The Progressive Teacher Conclave


THE PROGRESSIVE TEACHER’S CONCLAVE was held in New Delhi on Saturday, 26th August, 2107.

The S. Chand group hosted The Progressive Teacher Conclave on 26th August 2017, in the Arya Auditorium, C-Block, East of Kailash, New Delhi, in spite of the tense situation across Delhi due to the breakdown of law and order in certain parts of the country the day before. The Conclave concluded with the S Chand ‘Teaching Excellence Awards 2017’.

The Progressive Teacher(TPT), a bi-monthly magazine,celebrated its third anniversary and along with it the commitment and spirit of teaching was celebrated. The magazine caters to the interests of school teachers who play an important role in shaping their classrooms and schools, thus empowering the school teaching community in India.

The Conclave comprised a Keynote Address, two Panel Discussions and Awards for Excellence in Teaching and School Education. It was attended by over two hundred and fifty delegates – teachers, principals, heads, coordinators and educationists.

The event started at 9:30 with a Welcome Note by Rita Wilson, Editor, The Progressive Teacher. While welcoming the delegates to the Conclave, and congratulating everyone for braving such a curfew-like situation, she touched upon the following regarding meaning and elements of Quality in Education while sharing her 46 years of teaching experience:

Quality in Education means that in educational institutions the focus is on learning which strengthens the capacities of children to act progressively through the acquisition of relevant knowledge, useful skills and appropriate attitudes; and which creates for children, and helps them create for themselves and others, places of safety, security, peace and healthy interaction. The terms efficiency, effectiveness, equity and quality have often been used synonymously.

This means that the focus is on learning which strengthens the capacity of the children to act progressively, through acquisition of relevant knowledge, useful skills, and appropriate attitudes which ensures a place of safety, security, and healthy interaction.

i. Quality includes:

  • Learners – healthy, ready to participate and learn and supported by families and communities.
  • Environment – healthy, safe, protective, gender sensitive, with adequate resources, and facilities.
  • Content: relevant curricula, materials for the acquisition of basic skills in literacy, numeracy, skills for life, and knowledge in such areas as gender, health, nutrition, prevention of diseases, peace.

ii. Processes in schools through which trained teachers use child-centred teaching approaches in well managed classrooms and schools, skilled assessment to facilitate learning and reduce disparities.

iii. Outcomes: encompass knowledge, skills, attitudes, and lead to the national goals for education for positive participation in society.

Professional teachers:

  • Have mastery of the subject
  • Use school time effectively

Examinations should be reformed to test not just recall but to test understanding; schools should invest in technology; we should work on the mind sets of the people through public awareness campaigns to change them from fixed mindset to growth mindset.

This was followed by a Keynote Address by Abha Adams, Advisor – Education, Step by Step School, Noida.

An alumna of Lady Shri Ram College, Abha Adams is Advisor – Education, Step by Step School, Noida. She has worked for over 37 years in the areas of Education, Media and Arts management in India and the UK. She works with several national and international educational, arts and training organisations and is the lead education partner for Carnegie Hall New York.

She spoke how education system has undergone changes in the last three decades – 1990s, 2000, 2010.

In the 1990s the term DOL Daily Oral Language was coined by Black Burn.

Twenty-first century:

Smart classes…smart teachers, smart learners…

Four Cs: Collaboration, Communication, Critical thinking, Creativity

Questioning – training on questioning

BYOD and BYOT: Bring your own device (BYOD)—also called bring your own technology (BYOT), ….

Talking about quality in education, she said it is not about the report card, but the soul that walks out of the institution after fourteen years. According to her students should be creative, compassionate, courageous, participatory, peace loving human beings. Quality Education as defined by UNESCO is not to be measured by scores.

According to her we should not force choice about subject — Science, Arts, Commerce

Eight things to look for in today’s classroom:

1. Voice 2. Choice 3. Time for reflection 4. Opportunities and innovation 5. Critical thinkers 6. Problem solvers/finders 7. Self-assessment 8. Connected learning Both the Panel Discussions were on Quality in Education, which was the theme of the Conclave.

Panel-I : The first Panel Discussion was on Quality in Education Introduction & Initiation


Dr Aruna Apasamy : Principal & Director, Asan Memorial Sr Sec School, Chennai.

The Panellists were:

Dr Aruna Apasamy, Principal & Director, Asan Memorial Sr Sec School, Chennai. She spoke about the life cycle of a child’s education, focusing on the experiences a child undergoes before school.

Rachna Pandit, Principal, Lotus Valley International School, Noida Extension, has headed Delhi Public School International in Singapore and Delhi Public School, Maruti Kunj, Gurgaon.

