Good Schooling Is A Nation-Building Exercise

Blog By Mallika Kotian (Director Schools, Kohinoor Education Trust)
best international school

India prides itself on being one of the youngest nations in the world. The foundation of new-age innovations and economic progress lies on the shoulders of the gen-next. If oriented correctly and schooled well, the youth will propel India into becoming the most powerful country in the world

In days of yore, children spent most of their early years with the family and thus the responsibility to instil the right values lay with the family system. In today’s day, with parents leading an extremely busy lifestyle, children enter school as early as 1.5 years. Thus, the burden of command shifts largely to the schooling system. Good schooling is the foundation stone of the bright future of not only a child but also the nation.

A country is known by its intellectual worth that fuels the growth in technology, manufacturing, service, defence and other areas. This is can be made possible only if the workforce is correctly trained to contribute to these aspects. If a child is schooled correctly in an environment that nurtures creativity, logical thinking and innovative ideas, then the country is surely on the path to progress.

With the advent of new-age revolutions like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Bitcoins and Blockchain technology, conventional jobs will soon end. The India of tomorrow will need a work-force that not only thinks out of the box but one that can beat machine intelligence. We are in for a future that we have never seen or heard of. What then is the role of educators?

Schools and institutions of learning need to have faculty that are committed to stimulating curiosity in students. Class time must be spent in discussions, deliberations and innovative ideas should be rewarded. Schools must encourage futuristic thinking and allocated assignments that fuel the same.

We live in a country where 150 years move together. The older generations never heard of a mixer-grinder while the newer generations are toying with ideas of tele-portation. Every person is in a state of flux and trying to get a grip on the changing times. The older generation of educators come with wisdom that is irreplaceable. However, they need to be tempered and brought upto pace with today’s times.

My observation tells me that contemporary working parents are now preferring residential international schooling as a promising option for their growing children.

Teachers at residential schools are always available 24X7 for the students and play an important role in satiating the curiosity of an intelligent child. Studies say that children studying in residential schools become life-long learners ready to conquer challenges without hesitation. Residential schooling offers extra security within the school premises ensuring that the child grows in an independent but protected environment.

The environment at good residential schools fosters learning and boosts imagination. A note of caution however would be that parents must verify the authenticity of the promises and the authorisation certification of the school before they enrol their ward.

I urge parents to look beyond the brick and mortar facilities offered by schools and instead focus on the pedagogy followed. The background of the teachers and success score is a critical evaluation factor that a parent must consider. A school that refuses to compromise on the quality of education and dispenses futuristic education must be on the top of the list. The nation will be gifted with fantastic leaders, thinkers and administrators if the school is right.

Once a child is enrolled in a residential school, it is the prerogative of parents to nurture their bond and dissolve the distance between their children.

Take the example of the Kohinoor American School (KAS) in Khandala, Maharashtra. Recently, it was judged as the best school in India and also won the award for most innovative teaching. Parents who are looking at fuelling their child’s intelligence and creativity can visit the campus and explore the premises.

A good school will ensure that the child grows up to be a confident individual who is a good human being. The school must be committed to add to India’s growth, one student at a time.

Global curricula doesn’t operate in a silo

Blog By Mallika Kotian (Director Schools, Kohinoor Education Trust)

With the entire world trying to find creative solutions to issues, the traditional teaching learning process does not equip the child with this ability or the ability to think of practical solutions in an evolving society. While, the Global curricula focusses on ability to think independently and creatively with a focus on solutions. Let’s see how.

International Baccalaureate (IB) & International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) are the new buzzword in the education system today. The recent times have seen a shift in preferences towards global curricula. The responsibility of running a truly global school lies with the Head of School who can bring an international approach and pedagogy to the table thus benefiting the institution. We spoke to Mallika Kotian, Director Schools, Kohinoor Education Trust on this and more. Recently, under her leadership, the Kohinoor American School was awarded Best School in India & the Innovative Teaching award.

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TPS: How far do you think “Global schools” are relevant to the Indian education environment? What kind of special educational inputs do such schools provide in the Indian context?

Mallika: The world is changing at super sonic speed. Estimates say that the problems of tomorrow will be those that have never been seen or heard of in human history. In such a scenario, problem-solvers will be those who not only think out of the box but come up with indigenous solutions to counter the issues.

The Global curricula focusses on ability to think independently and creatively with a focus on solutions. With the entire world trying to find creative solutions to issues, the traditional teaching learning process does not equip the child with this ability or the ability to think of practical solutions in an evolving society. IB & IGCSE offer student centric education. They help students develop skills like critical thinking and research. It engages students with global issues and it helps students to develop international mindedness.

TPS: In most institutions offering global curricula, the teachers are largely from the native educational systems with their training inputs? What challenges do such schools face in dealing with different curricula and pedagogy?

