Paving the way to a new wave of leadership

A few months ago, teachers at New Indian Public school gathered like they do every other Saturday for their Teacher Professional Development (TPD) sessions. School Transformations Leads (STLs) from Mantra4Change walked up to the front of the room as they do at every meeting, gathering the attention of all 40 teachers at the school. 

The teachers were geared up to begin the session with an energizer led by the STLs; however, this time, the STLs took a few steps to the side. This TPD was a unique one because it was the first teacher-led session to be hosted at the school. The teachers at New Indian Public School were divided into four groups and were assigned multiple topics based on lesson planning and strategies that can be used in different parts of their lessons. 

The idea was born through a discussion between the school leader Mrs. Usha and the STLs Charul and Sujoy. “We thought as we were going to practice multiple strategies, so we can have teachers take ownership of their learning through the TPD in jigsaw form and then also explain the strategy to the other teachers who would lead to higher collaboration,” added Sujoy on the purpose of such an initiative. 

Through the TPD, teachers were able to construct their knowledge. It was also an insightful experience for them as they needed to ensure they knew their assigned strategies well to be able to present the idea in front of others. For some of the teachers, it was the first time they presented in front of their peers. During the presentation, the other teachers were also participating and asking questions wherever they found it necessary, which ensured a very interactive session. 

Each group was assigned a specific strategy to present and provided with reading materials and videos for reference. Their presentations included details such as what the strategy is, why it is useful, how it can be used, and finally, a demonstration of the strategy in a classroom. 

The design of the TPD itself was a strategy called a Jigsaw, which they could take to their classroom. In addition to this, they explored the practices of teacher modeling, using graphic organizers, engaging students with think, pair, share activities as well as using teacher learning materials in the classroom. 

“Charul and I feel great as we were able to create a shared learning environment and were able to curate an experience for the teacher where they constructed their knowledge. We think that it was a big step forward in setting up sustainable systems in the school, shared Sujoy, who believes this initiative builds a culture of shared learning and leadership at the school. 

Through this teacher-led TPD session, teachers were able to have constructive discussions, help one another and divide their work to ensure efficiency and make it an exciting experience for everyone involved. It is a step forward in making Mantra4Change’s program sustainable and also creates an environment of shared leadership in the school. 

It is also exciting to announce that this has also motivated teachers to build other teacher-led initiatives in the school. 

Contributed by Sujoy Pal, School Transformation Lead, Mantra4Change

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