Blossom Public School is a budget-private school in a low-income community in Padarayanpura, Bangalore. The school’s Principal is Mr. Ayub Pasha, a leader with a glorious vision for the school. He has welcomed several non-profit organizations to Blossom Public school to address different problem areas identified by him. As part of his vision to improve processes and practices in the school, Mr. Ayub joined the ISLI fellowship in the year 2017. He delegated his responsibilities with respect to ISLI implementation to his coordinator Ms. Nasreen Taj and a senior teacher Mr. Nasrulla Shariff. Ms. Nasreen and Mr. Shariff have been regular attendees at the ISLI workshops, and have shared responsibilities among themselves for implementing the ISLI practices.
Challenge faced by the school:
The school had been facing the issue of corporal punishment from a very long time. It was causing issues with parents and the community who complained to the management about children getting injured because of corporal punishment. Although instructions were given to the teachers about not using sticks in the class, it did not create an impact. The School Leaders recorded evidences of corporal punishment during observations and walkthroughs. The major issue faced by the school leaders was changing the mindset of teachers as they were not able to invest the teachers in alternate methods of behavior management.
Initiative taken by the school leader
The school leaders set a goal to reduce corporal punishment as part of the ISLI’s School Improvement and Development Plan (SIDP). Ms. Sagarika, the assistant school leader, part of the School Leadership Team assisted Ms. Nasreen and Mr. Shariff in the implementation. They used the SIDP template to drive their actions in the school.
Following action steps were taken:
- Checking for sticks/canes in the class during observation and classroom walkthrough
- Conducting weekly sessions for teachers on alternate strategies to use in classrooms for behavior management
- Conducting weekly sessions for teachers to initiate mindset change in them
- Regular one-one counselling sessions for teachers conducted by Assistant School Leader Ms. Sagarika
- Teacher performance tracker with grades allotted to the teachers. Avoiding corporal punishment was a major factor in awarding grades. (Photo shared below for reference)
- Rewards and appreciation for teachers who attained higher grades
- Data collection – Events of corporal punishment/week collected to measure the impact
Support given by the ISLI program manager:
- The ISLI Program Manager Mr Aswin Jayakumar brainstormed with the school team and helped create the SIDP (School Improvement and Development Plan) Template with action steps allocated to people along with timelines.
- He reviewed the sessions created by the school team and provided feedback.
- Aswin shadowed walkthroughs conducted by the student council and provided feedback.
- Behavior Management and Mindset: He conducted lesson observations and aligned feedback to the sessions provided.
- Aswin also suggested the idea of collecting data (incidences of corporal punishment per week) so that the impact can be analyzed.
Impact on teachers, students & parents:
- In Blossom School, walkthroughs are conducted by the student council. During the walkthroughs, students checked for sticks/canes in the classrooms and confiscated, if any found. All the sticks would then be handed over to the staff advisor of the council, and would be disposed. Thus, sticks, canes or any accessory used for corporal punishment reduced in the school.
- Nasreen, Mr. Shariff and Ms. Sagarika organized weekly sessions for teachers on mindset change as well as behavior management. Corporal Punishment reduced considerably in classrooms and was evident from the data being collected.
- Teachers found the counselling sessions conducted by Ms.Sagarika extremely helpful to channelize their thoughts and actions inside the classrooms. Ms. Sagarika kept asking questions to understand the root cause of corporal punishment, and addressed the answers to provide solutions. This comforted the teachers and helped them to be more calm and composed inside the classroom, avoiding chances of corporal punishment.
- Students felt happy inside the classrooms and the student council reported that more students felt eager to come to school than previously.
- Complaints from parents reduced as number of incidents of corporal punishment in the school came down.
Some of the skills exhibited by the entire School Leadership Team during this process were:
- Planning and Implementation
- Session Facilitation
- Data collection and Analysis
- Team Work
The School Team learnt the importance of SIDP (School Improvement and Development Plan) and praised the template which helped them guide all their actions. School Leaders’ future plans are to continue the strategies used till the end of the year. Blossom School will continue to say no to corporal punishment and make it a part of their School Culture plan in the coming years.
As they have seen the power of the SIDP template, they will continue to address other areas of improvement through the same.