Adhyayan #COP – Re-opening of schools: The True Picture!

Date: 09.10.2021 at 4.30 PM – 6.00 PM

Guest  1: Rashmee Bhatia  Principal J B Academy Ayodhya, former principal Blue   Bells International School. subject matter expert in History with Manipal Global education in India.

Guest  2:  Ms Seema Khurana Heading junior wing Khaitan Public School, former Principal Ryan International School Delhi

Guest  3: Mr Pankaj Bhalla   Practicing architect, School Owner of  Little Scholar school in Kashipur in Uttarakhand. Actively gives opportunities to students to work on the United Nations sustainable development goals by developing partnerships with Govt. institutions and NGOs and with many local social bodies in Kashipur Uttarakhand 


Host  Ms Jayshree Iyer

As the Government announced reopening of schools for students from class 9-12 recently, schools started preparing for the same. At such a time Adhyayan’s initiative to address concerns of parents was apt. Jayshree shared these concerns from the anxious parents regarding sending their children back to school after a long spell of staying in the protection of home especially when they are still without vaccination. These were going to be reference points for the educators and school leaders for further discussion in rest of the session. 

Seema responded to many of them informing all about the kind of preparations that her school made like constituting a 16 -member committee coming from different levels for administration, taking care of the logistics for transport, teacher work station, toilets, sanitisation, thermal checks, medical aid, seating, time table and so on. Teachers, students and parents- all three stakeholders- were sensitized and informed about the standard operating procedure before actual re-opening of the schools. Consent was sought from parents; just 23% of them showed their willingness initially. As some changed their mind gradually, this data was tracked daily  through digital intervention. 

Individual care was given to each child. All DOs and DON’Ts were explained to students, parents as well as teachers. Constant monitoring of activities was done to ensure safety for all. Vaccination records and travel records were checked and ensured all contact persons were fully vaccinated or no possible-carriers of the virus were allowed to come in contact with them. 

Rashmee resonated with Seema where SOP and other safety preparation were concerned. To reduce the number, students were called at different times. Along with academics, co-curricular activities were also carried out. Management took care of medical claims and COVID leaves for teachers. Even families affected by COVID were shown consideration with respect to their financial and emotional issues.

Mapping was done and displayed to clarify the location of all levels of helping hands in the school premises. Students were made to feel welcome as well as safe with decorations and safety-procedure posters all over. The staff members acted as role models by following COVID protocols. Sanitisers and extra masks were also made available.

Pankaj shared his concerns regarding student transportation and parents not paying fees. Apart from it, the misunderstanding was caused by rumours spread by media. The attendance was erratic due to the small coaching centres mushrooming in the locality. The timing was kept staggered for junior and senior students. The COVID protocol and other safety measures were followed as discussed by Rashmee and Seema.

Pankaj talked about the inertia that students and teachers faced about their unwillingness to work longer hours. The parents resisted extracurricular activities organised by the school for the younger lot. A similar situation was faced by Rashmee who organised  de stressing activities like Jumba for senior students but same was not favored for junior students by their parents. 

Talking about the workload distribution of teachers, classes had to be held online on alternate days. The focus was kept on concept delivery giving the mental-emotional health of students equal priority. Training was given to teachers and students on new ways of evaluation. Working on time table was a challenge as it had to be constantly modified. There was no tried and tested formula as everything remained in a flux. 

Seema mentioned about travel fatigue as no one was used to commuting and staying in school anymore. Wearing masks for children was another problem especially when on the playground. Readjustment from online to offline mode met with inertia as Pankaj talked about.Connectivity issue and hardware compliance, managing their own transport and responsibility of the safety of children under their custody has already started stressing out teachers.

At the end, if schools have to work, these problems must be faced, in the opinion of all. Finally then what is the way forward? 

As per common agreement- Student engagement in the hybrid classroom while following a strict protocol; The motivation of teachers has to be kept up; constant technical and administrative support was to be provided constantly. 

Rashmee added to it that the improvisation had to be done in coaching for those students who are coming while others stay at home. Each subject could not be done each day in school. Similarly the ones not in school also need to be taught.

Pankaj shared the good news of junior children attending school in larger numbers. Not only that, they started making conversations like before. The outdoor activity that was based on something meaningful like making everyone aware of sustainable development goals could build a sense of trust that could alleviate the fears of children and parents. 

Some persons in the audience also shared their experiences with the rest of the community about reopening of schools though they had similar concerns but while being part of the community where everyone is in the same boat, they felt confident to go ahead with their plans. 

