What is common between the multi-billion dollar, US-based technology giant Microsoft Corporationand our under-resourced partner schools, located in the ‘not-so-famous’ alleys of Goripalya in Bangalore?
Both of them are on their path to a huge culture shift: from a ‘know-it-all’ to ‘learn-it-all’. In his interview to Bloomberg Businessweek, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella told how he is transforming the culture at Microsoft ‘by creating an environment focused on learning’. At Mantra4Change, we have been trying something similar with our partner schools.
January 2017 saw over 45 teachers from 8 different schools coming together to learn and explore better teaching practices. At our newly set up Teachers’ Learning Centre (TLC), these teachers – from both Government-run schools as wells as from low-fee private schools– forgot their differences & competition and started a new journey of collaborative learning. The atmosphere in the TLC was electrifying. 25 year olds were facilitating the sessions and the participants, with an average teaching experience of 25 years, were beaming with unmatched enthusiasm and joy. One could see how teachers exhibited child-like curiosity and were exuberant about volunteering during the demonstrations.
Anyone, who has worked with under-resourced schools and teachers, would agree that this is no easy feat. This is a complete overhaul of the hierarchical, rigid culture typically seen in such schools. It marks the beginning of the evolution of a collaborative and learning culture.
Collaboration and learning are at the core of our conceptualisation of the Teachers’ Learning Centre(TLC). The idea is to dissect isolation from teaching profession. TLC would enable teachers to come together and to discuss, brainstorm & learn together. They could be each other’s sounding board. They could leverage each other’s connections to catalyse and accelerate their own learning process. TLC will form the foundation of a professional learning community for teachers.
At Mantra4Change, the TLC at Goripalya (Bengaluru) is a culmination of our efforts in that community for last 2 years. Creating change readiness among different stakeholders doesn’t happen overnight. Ours is a tale of unflinching efforts towards trust building and of living our values of empathy and resourcefulness. Spending time on ground with our teachers, students and school leaders helped us understand their challenges and limitations better. This informed our program design and thus, improved its acceptance among the participants. Today, we are a part of their learning community. We learn together; we grow together.
Stay tuned for more mesmerising stories of collaboration and learning from our TLC.
– The blog piece has been written by Ms. Khushboo Awasthi, who works with schools at Mantra4Change.