Nidhi Bansal is the Pro-Vice Chairperson of Pacific World School. Graduated in Psychology Hons from Delhi University, Nidhi holds an MBA in Human Resources from Central Queensland University, Australia. She brings with her years of rich corporate experience in international firms in India and abroad. Nidhi started Pacific World school in 2018, and in just 2 years the school is rated number one in its vicinity. “Learn to adapt, adapt to learn,” is the motto Nidhi lives by. Blessed with the opportunity to travel across the globe right from childhood, her school education has been in various Indian and international boards, from American International schools to public schools to Kendriya Vidyalaya. In an exclusive interaction with the Higher Education Digest, Nidhi Bansal talks about the changing role of teachers, the use of technologies in today’s education, learning that happens outside the classroom and many more.
- What is the purpose of school in this era of technology?
School systems are challenged by today’s dynamic world with new and complicated problems such as information explosion which is illustrated by the fact that the amount of information doubles every year. But yes, undoubtedly, technology plays an important role in every sphere of life. Especially, if we see that instant connectivity has branched out from merely a tool of personal communication to a platform for educational instruction and outreach. Schools play a vital role in this era as they help students develop perspective and enable them to use this overflow of information judiciously.
- What is the changing role of the teacher, and how do we support that new role?
Teachers and mentors play a vital role in the passage of time and the integration of technology in this digital era. The education system is constantly being challenged to offer better education to more people, at the same time as technological development continually opens up new possibilities and methods of learning. Nowadays, teachers are expected to become technologically oriented and responsible not only for their teaching but also for their students’ learning. Teachers need to meet the standards of the curriculum while enhancing students’ creativity, curiosity, and motivation. We at Pacific World School have a strong focus on fostering creativity and customization of learning objectives and outcomes to suit individual needs.
- How do we help students discover their passions?
Of all the gifts students receive from education, passion is the greatest. For teachers, passion offers one of our most effective teaching strategies for engaging students. Discovering students’ passion is not easy. In fact, it often takes years of struggle and hard work to figure out what truly brings them joy. Also, when we’re given opportunities to explore our interests and talents at a young age, it’s usually much easier to choose a career that makes us happy. As a teacher, we can tap students’ strengths and encourage their curiosity, which may guide them towards more fulfilling and content lives. Also, teachers need to create more time with students as more time with them would mean better understanding and early recognition of their passion and interests in various fields.
- How do we adapt our curriculum to the technologies that kids are already using?
With the rapid advancement of technology, the entire system of learning has changed where teachers need to meet the standards of the curriculum while enhancing students’ creativity, curiosity, and motivation. This adaptation has changed the classes to learner-based which requires a metamorphosis of educators into technologists. So if they want to achieve institutional success as well as students’ success, they need to embrace technology.
- Since there are numerous sources available to gain knowledge, how do we change policy to support more flexible time and place learning?
We must look at the education systems of the developed nations and how they are maintaining the balance. The need in today’s time is to impart education which is practically oriented rather than being mere textbook or cognitive learning-oriented. Policies should make it mandatory that a certain percentage of school education should have a practical component that would help students become educated instead of just being literate.
- What are the essential practices of teachers in a system where students are learning outside of school?
Learning experiences outside the classroom are much integrally multidisciplinary as field experience is very important for the students because it helps to become more determined and motivated to pursue a particular career. Moreover, schooling and education have become more integrally natural and learner-oriented while shifting from the boundaries of the classroom into the real world. After the collaborative learning environment that impacts to develop the creative and sole relationships outside the classroom to put them to the deep learning environment, it happens when students take into the real world of practice. Whatever students theorize in the classroom is totally different from what they learn on the field.
- How do we ensure those without privilege have equal access to quality education and opportunity?
Many schools run separate classrooms for the lesser privileged kids from the neighborhoods and this model can be followed under the CSR activities of a school. If good schools take over the responsibility, then we can ensure that the same quality of education can be imparted to all strata of society.
- How do we evaluate and validate the informal, self-directed learning that happens outside of school?
Nowadays, learning has become more self-directed, informal and open. With the rapid advancement of technology, education has also changed its path. Now learners approach different ways to get information without any barriers of time and place. Also due to technology and its benefits informal and self-directed learning is increasing outside the school. It is also imperative to evaluate the learning objectives, hurdles that arise in the path of getting self-learning, success factors when acquiring an online education for informal and self-directed education. In general, there is no efficient way to evaluate informal training outside the school other than by checking practical skills in a particular field of study.