Learning, Unlearning and Relearning | digitalLEARNING Magazine
December 2013

Learning, Unlearning and Relearning

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Neeta Bali, Principal, GD Goenka World School talks about the importance to learn, unlearn and relearn for teachers. In conversation with Praggya Guptaa, Elets News Network

You have been associated with the education sector for a long time, what have been your experiences of working in this sector? Almost 30 years back when I started my career as a teacher, the attitude towards the whole teaching community was not encouraging. Teachers were not aware, definitely not accomplished and also not open to new learning techniques. With the passage of time, the concept of e-Learning and digitisation has made its mark. The entire process of teaching-learning has become vibrant, interactive as well as an interesting process for both the teachers and students. The students today, have better access to laptops, iPads and eResources which has widened their horizons considerably Earlier the teacher controlled the environment of a classroom but now the teacher has become a facilitator who creates a conducive learning environment, allowing children to learn at their own pace and in their own way.
Over a period of time, teaching has become quite a challenging and yet a very fulfilling profession. Challenging because children are very open-minded they know more, they question more. So you have to be a step ahead to be able to address their queries. And teachers will slowly but steadily have to unlearn what they have learned over a period of time and relearn what the need of the hour is.

Major challenges upfront

  • Seizing the students to use Internet effectively and in a manner which does not compromise their moral values.
  • Ensuring that the values that are taught in school are not loggerhead with the values that children learn at home.
  • Ensuring that you upgrade the qualification of your teachers as it is constantly about unlearning and relearning so how receptive are teachers to the professional development programmes as there are these old timers who resist change, how to inspire these old timers to keep pace with the changing times.
  • Striking a fine balance between counseling and teaching, how to disseminate information in an interesting manner. It is very important to teach in a manner where you are able to sustain the interest of the students.

What are the major initiatives the schools has taken during your tenure?
I believe in strong academic inputs, I have been able to bring up the school results. We are trying to match the bench marks in the world. We have had world toppers in Mathematics, last two years we have had national toppers in Economics. I firmly believe that not every child is out there to be an academic achiever, so we need to channelise the energies of children and give them a sense of accomplishment through some other means.
My full initiative is to give a holistic education, so I lay a lot of emphasis on co-curricular activities; I refuse to treat them as ‘Extra’ curricular activities. It is something like a hidden curriculum, things like values and team-work, collaborative learning, co-operation which can only happen through these activities and of course working on the self esteem of the children.
I have been trying to promote the spirit of International mindedness, which I have done through the ISA (International School Award) Program and I am proud to share that we were recently conferred with the international school award by the British Council. I feel that every child should actually experience the true spirit of International mindedness.

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