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SEASON 3 - Education

039: Schools and Us

Siyona November 29, 2020 154 5


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Hello Hello! 

School is special for a lot of us as kids. We sometimes love going there and sometimes not so happy about it. But is it really necessary to go to school? 

Mrs Manisha Shashiraj Shetty, Vice Principal of Innisfree House School was happy to chat me through some of my questions like why school is important, why we wear uniforms and even chatted about the online classes…. It turned out to be such an interesting chat!.

Please do listen!

Thank you

Transcripts

EPISODE 039 SCHOOLS AND US

[0.01] {Background Music}

[0.07] Siyona: Hi again there. Welcome to my podcast Little Mind Chats. Minds are little, not our thoughts. I’m your host Siyona. Hope you’ve had a lovely week.

[0.18] It’s the competition results today. But to know who the winners are, you’d have to wait until the end.

[0.24] As of today, like many of you, I’ve been at home and schooling online for many months now!

[0.32] Have you ever thought what the prominence of school is? I miss meeting new people and all the experiences attending school gives us! How do you think school plays an important role? Are there advantages of having online classes at home? I’ve pooled in all my questions and approached Mrs Manisha Shashiraj Shetty, the vice-principal of Innisfree House School here in Bengaluru. She’s always thrilled of teaching and loves the moulding of little minds in the process. And so, has kindly agreed to answer all of my questions today.

[1.13] She started her career as a lecturer and realized her heart was in teaching children like us. So, she added B Ed to her already existing MSc in Home science to qualify for the role. She’s been teaching for 23 years. Donned many hats at her school like Preschool Coordinator and English Coordinator, also staff in charge of Student Council. Today, apart from being the Vice Principal, she is also the Section Head for Middle School. All this, besides teaching children like us. I wonder how she does that.

[1.57] Siyona: Welcome to my show Mrs Manisha, I deeply appreciate you taking time for this, especially with the teaching challenges Corona has brought in. Hope you are doing well.

[2.10] Mrs. Manisha: Hello Siyona, it is such a pleasure for me to be on your podcast today. I’m really looking forward to chatting with you. 

[2.19] Siyona: Yes. So am I. Okay, let’s move on to our first question. “What is the importance of School in Education?

[2.29] Mrs. Manisha: I have a simple answer for you Siyona. You go to school to learn. You know what, it can be argued in the information age that we live in, you can very well learn from the internet, by reading newspapers or educational shows on television. You can even learn from your parents. So why we need school? To transfer that information into knowledge, you do need subject experts. You need professionals, teachers, who can give a deeper awareness and understanding of the information you have. Schools have structured academic programs through which you learn not just the three arts, which are essentially reading, writing and arithmetic. But you learn how to apply that knowledge solve problems.  You learn new ways of thinking to be creative, to be innovative. School also teaches you necessary life skills like better communication, leadership skills, tech skills, the list just goes on. On another note, schools also conduct regular tests and exams. These are essential to measure students’ academic progress. It helps in identifying the learning gaps so that these are quickly addressed by the teachers. Moreover Siyona, school is like a mini community. I’m sure you will agree with me. Where you meet children from so many different backgrounds. You are exposed to so many influencers. You will learn social skills, you learn how to interact with them, you learn to be empathetic, you respect one another’s differences. Yet, magically you come together as a team. You learn to collaborate with them, work and play together. How can you do all this at home Siyona? And not to forget, schools also bring out the competitive spirit in you. And this is done through sports, team games, literal events, cultural events and these are things that children really look forward to. At school, you also get opportunity to develop your talents, it helps to shape your personality, it makes you so much more confident like I can see with you actually, running a podcast. I’m sure that has partly to do with your school. A school does actually prepare for your life. So, if you don’t go to school, you’ll lose out on so much. 

[4.56] Siyona: Yeah. That makes me think more about why school is so important for me. “Why is uniform needed? Can we not be allowed any dress we want?”.

[5.09] Mr. Manisha: Siyona the best way to get students to feel at one with their school is to happen wear the school colours. When they are at school, or representing it at any forum outside. A school uniform is like a badge of pride. It gives the children a sense of identity with the school and its culture. They understand that they are a part of larger picture. Also, it gives you a sense of discipline. It means when you are wearing a school uniform, you will be less inclined to breaking rules. And when all students wear their uniform irrespective of their gender, or their background, there is equality. There is less likelihood of teachers or peers treating you differently. And don’t you think that there is less distraction when you wear your school uniform. You can focus more on school work. A uniform is also useful because it helps teachers identify students both on the campus as well as when they are taken outside. Like it often happens. Kids are taken out on field trips, picnics and competitions. There are very few chances of a student getting lost if you are in your school uniform and that believe me it can be a horrifying thought to both the teacher and the student. Don’t you think?

