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The HRD ministry reveals the recommendations by Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy.

The HRD ministry revealed the recommendations of the Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy. The report covered wide reaching measures like on-demand board exams, revised ranking scale for higher education institutes, instituting a think tank and many more

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The HRD Ministry made public the recommendations of the Committee for Evolution of the New Education Policy. With the kind of scope and coverage of the committee it surely seems that the committee left no stone unturned in coming out with proposals to change the education system for the better.

Here is a quick rundown through the recommendations at a macro level. The committee proposed on-demand board exams; 2-tier Class X Board Examination in Mathematics and Science and a single unified national entrance Test to allow Class XII pass outs to seek admission to various courses. Other recommendations include a 1-8 ranking scale for higher education institutes, a new higher education Act and 100 new centres of excellence.

Key recommendations at school level:

1. Class X Board Examination for Mathematics and Science in 2 levels: Part A at higher level and Part B at a lower level. Students wishing to complete their studies at Class X need, by choice, to appear in Part B only. Those who plan to take up future courses involving higher mathematics will have to take Part A. On-demand board exams to offer flexibility and reduce year end stress of students. 

2. A National Level Test that will be open to every student who has passed class XII from any School Board. Candidates successful at this test will become eligible for admission to various courses without appearing in a number of entrance tests. 

3. The committee report says that the no-detention policy should be discontinued after class V. Detention provision to be restored but unlike its previous avatar with provision of remedial coaching and at least 2 extra chances to each student to move to a higher class. Also an amendment to the RTE Act to bring minority institutions back into the fold. 

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4. School education to be imparted in mother tongue till Class V, choice of second language at primary level and third language at secondary level rests with the states. 

5. Schools with low enrolment numbers and inadequate infrastructure should be, wherever possible, converted to composite schools for better infrastructure, teacher availability and efficient re-deployment. 

6. Independent teacher: Recruitment commissions to ensure transparent, merit-based norms for selection. For elementary schools recruitment should be done at district level. 

7. Top Class XII performers to be offered an additional choice of admission in a 5-year integrated teaching course leading to specialisation in specific subject areas and include an emphasis on developing teaching and research skills. Selected candidates should receive full scholarship from public funds. 

8. States should convert existing two-year B.Ed. program to a 4-year integrated course which should offer preferential employment to its graduates. 

9. The Mid-day meal scheme (MDMS) to be extended to secondary schools too.

10. A special national examination at class X and class XII level for School dropouts; Students who opted for vocational stream but would like to move back to main academic stream and those who wish to study abroad and need certification. 

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11. An independent board that will oversee implementation of schemes for children with special needs. 

Recommendations for Higher Education 

1. JNU effect: The report clearly warns against allowing educational institutions to become "political arenas to settle national rivalries." Says, essential to find the right balance between free speech and the primary purpose for which the universities have been established. It also underlines on the need to restrict period of stay of students on campus saying many of these many not be to pursue learning but "to follow a political agenda."

2. One unified national level examination for admission to each type of specified professional course for admission to any institution across the country. 

3. Each institution should be evaluated at least once in 5 years on a scale of 1-7 with 7 representing the highest score. Those in the top 2 of the scale to be given full operational autonomy; while those on the bottom of the scale in category I would be put on notice for immediate closure. Those in category II would be given a warning that they are under close watch, and could be considered for closure unless they move up the scale. 

4. The Academic Promotion Index (API) must be replaced by more scientific procedures. 

5. National Fellowship Fund to support tuition fees, learning material and living expenses for about 10 lakh students every year from economically weaker sections. Students to be selected through a separate examination for a national talent scholarship scheme after class XII. 

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6. A National Higher Education Promotion and Management Act to be brought in to subsume all existing legislations. Recognition of all new universities and colleges will be done by an autonomous statutory Council of Higher Education to be set up by each State. 

Recommendations at the Institution level

1. Set up a high quality think tank -a Standing Education Commission to study emerging challenges, evaluate policies and programmes, and provide guidance to the Ministry. 

2. Set up Administrative Tribunals attached to the MHRD to deal with litigation in a time-bound approach. 

3. A Council for Excellence in Higher Education to create policies to foster the establishment of Centres for Excellence, both in the public and private sectors.

This post is based on an article originally published here.

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Pariksha Pe Charcha 2023 – Registrations Open

Interact with Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, to discuss and overcome the stress emerging out of examinations in order to celebrate life as an Utsav.

