Geeta Gangwani, Principal, Bal Bharati Public School, Rohini.(HT)
Geeta Gangwani, Principal, Bal Bharati Public School, Rohini.(HT)

Guruvani: Focus is now on grooming citizens equipped with skills and attitudes

Guruvani: This forum provides school principals/ teachers a chance to share their views and insights on a wide range of subjects with students.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 12, 2020 07:06 PM IST

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

“United Nations recognizes all children and young people as human beings who are the subject of their own rights.” Insulating students from political upheavals can be harmful for the future as it will deprive them not just of the experiential knowledge today but will also compromise their political intelligence. As says American author, Children learn how to make good decisions by making decisions, not by following directions. Therefore, I am of the belief that children must be engaged in active discourse on political events of the country. But how to plan their political engagement is a matter that requires great caution and research. It should begin with awareness leading to Mock sessions and eventually, discussion on finer issues of politics. However, at all levels, the environment of healthy discussion and deliberation must be cultivated.

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

Green Citizens are crucial in upholding the Sustainable Development and exhibiting Environmental consciousness in day to day activities. In our school, children are engaged in activities organically woven into curricular and co-curricular domains. Eco warriors from Environment, Heritage and Interact clubs create awareness through multiple campaigns and projects and thus, provide opportunities to work towards UN SDGs. Tree Plantation and cleanliness drives, sensitization workshops, environment marches, initiating waste segregation, e-waste and solid waste management projects along with one on composting, campaigns to reduce the use of single use plastic, participation in community campaigns like Shuchi Yamuna are some of the activities undertaken.

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

Indeed, I believe the same to be true too. As the Educational landscape of the country undergoes radical transformation with the release of very progressive New Education Policy 2020, the orientation of stakeholders towards marks is expected to change a great deal as well. Earlier, and especially for the board classes, marks were deemed very important. However, the focus is now increasingly on grooming citizens equipped with capacities, skills, attitudes & values necessary to face every any situation in life. Ability to be a good team worker, to learn from failure and to be happy with present while aiming high for future, in my opinion, are some important traits to focus upon.

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

I keep myself updated with the pedagogical innovations at all levels-local & global by associating myself with some reputed portals, organisations like Cluster of local schools, British Council etc. Thereafter, I engage in the newly acquired tool or innovative practise by doing it myself. The practical aspect enriches my theoretical understanding and finally, I look forward to sharing it with my team. However, in my entire journey of learning, I have observed that improvising the practice or modifying it as per the needs of my students and the school environment makes it truly effective.

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

To me, nothing is more of Experiential in Learning than Sports as it moulds personalities and shapes thought processes that come from experiencing and coping real-life situations. I try to employ multiple strategies - Minimum Fitness programme to be followed by all, HPE implementation in right spirit, Class wise Sports Day Celebrations, Monthly Sports Activity for PS to class III, incentives to sports achievers like felicitations in assembly and functions. I also consider myself and my Institution fortunate to have a strong body of sports enthusiasts in form of Sports Council, CES that formulates policies for promotion of all Sporting activities, building good infrastructure & engaging trained faculty to further the cause of Sports in its every unit. The major highlight is the Annual All India BBPS Sports Meet organised with great fervour by the Council.

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

Presently, the school is one of the top schools in North Delhi and in the next ten years, we aspire to rise higher and further improve our rank and position. We are one of the best schools with state of the art facilities, well empowered faculty, IT enabled hybrid pedagogy, equity and inclusivity and strong character building. We aspire to adapt proactively and positively to changing demands of the country & the world. We look forward to extensive technology usage to be aptly balanced with humane connect in blended teaching and create the conducive environment to learn and excel. I also aspire to school students with high Adaptability and Adversity quotient and equally strong socio- economic skills- our mainstays for the future.

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

It is true that there are multiple challenges that rock the days of a Principal but the same is true for leadership positions in all fields. In the fast changing COVID driven world, many have been added to already full plates. For me, dealing with the changing mindsets of stakeholders is challenging as well as motivating. To encourage students to take onus of their own learning by being a proactive members, to help Parents look beyond marks and agreeing on building of capacities, skills and character, to empower teachers with latest techniques and concepts to initiate progression from ‘Assessment of learning’ to ‘Assessment for learning’ in the true spirit could be listed as my present set of priorities. After all, Leadership is about collaborating with stakeholders to go far ahead in the Quest of Excellence. It is challenging, yet very exciting too.

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

Undoubtedly, teaching profession is highly gratifying and offers myriad opportunities with many new platforms added to it. My earnest endeavour is to help my children to take up any profession of their choice and give back to society constructively in whatever way they can. Teaching is an inspired vocation and my only advice will be to embrace this profession only if they are passionate Learners. The odyssey of a teacher is of endless learning.

Are you still in touch with your teachers?

Yes, I am connected to teachers all through. A school will cease to rise, especially in challenging times like these, if the head of the institution loses touch with its teachers who are the oxygen of the system. In fact, I have found it easier to connect with my teachers through online platforms. Though the human touch is missing in interactions, nevertheless, we are making the most of technological tools available to us.

Three inspiring words for your students.

Golden Rule of Happiness & Success- Be ready to Learn – Unlearn & Relear

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