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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

Gurvani: ‘Teacher training is imperative now’

This forum provides school principals/ teachers a chance to share their views and insights on a wide range of subjects with students

ht-school Updated: Nov 08, 2019 16:57 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Meera Mathur, principal, DPSG International, Dasna
Meera Mathur, principal, DPSG International, Dasna (HT)
         

What is the biggest professional challenge that you face in your role as a principal?

A wise educationist said, “The principal is the principle: everything else flows from there.” In the 21st century, the principal has emerged as the single point for contact for being an instructional and influential leader, for meeting academic expectations, for catering to professional development of staff, for community connect and school safety. Despite wearing these multiple hats, I’m focused and this endless list means only one thing: the well being of my students! My biggest challenges are those parents who chase their professional goals without aligning themselves as my partners in the growth of their children. Some parents believe that their financial investment in education is all that is required. They are ignorant that a child needs nurturing at many levels and that the child needs their time more than their money.

Once a teacher, always a teacher. Do you agree?

Absolutely. I need to stop myself and am constantly trying to get out of the skin of a teacher. My family finds this part of me both exasperating and hilarious. As a schoolgirl, I was into dramatics. Apart from stage enactments, I used to script as well as direct short skits which we would enact during free periods. I realised it gave me fulfillment to guide my peers and receive approbation from teachers.

What in your view is GenNext’s biggest strength? Which are the key areas of improvement?

Legend has it that Shastriji used to swim across the Ganga to reach school as he could not afford the boat ferry. Youth is idealistic and synonymous with energy and enthusiasm. GenNext is no different. They are fortunate that their biggest strength today is that they have technological access. This broad horizon opens a window that provides them an advantage in information gathering and research.

Given the diverse needs of today’s youngsters, what emphasis do you put on teacher training?

Teacher training is imperative in this fast changing scenario. My organisation, the DPSG group of schools, has put in a comprehensive professional developmental programme for teachers wherein we emphasise on developing 21st century skills.

What according to you is the role of media in education?

This is the smartphone generation. Prolonged smartphone usage has been linked to stress, feelings of dissatisfaction, restlessness, reduced concentration and poor communication skills. These days, a child would rather watch the animated version of The Jungle Book than read it. Buying a book, opening the pages, smelling that wonderful scent of new paper are joys to which every child should be introduced. I believe that the media has a large role to play in promoting the reading habit. HT is already doing a lot through its student edition. Collectively, the media should focus on socially responsible, unique and readable matter that draws children.

Tell us about your leisure activities and how you spend time with family and friends.

I enjoy reading, embroidery, painting and home decor. I also practise yoga and meditation. When outdoors, I spend time in gardening and going for walks. My family and I are nature lovers and are drawn to both mountains and beaches. We love the outdoors and have always preferred picnics and camping or trips to forts, national parks, reserve forests and the like. There is still a lot on our bucket list!

Meera Mathur, principal, DPSG International, Dasna