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An educator called Life

Walking down the woods on a learning journey

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Education

All about education, curriculum, pedagogical practices and leadership!

Back to the future!

Ages ago, in 2012, I wrote my last post

About a relay of equals, a race to the top.

Little did I know then, that the next stop

Would be after having been lost.

 

In the woods of pedagogy and administration,

I lost myself in its ups and downs, twists and turns.

Discovering the faces behind the mask, in return,

Bearing the bricks and bats, with undaunted passion!

 

The walk in the woods was winding and long,

From leading Evaluation to Exhibitions galore,

Moving towards administration of a community of 60 and more,

To discovering new roads, knowing rights from wrongs!

 

As I wander in the woods, in a Frosty kind of way,

Juggling my many roles and sharing from my heart,

I hope to keep the posts alive and make a fresh start…

On the journey called Life and the learning on its way!

 

IMG-20151106-WA0023Abhimanyu Das Gupta

The Exhitement begins!

After endless discussions and planning, we have finally launched the work for the PYP Exhibition with the students. We have an enthusiastic team of ten teachers including me; some who have experience of having facilitated the Exhibition last year and some who are brand new! We have discussed and prepared a hand book for students this year and are spending the first 2 days to understand and help students absorb the expectations from them. Some of the wonderful aspects of the Exhibition include the fact that it is considered a summative assessment of the entire time a student spends through the programme. An opportunity for them to display all the knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes and finally to take meaningful action!

Students plan their own topic for inquiry, central idea and lines of inquiry. They also plan their research, field trips and finally present their learning to the school community, including their own parents. This year, the exhibition at Pathways World School, Aravali will be held on 21st and 22nd April, coinciding with the Earth Day! As we the teachers, collaborate in creating learning engagements that will bring out independent student inquiry, arguing and deliberating, agreeing and disagreeing, planning and replanning, here is hoping that the learning is as meaningful and memorable for the students involved!

We have also launched a blog which will document every step of the students’ learning, which can be accessed at http://pypexhibition2011.blogspot.com

A new beginning!

I have been working with PYP for the last 6 years, as a Home Room teacher and a Grade Level Coordinator. My personal beliefs about education are in close alignment to that of PYP and hence, it is a programme I am best suited for! Thus, when the role of a PYP Coordinator was offered to me, I was delighted. I had to fill in the gaps left by our previous Coordinator, who had a sudden move in her life and had to leave mid year, with the Evaluation 6 months round the corner! Thus, I made a new beginning with many challenges.

Having recently participated in the online Pedagogical Workshop, I set myself an Action Plan to implement as a Grade Coordinator, dying to review and change existing practices in the school and to inspire and train teachers to a greater degree. Thus, the new role empowered me to channelise my enthusiasm and learning from the workshop into practice.

The last 2 weeks as a PYP Coordinator, has been a challenging one! With an impending Evaluation visit in September this year, a lot of documentation had to be reflected upon and updated. One of the first things I did was to critically analyse our POI and tweak fine details to make it as perfect as possible. Sharing my ideas with my Principal and other Grade Coordinators helped me consolidate and apply my understanding of the programme. We also were able to display the new TD theme posters in our school building, which had been ordered by my predecessor! Thus, we even colour coded our POI according to the colours used by IB for the posters! Small details, that an obsessive perfectionist like me, couldn’t overlook!

We also had to get our Self Study going. The INSET at the beginning of the school year saw us successfully complete our ratings for all the standards, again a process my predecessor had ably initiated and implemented. Seeing the team’s sense of ownership of the school, its programme, its curriculum and above all its students, was a satisfactory experience and I felt privileged to be a part of the team and grateful at the opportunity of being in a pedagogical leadership role at the helm of the team! At the same time, we had almost 80% parents submit the Self Study questionnaire and methodically compiled by a parent representative. It was up to us to assess the survey and share its results with all stake holders.

The other challenge that I also foresaw was the profile of our existing team, with an unequal balance of old timers and beginners in the programme. A major task was to bring everybody’s understanding to a certain common level, wherein each member would feel a professional connect with what we were doing and reflecting upon! With the help and support of my Principal, the Grade Coordinators and I began the year on a positive collegial note, sharing good practices. A high point was an hour long session I facilitated on the Inquiry Cycle in a workshop mode. The teachers enthusiastic participation and thereafter, their positive feedback, was extremely gratifying for me professionally and personally. My biggest challenge of being able to connect and build a collaborative rapport, was accomplished opening out a meaningful journey ahead! In tandem, we also began work with the PE teachers to review their practices and content, in alignment with the new PSPE scope and sequence. Again, the response and eagerness in them was behumbling!

A long To Do list awaits me, as I prepare for the visit, but I feel empowered by the strong backing of the management and staff in us sailing through it! We are not perfect and neither is PYP about being perfect. This journey is all about self discovery and new learning. A journey well begun and hopefully which will yield great results! It will be interesting to reflect back after ten months, as we will then anchor our ship at a new port!

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