English

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Thimmappa Kodlady is a Government Lower Primary School teacher in Malethodi, Karnataka. His experience in being an educator reflects in his teaching style that he has developed for a decade. He is popular for using an unusual way of teaching English to the primary children of his school. Thimmappa does not begin teaching with the generic ‘A for Apple’ in fact he does not teach about alphabets at all in the beginning. He teaches his students via phonetics, he believes that learning how something sounds is way more effective than being taught how to spell it. 

The reason Thimmappa decided on developing this unique way of teaching English to his students stems from his realisation that students in higher classes find it difficult to learn another language. He told edexlive, "A lot of kids drop out of high school or college because they don't understand what is being taught in English or because it is difficult to learn the language. But what if we teach them English when they are in lower primary or primary school? The fact of the matter is, it isn't a big deal to learn English. That's why I decided to train my students in English in a unique way so that they don't feel bored to learn the language."

Thimmappa worked hard for his teaching style development. His undying dedication to his students led him to attend any and all workshops for educators that he could find. His method of teaching clearly works since his students can read and understand complex words and phrases. He also makes sure to analyse the learning along with his students at the end of every lesson.  "I teach them the sounds of these letters first and once they are perfect with the sounds, I move to the letters. Children will learn it faster if we teach them the sounds first. While this is achieved, what children learn easily is to write the spellings. Even long and complex spellings are written easily by children."

Other than inside the classroom, the school has high-frequency word posters in the corridors for children to keep learning all the time. The students also get divided into groups that take minutes of all the school activity related meetings, these students need to present with a report after the said meetings. This is Thimmappa's way of making sure his students learn inside as well as outside of his classroom. Educators like him are the soul of the Indian Education System, they do not let the lack of resources in the rural areas distract them from their goals. 

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