[6.27] Siyona: Yeah.

[6.28] Mrs. Manisha: And today you know uniform styles have evolved from the rigid form to loop that was prevalent from the past to designs that are distinctive to the school yet so comfortable to the student. So, the focus today in uniforms is the comfort of the student. So, one really doesn’t have any cause to complain. And you know what the best reason that you must wear your school uniform is, you don’t have to waste your time staring at your clothes every morning. Trying to decide what to wear. Don’t you see so many merits in school uniform Siyona?

[7.00] Siyona: Yeah.

[7.01] Mrs. Manisha: Yeah. There are some days that this uniform code can be relaxed. I’m sure many schools do allow children to wear clothes of their choice on special occasions. There could be birthdays, there could be children’s day or there could be some fest or probably on a Saturday when there are fun classes. So, each school has their own set of rules where uniform is finsoned and by and large I think uniform is essential for school children.

[7.28] Siyona: Yeah very essential.

[7.31] Mrs. Manisha: Yes.

[7.32] Siyona: I agree that getting lost is a horrifying thought for both teachers and children. 

[7.37] Mrs. Manisha: Precisely. Do you like your school uniform Siyona?

[7.41] Siyona: Well, I haven’t got it yet. So, I………

[7.44] Mrs. Manisha: You haven’t got it yet? Okay yes. Because of the online classes I think most students are now in their home, right?

[7.51] Siyona: Yeah.

[7.52] Mrs. Manisha: you would like to wear coloured clothes.

[7.54] Siyona: Yeah. While they took my measurement few months ago but they never gave it to me.

[7.59] Mrs. Manisha: Okay.

[8.00] Siyona: “Why the schools emphasize on behaviour and discipline?”

[8.05] Mrs. Manisha: Let me now ask you a question Siyona. Would you be comfortable or feel safe or enjoy learning in a classroom filled with bullies?

[8.14] Siyona: No way.

[8.16] Mrs. Manisha: Yes. It’s a very disturbing thought, right? To be in a classroom where you don’t feel safe. So, students need an environment where they feel safe and happy. It is in such a safe and positive learning environment that learning can happen. So, discipline is just a way to teach children to follow rules and correct their misbehaviour if any. And that thing is the first thing that teachers must establish in classrooms if they want learning to happen. Now just picture a scenario where you have a teacher conducting a class and you have a couple of students who are chatting with someone in cell, some are chewing gum, blowing bubbles, one is footing, another one is walking around in the classroom, and some are tossing paper balls at each other, “would you like to be part of that classroom?”

[9.08] Siyona: No way. It looks so messy and noisy and I would just be…. oh my gosh I don’t want to learn in this class coz I can’t even hear the teacher in the first place.

[9.20] Mrs. Manisha: Exactly. It becomes very difficult to students like you to concentrate on what the teacher is saying. If some students display poor behaviour. Because, likely said the class becomes chaotic. Because learning will be disrupted. The teacher is stressed and finally who is benefited? No one. So, I think schools should strive to create an environment which encourages and applauds and reinforces a good behaviour in students. And it should also have appropriate consequences for poor behaviour. And please remember that punishment is different from a consequence. Punishment is negative discipline and it serves to hurt and it is unproductive. But consequence is a result of behaviour and their aim is to make children feel that they can make positive behavioural choices. And you know you will be very surprised to learn that most students prefer to be in the school where behaviour is taken seriously. You know unlike what most people think. Children like structure. They like clear boundaries with a niche to operate. It gives them a sense of comfort and security because they know what’s expected of them. And they learn to take responsibility for their own behaviour. And most students are happy to abide by school rules which are fair. Which are consistent and don’t keep changing every day and where the consequences are proportionate to the misbehaviour. In fact, I think a good idea would be to involve students in creating certain golden rules in classrooms. Because, this will instil in them, the urge to follow the rules, to comply with those rules. If students involved in creating the rules, students will definitely think twice before breaking them. And at the end of the day, I think endeavour of every school is to inculcate strong values and self-discipline in all its students. Okay because of this something is going to hold the students in good state through out their life. So, I would say that its little wonder that schools do lay strong emphasis on student behaviour and discipline. 

