Empowering Educators: Orientation and Workshops for Teachers @ Unity 

The College organized a two-day orientation program for teachers to kickstart the new academic session after the summer break with renewed energy and aligned with the College's strategies and the latest teaching methodologies. The program took place on June 27th and 28th, 2023. 

On the first day, we held a Fitzroy Reader Teachers Training Session for the Primary Section teachers. The Fitzroy Reader, a widely used literacy program in Australian schools, has been followed at Unity for the past many years. The session focused on essential concepts such as Phonological Awareness and Phonemic Awareness, which form the foundation of effective reading programs. The trainer, Ms. Prashansha Jain, highlighted the use of modern phonics techniques, including Phoneme Isolation and five crucial phonological awareness skills: Blending, Segmentation, Addition, Deletion, and Substitution. The session also emphasized the implementation of 'Phonograms' and interactive activities to create an engaging learning environment. 

During the session, teachers were divided into different groups based on phonemes, and each group was assigned the task of creating a game to reinforce individual phonemic skills. This session provided teachers with an opportunity to enhance their expertise and address the literacy needs of their students effectively. 

Simultaneously, a meeting was held, led by Principal Mr. Francis Castelino and Vice Principal Mr. Sachindra Bharti. Mr. Bharti emphasized three key points: completing the syllabus effectively, providing proper counselling to students, and developing communication skills. He advised teachers to manage their time through careful planning, communicate with students using diaries, maintain complaint registers, set standard question papers, mentor students, focus on moral and ethical grooming, enforce proper uniform policies, avoid corporal punishment, and utilize arrangement periods productively. Principal Mr. Castelino discussed the roles of different Department Heads and Committee Members in ensuring the overall progress of the College. 

On the second day, a comprehensive workshop on the National Education Policy (NEP) and National Curriculum Framework (NCF) was conducted by Oxford University Press. The workshop aimed to familiarize educators with the key principles, reforms, and changes introduced in the education system. This knowledge would enable teachers to adapt their teaching methodologies and promote holistic learning among students. 

Principal Mr. Francis Castelino welcomed the resource persons, Ms. Swagata Chakraborty and Mr. Nitish Agarwal, and the workshop began with an overview of the NCF. Ms. Chakraborty highlighted the vision, objectives, and transformative changes envisioned in the NCF. She emphasized the importance of creating a dynamic learning environment through various seating arrangements, inclusive and discovery-based lessons, hands-on learning, fun activities, and outdoor classes. Ms. Chakraborty also introduced the 21st-century learning skills, represented by the 4Cs of NEP: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. She encouraged teachers to develop a five-point holistic development program for students, focusing on their physical, mental, spiritual, intellectual, and inner force fitness. Additionally, she urged teachers to build confidence in their students, use visual aids, and go beyond the prescribed textbooks to make their lessons more effective. 

The Teachers' Orientation culminated on the third day, 1st July with the Staff Meeting with Principal Mr. Francis Castelino and Secretary Mr. Najmul Hasan Rizvi. At the onset, Principal Mr. Francis Castelino conducted a general meeting on classroom management and teaching. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and reinforce the importance of professional conduct and effective classroom teaching practices among teachers.  

The teachers were invited to give their inputs regarding the key benefits they gained from the Orientation and Workshops held for them post summer vacation. Then Mr. Castelino emphasized the importance of maintaining a positive and respectful learning environment, promoting student engagement, and implementing innovative teaching methods. He encouraged teachers to be punctual, minimize leave unless in emergencies, maintain proper complaint registers, communicate in English, be proactive and attentive during lessons, avoid mobile phone use on school premises, contact parents through the College Reception, and prepare question papers based on the latest specimen papers. He also highlighted the significance of teachers' presence during assembly, lunch, and dispersal time, emphasizing overall discipline and grooming. 

Later, Vice Principal Mr. Sachindra Bharti discussed strategies and resources to enhance teaching effectiveness and student learning outcomes. He emphasized the importance of punctuality, especially after assembly or lunch, and communication with parents through the school diary.  

Lastly, College Secretary Mr. Najmul Hasan Rizvi addressed the teachers by stating the inspirational goal of the College that is to prepare students for the future, and not only to impart knowledge to young students. The first and foremost duty of a teacher is to be pro-future, to keep updated with the latest technology and knowledge. The points to consider are proper planning, physical and mental health, de-stressing, avoiding mobile addiction, using smart classrooms to make lessons more effective and interesting too. He further suggested some points for academic improvement. The teachers should start working at grass root levels, stress on fundamentals, make them computer literate to adapt to the latest trends in acquiring knowledge, and groom them in ethics, morals and etiquettes.  

In the open session, Teachers from the Senior classes discussed concerns about low attendance in remedial classes and proposed solutions like advanced planning, strict actions against absentees, and incentives for full attendance. A Pre-Primary teacher, highlighted the College's efforts to provide phonics training to teachers, aiming to improve students' reading skills. She also emphasized that teachers up to the Primary Section follow outdoor teaching methods and engage students in activities as outlined in the National Education Policy (NEP). Another teacher from the Primary Section, highlighted the inclusion of Value Education in the curriculum, advocating for discouraging rote learning and promoting independent thinking. 

Overall, the meeting focused on creating a progressive and holistic learning environment that prepares students for the future while emphasizing ethical and value-based education. 

The informative and motivational sessions concluded with the vote of thanks proposed by Vice Principal Mr. Bharti. 

The orientations equipped the teachers to upgrade their skills, create inclusive and learner-centric environments that foster creativity, problem-solving abilities, and a lifelong love for learning. While, the meeting fostered a sense of unity and collective responsibility towards the school's vision of providing quality education to its students. The school management expresses gratitude to all teachers for their dedication and commitment

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