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Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi conceptualized a unique interactive program – Pariksha Pe Charcha wherein students, parents, and teachers across the nation and also from overseas interact with him to discuss and overcome the stress emerging out of examinations in order to celebrate life as an Utsav.

This event has been organized successfully for the last five years by the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education.

School Students of classes 9 to 12, teachers, and parents shall be selected through an online creative writing competition. The portal is live for registrations from 25th November 2022 and will remain open till 30th December 2022 on a bouquet of themes listed below:

Themes for Students

1.       Know your freedom fighters

  • What life stories have you heard about Freedom fighters of your State or Region?
  • What inspirations do you draw from their life?
  • How do you want to serve your nation?

2. Our culture is our pride

  • What is special about your state’s culture?
  • What elements of that culture make you feel proud of your country?

3. My book my inspiration

  • Which is a book that has shaped you greatly and why?

4. Save Environment for future generations

  • What are your ideas about sustainable development?
  • What challenges, do you anticipate for our future generation due to climatic changes?
  • What measures must we take to protect our environment?
  • How can you contribute to sustainable development as a student?

5. My life, my health

  • Why is remaining healthy important?
  • What do you do to remain in good health?

6. My startup dream

Entrepreneurship among students towards self-reliance for succeeding in life and at the same time contributing to the nation’s economy and work culture is the need of the hour.

  • What are your dreams about your own startup?

7. STEM education/ education without boundaries

NEP 2020 recommends flexibility in the choice of subjects by the students. Students will have the liberty to take subjects of their choice, choose their own path, and pursue a profession of their own choice. There is life beyond Science and Mathematics too.

  • What do you think about this?
  • What challenges do you see in this transformative recommendation?
  • What are your suggestions?

8. Toys and Games for Learning in Schools

Toys and Games can also be a source of learning.

  • Write your view about students learning through toys and games at the secondary stage.

Themes for Teachers

1. Our Heritage

What is the essence of Teaching ‘Indian’ Traditional Knowledge for the Holistic development of the learners?

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  • How would you plan to teach this, integrating it into the areas you undertake in school?

2. Enabling Learning Environment

  • What should be your role as a teacher to create a healthy and conducive classroom environment for better learning and the emotional and mental well-being of your learners?
  • How will you structure activities to ensure the participation and learning of all the learners?
  • What are your thoughts and opinion on ‘peer learning’?

3. Education for Skilling

Skill education is very important. Though the entire education system needs to be transformed for providing skill education in our country, the promotion of Vocational Education among secondary students is the need of the hour. The reason being many students do not prefer to pursue academics/ higher education, rather they want to explore different avenues to go ahead in life.

  • What are your thoughts on this?

4. Lesser Curricular Load and No fear of exams

Students learn through experiential learning and project-based curriculum; having confidence in what they learn and how they learn will automatically reduce the pressure of examination.

  • What initiatives, as a teacher you will take to implement this perspective of the NEP2020?

5. Future educational challenges

  • In your opinion what are the current educational challenges?
  • How should schools, teachers, and parents facilitate the children to cope with the changes in educational expectations?

Themes for Parents

1. My child, my teacher

  • What is something interesting that your child has taught you?
  • How have you learned it and adapted to it?
  • Why is it important to adapt to the interests of our children?

2. Adult Education- Making everyone literate

  • What according to you is the importance of Adult Education?
  • How can it lead to an empowered nation?
  • How can children contribute to adults’ understanding of modern issues?

3. Learning and growing together

  • How will you complement your child at home with the learning at school?
  • Write a creative note on your role as a parent in the healthy learning process of your child.

About 2050 students, teachers and parents selected through competitions on MyGov may be gifted with PPC Kits and a certificate of appreciation from the Director, NCERT.

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11 Free Mental Health Courses for Teachers

These free online courses on mental health will help teachers continue their development and improve the lives of their students

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This article is a compilation of free mental health courses that seek to inspire teachers on handling mental health issues and provide mental health education and become better counsellors. 

What is mental health?

Mental health refers to people’s cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being. It can be defined as a state of well-being in which an individual recognizes his or her abilities, can cope with everyday stresses, work productively, and contribute to their community.

“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared, and anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a negative person. It makes you human.”

Lori Deschene

This article covers free online mental health courses. Some of these are available with free certification whereas a few allow you to learn for free, and charge a fee for the certificate.