[11.32] Siyona: Yeah. “So, like most of us have online classes. Now what’s the best part of it? Would you like to give us advice on how us kids can make it easier for you people as teachers?”

[11.47] Mrs. Manisha: Yes, sure Siyona. See when we started out in march this year, when the pandemic broke out, there is a lot of apprehension about how would online classes unfold, how would they develop. But today when we look back, I can see a lot of perks in these classes. You know all students have a choice of their own learning environment which is within the comfort of their home. You don’t have to commute to school. So that means we spend less time on travelling. There is so much less stress because there is less rush in the mornings. Moreover, when you study online, you get more self-motivated and you learn to manage your time well. You become more independent and responsible for your own learning. You know its easy for minds to wander during a class Siyona. But in an online scenario, there is a perk. You can revisit and review the content for every subject that is taught. Its so much easier for kids who don’t enjoy in one place for too long. They can keep looking at the content whenever they are free and digest pieces of that content at their own convenience. 

Now, moving on to the part what you just asked me, I definitely have some advice for students on how to help their teachers to conduct better classes. See, its not been easy for either teachers or students to make a shift to online learning. Do you agree with me Siyona? Was it easy for you to make that shift?

[13.24] Siyona: Yeah. Kind of. But it felt just a bit different. 

[13.29] Mrs. Manisha: Right. It was difficult. It is the same for teachers. Because teachers spend a lot of times preparing you know quality materials. And if that is not looked at by the students, that their efforts are not made worthwhile, it is a sad scenario. So, I think what students can do you know, first try by managing their time well. Its important that you have a schedule for yourself where online classes are concerned. If you don’t log in regularly, you miss out on so many things. Study materials which are prepared by your teachers, probably assignments, grades, feedback, so many other things. It also means that if you don’t look at the materials that are sent to you by your teachers, you may be in the back foot where we conduct the face to face sessions via zoom or google hangout or whatever forum the school has chosen. Right? So, in this way you find that you are not in par with your class and your teacher also doesn’t feel that your efforts are not worthwhile. There is another aspect here. What can you do to help your teacher during the face to face classes? Right? What kind of classes do you have at your school Siyona? Are they all face to face or do you face synchronous method too?

[14.50] Siyona: We have face to face and only they record it and then they it on the google classroom. So, children who are absent can just watch it again.

[15.01] Mrs. Manisha: When it comes to face to face classes, let me give you a few pointers on what you could do to help your teacher. First, find a quiet place where there are no family members moving around. Because, this is going to cause distraction to your teacher and your classmates. Be organised just like a real time scenario. Keep all your books and materials ready. Have a highspeed internet connection. This is simply that you avoid getting disconnected during your virtual class and re-join again now and then. And that can be quite disturbing to the teacher. Don’t you think? Then you need to log in to your class a few minutes earlier and they need to take care of certain connectivity issues. So that you ensure that you don’t loose out on anything. Your teacher doesn’t have to keep repeating whatever she’s been teaching. Ensure you use the mute option. Because, when you mute yourself during a class, you shut out all kinds of noise and the class can be conducted smoothly. I will also say, be an active participant. Ask questions. You have a way to raise your hand even in the virtual classroom. So, use it optimally, contribute to the discussion. Remember to ask your teacher, permission to unmute yourself when you want to speak. Because, everybody speaking together, its just going to be very noisy. So, there is one more thing, you know teacher likes to teach boxes on the screen, right? Boxes which have no faces. It would certainly help if you keep your video on when you have your online classes. Because then a connection establishes like we are doing right now and the teacher feels far more, you know she feels like teaching to a class that has faces rather than boxes that listen her. Try setting taking care of these little things would definitely help your teacher conduct a better class.

[17.02] Siyona: Yeah. One time, the teacher has told us so much that every single person in the class have their mikes muted and then I went to the participant and I looked and there was like mute, mute, mute, mute, mute…

[17.19] Mrs. Manisha: Right. That mute, mute, mute is actually a wonderful option. Right? Because, when you have a class going on for 30 students or 40 students and everyone’s is unmuted and everyone’s trying to say something, it is definitely very distracting to the teacher. So, the best option, mute yourself and when you want to speak, raise your hand and speak.

[17.43] Siyona: Yeah true.

[17.44] Mrs. Manisha: Okay?

[17.47] Siyona: Actually, in our class what the rule is that like if you’ve turned off your video without any technical issue, then you’ll be marked absent. 