Rashmee submitted that sharing best practices with other schools as well as with parents helped them to bond with each other and solve most of the issues. 

Pankaj raised the concern of judging the learning of students in offline and online mode. Rashmee clarified that use of a robust learning management system that helped them in collection of assignments,to monitor the classes, constant documentation of assessment data or even changing the pattern of assessment and constat formative assessments definitely were more helpful. 


Jayshree summed up all the solutions discussed so far.

Both Jayshree along with Neha informed all present that as members of the Community of Practice, we can  be a part of a smaller professional learning community by expressing our interest in it.  When everything is undergoing drastic changes, Adhyayan community is playing the role of a mentor to build sound teaching practices and  can supports us to  get prepared with more robust preparation to combat the on going changes.

Click here to watch the full session …

A synopsis by Namrata Cheke of the Adhyayan’s #COP session on Artificial Intelligence.

What is Artificial Intelligence? What can it do? What can it not do?

The Adhyayan’s Community of Practice organized a webinar on the 11th of September, 2021 on a rather interesting topic: Artificial Intelligence.

The session began with the speaker Ms. Jayshree Iyer introducing the panelist Dr. Sarabjot Singh Anand. During the course of the introduction, Jayshree put forth a quite simple yet thoughtful question forward to all the attendees – What comes to your mind when you hear the term Artificial Intelligence? The most frequent answers were: robotics or robots, automatic, ethics, not human intelligence, and anything you understand beyond your limits. Jayshree then proceeded to give a few examples of our day to day life where AI is actually used. This included bank payments, virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri, and also our very own Aarogya Setu app, wherein we also see that approximate cases which might hit us are also predicted based on current data. Since schools have reopened in some places and are in the process of reopening, the authorities have asked the schools to integrate AI into their curriculum. With respect to this another question was put forth to the participants: What queries do you have regarding AI? Some of the replies were – In what areas does it replace humans, How can AI be used in a socially equitable way to strengthen learning for all; Does everyone in the coming generation need to learn coding and AI? Pertinent questions were put forth by the participants. 

The stage was handed over to Dr. Sarabjot Singh Anand to explain all the nuances of Artificial Intelligence. He began by giving a brief history as to how AI was introduced into the world and how, after the world wars, the thought of using machines for something other than destruction was born. The mathematician Alan Turing was a trail blazer in this field as he was one of the persons who thought of using the probability theory and inculcating that into understanding and creating AI. Turing also said that the human brain is very much like a digital computer. Dr. Sarabjot went ahead and said that it is a very exciting time to be alive in a digital era; the reason why AI is very popular now is that there is so much digital data available. He drew parallels between a child and AI, in the sense that the way a child learns and understands new things through his senses, AI is a learning curve which keeps on soaking in information and data. 

A question was posed as to how Artificial Intelligence can be used in teaching. Dr. Sarabjot said that while everyone knows that a domain model has to be set for the concepts, another model has to be created for the learner as well. So an assessment has to be carried out as to what that particular student is grasping. This is because every learner will understand a thing differently. He also mentioned that although some people think that teaching will be completely digitalised and taken over by AI, in the sense that teachers won’t be needed in the learning process, the fact is that the teachers are the ones who will direct and use the AI towards the betterment of the learner. The AI itself tends to be biased due to the fact that the people who have created or are creating the AI model are not the ones who will be using it; it’s the children who will be the recipients. The biggest risk for us as a nation in this field today is that we are not creating and stacking enough data. What this does is that we are relying heavily on the western world to provide us with that data. This is the reason why most of the times for any of our searches on data for any survey, we will find that the data is usually from the West. 

The bottom line is that AI needs training. This is why AI is termed as a child. Just like a child, AI too will learn what we teach it. The education sector has a huge scope for the use of AI; we just need to understand that AI is our friend, not foe. It is not here to take away our jobs or replace us. Artificial Intelligence like it’s namesake is intelligence, and intelligence needs to be updated with the times, otherwise it is not intelligence anymore. Hence, AI can do a lot of things, but it also has many limitations as well. It can try to think like a human mind, but we all know that the mind is too complex to replicate completely. The mind uses causation, while AI uses correlation. This is where Artificial Intelligence is limited at the moment. In course of time, it will only get better and more refined. 

The session was a thoroughly insightful one with tons of references to daily life. Artificial Intelligence is here to stay, and it will be an integral part of the future.