Be There Certificate

The Be There Certificate is a free, self-paced learning experience designed to increase mental health literacy and provide the learner with the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to safely support anyone who may be struggling with their mental health.

The Be There Certificate is offered by Jack.org, a Canadian youth mental health charity, in partnership with the Born This Way Foundation.

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You can download a PDF of your certificate after completing all six modules of the free Be There Certificate online course.

Take This Course

Introduction to adolescent mental health

This course aims to raise awareness of mental health and a range of adolescent mental health problems. It has been designed with the latest research evidence in mind. It aims to provide you with the tools to explore different approaches which will help you reflect on the different ways that you can identify a young person who is struggling and consider how they can access support.

You will get a free Open University digital badge for completing the course and passing the quizzes! The badge can be displayed, shared, and downloaded as a marker of your achievement. 

Take This Course

Managing Happiness

What is happiness? What makes you happy?’ Can you get happier through study and effort?

This, Harvard University designed course, answers these questions and shows you how you can use the answers to build a happier life. It introduces you to the modern science of human well-being and shows you how to practice it.

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While the course is free to attend, you can get a verified certificate for $149 (on edX).

Take This Course

“Over the course of the past decade, there’s been increased willingness to recognize mental health as an essential part of one’s well-being.”

Nicole Spector

Mental Health Training for Teachers

This free online training course will help you identify mental health issues in adults and children in a school setting.

This course trains you to recognize mental health problems in colleagues or students in a school setting. When you recognize mental health signs or symptoms, you can offer help or refer them to professionals. This course discusses the complexity of mental health and equips you with the skills to support others to manage their mental health effectively.

A digital certificate is available on successful course completion for €21.00.

Take This Course

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Making sense of mental health problems

In this free course, Making sense of mental health problems, you will learn about how key perspectives in the field have made sense of mental health problems. By directly relating key perspectives to a case study, you will reflect on how the medical perspective, psychological perspective, and social need perspective come to make sense of mental ill-health.

A free statement of participation is issued on completion of this course.

Take This Course

The Science of Well-Being

This course by Yale will engage you in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. 

As preparation for these tasks, the instructor reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. 

Enrollment in this course is free, however, certification is available on a paid basis.

Take This Course

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Supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • understand the influences on mental health in young children aged 0–5
  • identify the factors that contribute to good mental health in children
  • explore national and global influences on children’s mental health
  • develop knowledge about strategies and interventions to improve mental health in children
  • examine how adults and society can support children’s mental health and well-being.

Enrolling in this course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge. Badges are not accredited by The Open University.

Take This Course

“Things not to say to someone with mental illness: Ignore it. Forget about it. Fight it. You are better than this. You are overthinking.”

Nitya Prakash

Suicide Prevention

This course explores the science of suicide research, prevention, and intervention.  

Topics will include terminology, epidemiology, historical and contemporary theories of suicide, modern approaches to suicide research, empirically supported approaches to prevention and intervention, and the lived experiences of those with suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Enrollment in this course is free, however, certification is available on a paid basis.

Take This Course

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Teach Mental Health Literacy

In this course, educators will learn how to apply this classroom-ready, web-based, modular mental health curriculum resource as well as develop their own mental health literacy. 

Educators can then use this resource to successfully address mental health-related curriculum outcomes designed to be delivered by teachers to students aged 12 to 19.

Participation in this online course is free. An optional certificate of completion is available for $50 (Please select this option when you register as it cannot be selected once you finish the course).

Take This Course

Talk to Me: Improving mental health and suicide prevention in young adults

This course will help you learn strategies to improve the mental health of young people in your life, recognise concerning behaviours, and feel better prepared to have conversations about mental health.

Key topics in this MOOC include understanding contributing factors to poor mental health, how to talk about addressing poor mental health, and strategies to increase mental fitness.

Enrollment in this course is free, however, certification is available on a paid basis.

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Take This Course

Mental Health and Nutrition

Interested in the fascinating interrelation between food and brain health?

This course is for you! This course is based on world-leading research into the links between nutrition and mental well-being. The course will cover evidence supporting the premise that eating better, and taking additional nutrients when appropriate, can improve mental health for many people.

Enrollment in this course is free, however, certification is available on a paid basis.

Take This Course

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Rashtrapati Bhavan to open for public viewing 5 days a week from 1st Dec

As per an official statement released by the President’s secretariat, people can visit the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the mentioned days in 5 time slots of one hour each.

