Workshops: Pallavan Learning Systems with Pallavan Jhalawar
Pallavan Learning Systems designed and organized a Professional Development Programme for the faculty of Pallavan School, Jhalawar. The programme was designed to be part of our training workshops for the beginning of the new academic session 2021-22. This programme was developed for all staff pursuit of the belief that learning is lifelong and that it is important for the school culture to be understood by all.
In this context, since education and learning are lifelong processes, it is particularly important for schools to encourage all teachers and staff to pursue professional development, not only to ensure the best learning outcomes for their students but also to be more effective and fulfilled in their respective roles.
This first set of workshops for PLS Jhalawar were particularly challenging since these had to be organized virtually, because of continuing travel restrictions as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The PLS team used the Zoom platform to conduct these Professional Development Programmes over a period, between March – May 2021. During the workshops, all staff were given opportunities to learn and develop using programmes that focused on working in smaller groups for better outreach. The programmes were also driven by the effort to help faculty develop a deeper understanding of work in the following areas:
• Being Future-Ready, especially in the context of what the world has experienced this past year
• Classroom Management for a Conducive Learning Environment
• Cultivating early literacy skills through storytelling
• Common mistakes made by students in Math
• How to inculcate an interest in learning Math among students
• Developing writing skills
• The Five Areas of Development: revisiting and updating Roadmaps, Skills, Processes and Watermarks
• Spiritual and Emotional Development and values in education
Pallavan Learning Systems believes that in order to ensure holistic growth, it is essential to focus on the Five Areas of Development. Toward this objective, looking ahead, PLS will continue to encourage and give opportunities to all teachers to widen their horizons through workshops. It is therefore part of the PLS team’s plan to design and organize more virtual Professional Development Programme sessions for all staff at the Pallavan School, Jhalawar in Rajasthan.
In the context of what we have gone through this past year, how can we be future-ready?
by Dr Saroj Thapa
The Pallavan School, Jhalawar has done commendable work during the pandemic and the physical closure of the school. The team of dedicated teachers quickly learned the technical skills to provide lessons online. Although initially it was a frustrating struggle they supported each other to master the task. They also had to convince the parents to see the benefits of online learning and to provide smartphones so that their children could access the lessons. The teachers juggled with the schedule, different ways of lesson delivery and strategies to keep the students engaged and learning. Their hard work and dedication has won appreciation from all involved.
But now that school is going to be partially open for the senior students, while the rest continue to learn online; the teachers now have to be ready for hybrid learning. The discussion in this session revolved around the teachers wanting to refine their ways of online teaching to keep the students engaged. There is a realisation that online sessions cannot be a digital version of in-person classes. The need to involve the students in discussions, collaborative learning and even flipped classroom strategy need to be explored giving more responsibility and ownership of learning to the learners themselves. Recording the synchronous sessions and providing the videos for asynchronous learning is also being tried. The short lesson time needs to be judiciously divided into learning the concept, opportunities for clarifying doubts interspersed videos and activities.
This session included separate discussions with senior and junior school teachers to contextualise it to the specific issues faced while teaching different age groups. The teachers are motivated to do their best but at the same time feel challenged just as all over the world teachers are struggling to find the best ways of dealing with the situation. Nobody really has definitive answers to the problems but they are sharing what has worked for them. Conversations like these need to happen frequently so that we keep brainstorming to figure out the best possible ways and learn from each other to meet the needs of our students in these uncertain times.
Classroom Management for a Conducive Learning Environment
by Sangeeta Doraiswami
Bearing in mind the challenge of transitioning to hybrid learning in the context of the continuing Coronavirus pandemic, a workshop on Classroom Management for a Conducive Learning Environment was organised for teachers from grade levels LKG to 2 on April 1, 2021, by Sangeeta Doraiswami from the PLS team. Through this overarching topic, the workshop was able to provide specific focus on teacher attitude, values, culture and diversity, time and emotional management, health and hygiene. The workshop also focused on identifying ways to make the classroom environment most wholistic for learning, and to design classroom setup, planning, circle time, story time and reflection in a manner that supports the most effective and teaching- learning outcomes.
The workshop was interactive and discussion-based, so as to ensure maximum participation A PowerPoint Presentation was also prepared and shared during the workshop, so that there were immediate and visual takeaways for the participants.
Additionally, through the workshops, teachers were oriented to adapt more seamlessly to online teaching-learning methods, with the specific effort to make the experience of virtual learning effective and meaningful. In the continuing pandemic environment, it was the considered view of the participants and presenters that it made sense to continuously hone capacity and skills of teachers through carefully designed workshops by the PLS Team.
Cultivating early literacy skills through storytelling
by Ranu Bhattacharya
A workshop on Cultivating Early Literacy Skills through Storytelling was organised for teachers from grade levels LKG to 2 on April 1, 2021 by Ranu Bhattacharyya from the PLS team. The workshop invited teachers to reimagine the persona of our youngest readers and writers. Who is a reader? A reader is a person who derives meaning from pictures and print. Who is a writer? A writer is a person who conveys meaning through pictures and print. Reading and writing, the keystones of literacy are inextricably intertwined. Storytelling forms a natural bridge between the two. The workshop offered simple strategies to break down the writing process by celebrating the personal stories of students in the classroom. Through this celebration young learners are drawn into a literate world and become eager participants within a shared community of learners.
Developing Writing Skills in Students
by Sunaina Narang
Writing — it’s an important form of communication and a key part of education. But in today’s technology-driven world, kids aren’t given many opportunities to practice and improve their ability to write. This leaves many parents wondering how to improve their child’s writing skills.It takes time to develop strong writing skills, and it can be a tough task to accomplish. Thankfully, there are many things that teachers can do to help improve children’s writing skills. Here are some activities to improve children’s writing skills:
Reading: Regular reading is a stepping stone to better writing and helps kids’ strengthen their writing skills. It helps expand children’s vocabulary and shows them different ways of using words. This also makes it easier for them to use these words in their own writing. With younger children, make sure you’re reading together every day and encouraging their love of reading as they grow. Start reading early—many children who devour books grow up to become strong writers themselves.
Make it Fun: Play games and activities that encourage writing. Crossword puzzles and word games are great for everyone. Little ones will especially like the “write the word” game: where they search for items and write down the word when they find each item.
Write Letters: Today, writing letters is a bit of a lost art. Encourage your child to write letters to friends or family members. Distant family members will especially love receiving handwritten letters and it’s a great way to work on improving writing skills for kids. Pen-pals are also a fun idea, or you can even write letters to each other and leave them around the house to find!
Encourage Journaling: Keeping a journal is a great way to express thoughts and ideas while also working on improving children’s writing skills. Plan an outing to pick a fun journal with your child and encourage them to write in it as much as possible. Make it a part of his or her daily routine.
Create Story prompts: A fun way to improve kids’ creative writing skills is to have them write short stories. ◦Cut out pictures from a magazine with different characters or locations, or write down different words. Place these in a container or glue them to cards to use as writing prompts for creating a unique story. This also makes a fun activity for the whole family to join in.
Model It: There’s no better way to learn something than to see someone else doing it. Let children see you writing, often. When writing is a normal part of your daily life, it will come more naturally to them. Use Technology to your Advantage: There’s no getting around the fact that technology plays a huge part in our lives. Use it to your advantage by having your child create a blog. This can help your child work on improving his or her writing skills by encouraging frequent writing habits.