Competence Follows Character Development

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No teacher training programme is customised for any particular institution. If the aspirations of an institution are high, they have to encourage their teachers,” says Seetha Murthy, Principal, Silver Oaks School, Hyderabad, in conversation with Rozelle Laha

Please tell us about special feature of Silver Oaks School?
We, at Silver Oaks, believe that the character of an individual comes first and then comes competence. Today, after seven years, I can  say proudly that all the 2,000 students and 200 teachers we have are very responsible in terms of their approach towards life. In terms of competence, I would not mind if you are weak in a particular subject, but I would want you to be a risk taker and work harder  on in subject.

What made you to make a move towards International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum?
There is a special philosophy behind it. IB concentrates more on a child’s profile; it is child-centric. Also, there has been a phenomenal transformation in the school after that. We did not move to IB to get the international tag.

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How have you implemented ICT in your education model?
We do not have very high tech gadgets in the classrooms, but every classroom has a system and Internet access. The teachers use it to  show the world to the children. We do not have textbooks, as there is no prescribed curriculum. We strike a balance between the  curriculum and the methodology. In the classrooms, the teachers and the students form a small group and find out how research in scientific phenomenon works in countries like Australia, Switzerland etc. The monitor is used to stimulate the audio visual sense of the education.

Today’s students are more technologically advanced as compared to the teachers. How can this gap be filled? 
Students have their own websites these days. A lot of them know how to upload videos too. So, there is a lot of gap between the  children and the teachers. It may be a generation gap, but technology has definitely accentuated their learning. We also give time-to- time training to the teachers in a softwareoriented format for teaching in classrooms.

There is a lack of quality teachers’ training programmes in the country. How can the schools address this problem?
You cannot find the best skilled people anywhere in the world, be it a school or any other institution. When we interview a teacher, we only look at his attitude towards learning and his openmindedness.

We should stop complaining that we do not have enough trained teachers. The teacher training colleges that train the teachers to cater  to the present generation are in reality, imparting training only to teach the students of 1980s. There is a lack of teacher training  colleges to make the teachers ready to teach in the present day schools. Schools should train the teachers according to their needs.

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