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Monday, July 16, 2018

QUEST: ‘Internet has made learning more interesting’

A leader is one who can inspire learning and one who can transform a school into an institution

New Delhi | Published: November 3, 2014 4:00:10 am
quest-759 Mohini Bindra believes that being patient and firm with students can discipline them. (Source: Express photo by Amit Mehra)

What is your leadership style?
A leader is one who can inspire learning and one who can transform a school into an institution which prepares students for 21st century skills, new attitudes and jobs. A good leader is always able to collaborate and create a healthy and motivating environment.

It is important for a leader to enthuse energy in his/her team, and at the same time have a lot of patience to handle any kind of adversity.
I believe in distributive leadership where each one is lead to find his/her own solutions. Lastly, a leader is one who can design reflective activities to improve individuals, gently leading them towards continuous professional development.

How do you handle student discipline?
We believe in employing more humane ways to discipline children. We need to cultivate and nurture them as positive individuals. For this, we try to reach an understanding by delving deep to find the cause for a certain behavior that a child has shown. Every child has the right to be heard and also participate in decisions affecting his/her interest. As adults, we must have a lot of patience as well as firmness to discipline a child in a way that doesn’t leave them battered and scarred.

How do you work with diverse students and families?
Our school caters to students from different social, religious and economic strata. The one binding factor that brings them all together is the immense love and affection that they get in school.

The culture of our institution is that of ‘one family’. In keeping with this spirit, each teacher in our school adopts two students every year and takes personal care of these children. The teachers stay back after school  to provide remedial classes to these students.

We also run a programme called ‘I Care’ in our school. In this programme, a child of class VI is paired with a child of class XI. The senior student takes the responsibility to look into the academics, behavior, health-hygiene or any other aspect where the younger student needs support. In the past few years, we have seen that both children develop an attachment like that of siblings.

Tell us about your present as well as past assignments and your experience with the education system. Also, share your experience as a teacher and the school administrator.
I was a Physics teacher in this school before I became the principal. Physics was my passion and I loved teaching it. I did all possible things to make my students fall in love with the subject. I did not aspire to be a principal, but the management saw some potential in me. Being a principal is a lot more challenging as I now have to look into every aspect of the school.

Tell us about your school, its history and motive behind its establishment.
Ramjas Foundation is a pioneer in the field of education in Delhi. It was established 102 years ago with the aim of providing quality education at a very reasonable and affordable fee.

Our founder, Shri Rai Kedarnathji, struggled hard to educate himself as he was born in a very poor family. He did succeed to become a session’s judge but during his own struggle, he realized the paucity of good educational institutions in Delhi.

His dream to provide quality education to children was fulfilled when he promised his father, Shri Ramjas Malji, that he would carry the legacy of his name. The first Ramjas School was thus established in 1912 followed by many more Ramjas Schools in Delhi. Ramjas School, Pusa Road, was established in 1971 with the same spirit.

From its inception, the school has always been open to educational experimentation; it constantly encourages students to explore and discover their latent talents and potential in all fields — be it academic, cultural, sport, or various forms of art.

What are the challenges students generally face these days?
Other than adolescent issues and peer pressure that each growing child experiences, the biggest challenge for students is to be able handle the knowledge explosion that is happening around them. Sometimes it becomes difficult for them to cope  with this constant influx of knowledge.

How do you promote or balance extra curricular activities along with academics in your school?
The ultimate aim of education must be the all round development of an individual. It is important that a school provides a balance between academics and co-curricular activities. Our curriculum is an amalgamation of scholastic endeavours along with a variety of activities like debates, creative writing, art camp, music fest, theatre, dance, kavi sammelan, trekking and jungle camps along with special coaching for various sports. Half-an-hour extra sports time is provided for sports enthusiasts’ everyday in the morning.

What are the teaching methods used in your school?
With technological innovations, teaching methods have seen a lot of changes. Teachers are now equipped with smart boards and the internet to make their lessons more interesting. The teaching-learning process has become more interactive as compared to the pen-paper approach.

We have a well equipped and rich library which is open for students even half-an-hour after school hours. Here, students also have access to the internet and they are always encouraged to enhance their knowledge. We give a lot of importance given to experiential learning.
There are labs for all subjects and experiments are designed to give real experience to students.

What do you think is your school’s contribution to education in Delhi?
The real contribution to education in today’s scenario would be to inculcate self discipline and a strong value system in our children. We must nurture them to be responsible citizens.

How important is the role of teachers as mentors or facilitators?
In any learning scheme, a teacher is always a mentor as well as a facilitator. He/she is always a constant support, a guiding light, who not only shows the path of learning but also equips an individual to become independent.

How can you contribute to the development of children in school?
The aim of education is to teach children to be able to use knowledge to solve unexpected problems of life rather than just learning lessons. We target all round development of children in our school. All the activities provide an opportunity to children to learn values and life skills that will help them grow up as thinking individuals.

What is your vision for parent participation in the school?
We look for keen parent participation as it forms the third pillar of education. Schools have to understand the parents’ vision of education.

In our school, forums like ‘Concourse’ are provided where parents participate with the children and teachers and express their views on various issues.

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