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Rashtrapati Bhavan will be open for public viewing for five days a week from December 1, 2022.

The Rashtrapati Bhavan tour will be available on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (except on Gazetted Holidays) in 5 time slots i.e. 1000-1100h, 1100-1200h, 1200-1300h, 1400-1500h, and 1500-1600h.

Apart from the Rashtrapati Bhavan tour, people can visit Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum Complex six days in a week from Tuesday to Sunday (except on Gazetted Holidays.)

Every Saturday, people can also witness the Change of Guard Ceremony at the Forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan from 0800 hrs to 0900 hrs. The Ceremony will not take place on Saturday if it is a Gazetted Holiday or if it is so notified by Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Visitors can learn more about the Rashtrapati Bhavan tours and book their slots online at the website.

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Tackling Gender Inequality from the Early Years

Strategies for building a gender-transformative pre-primary education system

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Education has the immense transformational power to combat social inequalities and gender bias – and our greatest opportunity lies in the potential to tackle these inequalities in the earliest years before they are consolidated.

After three decades of focused efforts on girls’ education and gender equality, we have made progress in reaching gender parity in school participation, with an increasing number of countries reaching equal access to education for both boys and girls.

Access to early childhood education has increased over the last two decades, with global enrolment rates showing gender parity in access among boys and girls.

Despite this gender parity in access, the pre-primary education system does not always deliver on its potential to tackle gender inequities and address harmful gender stereotypes while the youngest learners are absorbing them.

This research explores the ways in which pre-primary education can become more gender-transformative at a system level and presents 11 key strategies to support this goal.

The strategies are organized around five interconnected action areas: planning and budgeting; curriculum; workforce development; family and community engagement; and quality assurance.

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These strategies can help governments and policymakers proactively incorporate gender responsiveness into the design and implementation of their pre-primary education policy and programming, following a system-wide perspective.

Download the report here.

Source: UNICEF – Office of Research-Innocenti

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The Mental Health Algorithm

Before we talk about how to help children with their mental health it is important to remind ourselves of a safety instruction used on airplanes- put on your oxygen mask first before helping others.

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Why have I called it an algorithm? Because mental health needs the following –

  • Decomposition- breaking the task into smaller, manageable tasks. Breaking mental health into smaller, manageable things to do every day
  • Pattern recognition- finding a pattern in how children behave when confronted with certain situations or stress
  • Abstraction- teaching ourselves to focus on what matters and ignore the other things, so when children misbehave focus on the why and not the how, what, and other clutter.
  • Algorithmic thinking- creating a set of steps to follow to help children cope with their emotions, talk about mental health and be happy.

Can young children suffer from depression, anxiety, stress, and trauma? The answer is yes. But what does this look like? It can be any of these behaviors or a combination of them-

  1. Children start having tantrums and start misbehaving
  2. Become moody
  3. Become aggressive
  4. They start bedwetting, and nail-biting.
  5. They are unable to focus or remember new learning
  6. They start over or undereating.
  7. Suffer from lack of sleep and start dozing off during the day.

Parents and teachers should be worried if these last for more than two weeks consistently.

Dr. Maria Kovacs, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine says that when young children are depressed “the primary mood is irritability not sadness- children come across as being very cranky. The best way for parents and teachers to recognize depression in young children is not so much by what a child says as by what the child does- or stops doing.”

Dr. Helen Egger until recently the chair of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone Health says, “ in a preschool-aged child depression may look like a behaviour problem but is really driven by what the child is feeling inside.”

But before we talk about how to help children with their mental health it is important to remind ourselves of a safety instruction used on airplanes- put on your oxygen mask first before helping others. Adults who take care of children especially teachers must first take care of their mental health and give it importance because if they do not consider it an important aspect of holistic health then they will never be able to take care of the mental health of their students. Teachers go through a lot of stress, and anxiety which if bottled up for a long time can trigger serious mental health issues.

Causes of stress in teachers-

  1. Inability to handle workplace politics
  2. Struggling with issues at the home and family front
  3. The guilt of not being able to give their best to the special needs children in their class
  4. Inability to handle workload due to lack of time management, prioritization and other issues.
  5. Nervousness about handling upset parents.

