Podar Innovation Centre, an internal group that guides and supports all of Podar Education Network’s schools through innovative resources, teacher development programmes, and school review processes has created ‘EVOLVE’ an online self-driven professional learning program for teachers and leaders. The most important factor in the education industry for motivating students toward academic excellence is the quality of teaching and effective leadership. This concept is enshrined in the Podar Innovation Centre’s vision, mission and goals. While spirits were not dampened by the new normal, the team at Podar Innovation Centre worked quickly to ensure that teachers’ professional development was not hampered by the pandemic.
Mrs. Renee Bijlani, Director, Podar Innovation Centre, wanted to make sure that teachers adapt to changing educational trends and go above and beyond to help the students learn. Expressing her thoughts on EVOLVE, Mrs. Bijlani said, “The seed of Professional Learning bloomed in the form of EVOLVE an online self-driven professional learning program for teachers and leaders. EVOLVE aims to foster a culture of professionalism in the school where learning is self-driven and is focused on not only self-growth but also the growth of peers thus, driving the overall change in the organization. EVOLVE differs from other professional development programmes as it is student-teacher driven and self-paced rather than trainer-led. It involves activities that require research, discussions and knowledge and experience sharing within the peer groups. Hence, the term Professional Learning and not Professional Development.”
Recently, the first module, ‘Linking Theory to Practical’ was made available to 50 teachers from selected ten schools of Podar Education Network. The module included a mix of pre-recorded audio-video presentations, word documents and research links for teachers to view and understand the concepts. The assessment was based on case studies, assignments, practical tasks, rubrics, and multiple-choice questions. The participation was whole-hearted, and the first module was completed by 90 percent of student-teachers as per expectations. The overall average score of the group remained close to 68 percent, with 28 percent of student-teachers scoring more than 80 percent on the assigned tasks.
The second module, ‘Classroom Language’ was made available to the teachers on 15th September and the responses showed a remarkable improvement in terms of participation (98%) and in terms of responses shared for the various assignments; indicating the growing interest and involvement of the student-teachers. Student-teachers are sharing research materials in order to create a repository of valuable information that can be accessed by all members of the EVOLVE learning community.
The forthcoming modules include pedagogical concepts like ‘Differentiated Instructions’ & ‘Interdisciplinary Approach’ and modern concepts like ‘Digital Age’ and ‘Building Social Environment to Facilitate Learning’. At the end of this academic year, EVOLVE will have achieved its first milestone of successfully transforming 50 teachers into being commanders of their success. Their journey will continue with EVOLVE 2.0 with newer modules so that they can pursue their leadership goals. A set of additional 100 teachers will embark upon their journey of transformation by joining EVOLVE 1.0.