 Written by Mrs. Namrata Cheke, Teacher at Don Bosco High School, Matunga

Click here to watch the full session

Adhyayan’s CoP – The 2 Part Webinar Series of Artificial Intelligence – 25th Sept 2021

Second part 25th Sept 2021  – The Teaching & Learning of Artificial Intelligence – Through the lens of students and educators.

In continuation to the First part 11th Sep 2021What is Artificial Intelligence? Why is it so important? 

Time: 4:30pm-6:00pm
Kavya Majumdar, Student learning coding at  ’Coding and More’
Manika Jhaveri, Student learning coding at  ’Coding and More’
Ishita, Educator at ’Coding and More’
Tanvi, Educator at ’Coding and More’
Supriya Bhuwalka, CEO of ’Coding and More’

Host Ms. Jayshree Iyer 

Jayshree briefly summarized the previous session with Dr Sarabjot Singh on what is artificial intelligence, what does it do and what is it not capable of doing. Today’s session was about how is it impacting our daily life and how to develop the essential skills required by students from middle school onward in coding and AI as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education.

She introduced us to a bright-eyed and vivacious Tanvi who tested the awareness level of the audience as to what all around us is controlled by AI and how they are making things work better than before. She also introduced some of the projects made by students like ‘Nudge’ by Kavya, ‘Book of Books’ by Manika at ‘Coding and More’ where she is mentoring them. These young students showcased their passion projects with such confidence and clarity that the chatbox reflected delightful appreciation for them and their educators all through. Truly amazed to see so much talent in one frame!

Ishita talked about the need to raise awareness about AI and educate children from the junior level through the senior K-12 level to be future-ready. 

Talking about ethics, she stressed the role of educators to inculcate them in the students while making them realise the power of AI. She further added to make them mindful of personal biases, data privacy, cyber -safety and so on.

Even for educators and elders, suitable courses at various institutes are available. Tools of educators depend upon the specific challenges faced by them but caution against the missing human element. Some of the tools introduced were Google translate, Turnitin, Duolingo, Grammarly, omoguru, iNaturalist, photomath and their classroom application.

Both these young educators found their previous knowledge on the subject supplemented by the constant certification courses, keeping themselves updated to stay afloat in the constantly evolving field of knowledge. This is some food for thought for all educators who need to update on their skills to prepare global citizens in their classrooms.

From the discussion among the audience, it came out that the exposure received by the child from family, school and society, in general, inspires the children to forge ahead in new fields like AI. 

Finally, Supriya Bhuwalka shared her philosophy behind starting the institute to develop a holistic personality of children. She feels that children should be made to think logically right from a young age. Her research on how to use AI to realize the goals mentioned in NEP2020 made her take up this endeavour.  It is very important for educators to be passionate about a subject to be able to transfer the same among their students. It is the experiences given to students by the elders that make them enjoy the subjects, develop social skills like empathy apart from cognitive skills. It was an insightful as well as a  delightful session…..truly inspiring for us all!

Click here to watch the full session

Adhyayan #COP – What is Artificial Intelligence? What can it do? What can it not do? 11th September 2021

Dr. Sarabjot Singh Anand

Ms. Jayshree Iyer

Artificial intelligence[AI] at the school level is quite important as per NEP2020 and it is widely used in daily life like the Aarogya Setu app, Alexa, face recognition as phone passwords etc. As Adhyayan addresses relevant education-related issues that may interest educators, today’s topic was also chosen to bring information and some food for thought for the intellectual minds who chose to attend such meaningful discourses on Saturday afternoons.

Introducing the guest, Jayshree informed all present that Dr Sarabjot Singh Anand has been involved in the field of machine learning since early 1990, developing algorithms, applying them to the real-world problem while working on a host of data types, has published over 90 academic papers on machine learning in the capacity of being an academic and entrepreneur. He was an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom and built algorithms to develop solutions in diverse areas. He came back to India in 2012 to train engineering students in machine learning and to work on social problems in education, farming-governance and Healthcare. He also designed and crafted the software used by Adhyayan for school reviews.

To set the ball rolling, Jayshree asked questions such as, “What is  artificial intelligence and why has it become so important today?” Sarabhjot Singh took us back in history how AI came into being as  Alan Turing and other mathematicians tried modelling the universe using probability theory, developed machines that used neural networks based on the functioning of the human brain and so on. He elaborated on how the same machines are being used by Netflix choosing the programs to be seen by one individual subscriber based upon their viewing history, computer listening to and talking in the human voice,  looking at the X-ray images and finding the medical issues. But this powerful technology which is working successfully now because of the availability of a large amount of data sources from channels like Facebook and Instagram must follow ethics about ownership of data and also how to use it. 

