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

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