So let’s code teacher’s mental health-

Taking care of your mental health should become a part of your daily routine, make time for it and prioritize it –

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  1. Set some time aside every day to unwind.
  2. Plan and prioritize – time management is an extremely important life skill, but is not taught to us in any course. Learn and imbibe it. Don’t use your brain to remember tasks, for that keep a diary or a reminder on your phone. Brains get stressed when we only use them to remember things, brains are for logic and thinking.
  3. Set boundaries- especially for your texts, messages and emails, and most importantly social media.
  4. Appreciate your skills and learn new ones- never stop learning, as they say still water stagnates.
  5. Move. Move. – don’t ignore physical exercise.
  6. Seek help. Seek support. Seek advice- don’t struggle alone with your personal or professional dilemmas, seek the right support.

Teaching Coping and resilience-

It is said that those who survived the pandemic without facing mental health issues are those who were resilient. What is resiliency? It means the ability to bounce back from difficult situations, it means the ability to feel the negative emotions, let them wash over you like a super wave but not allowing them to engulf or drown you, it means surviving with your emotional health intact.

To be resilient one has to learn coping skills, and these need to be taught to children from a young age. Children learn by imitation so they will learn how to cope with the adults in their environment, hence it is important that we display good coping skills.

Coping is nothing but the ability to ‘turn down’ your reaction to a situation, emotion, or stress.

Some coping skills to teach children are-

  1. Self-soothing- engage the body in a ritual of natural calming- deep breathing, counting to ten etc
  2. Distraction- redirecting your attention to something more interesting and positive- look outside the window, start dancing, clap your hands, etc
  3. Mindfulness- focussing on your feelings and what is happening to your body and how to calm down and reclaim your emotions. – deep breathing, labelling the emotion, knowing positive ways to react to that emotion instead of choosing negative ways.

Try these breathing games with children

Mindfulness is the key…

The ability to reflect upon what is happening, while it is happening is called Mindfulness.  Mindfulness helps children be aware of their emotions and feelings and they are then better able to control and voice out their emotions. It works for everyone, have you ever said something that you later regret? Well, it means you were not ‘mindful’ about your speech, you blurted out whatever you were thinking and feeling! You responded to a stimulus without pausing and ‘thinking’. Mindfulness is the pause that you take between a stimulus and a reaction. Teaching this to children will help them move from ‘I can’t, I don’t want.” to understanding ‘I can, Why I don’t want, what should I do.’

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Mindfulness is being aware or mindful of your body and its needs and condition and meditation is the ability to control your body to calm your thoughts. That is why meditation requires an upright-seated posture. Deep breathing exercises while sitting upright with the eyes closed, is a great combination of both mindfulness and meditation.

One of the simplest mindfulness activities is to get children to close their eyes and listen to their breathing. Ask questions like-

  • Can you hear your breathing?
  • How is it fast or slow?
  • Put your hand on your chest, can you feel your heartbeat?

Now make them do rigorous jumping and then stop and again ask them the same questions, and ask them what is the difference in their breathing and heartbeat now? Now make them sit down, close their eyes, and take deep breaths in and out – now how do they feel?

The above will help children feel their breath, and their heartbeat and understand how their breathing and heartbeat change when they do any physical activity, it also changes when they are upset or angry. Explain to them what to do when they experience these feelings…take a deep breath to calm down and think.

Emotional labelling –

Out-of-control emotions can make smart people stupid.- Daniel Goleman

In the early years, emotions and feelings are something that children are experiencing for the first time and it can lead to a lot of confusion if we always ask them to ‘behave’, ‘don’t cry’ etc. because then they throw tantrums and have meltdowns. But there is a way we can have a balance between ignoring a strong emotion and completely indulging in it, it is called ‘affect labelling’ or ‘emotion labelling’. By labelling something we are able to understand and acknowledge it and thus able to deal with it or quell it.

In any stressful situation, children experience a range of emotions and feelings of fear, boredom, irritability, sadness, etc. How we help them acknowledge those feelings or help them find acceptable ways of releasing them, will define their positive emotional development, which will also impact their social and cognitive development.

