Teacher collaboration and professional learning communities are frequently associated with school improvement and educational excellence. Keeping that in mind teachers, Kashmira Jaiswal from Navrachana School, Sama, Gujarat and Mohana Ram Murugiah from Methodist Girls’ School (MGS), Ipoh have been working on a collaboration for the past six months and finally, their proposal for the collaborative project was approved and awarded the Global Teacher Grant by IREX and The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State.
The aim of the project was to bring different perspectives into the teaching and learning practices in both their schools and districts. Hence, Kashmira and Mohana decided to travel to each other's countries to conduct workshops on developing 21st-century skills for both students and teachers.
The project kick-started with Mohana’s visit to Navrachana School in Sama Gujarat in March 2018.
During his stay in Navrachana School, Mohana met a number of teachers and was impressed by their passion and enthusiasm towards educational excellence. Each and every teacher whom he met was filled with passion for teaching. The visit to Navrachana itself was a learning experience. He definitely understood the reason for Navrachana being among the top 100 schools in India after talking to the teachers and coordinators.
During his stay, Mohana also visited the board game library initiated by a group of innovative teachers. The board games were both interactive and mind-challenging. He was impressed with the fact that the teachers worked together and innovatively developed their in-house products. It is the first of its kind and also first in India! The team is headed by Kashmira Jaiswal, herself. Kudos to the entire team for making their board game library a success.
Mohana’s creative writing workshop with students turned out to be very fruitful. And just like his workshop with the students, the workshop with teachers turned out to be very rewarding as well.
The project continued with Kashmira's visit to MGS Malaysia the following week. Kashmira Jaiswal, who is the Creative Director of Navrachana School, Sama, is also the recipient of the Pearson ELT Teacher Award. She is a highly respected person both in her school and community for her continuous outstanding contributions.
Madam Kashmira's session with the students was quite mind-boggling for some. She conducted a workshop on developing critical and creative thinking skills and students were seen actively participating in the tasks given to them. This was a most interesting workshop and warmly welcomed by the students who were used to academic-oriented sessions.
The next two days saw Kashmira conducting a workshop for about 52 teachers in Kinta Utara District, bringing in new ideas and different perspectives. All that she shared are applicable in the Malaysian ESL teaching and learning context. The Kinta Utara District English Language Officers Shallyna and Zuhira have been a great support in making the workshop a success.
The collaborative exchange project has definitely brought in new ideas and knowledge to both schools in India and Malaysia. Mohana hopes that more teachers will work on improving educational excellence through collaborations.