Adhyayan #COP – Building the culture for successful Professional Development



Parveen Shaikh- Principal Somaiya school, Mumbai
Ranjana Gupta-CPD in charge of Don Bosco School, Mumbai, Trainer on different aspects of CPD associated with Adhyayan.

Jayshree Iyer

Before COVID 19 only 3% of schools had a teacher in charge for continuous professional development of teachers while in 19% of schools this job has to be taken up by the principal only. The rest of them have no one responsible for them. Jayshree began the session unraveling these facts about Indian schools unknown to most of us. 

Does it raise questions like whether  CPD was taken seriously by the schools and teachers? Were the school authorities really concerned about whether the teachers were skilled enough to deal with their jobs?

Such concerns definitely explain the need for 50 hours of CPD mandated by the government for the teachers.

CPD is essential for the school teachers but is not a magic wand that makes the school the best in one day. This requires building a culture of learning in schools where the stakeholders like leaders, teachers, and the rest of the staff are ready for it, there is the flexibility of choice and encouragement by school authorities.

“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn”, is what drives Ranjana in setting up such a  culture for professional development of educators in the institutes with which she is associated. Elaborating on her scheme of operation, she emphasized the first step of setting goals for the same by the school which may be synonymous with the School’s vision and mission ultimately permeating to the level of subject-teaching. It is necessary to review the school and professional growth of the teachers before setting up an action plan.  

Generally, the school calendar keeps professional development activities as the end of the session, before/after a break, or just before it is about to begin. The resources for PD are identified from outside or within the school. After conducting such seminars or workshops, some teachers may require mentoring while some others may be in a position to help them. 

The next session of PD is based on the review of the previous one with the setting of goals once again.

Enlisting the essential components of PD in a school as common vocabulary, appreciation, transparency,  easy flow of communication among the stakeholders, and consistency of operation to name a few, Parveen revealed the secret known to everyone that schools enhance the quality of their teachers constantly to stay as good schools. It is the teachers who can influence the students’ achievement and learn to the positive or negative side.

A very important point put forth by her is that CPD has to be intentional and need-based. The schools need to set a budget for that and consider all staff-teaching, non-teaching, admin, and others for it and not just teachers of core subjects. At times involving parents is also a good idea. Needs may be specified by the staff themselves or through observation by others. Follow-up of the training may be evaluated in the form of its degree of implementation. Classroom observation may also help in the form of constructive feedback to improve further. Peer observation can help in their own growth especially with the format of recording observation shared by Adhyayan.

“Reflection is the beginning of reform”, marking this quote she explained that reflection in action and inaction, both are useful. She suggested her teachers record any one of their best lectures and self-analyze their performance before asking their colleagues to do the same for it. Over a period of time, they would know the reason for performing an activity in the class and its expected outcome. Reflecting-capacity of teachers can take them from mediocrity to excellence.

She pointed out the importance of induction and mentoring of a new teacher. Mentoring them in the first year helps them to get used to school culture. The mentor teachers also get leadership training in this process. Sharing innovative practices, teacher exchange programs with schools in other cities, states, and countries also play a big role in professional development.

She depicted the continuum of self-reflection in a teacher from an inexperienced to a highly experienced and confident teacher. She gave a lot of credit to Adhyayan for not just auditing their school and reviewing the performance of teachers but also guiding them through this journey of improvement to be one of the best schools. Another useful insight was to base one’s action on data. Data is helpful to point towards areas that require attention as well as gives them moments of celebration and helps them to create a meaningful action plan. 

Summing up, Jayshree brought out the highlights of CPD done by Parveen like the personalization of PD as per the requirement of each teacher, the humane outlook of a leader to support every teacher to draw out the best in them. 

The session wound up with a comment by Jayshree that like other professionals, teachers also have entitlement to their Professional Development as their job is no less important than others as it is them who are grooming these professionals for the future! 

Click here to watch the full session.

What does a professional development journey look like for a leader and a teacher?

Part 1  – Entitlement to professional development

Date July 31st, 2021

Sai Sudha Narayanan –Headmistress of the secondary section in Little Angel’s High School, Mumbai
Sneha Singh Shetty – Maths and Science educator in Little Angel’s High School, Mumbai
Kavita Dhumale – English educator in Little Angel’s High School, Mumbai


Jayshree Iyer

 The session started with Jayshree welcoming some members- who have been associated with Adhyayan COP and have been active participants voluntarily- by appreciating their contribution towards this platform. As the topic chosen was relevant to the needs of educators today, a large number of them attended through Youtube medium besides through the Zoom link.

This time, a new side of community practice was revealed as they helped the teachers of Little Angel’s High School, Mumbai to self-review and change their pedagogy. Understandably, it sounds like extra work to most of the educators as honestly admitted by Sneha Singh and Kavita Dhumale, the champion teachers chosen for a summer workshop by her school to be trained by Adhyayan. They drew everyone’s attention to the significance of framing the learning outcomes as per the verbs mentioned in Bloom’s taxonomy in doable and measurable activities. Initially, the lesson planning along with identifying synchronous and asynchronous tasks seemed like a challenge but it helped them to clarify the thoughts as described by Kavita. The lesson plan is all about organizing one’s ideas and actions within the stipulated time and curricular requirements, prioritizing fewer learning outcomes at a time.

