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One must strive for excellence

Tell us something about your childhood, including your academic profile. I grew up as an inquisitive child who was fond of books and keen to explore the world around. My parents and grandparents instilled a strong sense of moral values. My school life has been the most cherished phase of my life and I enjoyed every bit of it. Though Iliked various subjects, but at a higher level I chose to specialize in sciences. I pursued my Bachelor’s degree in Science from Delhi University followed by a Master’s degree, specialization in education and honors in IT systems management. Further I pursued some international research projects in experiential learning. What inspired you to take up teaching as profession and to become a principal? My father, an engineer by profession, was a charismatic mentor. Some of my teachers have always remained the path­breaking role­models. But I think inspiration comes from within. In fact, teaching is a vocation for anyone who genuinely loves and adores children & wants to make a difference in their lives. I realized this when I was recognized for my role as a peer educator when I was just 14. Most importantly I could feel the joy and passion in making them learn. The confident smile on my students’ face makes my day. It’s the children who inspire me to carry on with my initiative to help them learn meaningfully and happily to lead a successful life, not in material but in spirit. Tell us about the subject you teach and its importance? I find all the subjects interesting. It is fascinating to see that how these are interconnected to each other. Though I have taught Maths and English too, but science remained my best. Since childhood, I found Science stimulating as it arouses curiosity to discover new things in life. However, I feel the most important lessons to be taught are the lessons of life and the lessons for life. What change would you like to see in the present education system? Present education system is going through a transition phase…convention and innovation struggling with each other. Some buzz words like “all round development”, “activity based learning” etc are being used by A…Z, though actual translation of a single buzz word like this demands the multidimensional untiring efforts for the life­time. Improving learning outcomes ultimately comes down to improving the learning experience of students. The focus must shift from teaching to learning and from what to how and also why. The vision should be to cultivate questioning, thinking, problem solving, creative, fearless and assertive minds with ethics and aesthetics….both….and it’s a tall order…. How do you assess the current teaching system compared to earlier one? Teaching and learning are ever­evolving processes. The past decade has certainly seen a major improvement in pedagogy and improved understanding of child psychology. The hind­side of redundant practices like corporal punishment, chalk n’ talk, rote learning etc is being understood. The focus is shifting from ‘teacher­centric’ approach to ‘child­centric’ approach. Schools are adopting new ways to motivate the creative abilities of children through more interactive approach. The future seems to be promising. How do you assess Gen X? Sometimes when I am asked, “Do you have hope in the new generation of India?” I say, “That is my only hope”. Ambedkar once said, “Every generation is a new nation”. So, this new generation of India may be a new nation with new vision and new ideas. What’s your message for the students? I would like to tell all the students that success come to those who set goals and have vision and perseverance to achieve them. To succeed in the ‘examination of life’, one must strive for “overall excellence” and not for marks alone and must try to be a good person before becoming a good professional or a good entrepreneur.

-Ms Anuradha Govind, as interviewed by HT Pace


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