[17.59] Mrs. Manisha: You know what Siyona, that’s exactly what we do in our school too. If your video was off and you don’t switch the video on when the teacher calls out your name, you will be marked absent. Right? This is… it’s not really something to put students off online darling. It is just a way for them to know, you know for the teacher to know that the child is listening to the teacher who is speaking. Because, when the video is off, you really don’t know what’s happening on the other side. Right?

[18.28] Siyona: Yeah.

[18.29] Mrs. Manisha: That’s not a very pleasant, it’s like the teacher is talking to a blank screen. Yes. That’s the reason why we have the video on mandatory at certain times during the class. 

[18.42] Siyona: Oh. That’s why. I just loved the conversation we’re having with Mrs. Manisha. She’s so full of ideas and sounds very convincing. If you’re thinking my question are done, nope you’re wrong. We will be continuing our conversation next Sunday, so what now?? Of course, the bit that all of you have been waiting for. It’s results time for this month’s competition.

[19.17] Siyona: For this month, we conducted the competition ‘Best out of waste’. The intention behind this month’s competition is that we have to be more conscious of what we are throwing out and think a second time on how we could reuse it.

[19.33] We’ve been fortunate enough to find a really nice judge this time. Her name is Bhumi Faldu and hosts the Instagram account Best out of waste official. 

[19.45] She has done her masters in computer science and is currently software engineer in Microsoft. She started sharing people’s best out of waste creations in 2014. She has a Facebook page as well. Following are the two reasons why Bhumi encourages people to take the best out of waste route.

[20.12] Reason 1, She thinks People learn another perspective in waste things, they will try to convert them and get use out of it one more time before they consider it as waste and throw it in the dustbin. 

[20.27] Reason 2, She says ‘As we understand and learn more about recycling and upcycling, we understand more about reducing waste in general. We will learn more about alternatives for greener approaches in the future. 

[20.43] I totally do agree with Bhumi. Thank you so much for being our judge this month! Friends, please do follow her on Instagram and Facebook with the account Bestoutofwaste official. She has beautiful things displayed.

[21.03] Siyona: So, the winner of this month’s competition is Shefali and Sayali. Congratulations!! The lantern you made won because the judge thought you made the most out of the box, and that’s out of the box thinking according to her. Well done!!

[21.22] You’re definitely in for a surprise because, this month, the prize is being sponsored by Vedic Games. Vedic Games is a unique experience with board games. These were designed by Mrs. Lalantika Polamada aged 75 years to make children move away from electronic devices like mobile, tv etc …. They’re suitable for the entire family to play together. I’ve played with them myself and loved them. I’m sure you will enjoy them too! They have games like Veda Praapthi – Housie or bingo type kind of game with 108 names from our epics. Or Yugasmrithi, memory card games etc. Congratulations again.

[22.18] Friends, if you’d like to buy Vedic games, contact Lalitha on 99167 45346. Vedic games have a Facebook page as well.

[22.36] I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Do tune in next sunday to listen to the rest of my conversation with this lovely educationist/ teacher Mrs Manisha Shashiraj Shetty.

[22.50] Do send your feedback to siyona@littlemindchats.com and follow me on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

[23.00] Thanks a Ton for listening. Bye!

[23.02] {Closing Music}

This conversation has truly opened up many positive thoughts about school for me. I’m sure it has for you too…

Thanks again for sharing all your experiences with us Mrs Manisha. It makes me feel more connected with my teachers now.

Part -2 beginning: Hi again there… Welcome to my podcast Little Mind Chats… Minds are little, not our thoughts. I’m your host. Siyona.

In our previous episode, we were conversing with Mrs Manisha Shashiraj Shetty, vice-principal of Innis-free House School here in Bengaluru. Mrs Manisha had answered some of our questions like Why School is such an important part of our education, why they insist on us wearing uniforms at school or help us maintain discipline. We even spoke at length about online classes. Today, We’ll be continuing our discussion with a few more questions around school.

Hello Mrs Manisha, hope you are doing well

I really hope you all enjoyed and learnt more about how our schools put in the extra effort to care for us and the learning we go through. If you have more questions for this teacher, feel free to ask. You can mail your questions to me on Siyona@littlemindchats.com or leave your questions on the get involved page on my website littlemindchats.com or message me on Instagram, face book, twitter and LinkedIn.

Once again, Thanks a ton for listening…. Bye!      

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