CEII SHRESHTHA ANNUAL COMPENDIUM 2019
Dr. Neeta Bali
G. D. Goenka World School
CEII Most Global Collaborative Learning Experiences School
Beautiful ambience, the most fantastic infrastructure, loving children and very tolerant teachers. I love my kids!
We believe in the openness of the mind and the openness of the heart...
CEII: Today, we observe there is a transition from rote-learning to experiential learning. Please share the school's vision on the same and what are the key initiatives taken by G. D. Goenka World to accomplish the same?
Dr.Neeta Bali: Very rightly said, the fact that we are running the international curriculum, the IB accredited programs or the Cambridge accredited programs, that’s a very clear indicator that our emphasis is not on rote learning. In the process of learning, the pupil is the center of the learning circle and the teacher is a mere facilitator. The teachers are encouraged to create their own resources because we don’t want to rely on ready-made comments. Now, by virtue of that, the emphasis is on using the content as a means to an end, which is always the learning outcome.
If you were to observe a classroom transaction, the seating of the students in our school is always semi-circular so that the students have an interactive mode of learning. The students don’t use a book or a ready-resource; they are rather forced to think. So, they are creating their own content, researching for content, finding out information and reflecting on that information, articulating their learning and sharing that learning with everybody else. At a very young age the students are taught the art of referencing and researching, certainly under controlled and structured environment. Basically the whole emphasis is on learning how to learn. Apart from that, the learner never relies on a pen and paper test at the end of the examination, but the learner relies partly on the internal assessments which could be in the form of individual oral commentary.
CEII: G. D. Goenka advocates the idea of fostering global citizens. Please elaborate upon the practices implemented to achieve the purpose.
Dr.Neeta Bali: At GD Goenka World School, we have students from over 38 nationalities. We believe in the openness of mind and openness of heart. We welcome a Korean or a Thai or an Afghan who don’t know English and we teach them. Many of these students live together on the campus and they learn from each other’s culture and background.
This is one aspect. The other aspect is our global partnerships with schools across the world. Very recently, we started a partnership with one of the leading schools, Wasatch Academy in Utah, USA. They visited us and we did two projects with them on sustainability. We also have exchanges with schools in UK, Japan and Spain. Also, our teachers are using Edmodo in primary school, so there is a lot of interaction and exchanges between our teachers and the teachers across the world to promote learning outcomes in students.
CEII: How do you think the role of school principal has changed in present times?
Dr.Neeta Bali: Hugely! A few years ago, a school principal was somebody who would just supervise teachers whereas today, a school principal is not just an educator or an academic leader, but a CEO. A school leader must be very versatile, must possess financial skills, data analysis skills, skills of projection and most importantly, skills of strategic planning. It’s much beyond roaming the corridors and chastising students, not that can be left to the next rank. Today, as a school leader I have to be a PR person, the face of the school, I have to negotiate with people outside the school.
CEII: So how do we really equip these skills?
Dr.Neeta Bali: Very honestly, we need special programmes to train the school leaders. A leader is a visionary, who others look up to in every sense.
CEII: The greatest thing about my school I am proud of...
Dr.Neeta Bali: Beautiful ambience, the most fantastic infrastructure, loving children and very tolerant teachers. I love my kids!