Mallika: Most Global Curricula offers in-service training which schools can benefit from. It is essential that schools take advantage of this service. At Kohinoor American School, we follow the International Baccalaureate & it offers brilliant options to train the teachers. We believe that involving teachers from native educational system helps the institution and students to gain a global perspective and promote diversity and inter-cultural understanding. There are face-to-face and online workshops that teachers can be enrolled for to get acquainted with the curriculum. We also have workshops where our international faculty and Indian teachers are trained and brought up to speed with the latest techniques and syllabus essentials.

best international school

TPS: Implementation of the global curricula in school systems is meaningful only when the number of learners in a classroom is limited? And hence, the teacher-pupil ratio has to be less. How does it impact the costing of education in the Indian environment?

Mallika: Profitability versus quality has been an age-old debate. The dynamics of International Baccalaureate have fuelled it further. However, when the school administration realises that profit-motive cannot be the sole reason for running a school, the equation changes. Schools are here to build the nation and global IB schools like ours are on a mission to provide global, responsible citizens to tomorrow’s world. When the vision is large, one then keeps profit motive on the back burner and takes the necessary moves to ensure vision accomplishment.

best international school

Having said that, we are surely mindful of the increased costing with respect to trained human resources. Following the student-teacher ratio helps as it provides each child to grow and develop. A teacher can identify each child’s areas of strengths and weaknesses. It also gives scope for a child to develop holistically. Teachers have more time on hand to prepare for better lessons which in turn leads to effective classroom interaction.

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We know that as time progresses and batches are added, the profitability will improve.

TPS: There is a general feeling that global systems create a ‘classism’ among students and hence they are not able to cope with hard realities of life in a competitive environment in the Indian context? What is your view?

Mallika: Well, this view is completely opposite of the philosophy of a global curricula. The very essence of an IB curriculum is the overall development of a child where service/community activities have equal importance as academics. At our school for example, it forms one of the four pillars on which our pedagogy is based. From a very young age, children work with the community and thus learn empathy, adaptation and value of hard work.

best international school

TPS: Having studied in a totally different pedagogical environment, how do you think the students from such schools cope with the prevalent higher education system in India where there is less freedom for free thinking and a greater focus on examinations with rote learning?

Mallika: IB education doesn’t operate in a silo. Infact it offers holistic education that ensures that students stay in sync with the environment. The distinct advantage of a global curriculum is the manner in which critical thinking & reasoning are sharpened. These students are assertive and inclusive leaders who exhibit high-level of confidence. According to me, an IB student will not only add value to the class but also ensure that peers are correctly influenced towards critical thinking.

Mallika Kotian is Director Schools at Kohinoor Education Trust. In her, Kohinoor American School has found an efficient school administrator whose illustrious career spans 17 years. She has been part of some of the best schools in the country and has played a key role in setting up new ventures. Strategic management coupled with a humane approach is her biggest skill. Her involvement in Early Childhood Education, Primary and Secondary Education has catalyzed the growth of the schools she has worked with. Her vision to see every employee & student excel in their personal and professional lives has made her create numerous success stories across the nation.

Good Schooling Is A Nation-Building Exercise

Blog By Mallika Kotian (Director Schools, Kohinoor Education Trust)
best international school

A unit of Kohinoor Group, Mumbai-based Kohinoor Education Trust is known as the foremost entity to empower private vocational education for the masses.

India prides itself in being one of the youngest nations in the world. The foundation of new-age innovations and economic progress lies on the shoulders of the gennext. If oriented correctly and schooled well, the youth will propel India into the most powerful country in the world.

In days of yore, children spent most of their early years with the family and thus the responsibility to instill the right values lay with the family system. In today's day, with parents leading an extremely busy lifestyle, children enter school as early as 1.5 years. Thus, the burden of command shifts largely to the schooling system. Good schooling is the foundation stone of the bright future of not only a child but also the nation.

A country is known by its intellectual worth that fuels the growth in technology, manufacturing, service, defence and other areas. This is can be made possible only if the workforce is correctly trained to contribute to these aspects.If a child is schooled correctly in an environment that nurtures creativity, logical thinking and innovative ideas, then the country is surely on the path to progress.

With the advent of newage revolutions like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Bitcoins and Blockchain technology, conventional jobs will soon end. The India of tomorrow will need a work-force that not only thinks out of the box but one that can beat machine intelligence. We are in for a future that we have never seen or heard of. What then is the role of educators?

Schools and institutions of learning need to have faculty that are committed to stimulating curiosity in students. Class time must be spent in discussions, deliberations and innovative ideas should be rewarded. Schools must encourage futuristic thinking and allocated assignments that fuel the same.

