Let’s expand the horizon of learning…

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Greetings from The Progressive School!

After the usual challenges that are associated with the beginning of an academic year, most schools have settled down with their spices to spread the aroma of learning among their students…every new academic year comes with new plans, new strategies, new initiatives for experimentation. The speed of information and innovation has ushered an unimaginable and unpredictable dynamism in the entire process, sometimes bringing a sense of excitement and sometimes a sense of fear of the future. New books, new appliances, modern technologies and related support systems are emerging day in and day out. There is an increasing pressure for a change. Holding on to the past resources and past practices assures a sense of safety, but would marginalize us from the path of progress. While one must be optimistic and move ahead with a sense of purpose and confidence, it is equally important to tread with a sense of balance. It is important to adopt changes and give a platform for newer experiments; one must also understand that all that haunts the educational markets are not necessarily fit for consumption. The schools need to learn the skills of market analysis.

September has always been a fascinating month to the school community, especially teachers. The festivities associated with the celebration of the Teacher’s day and glorification of the teachers for their love of labour and their significant contribution to the profession indeed marks the maturity of a vibrant community. Awards are given at various levels both by the States as well as social entrepreneurs to encourage the teacher’s commitment to the cause. However, I have always considered an award is indeed a burden to the committed teacher as it puts larger responsibilities on their shoulders and calls for increased commitment to the cause to which they stand for. While congratulating the teachers nationwide, on this occasion, I feel compelled to comment that the teaching community should shed their “learned helplessness” and engage more actively with assimilation of new knowledge, newer researches and newer pedagogies. This would be possible only when they “spread their horizon of learning” by improving their reading habits, both through traditional and technical platforms.

I have been quite impressed with technological interventions providing inputs of virtual reality to classroom pedagogy. These inputs are likely to transform the entire classroom experience to a newer level of interaction empowering learners with the kind of experiences and understanding that have never been before. Attempt to give a form, a structure and a meaning to an abstract concept is indeed the agenda and it appears to work well. These agents of change need to possibly associate competent pedagogues so that there is no misgiving about the reality in the transmission of their meaning. One hopes they will get over their initial teething problems to give the education sector a newer support system to classroom empowerment.

The previous issue with its theme SMART SCHOOLS – A MYTH OR A REALITY? did initiate widespread discussions among the readers on the scope and limits of technology. The variety of views gave multi-dimensional perspective to the theme from all possible angles. It also demystified technology as a singular gateway to the design of a “SMART SCHOOL.” I thank all the authors and readers for their considered views.

A happy childhood is essential for a healthy future. It is also the basis for a developing a happy nation. The prevailing statistics at the international level has placed India at a far lower level than what it should be. Though many would like to argue that the matrix and tools of measurement could be local specific and perceptional, and that the social, cultural and geographical inputs do affect the calibrations, it is also important to understand one cannot totally ignore the given position as irrelevant.

This issue has therefore considered the ideas ‘whether the schools should address to the “Happiness” levels of the children’ through their curricular, co-curricular and other support systems in the schools. It also raises the issue – whether happiness should be considered as a value in school systems and the challenges in dealing with this dimension in the school curricular architecture.

The Progressive School will continue to address vital issues that impact the emerging challenges in the design, administration and growth of schools in all its dimensions. Your active participation and engagement with the magazine will go a long way in cultivating a healthy school system.

G. Balasubramanian
Editor-in- Chief