The Quintessential Teacher – Vidyavanam5

Gowri Ishwaran is an innovative educationist with over 30 years of experience in leading gowri-ishwaranschools in India and has been awarded the Padma Shri for her work in education. Her talk was on Developing Empathy in the young. To be a teacher is a privilege she says, to be able to influence the lives of so many young people. Teach young children compassion, consideration, kindness. Sensitise the children in tolerance , respect and integrity. Teach them to say thanks. Teach them to help. Give them ethical dilemmas and discuss them. What will you do when a friend is cheating? One exercise she suggests at the beginning of a class, get them to appreciate the people who serve them This calms them down and centers them. Don’t tell children what to think . Ask questions that make them think. For example —- What do you think the pouch of the kangaroo is for? What is the difference between Gandhi and Sharukh khan ? prema_rangacharyMrs.Prema Rangachary, who is the Director of vidya vanam is obviously a very empathetic person. She stressed the large role that a teacher plays in the life of a child. A child has to feel secure, cared for both at home and the school. Parents and teachers together can transform a child. And if possible, the teacher should connect to the parent to understand the child better. Teachers have to be role models and to CARE a lot for the child. Just a smile, a look, a tap from the teacher is enough to convey a message of caring. A teacher has to recognise the talents of the child. Caring and nurturing have to be communicated to the child.

‘What we need at all levels is a give and take, an understanding of where ‘the other’ comes from. It requires recognising that relationship between the teacher and the student is a two-way street. It is not just the student who learns from the teacher. The teacher also has a lot to learn from his/her young charges. 

And we, at Siragugal, as volunteer teachers realise this in every class. We are learning and growing. 

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