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How can early childhood educators and parents help enhance emotional development in the early years?
  1. Help children identify and label their feelings and thus enable them to deal with them appropriately. Use sentences like these to help them label emotions, “I see you are angry because you did not get the blue crayon…..”, or “I see you are sad that your friend did not sit next to you…..” and then extend the sentences to help enable them to cope with the emotions, “….but you can colour with the red one till the blue one is available.” Or “….but you can sit with Yash today and maybe share with him all the fun.”
  2. Stories and story characters can be used as an important tool to help kids cope with and understand emotions. Use appropriate stories and then use discussion starters like-
  • Talking and discussing the emotions shown by the story characters, both positive and negative.
  • Asking the children how they think a character felt at the end of a story or when something important happened in the story. E.g. “How do you think baby bear felt on seeing his chair broken?”
  • Asking the children what they would do to help the character in the story feel better. E.g. “If you were Goldilocks what would you do to make the baby bear feel better?”
  1. Accept emotional responses; learn to teach them to reject the emotional behaviour or to channel it. For example, if a child bites someone, the feeling is of anger or frustration. So teach the child to acknowledge the emotion by saying, “I know you are feeling angry or frustrated that you are unable to get a chance on the slide but you can talk to me about it but it is not acceptable to bite or hit someone.”

Use this new version of ‘Where is Thumbkin?’ to help children label emotions and understand safe and acceptable ways of showing emotion or dealing with it.

Let’s talk about mental health and arm the child with the ability to cope, and this comes from emotional intelligence,  so understand children’s emotional needs and give the support and care required to strengthen their emotional armour and mental health.

Happiness can always be found, even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.” – Dumbledore.

About the author:

Dr. Swati Popat Vats is President, Early Childhood Association India, Association for Primary Education & Research, and Podar Education Network.

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UNICEF urges governments to invest in building safe drinking water systems

Universal access to safe drinking water requires increased investment backed by strong government institutions – WHO, UNICEF, and World Bank

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Image - © UNICEF/UN0389288

Governments must invest strategically in building safe drinking water systems by not only increasing funding, but also strengthening capacities to plan, coordinate, and regulate service provision, if the world is to achieve universal access to safe drinking water and mitigate the effects of climate change, say WHO, UNICEF, and the World Bank in a report released today.

The State of the World’s Drinking Water report notes that over 2 billion people have gained access to safe drinking water in the past two decades.  This progress, while positive, is fragile and inequitable with one-quarter of the world’s population left behind.  Climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of droughts and floods, which exacerbate water insecurity, disrupt supplies, and devastate communities.  Meanwhile, rapid urbanization is increasing the strain on cities’ capacity to deliver water to the millions of people living in informal communities and slums.

“Providing greater access to safe drinking water has saved many lives, most of them children. But climate change is eating into those achievements,” said Dr. Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health. “We have to accelerate our efforts to ensure every person has reliable access to safe drinking water something that is a human right, not a luxury.”

The report provides a comprehensive review of the links between water, health, and development, with actionable recommendations for governments and partners, illustrated by examples of how countries are contributing to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of reaching safely managed drinking water for all by 2030.

“Investing in water and sanitation is critical to health, economic growth, and the environment. Healthier children become healthier adults who then contribute more to the economy and society”, said Saroj Kumar Jha, Director, Global Director, of World Bank Group’s Water Global Practice. “This principle is at the core of the World Bank’s Human Capital Project. Governments and the private sector must take critical action now to accelerate inclusive and sustainable water supply and sanitation services in both urban and rural areas.”

To provide universal access to safe drinking water by 2030, governments and partners must dramatically increase political commitment to drinking water and quadruple investments.  The report provides comprehensive recommendations to enact sustainable improvements that address infrastructure, governance, finance, capacity development, data and information, and innovation, even with limited budgets.

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Overarching recommendations include:

  • Strengthen existing institutions by filling gaps, facilitating coordination, establishing a regulatory environment supported by legislation and standards for service quality, and ensuring enforcement.
  • Increase funding from all sources dramatically, with water service providers improving efficiency and performance, and governments providing a stable and transparent administrative, regulatory, and policy environment.
  • Build capacity within the water sector by developing a capable and motivated workforce through a range of capacity-development approaches based on innovation and collaboration.
  • Ensure relevant data and information are available to better understand inequalities in drinking water services and make evidence-based decisions.
  • Encourage innovation and experimentation through supportive government policy and regulation, accompanied by rigorous monitoring and evaluation.

“No child should be faced with the choice of drinking dirty water – a leading killer of children – or making dangerous journeys to collect water and missing out on school,” said Aidan Cronin, UNICEF Interim Director of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) and Climate, Environment, Energy, and Disaster Risk Reduction (CEED). “Accessible and reliable safe drinking water is fundamental to ensuring children are healthy, educated, and thriving.”

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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Rejoice the NCF for foundational years is here!