Answering another question on the use of AI in education, he said that it has enabled us to create a different learning path for every child which may not have happened in a physical classroom. He explained it at length taking examples from his own students in Mohali where they could not just get answers to the question asked by them but also were directed to questions and clips of the lecture videos that dealt with the topic of the question asked. Another use that he stressed was the advantage to get good quality translations of languages more so in the last few years. 

In the same vein, he talked about the importance of data collection giving the analogy of human sense organs to the sensors and the camera of the computer recording the observations from its surroundings. This collection of data later helps them to build complex associations [alogrithms]. More the data,  better would be the algorithms and the more useful will it be to analyse and infer the data that would flow in later to provide effective solutions to problems. Therefore he stressed investing in developing data sets to enable their usages in Indian contexts of education, language and other sectors just the way developed countries have done.  

Jayshree drew attention to the questions asked by the audience like how it can be used for teaching subjects like Maths. He talked about domain models as they were developed by big universities like Carnegie Mellon; the adaptive learning systems that make the experience individualised for each student based on his individual way and pace of learning. This will be especially helpful in the Indian scenario to personalize the experience of each child in spite of their numbers. He cautioned against using an AI system based on databases of other countries as they are not meant for Indians and hence may be biased. Even for educational uses, the solutions would be meaningful only when it is based on data collected from India. The assessment, evaluation and other routine jobs are very well made convenient by using AI. 

While talking about the limitations of AI, he informed that it can’t use common sense, causations of an event and unsupervised learning from data. It is the human beings that need to teach a machine how to learn and feed unbiased relevant data. Machines are just a bank of answers for all possible questions. 

To look at  AI as a career and the need to have coding classes, he agreed that being central to every career, the sooner the students get training, the better it would be for them; but only when they receive quality teaching for these courses. It can only be done by instilling a passion for AI and allowing them to choose their own project. Using technology to identify a problem and finding a solution by collecting the data is what he wants to do in India. He exemplified how sustainable development goals can be met by encouraging the younger generation in this field. At the same time, it will also encourage the students to develop critical thinking and analytical skills as mentioned in NEP 2020. 

Jayshree held a small discussion among the audience at the end and summed up the session by stating the potential uses of  AI  though it would take a lot of curation of data going ahead. In subject-specific software, a lot of work is still required. Artificial intelligence definitely can change the education world where every child may blossom if we can use it effectively to personalize learning! 

Click here to watch the session recording!

How to lead Professional Development as a continuous improvement journey in your school?

Entitlement of Teachers to Professional Development- Part 3 

Nita Luthria Row – Resource person for workshop for Adhyayan,  panelist for many sessions, PYP and Junior school head in Bombay International school.

Reena Singh – Alumnus of Loreto College, Ex-Principal GD Goenka Rajnagar, Kolkata, Master trainer CBSE schools in Rajasthan, Principal Khaitan School, NOIDA
Thomas Remigius School leader with 22 years experience at senior management in schools in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka

Jayshree Iyer

The session took off with Jayshree briefly summarizing the takeaway from the last two sessions that were on the professional development journey of the teachers and that of a school. For the present session, she introduced the versatile moderator Nita who while using her vast experience in the field of education, engaged everyone present in a discussion on continuous professional development at their own level.

Introducing Reena Singh as a dynamic and motivated educator par excellence, she talked about her contributions in the field of education getting her a well-deserved, ‘The Most Admired Principal’ award. Reena Singh has also been empowering teachers through her transformational leadership and fostering supportive relationships. The clear and transparent objectives are followed by traceable key result areas very much in the Adhyayan way.  She promotes the collaborative environment and with continuous professional development, has built a team that is always ready for equipping and empowering young minds.

Reena taking over as a principal of a large school in NOIDA, Delhi NCR, that was already doing well in terms of results, rather than sitting back complacently, tried to measure whether the three most components of the school that is Curriculum System, Instructional System and Data System are aligned to each other; the teaching-learning is taking place for every single child; do students and teachers care for each other and find answers to similar questions.  As she could see the misalignment between national goals of developing skills like critical thinking and problem-solving and the instructional design followed in the school she sought the support of the management of the school and asked for help from Adhyayan. Coaching and evaluation have to happen from different sources. Placing her trust and seeking help from Kavita Anand from Adhyayan she realizes the need to develop skills in teachers as a continuous and thorough process.

