The art of education!


Salla Vijay Kumar
Lecturer & Academic In-charge, IHM Ahmedabad

While a child is studying in school, he is not just getting education, he is being prepared for tomorrow. He starts learning management skills right from the day he joins schools. A fresh perspective at the art of education!

Once like any other parent, I went to school to apply for extended leave (a few days in addition to the scheduled vacation) for my ward. After waiting for my turn, when I put forward the request to the Principal, I was posed a few questions. Who are you? What brings you here? …..And finally which class does your ward study? Easy one to answer, pretty confidently I exclaimed Class I. A prompt – M.B.B.S!! – was the reply.

The office turned into vacuum, pin drop silence. The Principal continued to sign a few papers, but I stood there bewildered (not able to relate to MBBS and my ward). The Principal added don’t see your ward from your height; see him by putting yourself in his shoes. When you in your frame of mind consider primary schooling, it may not be a Big Deal. But, it is at par with what you do at your respective work front. It is not about copying the notes before you resume classes. It is basic understanding that takes place by being physically and mentally present in the classroom. I was a little annoyed to listen to the conceptual dynamics and you will have to believe me, I have tried never to extend the leave ever since and have cultivated the approach that if the school is operational, my kids are present (Today my kids are in Class IX and Class IV).

Classroom as a battlefield

There are educationists who profess the classroom as a battlefield and the students, warriors. Always ready to win the battle. So much of hard work goes into the preparation, planning, execution, and experimentation, encountering different phases of education, fighting different problems at workplace grasping towards institutional and definitely self building.

The classroom dynamics could range from the understanding of the traditional classroom and the changing philosophy of classroom management. Lot of motivational and management gurus help us unravel the hidden leadership skills, team building skills and confidence levels soar high. Think about it a little harder. The most malleable, raw, innocent student who would not have had firsthand experience on school, the education environment, the homework, the play and the fights of course, the staff and mentors, the pool full of children, timeliness, uniform and eating on your own and many more. We the parent teachers and the teacher parents teach them every little thing because we have gone through the phase and know what is what. Who manages the show, is the student, stationed at his work station ready to perform. Using his senses, his intellectual talent whatever he possesses, he does umpteen things for the first time and good to the outcome. He maintains the balance between all the tasks at school, in different periods of schools, with different teachers, amongst different friends and home and plans his schedule. He is who tells you today I have to do this, write this, this project and take this tomorrow to school and not forgetting the scheduled preparation for the class test.

The teachers have an equal responsibility to play because many students in the classroom literally take on their teacher by word (like Arjuna for Lord Krishna’a word in Mahabharata). Meanwhile when the parents are devising ways and means to handle one at home, the teacher is doing the same with around 30-40 of them. The traditional classroom ethics said don’t leave a single stone unturned, not a single student should be left out; surpassing all that comes your way — degrees of understanding, time for maturing, grasping difficulties, peer problems, troublesome teacher–student relationship or problems at personal front etc.

Learning management skills

Digitalization has brought in advantages and disadvantages, not to discuss here, but adapting to the change are the students. Online delivery is easy but writing it not only improves handwriting but also the knowledge inflow. Better understanding as there can be clarification of doubts and one very important aspect we will have a chance to think a little beyond than the contemporary options. Learning from mistakes is something the students do at their personal level in their stride; mitigating it before we know about it many a time. This is so much of management theories hands-on at this nascent stage. Remarkable!

Few things which teachers employ through their academic freedom in the classroom:

  • Learn student’s names.
  • Learn some attribute about students.
  • Ensure better physical attendance.
  • Health and Hygiene awareness.
  • Uniformity significance.
  • Encourage participation through preparedness (digging answers).
  • Involve teams – learning tasks.
  • Timely assignment submission.
  • Reinforce expectations in performance (standard and quantum).
  • Meet one to one a few who need extra attention.
  • Open and accessible to clarify doubts.
  • Take a review of the classroom proceedings from time to time.
  • Create sense of respect, authority and responsibility.
  • Fair evaluation.
  • Imbibe positive learning.
  • Facilitate resource pool.

The learning is enormous in the students from the way they have been dealt in the classroom. This makes the person they will be tomorrow. Reliving everything they did and know since then. The student learns:

  • Identifying and understanding their primary role.
  • Respect for self, family, school, society etc.
  • Keep communication both ways.
  • Create trust amongst all stakeholders.
  • Believe in the trust shown to move forward.
  • Support amongst difference of opinion or situation.
  • Managing time more effectively than we do today at their level.
  • Not restricted but manage friend member’s skills.
  • Showcase leadership and integrating skills.
  • Confidence to do it the first time with no prior knowhow.
  • Try different approaches for a desirable outcome in curricular and co-curricular activities.
  • Try to use the resource pool to accomplish tasks, assignments and project works.

We are trying day in day out to strike a balance with all our duties and responsibilities and even manage to do so. These warriors have a new challenge everyday — unplanned and unexpected and try their bit to manage theirs. We are sailing in the same boat like the Principal said to me someday. Everyone is fighting their own battle, to conquer the weaknesses and capitalize on the opportunities. When they are already geared up to, they need to be facilitated and mentored suitably only to accentuate the learning standards and teacher–student relationships to higher dimensions.

When a work group has at least one goal that is common to all members and when accomplishment of that goal requires cooperative interdependent behaviour on the part of all group members, team building may be an appropriate intervention. Here the goal is graduating students in the cooperative environment of the classroom with so much potential catalysts scoring on the score card of life.

The mighty management trainees are on-board. Let’s sail to the destination.

Salla Vijay Kumar is a National Awards’ Winning Lecturer. With a Masters in Philosophy from MKU, Madurai and pursuing Ph.D. (Management). He is lecturer & academic in-charge at IHM Ahmedabad since 2002.He is a proud recipient of four National Level Awards: National Award for Excellence in Hospitality Education the best teacher 2008-09 MoT, GOI l Aspiring Researcher 2015 IHC; and Award of Excellence in the field of Tourism & Hospitality 2018 , IHC.

His research interest pertains to areas of human resource development, food, hospitality and tourism.With International exposure to Bahrain, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Switzerland,he has been instrumental through industry operations, academia and writing (in various disciplines); he is a Qualified Learning Facilitator from Ecole Hotelier De Lausanne, Switzerland and handling multiple portfolios.