Sun dapples through the ‘flame trees’, large butterflies swoop, dragonflies shimmer and hover – am I the luckiest person in the whole wide world!?? I am on an old tiled veranda of a beautiful ancient crumbling house in the centre of Bangalore. It is the noisiest, fastest, most bustling I.T. centre of India. Yet street sellers still hunker next to huge baskets of blazingly coloured spices, jasmine, pomegranates. I have been coming to India for twelve years now in partnership with The Teacher Foundation (TTF) set up and led by Maya Menon to support the personal and professional development of Indian teachers. India is lots of countries rolled into one, and many schools are still rooted in rote, regimented learning and steeped in repressive teaching approaches.
TTF, alongside many other enlightened Indian organisations, is engaged in the Herculean task of trying to inspire government and private schools towards a totally different path, more joy, creativity and imagination. I was delighted to be contributing to their 2011 three-day conference entitled: “Excellence in School Education Conclave: Leveraging Joy, Imagination and Innovation” which began on Saturday, 11 November 2011 (see TTF links below for further details and also links to their Safe and Sensitive Schools Project ). My presentation, titled ‘Happy Schools for a more Humane Society’, was really well received – mainly, I think, because I was brave! Even though there were about 300 principals, higher education directors, illustrious academics and philanthropists observing in a massive university hall, their glorious sarees lit by neon spotlights, after setting the scene I put the theory into practice by bringing in a class of 35 ‘untutored’ 11/12 year olds. So that everyone could see, I ran the ‘circle time’ with the pupils on stage. Even though normally the Indian way of ‘being in the now’ is to endlessly whisper and chatter – you could have heard a pin drop! The young people, who had never participated in circle time before, moved everyone beyond words! They were all lit up with enthusiasm, responsive, articulate (in English too), funny and unbelievably wise. My long held rallying cry has always been that the biggest untapped resource in all the schools is the children’s minds! We opened up a whole range of school issues – and then forged a vision of how they would like teachers to be and what ‘exciting-learning’ would feel like. But what floored all participants was their deep empathy with the problems teachers feel – their stress and tiredness caused by the children’s own low-level disruptive behaviours!! The engagement of these children made the future of India look wonderful!
I’m flying onto Nagpur tonight – 350 teachers for two days on how to move the model into secondary school; given that I am still pushing that huge boulder up mountains in the UK, I feel a deep sigh coming on!!
1. Jenny Mosley attended and contributed to the three-day ‘Excellence in School Education Conclave in India entitled ‘Leveraging Joy, Imagination and Innovation’ which began on Saturday, 11 November 2011 in Bangalore. Maya Menon, Director of The Teacher Foundation, led the inauguration of the event along with Syed Sultan Ahmed, Director of EduExcellence, Prof. Harish Chaudry, IIT Delhi and Grace Pinto, Managing Director the Ryan International Schools. To find out more about The Teacher Foundation, their research, teacher training, conferences and events, visit: http://www.teacherfoundation.org/
2. Jenny stayed in a lovely hotel in Bangalore called Villa Pottipati and would recommend staying here to anyone and also to any of the other Neemrana hotels – which are run by wonderful staff and are really lovey and a little quirky (see the suit of armour photo!). (http://archive.neemranahotels.com/villapottipati/index.html.htm?)
3. The Teacher Foundation is carrying out research on Safe and Sensitive Schools (Seehttp://www.teacherfoundation.org/index.php/special-projects.html) which is a project based on the Whole School Eco-systemic Model developed by Jenny Mosley.
The objective of the SASS intervention is to make schools safe and sensitive through embedding policies, spaces and interactions that are positive, constructive, nurturing and collaborative for all – students and staff alike. The project puts clear listening and appreciation systems in place and contributes to a Whole School Behaviour Policy that is inclusive, positive, caring and assertive. In the UK the equivalent status for schools is to become a Golden School. Any school can apply to become a Golden School and use Jenny Mosley’s Golden Grail to work towards becoming a better learning environment for everyone .To find out more about the benefits of becoming a Golden School and how to become one, phone 01225 767157 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.circle-time.co.uk
4. Following the conference days, Jenny worked in ground-breaking sister organisations Centre Point School and Mothers’ Pet Nursery in Nagpur with over 300 teachers for 3 days. The numbers of teachers involved made this training incredibly cost-effective. To find out how Jenny can help your school with cost-effective training just phone +44())1225 767157 or email email@example.com www.circle-time.co.uk
5. Jenny is available for UK and International training. She will bring her whole-school model to your establishment and help you to develop a more respectful and effective learning community with an ethos of listening to each other and based on a set of firm moral values.
firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)1225 767157