Edupark International school in Hyderabad admits students from grades Nursery to the Class 7. The school was started in 2016 in Chandrayangutta. Ms Farheen Sultana, the school leader has always been focussed and goal oriented. One of her key goals was to maximise student outcomes. She believes that since teachers have only limited time with students, it should be engaging and effective.
Challenge faced by the school leader
The school is in a remote location, faced the challenge of finding qualified teachers. As a result, the school leader herself would conduct a lot of training for teachers. She was a teacher for a few years and had a clear idea about how to make a lesson engaging and effective for children. However, she was finding it tough to communicate the same to her teachers. Even during lesson observations, the school leader felt the need for teachers to teach differently and be more engaging. But again, she was unable to convey it to them.
Intervention by the ISLI Programme Manager to support the school leader
Since the time the ISLI Programme Manager, Priya started visiting the school, her discussions with the school leader, Ms Farheen had been teacher-centric. Such as, what the school leader can do to make teaching time more effective. With Priya’s help, the school leader picked three areas of improvement for the teachers:
- Clarity in teacher instructions
- Their content delivery
- The time given for students to practice
Priya, the ISLI Programme Manager also helped the school leader to set up a few structures that would help her achieve these goals.
Under the first structure, the school leader would observe one teacher in a class every week. She would make her observation notes based on the focus area and give specific feedback to the teacher on how she could improve.
The next structure was a weekly teacher training to be conducted by the school leader. Here, the school leader would pick up one focus area from her observations for effective teaching and conducts training. At the end of the training, one teacher would demonstrate how she teaches her class differently after attending the training.
So far, the school leader has been training her teachers on making objectives, content delivery, effective questioning and giving sufficient student practice.
Intervention by the school leader to address the challenges
The school leader started observing the classrooms consistently with a specific focus area in mind. This helped all teachers to get accurate feedback. The school leader started making notes and discussed specific areas with the teachers. After attending the ISLI workshop on making objectives, she realised the importance of teachers having a correct outcome/objective in their mind.
So, she made over 30-40 objectives on a particular subject herself and discussed it with the ISLI Programme Manager. Once the school leader was confident, she started training her teachers in creating lesson objectives. She ensured that the objectives were measurable, observable and student-centric. Since the objectives were made using the correct parameters, the teachers started planning their lessons well. This also led to increased student participation.
The school leader and teachers now consider at the end of every period what students should be able to demonstrate. This shift in thinking has made the teaching time truly effective. Every Friday afternoon is set as teacher-training time.
Impact on teachers and students
In just a few weeks’ time, the school leader was able to notice a significant improvement in the way teachers are planning and executing their lessons as well as in the student participation:
- The teachers are making objectives for every class.
- Classrooms are becoming student-focused since the teachers plan lessons that way.
- With respect to effective planning and student engagement, the school leader can see a significant difference between the teachers who have attended her training and the new teachers who joined in the middle of the year.
- She can also notice a direct impact on children’s learning. For instance, when she observed a Grade-3 science lesson on first aid – ‘How to administer first aid to an injured person?’ - Earlier students would hesitate before answering. But now when the teacher asked the question at the end of her class, all the students raised their hands to answer the question.
- Students are also well prepared since they know the expectations of the teacher.
- In some classrooms, student engagement has increased by up to 80%.
The next step for the school leader is continuing the teacher training and building a strong and skilled team of teachers. The school leader is also planning peer observations among teachers. In her words,
“A leader without an effective team is meaningless. If the leader builds the team and moves towards a specific goal, then any goal can be achieved smoothly. My goal is to prepare students who can think for themselves and learn effectively at Edupark international.”