ECA-APER is organizing its first workshop cum discussion on the NCF on the 12th of November in Mumbai.

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One of the lacunas in our early childhood education programs, both at the government and private level was the lack of a proper curriculum and framework for early years. We have ratified the UN convention of rights for children, in which ECE is a goal and commitment but yet we had never invested enough or committed to a proper curriculum and assessment that is developmentally appropriate.

That is why it is time to rejoice that the NCF is here, it’s not time to crib or lament that it is 75 years late!

This NCF is different from all other previous attempts in the following manner-

  1. Look at any document’s glossary of terms and one can understand the robustness of the document. Terms like curricular goals, competency, decoding, developmental delays, developmental goals, domains of development, emotional intelligence, encoding, experiential learning, integrated learning, holistic progress card, inclusion, multilingualism, spatial skills, subitizing, whole language approach, mapping competencies – all these inform us that the document is not just a vision but shows the pathway, the tools, and the training to achieve the goals set by the NEP-2020
  2. A lacuna that still exists in our country is the lack of a structured common ECE teacher training program that can be commonly implemented for all states and government and private schools alike- like we have the B.Ed. program. But this framework works as a teacher training and teacher guidance tool that will become the guru, mentor, and teacher for all ECE teachers.
  3. Parents can use this document to judge the quality of early childhood education programs before they enroll their children. Now parents can interview the school on areas of the NCF instead of the schools interviewing the child!
  4. Indian Pioneers like Gijubhai Badheka, Tarabai Modak, Anutai Wagh, and Gandhi are acknowledged in this document and so are global pioneers like Rousseau, Froebel, Dewey, Montessori Jerome Bruner, Vygotsky, Piaget, Bronfenbrenner, all are covered.

Overall I would give 10 out of 10 to this 360-page NCF as it scores heavily on research, the vastness of areas covered, and a great combination of curriculum, assessment, and teacher training. Easy reading, clear explanations, clearly mapped to the NIPUN document, and a much necessary connection to the James Heckman theory on return on investment in ECE.

ECA-APER is organizing its first workshop cum discussion on the NCF on the 12th of November in Mumbai, and later on in other cities too. For more details log on to

 www.eca-aper.org

About the author:

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Dr. Swati Popat Vats is the Founder President, Early Childhood Association & Association for Primary Education and Research

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10 useful infographics for teachers

Teachers can use infographics to teach their students about any topic, in any subject. Here is a curation of 10 useful infographics for teachers.

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Infographics are visual tools that break down complex information by using charts, graphs, pictures, diagrams, statistics, and data.

Teachers can use infographics to teach their students about any topic, in any subject.

  1. Infographics are ideal for highlighting key events throughout a historical period.
  2. Adding graphics and short text explanations makes statistics easier to understand and remember.
  3. An infographic can educate your audience about an important issue while teaching them how and why to take action.
  4. Infographics can be great tools to help people think creatively and learn new ways to apply their skills and knowledge to tasks.
  5. Infographics can teach your audience how to complete a complex procedure.
  6. Infographics can help your audience learn more about an event.
  7. Infographics are a good mechanism to approach differently-abled children with special needs.

Here is a curation of 10 useful infographics for teachers which will help them with their lesson planning, professional development, and classroom management.

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Online presentation tools for the classroom

In this article, we feature 5 of the best free tools teachers can use to create awesome slideshows and presentations.

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Image by Esa Riutta/Pixabay

Once upon a time, presentations meant PowerPoint. And using PowerPoint meant excellent presentation skills, creativity, and maybe some designing skills.

These cool tools will be of great help to the teacher with minimal demands.

Canva

Educators can use Canva’s web-based tool to design stunning visuals and presentations that will engage their students. Canva contains hundreds of beautifully designed layouts to create presentations, social media creatives, videos, printables, and handouts on any topic. Making an interesting presentation is as simple as choosing the perfect images (over 1 million stock images are available), fonts, and colours. Check out Canva’s Design School for more inspiration.

Emaze

Emaze makes it easy for teachers to create fun, interactive lessons that keep their students “zoomed in”. With Emaze’s out-of-the-box templates, even teachers without technology background can build lessons that combine video, sound, and text.

Google Slides

Using Google Slides, educators can create, edit and present wherever and whenever they need. This free tool from Google contains a variety of presentation themes, hundreds of fonts, embedded video, animations, and more. It gives the teacher the ability to access, create, and edit presentations on the go — from a phone, tablet, or computer — even when there’s no connection.

