How LEAD empowers every teacher with skill-building initiatives for the classroom

Posted by Ritika Chawla on Sep 28, 2021 10:19:47 AM
Ritika Chawla

Tags: Thought Leadership

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Teacher teaching a child

Enabling teachers to transform their classrooms into vibrant and holistic learning spaces has been a key focus in LEAD’s strategy. Here is how we facilitate skill-building initiatives and ensure preparedness for the 20,000+ teachers in our partner schools.

Teachers have one of the most challenging and important jobs in the world: shaping generations of students into responsible citizens who are kind and empathetic adults with the ability to efficiently tackle real-world problems. We expect the most out of our teachers and yet they don’t receive the support needed to excel at their work, both for their personal career development as well for the mission-critical work that they do in impacting lives.

This is especially true in the case of teachers in areas beyond metro cities and working in the Affordable Private School (APS) segment in India. They are saddled with several duties right through the course of their day that preparedness for their job ranks lower on the priority list. Due to their busy schedules, they are unable to bring enthusiasm to the classroom nor their career. 

Working with teachers in Tier 2, 3, 4 cities and towns and beyond in the APS segment has enabled us to identify three key issues that stood in the way of teachers creating interactive and engaging classrooms:

  • Lack of preparation: Teachers walk into classes without prior preparation. An acceptable statistic of imparting lessons from the textbook is just 20%; for the rest, teachers need more preparation time, and must be equipped with all the tools and resources to teach before entering the classroom.
  • Heterogeneity of classrooms: While each teacher brings her own flavour to the classroom, all children should be able to benefit from vibrant classroom environments that cater to every student’s needs. One enthusiastic teacher, for example, may show informative videos from the internet to illustrate a concept, while another classroom does not get the same exposure as the teacher does not go beyond the textbook. There is a lack of standardisation in teaching methodologies across classrooms of schools in rural areas and Tier 2 and 3 towns. As a result, some children miss out while others gain an edge purely by belonging to a particular classroom.
  • Assessments that don’t talk: Rote learning that culminates in examinations do not act as learning indicators and teachers lack the means to understand why or where a child may be struggling. As a result, learning gaps keep increasing and a child’s learning challenges aren’t adequately met at school. Data from assessments must be made available to the teacher so that they can help the student to remediate and close this gap.

As the fastest growing edtech company in India, LEAD realises the important, life-changing role a good teacher can make in a student’s life and, at the same time, is aware of all the challenges that stand in her way to provide sound education to her students. This is why the company matches its child-centric focus with special support and handholding for teachers to do their job well. 

And the main focus is on preparation. 

Prep, prep, prep

Our five-step preparation process for the teachers at LEAD-powered schools entails equipping educators with all the skills required to facilitate holistic education to students. The KURPC framework is a pioneering approach from LEAD to get our teachers classroom-ready. It covers the following critical stages:

  • Know the main concept’: The first step in the framework is ensuring the teacher knows the concepts she needs to be teaching her students any particular week. For example, if gerunds are being covered that week, the teacher must first know what they mean herself. 
  • Understanding the concept’: In this step, we ensure the teacher understands the concept first so that she can convey it effectively to the students. LEAD provides teachers with worksheets, videos, chapters, presentations, and bite-sized training videos of the following week’s lessons right before they are taught to ensure better recall. 
  • Reading the plan carefully and visualising it’: In this step, the teacher is expected to read through the lesson plans for the week and visualise how she will convey them in the classroom. For example, while teaching rivers of India, she may decide to split the students into groups and ask each to work on providing examples for different areas on the map. She would also need to decide which students are grouped together so that struggling students get the right peer support.  
  • Planning for one week’: Here, teachers are expected to batch the prep work for one week together so that the concepts are imagined and broken down across five days at one go. This saves time and also helps the teacher become aware of how much ground can be covered in a day. 
  • Check your preparation with your coordinator’: In this last preparation step, the LEAD Academic Coordinator sits with her tablet with the teacher and goes over the lesson plans. The coordinator asks a lot of questions to understand the teacher’s preparedness and to gauge how she would manage children’s needs. She may even request for a demo of the concept from the teacher. 

The KURPC framework has worked very effectively with our partner schools and ensures teachers come prepared to the classroom every day. Wherever the teacher struggles during the preparation process, the Academic Coordinator offers support and handholding until the teacher is confident.

Who is the Academic Coordinator?

The role of the Academic Coordinator, therefore, is a critical one that enables teachers to do their jobs better. Each LEAD-powered school typically has a coordinator each for pre-primary, primary, middle-grade teachers. Being teachers themselves, they know the challenges and can contextualise interventions based on where the school is located. Moreover, since they have risen through the ranks within the particular institution, they have a finger on the pulse at the school and are able to navigate the nuances effectively for the teachers. 

All teachers in a partner school benefit from three crucial skill-building and feedback stages with the Academic Coordinator: 

  • Check-step: This stage encompasses the KURPC framework I outlined earlier, and covers demos for difficult concepts and clears doubts the teacher may have on the LEAD ERP system, pedagogy, etc. This is a highly teacher-dependent stage and will look different for each educator based on their learning needs.
  • Classroom observation and feedback: The Academic Coordinator visits the classroom and observes the student engagement and how the teacher is translating concepts to her students. She provides feedback and rating about the teacher, which helps the teacher to make improvements.
  • Assessments and remedials: Using LEAD’s technology solution, the teacher is empowered with student-focussed data from assessments so that she can create tailored remediation plans for her students. The coordinator helps the teacher get in place high-rigour checks so that she is able to understand and analyse data and gain insights that result in remedial action.
The value of a teacher

Our new initiative, LEAD Academy, further expands on this skill-building initiative to knowledge and mindset training for teachers. Self-paced and sliced into digestible nuggets of information, the training provides teachers with knowledge at the time of need, and encourages them to give heed to their career aspirations as an educator.

At LEAD, we believe that the autonomy of the classroom always remains with the teacher. This is why we function as collaborators and partners in facilitating teachers with the data, tools, and technology to provide the best classroom experience to students. This has led to LEAD Academic Excellence Managers, who are in close touch with coordinators and the principals of each school, to share close bonds and lasting relationships with teachers as well. 

It has been a humbling and rewarding journey for us to play a role in their professional development and we are looking forward to creating more tailored solutions for teachers in our partner schools.

LEAD is transforming schools by making children future-ready. To make yours a LEAD Powered School: Partner with us today

About the Author
Ritika Chawla
Ritika Chawla

Ritika Chawla is LEAD’s Academic Excellence Director. She leads a team of Senior Academic Excellence Managers and Academic Excellence Managers (AEM) who monitor LEAD’s curriculum execution in all its partner schools. Not only does the team provide teacher training and coaching, but they also design and monitor processes to track execution and progress across schools. Prior to joining LEAD in 2018, she worked at India School Leadership Institute (ISLI), RocSearch and Evalueserve. Ritika has also completed the 2-year Teach For India Fellowship and has an MA in Education from Azim Premji University, Bangalore.

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