For teachers, teaching young people can be fulfilling, yet a demanding job. Today, as 21st-century educators, a combination of specific skills, knowledge, and experiences are required to excel in the profession. In our new series “EduCHATS” interviews our speaker Atima Joshi shares her views on what skills, knowledge, and experiences are needed to be ahead of the curve.
Tell us a bit about your role and what that involves on a daily basis?
As a principal, my role involves leading the school community. Middleton is a new brand and it is an exciting place to be, as we carve out our niche in the affordable and sustainable education arena while maintaining the rigor of the curriculum. My day involves exactly what I expect my learners to do… ‘Learn, Innovate and Serve’.
What’s the biggest challenge you are currently facing in your capacity as an education professional?
The biggest challenge for education is to ensure that in an age of disruptions and rapidly evolving contexts, our learners remain anchored in an understanding of what it means to be human. While they grow in their knowledge, skills, and understanding, they need to be able to take action to improve themselves, their immediate and extended communities. This requires a careful balance in curriculum and a continual reflection on our pedagogy. Contexts always evolve way faster than education trends. My challenge as a leader is to ensure that our learners receive the education they need for their contexts instead of contexts from the past!
What initiatives, strategies or technologies are you putting into play to overcome that challenge?
At EtonHouse, our image of the child as a competent, capable learner, is at the heart of all our decision-making. We believe that children are the agents of change and that is visible in all we do.
At Middleton, we believe that learning happens when the community comes together. Teaching is not only the teachers’ role at Middleton. Children learn from our non-academic and support team as much! Whether it is our parents teaching cooking or foundations of architecture to our children or our Facilities Manager leading our Design and Technology lesson or our gardener working with the preschoolers on an inquiry into the life cycle of a plant, children learn not only the content but learn to respect individuals as a source of learning. This makes our democratic ideals an integral part of our daily practice. Our choice of the curriculum has been very deliberate so as to offer the best of mastery and inquiry-based curricula.
Sustainable practices are at the core of our daily operations. Sustainability of the environment as well as of the pocket helps make education accessible for a greater majority. We believe in access rather than ownership of resources. So whether it is accessing our parent community for expertise on topics of inquiry, or it is taking our children to public places or using virtual learning experiences through our Bring Your Own Device programme or our students using the National library to access books, our aim is to foster creative learning through access and sharing of resources and expertise. Our makerspace and maker mindset helps nurture creativity. We can see the creative thinking coming through these programmes.
Social, emotional learning is embedded in our culture and curriculum. Happiness and joyful learning are visible not only amongst the students and teachers but also the non-academic staff. Elements of positive psychology and mindfulness are regularly woven into the school practices, in the staff meetings as well as classroom teaching. We have even had whole school moments of dancing where the entire school drops everything and simply dances to celebrate life!
Challenges are viewed as opportunities at Middleton!
How do you see the role of educators changing over the next 5-10 years?
Educators need to evolve by not simply looking inwards within education itself but outwards at the contexts, the industries, the communities, the way AI and big data is affecting what we do, the global environmental crisis and other challenges of the modern society. We cannot and should not be teaching the way we were taught!
I would hope to see the role of educators be one of helping the learners gain a sense of who they are (build a sense of identity), help them access learning (knowledge, skills, and understanding) from real-life and virtual worlds and create global, active citizens who enjoy learning and life.
If we are expecting educators to be role-models who can achieve the massive ask above, education as a profession needs to be better valued in both intrinsic and extrinsic ways by society.
What about the EduTECH Asia conference are you most excited about?
I have been a part of EduTECH Asia for the last few years. It is a beautiful event that pulls together curious minds with a common vision of learning, sharing and improving educational contexts. I look forward to growing and learning from this highly anticipated conference.
Atima Joshi is an experienced educator and has held various leadership positions in the EtonHouse group since 2003. She is the Founder Principal of Middleton International School by EtonHouse. Atima is a part of the IB Educator Network. She is regularly invited to speak in educational conferences, deliver professional workshops and has been a member of various pedagogical committees. Her passion has enabled her to create learning contexts that have supported, challenged and inspired her students. She is a strong advocate for sustainable and positive education and believes that shift happens when education involves all stakeholders in the immediate and extended community of the school.
At EduTECH Asia, Atima will be one of our mentors in the Meet the Mentor sessions.
It’ll be an exciting conference – be sure you do not miss out!
Sign up before 5th July to enjoy 25% off. In addition, bring a group of 2 or more to enjoy additional savings. So wait no longer!