Keynote
(Apple devices only)

Keynote makes it easy to create stunning and memorable presentations and comes included with most Apple devices. A simple, intuitive interface puts important tools front and center, so you can easily add beautiful charts, edit photos and incorporate cinematic effects.

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SlideDog

SlideDog is a multimedia presentation tool that lets you combine PowerPoint presentations, PDF files, Prezi presentations, movie clips, web pages, and more into one innovative, seamless viewing and audience interaction experience.

Do Let us know your favourite online presentation tool and mention any tool you think needs to be on this list and isn’t there.

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Becoming a 21st Century Teacher!!!

How do you teach? Should today’s students learn the same way their teachers did?

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Step back and look at the days gone by… your own days. What were the skills we needed to survive 20 years ago?

How do you teach? Should today’s students learn the same way their teachers did?

If we teach today as we were taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.

John Dewey

What are the 21st-century skills every student needs to survive and succeed in today’s world?

What abilities and traits will serve them in a time that’s changing and developing so rapidly?

Let us think about how our world has changed in education.

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Twenty-two years ago, when I was in school, all I remember are my teachers. Not the content, not the pedagogy, not the methodology. Not even the tests they gave or the marks I scored. My fondest memories as a school-going child are those of my friends and teachers. The bonds we forged, the memories we made, the connections we built, and the impact created. ‘Marks are but numbers’ is what I have learned over the years as a student-turned-teacher. What matters most now are skills, demeanour, resilience, and the zeal to do something. The ignited passion and the kindled flame go a longer way than report cards. We hear a lot about how important it is for today’s students to develop their 21st-century skills, in addition to what is often referred to as the basics. These are the skills, dispositions, and attitudes that our students will need to thrive in their future lives of work and play and will have global acceptance at the same time.

But all of this does not come on its own. A lot of it depends on the teachers. Since times immemorial we have witnessed the teacher creating an indelible impression on the learner’s mind, not through the content knowledge but through the connection with the child. Gone are the days when education depended on textbooks, green board & chalk, and report cards. Marks matter but more importantly the attitude towards learning and the desire to create, innovate and collaborate mark the 21st Century traits of a teacher and a learner. Earlier, teachers taught the subject but a 21st-century teacher needs to teach the student.

CHARACTERISTICS OF 21ST CENTURY TEACHER

  • Learner-Centered Classroom and Personalized Instructions
  • Committed to students and their learning
  • Project-Based Learning
  • Learn New Technologies
  • Collaborate & Connect
  • Innovate & Keep Learning
  • Think Globally & are tech savvy
  • Develop sensitivity towards cross-cultural differences and diversity
  • Build partnerships and alliances beyond classrooms
  • No child left behind (NCLB)

Learners should be conditioned by their learning to be:

  • Inquirers
  • Inquisitors
  • Communicators
  • Appreciative of diversity
  • Compassionate
  • Courageous
  • Risk-takers
  • Tenacious
  • Reflective
  • Responsible

A good teacher can inspire, hope, ignite the imagination and instill a love of learning.

Brand Henry

How do we teach these skills?

  • Make it relevant
  • Teach through the disciplines
  • Develop lower & higher order thinking skills
  • Encourage transfer of learning
  • Teach students to learn to learn
  • Address misunderstandings directly
  • Promote teamwork
  • Exploit technology
  • Foster creativity
  • Provide opportunities
  • Build trust & connect

The 21st Century teacher is the adapter, communicator, learner, visionary, leader, mentor, model, caregiver, collaborator, and risk taker.

Obviously, teaching in the 21st Century is a different phenomenon altogether, especially with the kind of exposure and technological advancement. When thinking about education in the last 25 years, a lot has changed. From textbooks to tablets, from chalk & duster to padlet, from green board to smartboard, from taboos and stigmas to open discussions, from being intimidated and apprehensive to being confident and inquisitive, from being the sage on the stage to the guide by the side, from teacher talk and monologues to active learning & flipped classroom; a lot has evolved.

However, the 21st Century teacher knows that the learner is the most important stakeholder and center of focus and for as long as education revolves around students and their holistic growth, it will never fade out or weaken its value.

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About the author:

A passionate educator & an enthusiastic public speaker, Dr. Pooja Jain is currently the Head of the English Department at The Assam Valley School, Assam.

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