Sneha pointed out a very important part that the students must be made to understand the way the teaching would happen. While implementing the pre-decided plan, flexibility to change, use of interactive tools, feedback from students, and trying various methods and seeing what works best for them need to be focused upon. In response to Kavita’s search for a tech tool that can be handled by each child in her class, educators- in-attendance suggested a large number of tools in the chatbox that they found useful in their respective classrooms.  Narrating their initial hiccups in engaging students as per plan, Sneha suggested asking explicit and then implicit questions to help build confidence to interact freely without the fear of being judged. Initially, assessment can start in the presence of the teacher, and later it can be done without her while maintaining records to measure the progress of the class as well as that of individual students. Both teachers admitted that such practices as developed under the gentle guidance of Ms. Neha Chedda and Ms. Jayshree Iyer of Adhyayan did bring change in their thought process as well as in the transaction of their classroom activities. Internalizing the process of reflective teaching and using it in all subjects without spoon-feeding became part of their teaching practice. Kavita summarized it beautifully, “ Learning during the process is very powerful”.

  Sai Sudha discussed at length with the timeline, the role of Adhyayan in helping them to self-review and carrying out CPD for pre-primary and primary sections. As Corona started and classes went in online mode, the new needs to provide training to the in-service teachers for their professional growth were addressed accordingly. The story of their journey with Adhyayan Is quite impressive as to see how the finer detailing had been taken care of in terms of keeping the parents informed, checking the lesson plans, observation of classes, measuring the progress of students, and so on. Planning for all teachers who may not be able to take prolonged CPD was done with the help of Adhyayan by identifying one subject where they made lesson plans as per a template. It was ensured that the new program is working by implementing changes in timetable for teachers and students along with a tracking system in place to aid the school leaders. Such experiences train the school leaders to foresee the next requirement of professional development of the teachers and the ways to address it.

Throughout the session a few thoughts that never left my mind were that changes are part of life; adapting as per the change is the tendency of survivors and those who make an extra effort become the champions as was the case of these two teachers. The support of school leaders like Sai Sudha is exemplary. Adhyayan, like a caring mentor, observes, plans as per their requirements, provides a robust scaffolding to change towards a meaningful school experience!

Jayshree repeating Kavita’s final comment, “students have come out of the textbook and it’s time for the teachers to do the same”, stated two major takeaways from the story of professional development of teachers of this school -Taking one step at a time and systemic changes in the school only can make professional development of teachers a success story.

Eagerly waiting to attend the next part-How do you build a culture of trust and confidence in the Teacher Professional Development program of your school!

How can the leader create a school culture for SEL to thrive?

A school leadership and the self-motivated faculty with the value of global citizenship that has the child at the center produces individuals who become confident even before they leave the school. For social-emotional learning to become a reality in the classroom, it is the teachers who need to believe in it first; intervention, collaboration, and communication among themselves by devising classroom strategies, making it consciously part of each lesson plan. With these ideas projected by Mr. Roshan Gandhi, CEO of City Montessori School, Lucknow, in the fortnightly session anchored this time by the Executive Director and Founder- Adhyayan Quality Education Services, Ms. Kavita Anand herself, the ball was set rolling with a few pertinent questions from the audience too.

Kavita took a different route from here as some of the students from middle and senior classes from the same school were invited as panelists to express their take on SEL being done by their school. With her apt questioning, Kavita extracted the information and opinions of these students representing the other side of the screen during the last 16 months of online learning. What one could gather from this whole interaction was that peer learning and the introduction of group activities in the classroom are essential to foster SEL in the classroom. The students get bored if the educators are only involved in monologues and the completion of the curriculum. Many students may not be in a healthy and happy state of mind because of loneliness, tragedies in the family or for other reasons. Empathetic behavior by teachers helps in building an emotional connection with their students. The involvement of parents is an essential component to foster SEL for them. The children could very clearly spell out that hobby classes, literary, cultural, and other interesting activities made them feel happy and involved.

The session was introduced and summarized by Ms. Jayshree Iyer who sent out the messages to school leaders like reducing content to make space for SEL and constant capacity building of the teachers to engage the students by integrating SEL in every curricular and extra-curricular activity meaningfully.  

A befitting conclusion to a series that leaves some food for thought for those who want to understand, what it would take to ensure that our children grow as happy and well-adjusted learners!

 Click here to watch the full session

What does it look like in the classroom ? How does the teacher understand the whole child ?

