Rohan Parikh, Director, The Green Acres Academy

Rohan Parikh has attained a BSc in Economics from Wharton Business School, an MBA from INSEAD, and has more than 10 years of experience in the Real Estate and Hospitality industries. In 2013 Mr. Parikh entered the field of education by founding The Green Acres Academy in Chembur, and simultaneously pursuing a Master’s degree in Education through Johns Hopkins University. His aim is to provide affordable yet holistic, and well-rounded education by adapting the latest research in teaching and learning techniques within the Indian context. What started as one campus of The Green Acres Academy in Chembur, Mumbai, has grown to a total of 3 campuses across Mumbai and Pune, as well as the latest Seven Rivers International School (an IGCSE affiliate school).

It is unanimously agreed upon that teachers are the most significant influence in a child’s life at school and parents are the most significant outside of school. As a child grows up, it is these two sets of people who have the largest influence on the kids and help prepare them for the future. It is therefore important that teachers and parents are continuously learning and updating themselves on the latest trends and research on child development and learning to best equip their wards for the future.

The Indian government in a recent publication has said that the quality of pre-service teacher training is “abysmally low” and it even put forth a host of proposed reforms, one of which was the urgency for teacher training. If pre-service training itself is so poor, and teachers or parents themselves went to school over 1-2 decades ago, we cannot expect them to be aware of the most current practices. They need to be given an opportunity for constant learning and improvement either through institutions themselves, or provided with options they can explore through their own independent efforts by seeking out development programs.

The world today is vastly different from the world 10 or even 20 years ago. And just as technology evolves, so does the field of education and research about the human brain. The methods used by teachers or parents should reflect the most recent and current methods and not the ones which we experienced. Today we know more about the development of a child’s mind than we did even 5 years ago and research like this will continue to progress. So using methods that may have been relevant even 5 years ago is already outdated. It is in the best interest of the student that educators and parents keep up with the trends and research on learning.

Teachers and parents should make the effort of taking courses to learn about the latest developments in education. By doing so not only will they increase their knowledge quotient but by collaborations and networking, they can even improve or discover new teaching methods, learn from the experience of others and ideate on how to help students achieve better outcomes. If teachers are lucky, these professional development options are given to them by their institutions, but in the event, they are not, in this day and age there is a wealth of information available through trusted online courses, led by some world-renowned professors who can be availed of.

While an open mind to new techniques and methods is essential, it’s also equally important that they conduct their own independent investigations on the research being presented rather than just taking the information at face value. While at times it’s easy to be critical of the research being presented, it is in the best interest of students that parents and teachers learn more about the merits of the research they are presented with and its outcomes before dismissing it. After all, no one should take information just as it is served; you need to understand whether it is applicable, practical and appropriate to your context before applying it.

In an evolving world, our children should have evolving educators as well. After all which teacher is to be trusted the most? One who has been teaching using the same method for 20 years, or an educator who is constantly learning, evolving, and improving her skills so as to give her students the best education possible?

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