Creativity And Academic Excellence Should Go Hand In Hand: Amrita Vohra
Exclusive interaction of Dr. Amrita Vohra, Principal, Global Indian International School Chinchwad with BW.
How would you describe a successful Principal?
A successful Principal should be a leader first. I personally believe that leadership is an attitude which helps in focusing with great clarity on what is essential, what needs to be done and how to get it done. As a leader, the Principal is the central source of influence who shapes a vision of academic success for all students and has a carefully laid plan to fulfil the vision. The Principal cultivates leadership in others so that teachers and other concerned members assume their parts in realising the school vision. They emphasise the need for a leadership team and shared responsibility for student progress. School leadership is not a zero-sum game. The success of a Principal also lies in the ability to bring faculty members together to form a co-operative team and motivate them to reach distinct goals and objectives. The Principal should be able to create a nurturing environment for education, and constantly improve and innovate the methods of instruction. Goal-setting, decision making, ability to recognise potential and implementing constructive reforms are some of the other traits of a successful Principal. With an effective and a successful Principal in a school comes a promise of transformation where the educational landscape is about to change for the better.
According to you, what would be the ideal school environment, and how would you foster that kind of culture?
An ideal school environment is one which is highly effective for collaborative and harmonious learning. It should ignite passion and infuse enthusiasm for learning in students. It is important to take a strategic and tailor-made approach to teaching and planning lessons, to accept and accommodate the needs and pace of individual learners. The creative potential of a child should not be throttled by emphasising only on academic excellence. If fact, to facilitate an all-round and a balanced development of the child co-curricular activities should be included and encouraged, like we practice at GIIS. Spacious and renovated buildings, AV equipped classrooms, a large playground, libraries, well-equipped labs, games equipment, sanitation facilities and adequate safety measures also define an ideal school environment.
Such a culture can be fostered by providing students with multiple opportunities to discover their potential, showcase their talents and by helping them hone their skills. Learning habits should be constantly modelled in them and a variety of pedagogical methods should be incorporated to deliver a highly effective classroom experience. Inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, direct instruction, peer-to-peer learning, collaborative learning, AV equipped classrooms, E-Learning and such, are some of the methods that can be applied for enhancing the school environment. The school management should also play a responsible part and consider the students’ interests and calibre and provide the facilities that are conducive to hone them.
As head of administration of the school, what do you see as your primary duty?
As the head of administration of the school, I immerse myself in all aspects of the school system. However, my primary responsibility remains to look after the management and day-to-day operations and business of the school. Providing strategic direction in the school system, while facilitating exceptional educational quality for all students, by managing the school’s resources efficiently are also the important agendas. It takes constant research, collaboration, and strategies to fulfil and meet the educational requirements of the younger generation.
What are the most important characteristics of an effective school?
An effective school is the one that believes in holistic approach to education. A curriculum, like that of GIIS, that includes co-scholastic education, complementing the formal education, is the most important characteristic of a school. Balanced education that emphasises on integrated development by focusing on physical, mental, moral and social aspects of a child’s learning process, is of vital importance. Curriculum, instruction and assessments should be aligned with the essential academic learning requirements. The school must provide a safe, civil, healthy and intellectually stimulating learning environment with a strong emphasis on high level of family and community involvement to share the responsibility of educating students. School, as a second home for students, should be able to lay a strong foundation for learning and development in students. It should set high standards and expectations for all students.
What are the three most important goals you would want to reach in your school? Why?
As a responsible and an enthusiastic educator, the first and foremost goal that I would like to reach in our school would be to create a community of lifelong learners. GIIS is not a mere institution where big people who are deemed learned teach little people who are learners. Everything that goes on in the school should contribute to each one’s learning at the end. GIIS, as a whole, is a community of learners; where being the Principal, I have a prime responsibility of being the head learner first. It is so because I would like to engage, display and model the behaviour that I would want teachers and students to adopt. Secondly, I want students to take lifelong lessons from the school. Therefore, the school’s curriculum should be able to imbibe values of leadership, excellence, social and ethical responsibility and cultural diversity in all the students through a balanced and effective curriculum. Lastly, the school should be able to cater to the needs of the 21st century students. Sound and advanced infrastructure and support, including innovative technology, for research, teaching, service and partnership, along with meaningful opportunities for students comprise my goals that I would always like to achieve. It is my students’ success that adds to my success and thereby elevates the reputation of GIIS, Chinchwad as a global school.
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