Time: 4:30pm-6:00pm
Esteemed Panelists 
Mr. Sankalp Khanna 
Ms. Priya Patil

It was an insightful session on ‘How SEL looks like inside classroom’,  hosted by Jayshree Iyer, who herself is an experienced educator with her rich educational background aptly introduced, conducted, and summarized the ideas presented by two esteemed Panelists, Priya Patil and Sankalp Khanna. Though they come from schools of diverse backgrounds, yet they echoed the same concerns and solutions to make the classroom a safe, non-judgemental learning space through incorporating SEL in the subject teaching as well as giving separate space in the school timetable where the teacher’s role is that of a facilitator. A structured curriculum, complete with objectives and outcomes was designed along with constant support in the form of resources and capacity-building programs. These SEL sessions are important for all stakeholders, students, teachers as well as leaders under all circumstances, more so during pandemic times when people need a sense of belongingness and a feeling of being cared for. If on one hand, Sankalp supported his ideas through research data then Priya took to a more emotional tone of helping everyone feel confident to share their feelings with others. She admitted that during activities conducted during Jeevan Shikshan- an ideal name given to her SEL program-she would get involved in the varied expressions of children in Marathi medium, Pune Municipal Corporation school. 

Sankalp advocated the idea of using software like mood meters to judge the energy levels in the classroom and flexibly modify the pedagogy according to it. He exemplified his well-structured curricular design as per his training at Heritage Xperiential School and at Mirambika as an educator and coordinator of SEL. Priya on the other hand started her journey as a facilitator from being ‘clueless’ as where to begin to designing the whole program through her interactions with various stakeholders and ultimately designing the curriculum which is meant to be a journey of discovery of self-worth for others and it became a journey of self-discovery for herself and other teachers.

The whole time, the waves of ideas kept flowing and so were questions from the guests. There seemed to be a major concern for the fate of SEL during online classes but all doubts were put to rest by the assurance that once a relationship of trust is built by interweaving SEL activities through subject teaching, the medium of these classes would not matter. Overall, it was an extremely engaging session and more such interactions are desired in the future- pandemic or no pandemic.

Click here to watch the full session.

Adhyayan #COP: The 3 Part Webinar Series of Social Emotional Learning

1st Part – 19th June 2021 – What is Social-Emotional Learning? Why is it so important? 

Esteemed Panelists 

Ms. Lamia Bagasrawala -Practicing psychotherapist, mental health expert, and Art-based therapy practitioner [ a practicing psychotherapist and queer affirmative counselor. She is the Project Coordinator for SIMHA. She is a visiting faculty member at the Department of Psychology at SNDT University, Mumbai, and Jyoti Dalal School of Liberal Arts at NMIMS University, Mumbai. She is also on the Board of Studies (Psychology) at Jai Hind College, Mumbai, and NMIMS University, Mumbai. She has completed her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from TISS, Mumbai.] 

Mr. Akshay Chooramani –Advisor to Chairperson DCPCR, Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, running a helpline to register grievances dealing with children at risk. 

Host Ms. Jayshree Iye

Jayshree briefed the guests about the importance of mental health and wellbeing of students during the current pandemic times, especially those who do not have access to education making them vulnerable to certain undesirable forces like child marriages, sexual abuse and child trafficking. The responses to polls taken regarding the challenges faced in the past one year were varied though majorly loneliness, insecurity, anxiety, and stress seemed to be the most frequent. 

Mr. Akshay Chooramani informed about the need to set up the helpline to reach out to children below 18 years who may have lost their caregivers making them the most vulnerable part of society. He talked about their increasing need for trained people to extract complete information from the victims and the urgency to be prepared before the pandemic’s next wave hits. Delving upon the realistic and acceptable ways of introducing SEL among the children, he mentioned the happiness curriculum in the classrooms as being practiced in Delhi Government Schools where they teach about mindfulness. 

Lamia elaborated on the meaning of Social Emotional Learning [SEL], sensitizing everyone presents through her thought-provoking polling questions. She referred to ways to enhance SEL by Daniel Goleman who authored the book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Lamia’s ability to dissect the anatomy of each relevant term was tremendous as the audience was completely engaged throughout, responding to her questions and reflecting upon them simultaneously. She stressed on SEL being a ‘continuous process’ and the role of SEL in building resilience. She went on to introduce the Harvard model of fostering resilience and promoting well-being during the COVID 19 pandemic [sourced from Centre on the developing child, Harvard University] as a three-step solution that includes reducing the impact of the stress factors, boosting the support system, and to strengthening the Social Emotional. She drew everyone’s attention to the alarming facts of high suicide rates among youngsters during pandemic times and referred to Adam Grant’s article in New York Times [There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing] on ‘languishing with ill mental health’ which can be taken to ‘flourishing’ through the development of these social emotional skills. She highlighted what SEL can do for children and adults, bringing out the big picture of the education system that fulfills the Sustainable Development Goals of facilitating the achievement of education equity and better mental health outcomes. Supporting her arguments with research studies [sourced from Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)], she concluded that SEL does not just have an impact on making students better well-adjusted individuals but also as better employees to further national development. 

Mrs. Sushma Sardana
Delhi Public School, RK Puram, New Delhi
Coordinator for Senior Classes