AN INTERVIEW WITH Ms. Sonya Ghandy Mehta; Director OF Pathways world school, Aravali
Ms. Sonya Ghandy Mehta, is a Graduate in Psychology and Education and has a Postgraduate Degree in Education from the University of San Diego, USA. She completed her Schooling from The Lawrence School, Sanawar, India. Having an experience of over 30 years spanned over Special Education, setting-up Vocational Training Courses and mainstream education in ISC, IB and IGCSE Curricula.
Question – What do you think are the top challenges that the teachers & students in education are facing in the Covid Era or must solve, as the field of Education is itself progressing?
Answer – One of the biggest challenges is to equip the teachers with the latest in technology for effective & efficient online teaching – learning experience. Though we have a blended version of asynchronous & synchronous teaching, today it seems challenging to keep that balance.
Teachers of today are still categorized as digital immigrants whereas the generation that they teach are digital natives.
From the Students’ point of view, the challenge is more towards self-discipline & time management since now they are expected to manage on their own & in their own way. Online learning has also initiated this debate about increased screen time since now the Students are doing most of their learning online. It has become even more important that Students discover for themselves hobbies & interests that they can do offline to be able to strike a balance in getting that time off from the screen.
Question – As there are a lot of ed-tech startups, what would your advice be to the CEO’s of these companies in order to “how to build for an audience like yours“ & “ how to sell to an audience like yours“ ? Also, what is a perfect product, if you were to think that technology being our only option going forward.
Answer – For me, the most important part of education is not knowledge acquisition, but the application of what has been learnt to your daily life. Technology that can get children to deploy their learning in simulated environments to be able to successfully apply it, will add to their learning, making it more interesting & meaningful. This is exactly what
Teachers are trying to achieve in class through collaborative learning, designing & solving real life problems with the Students.
Question – Just stepping back from the technological aspect of education into a more inter-personal aspect of education. How do you see the role of young parents evolving now because both parents & children are doing work & learning respectively from home?
Answer – There is a need for a lot more coordination between the School & the Parent in today’s challenging times; & most Schools do value this & have started focusing towards maintaining & strengthening this partnership. But now it is time to take this partnership to the next level, more onus of which falls on the Parents. One of the major challenges with Pre-schoolers & Primary School children is that Parents are expected to participate in all the learning activities with their children & thus learning is neither as expected nor is effective. It is extremely crucial that
Parents begin to make their children more accountable & independent for their work & decisions rather than being “Helicopter Parents “.
Question – Now that we are in the covid era, is your school open right now? Or do you have any clarity on what would your semester be like & when would physical classes start?
Answer – We started virtual School in July 2020 with online Classes. Due to the current dynamic situation because of Covid, it is not clear when will Schools be allowed to open with physical contact Classes. There is no way we can open without approval from the Government & even if we are allowed to open, it is extremely important to fathom if Parents will even be comfortable to send their children back to School physically. Every dark cloud has a silver lining & the silver lining to the dark cloud of Covid is that we have the wherewithal & capability of conducting effective & efficient online teaching
Every dark cloud has a silver lining & the silver lining to the dark cloud of Covid is that we have the wherewithal & capability of conducting effective & efficient online teaching
Thus not losing out on Students’ academic time. Another benefit of switching to online mode is that even when we start School through physical contact Classes, we can conduct online academic support Classes for “blended learning”.