Gearing Up for New School Term
A new term of a school too is like unveiling of a new play or a new film. There are players, actors or actresses, directors, cameramen and even makeup artists. Each actor (student) is prepared to perform his role assigned by the directors (principal and teachers) under the close control of cameramen (administrators or coordinators) who watch, observe and record every scene from all perspectives to bring and produce a lasting impression.
I hope all our children have finally done away with jittery examinations and have come out with flying colours to climb the next rung of their academic ladder and their teachers have prepared and equipped themselves to bring something innovative and fresh into the new school term. Like every new thing, new school term begins with new ideas, new plans and new hopes together.
Some days ago while our school staff assistants were busy setting up of new classroom sign boards and removing old things from the classroom racks, I stopped by to see and read these popular lines from William Shakespeare’s Play As You Like It written on green chalk-board but still left un-wiped by some teacher.
All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, William Shakespeare in As You Like It through his mouthpiece Jacques deploys this theatrical metaphor to portray Seven Ages of Man. If I am able to explain this immortal verse in my own school terms I would say that school is like a stage or a play, in which some appear in leading roles, while some get supporting roles, while some others appear in guest roles.
A new term of a school too is like unveiling of a new play or a new film. There are players, actors or actresses, directors, cameramen and even makeup artists. Each actor (student) is prepared to perform his role assigned by the directors (principal and teachers) under the close control of cameramen (administrators or coordinators) who watch, observe and record every scene from all perspectives to bring and produce a lasting impression. Every school in the beginning of the new term must work upon these fundamental baselines to sail smoothly into a new academic year.
Setting up of Teaching-
Learning Goals and
Pedagogically, teachinglearning objectives are epigrammatic statements that describe what learners will be expected to learn by the end of school term, course, unit, lesson, project, class period or activity. In many cases, learning objectives are the provisional academic goals that teachers and institutions establish for themselves and for students who are working towards meeting more comprehensive learning standards. Learning objectives are a way for teachers to structure, sequence and plan out learning goals for a specific instructional period, for the purpose of students’ progression toward the achievement of larger, longer-term educational goals.
The school in the beginning of the term must meticulously prepare an inventory of teaching-learning goals that help in maintaining balance between teaching inputs and learning outcomes.
Environment for Learning:
I think the best gift a teacher can give to his learners is curiosity and a spirit of inquiry. At the beginning of a new term in school, the focus of the school should be to plan how to create an exciting learning environment for learners. A new term in school brings new challenges, new opportunities, new beginnings to raise the level of learners in new perspectives. The first and foremost task of the school and teachers is to explore and re-explore the emerging learning pattern to the fullest.
The new curriculum should be executed in such a way that it whets their curiosity and inspires a passion for new learning in the students.
Setting up Curriculum and
Whereas ‘Curriculum’ that comes from Latin is the content, matter or subject that is taught, ‘Pedagogy’ refers to the art and science of teaching techniques and skills used to carry out teaching-learning procedures. Though the definitions of curriculum and pedagogy stand pole apart, but the two must be integrated in the classrooms.
While curriculum is the content that education departments/ boards mandate must be taught, classroom teachers have significant responsibility for, and control over, how the curriculum is presented and delivered. Schools in the beginning of the term must equip their teachers and learners with curriculum plans and must chalk out how to implement it in letter and spirit of educational goals.
Add Zing to Your
Winston Churchill, renowned politician and British Prime Minister once said, ‘Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.’ The new term of a school brings new responsibilities in new perspectives. One of the many new jobs teachers have is selecting instructional material that will suit every student’s academic performance. Teachers have myriad materials available for their teaching strategies, including basic readers, reference books, practice work books, poetry, and technological material, just to name a few.
It is essential that teachers find and select such teaching learning content that fits the learners as well as advances their learning strengths. The key is to find materials that match the curriculum requirements, learners’ interest and resource availability.
with Leadership and
Various researches on Educational Management have shown that when school administrators empower teachers, their morale and productivity increases. The schools at the outset of a new term must plan to reorganise school staff and empower them with new responsibilities keeping account of the best they are capable of. By building collaborative processes in taking vital decisions, framing rules and policies, administrators enhance the performance of their school and its teachers.
Well ventilated and airy school building, comfortable furniture with proper seating arrangement, neat and clean corridors, lush green lawns, well stocked library, resource and record room, proper lighting system, attractive bulletin boards, furniture, spacious building, well maintained sports fields, clean and purified drinking water, sanitised and well fitted washrooms, medical room and so on add to the physical environment! A well-maintained and safe physical environment fosters students’ comfort and ability to learn; it improves achievement scores, and leads to appropriate behaviour.
Creating a positive environment is necessary so that the teachers teach effectively and students are receptive to learning. Physical facilities in good condition, including low noise levels, and absence of overcrowding are not only conducive to learning, but essential for the overall health and well-being of students and staff.
School Staff as a Team:
The greatest resource that teachers have is other teachers. But sadly, teamwork and collaboration are not commonly found in many schools. Having taught for 19 years myself, I know how it works. As Henry Ford said, ‘Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.’ In today’s school system, teachers face very challenging and stressful situations. What contributes more to their stress and challenge is a teacher’s tendency to isolate himself/herself. How many teachers close their door and feel like they are all alone in fighting their overwhelming battle against ignorance, apathy, paperwork, standardised testing, etc. The best thing a teacher can do is to be a team member and work with others, shunning ‘egg-crate’ isolation.
The above lines by Henry Ford can very well highlight the importance of working together in teams.
Utilising Teacher-Parent Partnership:
The role of parents in their children’s education has long been recognised as a significant contributing factor in educational success and school improvement. According to a research study by Ronald Ferguson, ‘Nearly half of a child’s achievement in school can be accounted for by factors outside the school, including parental support.’ At the beginning of a new school term, parents must be apprised of the yearly academic plan of the school. Through regular Parent-Teacher Meetings parents must be motivated to ensure to contribute to the school by assuring full attendance of the child, displaying positive attitude towards the school and support their child in his growing academic needs.
In our school, we organise special programmes and activities that centre round parents’ direct involvement and participation such as ‘Meet My Grandparents/ Parents Day’, ‘Plantation Drive by Parents, Teachers and Children’, ‘Celebrating Mother’s Day’, ‘Charity Fair’, etc.
While our schools have already swung into action and many new faces have started stepping into our school classrooms to sit and open new chapters of their new school life, let this new term like all other school terms be another exhilarating one for the year ahead.Ashok Singh Guleria
Ashok Singh Guleria, a teacher of 19 years standing, is a post- graduate in English Literature from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla. He writes on pedagogical issues and children’s behavioural concerns. Currently, he is the Head of Department of English and Academic Coordinator at Akal Academy Group of Schools, Kajri (U.P.)