As a next and essential step, she shared her vision of reaching the last child with her faculty. She talked about the ”Agreement Matrix”  whereby she found out whether the teachers knew what they didn’t know and whether they agreed to do what needs to be done. Here again, the trust factor was very important.   She communicated to the teachers the action plan for which 30% agreed and others followed suit by and by.

 She went back to Adhyayan and got her leadership mapping done notwithstanding her management training or international level achievements. She followed a ‘Flat Structure’ meaning everyone can deal at an equal level which helped her to collaborate and connect with her teachers in a more cordial way. Transparency in the system made her more approachable to her staff and helped in building a caring relationship among them. Through ‘Buy-ins’, she could prioritize the achievement of the annual goals of the school. The mid-level leadership emulated her path and brought back an impact story like hers.

The teachers were empowered through 3 months of rigorous professional development. Reena redefined the term ‘Observation’ in her school – it was done by the teacher for herself, reflecting upon her class activities, lesson plan, tools used, linking learning with real-life events, and so on. It also helped them to understand weaknesses and strengths. The teacher not only understood what is to be achieved as a personal goal but also what she needs to achieve for the annual school goal.

The data as an assessment tool for parameters of learning and student outcomes were analyzed to measure the gap between goal and current achievement. Once the problem areas were identified where exactly further professional development was needed, the training of teachers continued to reduce the gap. The cycle of Plan, Do, Check and Act and taking help from an external coach helped in sustaining the continuous improvement.

She concluded by citing ‘John Kotter’s 8 Step Model’ that endorses three basic principles of ‘Creating Climate for Change by Creating Urgency’.

Nita resonated with Kavita’s tweet that ‘learning of a student should never end’ connecting to ‘learning of a teacher should also never end’.

It was indeed an engaging discussion on how a leader carries out her vision of professional development of teachers in a school to make it achieve National Goals in Education.

Hat’s off to Reena and to Kavita her coach! Just wow!!

Introducing the second panelist, Thomas Remigius, who believes in being a leader who empowers schools to achieve International standards by cultivating best practices. Spending two decades at senior management in school in Rajasthan Maharashtra and now Karnataka, he supported the teaching-learning process through collaborative leadership and professional development opportunities. His motto is to ‘Make Every Day the Best Day for Every Child’ and that ‘There is Something to Celebrate in Every Student’.

He considers the PD as not a short sprint but a marathon, an ongoing and sustainable continuous process. According to him, PD should be personalized as per the teacher’s needs. The seriousness of a leader in PD is reflected if there is enough provision for it in the school budget and the time allotted for it to take place.

Tracing his own journey of PD as a school leader, very humbly he admitted the senior teachers in his first school made him learn a lot and later he learned from peers and from his interactions with students, literature read by him, his professional training from IIM Ahmedabad, enrichment programs for principals and finally from social media. He developed the culture of older teachers to mentor the newcomers while the latter brought new ideas. His staff meetings were used as PD sessions by himself along with other experienced staff members. The senior teacher on being trained in turn trained the rest. Saturday afternoon was devoted to subject-based discussion. Apart from that,  in-service training by Adhyayan and their support in arranging exchange programs for his teachers with schools in other states brought the success of the PD program in his school. Being a school assessor helps him grow as a leader. Several webinars, MOOC programs, and CBSE programs were also useful. 

Nita created a sketch note to put together on one page synthesizing a lot of ideas from all three sessions. A culture of continuous growth, the importance of reflection as well as being a role model as a reflective leader helps in bringing success in PD programs of schools. Conferences, workshops, webinars are a very important part of professional development but there are so many other ways that an educator can grow continuously as professionals- online courses, books, podcasts, educational magazines, social media – as long as one is one’s own learner. Life as a teacher begins the day one realizes that one is always a learner. Wise use of social media can make it an invaluable source of learning that should be tapped by professional learning communities. Nita suggested that after listening to a TED talk or attending a conference or a webinar,  if it is pursued with a book on similar ideas, it helps to get in-depth knowledge. Additionally having a coach or a mentor is the ultimate, and if there are several people it’s even better to get different perspectives as well but there is nothing like having that one person who’s your cheerleader who is always there for you. She made suggestions of some good books for those who have further interest in learning on their own.

Kavita Anand and Spokey Wheeler interacted with all three of them exchanging ideas on how a school leader makes their teacher come out of their comfort zone and try something different that benefits them in their professional development as well as the child for whom we all are meant to be there. A must watch again and again!


Click here to watch the full session recording!