"The India of tomorrow will need a work-force that not only thinks out of the box but one that can beat machine intelligence"

We live in a country where 150 years move together. The older generations never heard of a mixer grinder while the newer generations are toying with ideas of teleportation. Every person is in a state of flux and trying to get a grip on the changing times. The older generation of educators come with wisdom that is irreplaceable. However, they need to be tempered and brought upto pace with today’s times.

As parents, you may wonder how the diverse schooling culture can contribute to building your child’s future. A unified approach across schools is an impossible task in our country. Thus, choosing the right school can be stressful. As parents, you would obviously love to ensure that your child receives the best education. The world of tomorrow needs a workforce that is humane and intelligent. How can a parent ensure that their child receives the best education they deserve.

My observation tells me that contemporary working parents are now preferring residential international schooling as a promising option for their growing children. Teachers at residential schools are always available 24X7 for the students and play an important role in satiating the curiosity of an intelligent child. Studies say that children studying in residential schools become life-long learners ready to conquer challenges without hesitation. Residential schooling offers extra security within the school premises ensuring that the child grows in an independent but protected environment.

The environment at good residential schools fosters learning and boosts imagination. A note of caution however would be that parents must verify the authenticity of the promises and the authorisation certification of the school before they enroll their ward.

I urge parents to look beyond the brick and mortar facilities offered by schools and instead focus on the pedagogy followed. The background of the teachers and success score is a critical evaluation factor that a parent must consider. A school that refuses to compromise on the quality of education and dispenses futuristic education must be on the top of the list. The nation will be gifted with fantastic leaders, thinkers and administrators if the school is right.

Once a child is enrolled in a residential school, it is the prerogative of parents to nurture their bond and dissolve the distance between their children. A good school will ensure that the child grows up to be a confident individual who is a good human being. The school must be committed to add to India’s growth, one student at a time.

3 Things that make Language Learners special

Blog By Shakina Mohol (ESL Specialist-Kohinoor American School)

Language learners are really special people to teach. Not only do they have an abundance of cultural diversity oozing out of every nook and cranny, but theyalso have a great sense of togetherness and unity. I’d like to point out three qualities that make true language learnersspecial indeed:

1. Intrinsic motivation:

Simply put, these wonderful people are motivated from within. They want to learn a language not because someone told them to, orbecause it’s part of their syllabus, but because they feel they have a real need to study the language. Their career could depend on it, or perhaps they really love the culture of the target language and want to work or live there. One of the most delightful moments of a teacher’s life is when he or she meets a class full of students who have a real desire to learn.

2. Willingness to put in the work

In my opinion, a true language learner wants to put in the hard work needed to learn a language. He or she may have different definitions have of what‘working hard’ means. Hard work could mean watching movies in the target language or something more conventional like maintaining a vocabulary notebook religiously. When I see their hard work, I feel inspired to do better, especially to improve myself as a teacher.

3. Willingness to make mistakes

Without doubt, this is the most important reason I think language learners are great people to be around. Their willingness to make mistakes makes them open, frank and broad minded. They aren’t afraid of making mistakes, whether that means pronouncing a word wrongly or making a grammatical mistake. This willingness to learn through mistakes could even extend to how they deal with their personal lives. They know they won’t ever learn if they don’t make mistakes. Language learners are inspiring people to be around because they use their mistakes as tools to help them reach their goals.

There are, of course, plenty of other reasons why language learners are special. I haven’t mentioned all of them here. But I’d like to end by saying that it’s the learners that make a language classroom special. And when you find a group of true language learners together in class, you can be sure that the rest of the journey is going to be a delightfully fun experience for both you and your students.

Teach them to Love

Blog By Nicole Donnelly (Events and Activities Coordinator- Kohinoor American School)

We talk about progress; building bridges and conquering the unknown. We talk of a society that has evolved over the years and is marching forward towards greatness. But, as a modern civilized society - among the many things we do right, we still seem to be struggling with a few.

Our ‘Educational Systems’have become just another burden on the shoulders of our little children. Class tests, home assignments, summative assessments, grades etc. Have you ever asked a child what they enjoyed most at school? You wouldn’t be surprised at their answers, because those are the very things you enjoyed when you were young.

We say that we are empowering our future generations to take over our world and make it a better place. But with the given system of education we are training our students to get better grades, better jobs and a better life. When our children graduate, we have made them selfish beings, who only think of themselves. This attitude will surely not make the world a better place.

I came across a quote by the Dalia Lama a few years ago. “When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget to educate their hearts.”This quote is so simple, yet it is the essence of a good educational system; education isn’t only about imparting knowledge.

If we as a society teach our children to value others, to reach out to the community in every way possible and to love the other; we will create citizens of tomorrow who are genuinely concerned about the world. Citizens who place others before themselves and create global solutions to our every increasing issues.

As teachers, educators, facilitators and parents we may not be able to change the system but we can surely change the little minds that we meet every day and teach them to love, respect and serve others.

Teach your children well, for the future is in their hands.