Deepika Venkatesh, Senior School Educator, Ebenezer International School, Bengaluru

Deepika is currently working as a senior school educator at Ebenezer International School, Bengaluru. She switched careers from being a Senior Risk and Regulatory Affairs Analyst at Deloitte USI to the field of education with an aim of magnifying sustainable education. Being a Digitally Certified educator by organizations like National Geographic and Google she believes in encompassing progressive teaching and learning techniques in classrooms for a quality education.

 

Just like how our imagination has no parameters, learning also has none. Learning is a journey of every individual throughout their life and when it comes to students it is a routine for continuous hours a day.

Students tend to acquire utmost knowledge and skills through varied subjects and scenarios. This process of acquiring knowledge requires openness and diversity. When I am saying openness and diversity, it means that when a learner is being taught on a specific topic, he/she must not only understand what the topic is but also embed keynotes around it in varied ways beyond a course book. That brings us back to our title ‘Education has no Boundaries’!

What is the purpose behind the idea of education without boundaries?

Well, Mr. Albert Einstein once quoted, “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it”. I marked his words in my teaching diary and took it to my heart. When I was a child, I always thought education is all about studying and achieving good grades but later when I stepped out of schooling and started to witness the world outside, my notion started to fade away. I then got my head around and told myself, “hey, education is beyond being literate, way above just studying, it is far away from just understanding the meaning of photosynthesis.” That is when I realised, this notion might exist in many of the learners sitting there just like me. I then reasoned out to become an ‘Educator without boundaries’.

Sometimes we end up questioning ourselves with, ‘why is it like that?’, ‘what is it exactly about?’, ‘why do I have to do it?’. The best answers which will make us go round the globe include questions of why and what. Adding potions to these questions and answering them in a more timely and broader manner shapes the learning journey for our students.

How can we become educators without boundaries?

Prop up with a Bag of Soft-Skills:

In the territory of education, it is paramount that we stay connected with the current generation since we are the ones to motivate our learners and create future managers. Well, soft-skills are one of those best practices which will help you ease this process by placing you in that journey followed by implementing tasks ranging from easier ones like “How to explain a concept” to difficult ones like “learning how to be creative in explaining that concept”.

Soft-Skills in teaching focus on elevating areas such as classroom management strategies, team work, understanding a student’s personality, presentability and so on and so forth. What are those underlined soft-skills required by educators in the any situation:

Displaying personal values- You show a value in your actions they will take it in their bag.

Openness to criticism- Feedback tells you what your next step is.

Empathy- Don’t sympathise but do empathise.

Presentability- They see you, they would want to look like you.

Consideration- Show them that you care, it is a boomerang.

Clarity of speech- Your choice of words will determine whether they will understand your message or not.

Presentation skills- It is not not just what you explain but how you explain it.

Knowing when to communicate- Timing will fill up the blanks.

Willingness to change- 50 students and 50 personalities in one teacher, that is the power of an educator.

Collaboration- Come together whenever necessary, after all the world is a web!

Punctuality- Respect your time as well as others.

Pragmatism- Be realistic. Theory may be for books and exams, but practical is for their time ahead.

Mentoring- Be a ‘go to person’ for your students as well as your fellow-mates.

Maintain a wide range of structured pursuits:

A learner always understands most of the content through activities and practical approaches. Create or simulate experiences and activities for every topic taught. The suggested topics educating learners which I also mentioned few in one of my previous articles include but are not limited to;

  • Environmental, social and corporate governance that is applicable to companies.
  • Teaching by changing the environment around them (go out of the classroom sometimes, that will have a positive impact)
  • Lay foundations for digital literacy and polish digital skills.
  • Providing virtual volunteering opportunities on platforms such as UNESCO, UN, UNICEF and other national and international non-profit platforms.
  • Showcasing documentaries that focus on life below water, climate actions, poverty, sanitation, economic growth, justice, etc.
  • Running an assembly with leaders who can share their experiences on the future of land, peace, sustainable/nonviolent communication, quality education, etc.
  • Providing hands on experiences with proficient individuals and sources via webinars, workshops, etc., related to the subject matter.
  • Building in class activities like meaningful collaborative projects, group discussions, role based acts and more.

Teaching them the art of ‘Being Human’:

Irrespective of the subject, a learner must be edified about the importance of connections and networking. After all, life is a web and each one of us represent a string in it.

  • Encouraging learners to think out of the box by brainstorming sessions.
  • Teaching them the value of ethics, informed culture, diversity and empathy.
  • Ringing a doorbell for their strengths and weaknesses so that they know how to utilise and overcome them.
  • Seeking their opinions on varied topics and discussing the same.
  • Leading learners with constructive feedback at the end of every assessment.

Conclusion:

I try to imbibe the above mentioned styles to give my learners a hands-on experience for progressive education which says, education is one field which requires no boundaries. I also believe that the power of creating A-Class managers for the world is vested in the hands of us. Education is a field which gives an understanding for all fundamentals to theory and practice. When this field tends to see boundaries, learners begin to build a preconceived notion and education has no room for those preconceived notions. Certainly, an educator plays a vital role in this entire process. The moment educators tend to place themselves in the hats of learners, they comprehend their thought processes. Once this wiring takes place, we as educators can build a framework beyond the standard work of study.

Life never tells us about the subject in which it is going to place a situation. Preparing our learners for that life is where we as educators make a thoughtful change.

Happy teaching and learning!

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