Sharing what she feels about Quality in Education she said –

When a child comes to school for the first time, it is a duty of the teacher to make her feel at home – an environment she can relate to. She talked about the importance of compassion and love, and the language of touch in teaching. She talked about the process of unlearning as soon as the child gets into school, relearning comes later; making an effort to know the background of the child—family, community, personal relations etc., have a connect with the child’s family.

Ashutosh Aggarwal, Rachna Pandit, Rachna Pant
Ashutosh Aggarwal, Rachna Pandit, Rachna Pant

Ashutosh Aggarwal, Founder & Secretary, Sanskriti The Gurukul, Guwahati, Co-Founder, The Atelier, Guwahati & Bangalore, is an Educationist who also teaches Math at the senior secondary level.

He emphasized on bringing change in the education scenario of North East India; to introduce lateral thinking at the school level, and vocational skills at Senior Secondary level. He also advocated re-imagination of the assessment system.

Rachna Pant is the Principal of Ramjas School, Pusa Road, New Delhi. She was the founder Director Academics / Principal of the Global Indian International School, Bangkok. She started this first and only CBSE school in Thailand which was affiliated to three examination boards i.e. CBSE, Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) and International Baccalaureate. As the head of an institution, she is constantly working against deadlines and managing things with great skill and efficiency, thus producing amazing results. She also has tie up with schools / organizations in the UK, USA and Japan.

She spoke about the human dimension of Quality in Education. She stressed upon warmth and support of the family. Other aspects she touched upon were: good communication skills and creativity.

Panel-II : The Panel Discussion II was on Quality in Education – Development


Debjani Sengupta Principal : Surajkund International School, Faridabad, Haryana

The Panellists were:

Debjani Sengupta, Dr Sushma Malik, Sandhya Awasthi, Priyanka Bhatkoti

Dr. Sushma Malik is the Principal at Bharat Ram Global School. Speaking about the humane dimension of quality in education, she said a teacher needs to create a niche in the little hearts by smile, greetings and touch. According to her, quality is inherent in every person and every person has the right to education. The aim of students should be to become global citizens. She spoke about parents spending quality time with their children.

Dr. Sushma Malik, K M Thomas, Debjani Sengupta, Priyanka Bhatkoti, Sandhya Awasthi
Dr. Sushma Malik, K M Thomas, Debjani Sengupta, Priyanka Bhatkoti,
Sandhya Awasthi

As an educator and administrator, she keenly supports the pivotal, proactive role an educational organization plays in today’s society.

She believes in nurturing multiple Intelligences and honing life skills. “We hope to create an atmosphere of reverence for education and a healthy, happy environment where right amalgamation of work sports and co-curricular activities will mould our students and spur them on to be the brightest and the best. Keeping the contemporary global and national content in mind, we at Bharat Ram Global School strive to make the pursuit of excellence a way of life, a habit.” she said.

Jeroninio Almeida
Jeroninio Almeida

Sandhya Awasthi, former Principal of Salwan Public School, Gurgaon, is the Director DPS Society, New Delhi. While speaking about quality in education she said, “We are committed to personal excellence of each student. We impart holistic activity based quality education enriched with high moral values in a healthy competitive learning environment. Our vision is leveraging potential through innovative learning methodology, capacity building and continuous improvement in the ability driven education system. We are also committed to enhancing our credibility as an excellent educational institution by empowering the learners to the satisfaction of our stakeholders and continually improve our established quality management system, while complying with the applicable regulatory requirements.”

Priyanka Bhatkoti, Principal, Maxfort School, Dwarka, New Delhi, focused on what her school is working towards in imparting quality education to students.

She said creativity will be the most important asset that we will be able to give our students in the 21st century. Mechanised and replicated by machines, we will be taken over by the new age computers and robots. Only those individuals will be able to carve a niche for themselves who create something that cannot be thought of by machines. This is where schools will need to change their role and become centres of excellence with creativity and problem solving being nurtured in students. Maxfort Dwarka Delhi nurtures all its students by making lessons relevant. She also said that students get a strong foundation which gives them wings to help them soar to the highest pinnacle. ‘Through theatre, music, dance and presentations we nurture creativity in all our students”, she said. Priyanka Bhatkoti also talked about the involvement of parents in all activities that truly makes them equal partners in imparting quality education at Maxfort.

These two Panel Discussions were followed by a sumptuous lunch and a session on Champions of Change which was conducted by Jeroninio Almeida, motivational speaker and corporate trainer. The entire audience enjoyed this session and also actively participated in it. Everyone had been looking forward to the final event and the high point of the day – S Chand’s Teaching Excellence Awards, which was the crowning event of the Conclave. Sixty-three awards were conferred on educators from various parts of the country.

K M Thomas, Business Head of S Chand Publishing, wound up The Progressive Teachers’ Conclave with a vote of thanks to all present.