CONTINUOUS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR LEADERS

Day and Date          : Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Venue                        : SPS Rajender Nagar

speakers                  : Ms. Rekha Krishnan, Principal Vasant Valley, Dr. Aditi Mishra, Principal DPS Gurugram, Smt. Sudha Shastri Director, InputsIndia, Mr. Atul Nischal Educationist, Founder and Director – International Council for School Leaders, Smt. Rashmi Malik Principal, SPS GGM

The eventful day commenced with a gracious welcome address by Smt. Jyotsna Grover, Vice Principal, SPS Rajender Nagar, setting the tone for a day of insightful learning. It was followed by an address by Shri Sushil Dutt Salwan, Chairperson, Salwan Education Trust. 

Session 1

Topic                          : ‘Heartful Listening and Communication for Leaders in High Stake Situations’

Resource Person    : Smt. Rekha Krishnan, Principal Vasant Valley

In today’s fast-paced world, effective leadership demands more than just authority—it requires empathy, understanding, and impeccable communication skills, especially in high-stakes scenarios. The workshop aimed to equip leaders with the tools to navigate such challenges adeptly. Heartful listening entails really listening to someone with care and interest. It’s an important part of being a good leader. By actively engaging with their teams, leaders foster trust, understanding, and collaboration even in the most demanding situations. Through experiential exercises and role-playing, participants honed their ability to listen with both their ears and their hearts, fostering deeper connections and mitigating conflicts. Furthermore, effective communication strategies were emphasised, highlighting the importance of clarity, transparency, and emotional intelligence. Leaders learned to articulate their vision persuasively, inspire action, and navigate difficult conversations with grace and empathy. By the end of the workshop, participants emerged with a heightened awareness of the power of heartful listening and communication in driving success, particularly in high-stake scenarios. Armed with these invaluable skills, leaders are poised to navigate challenges, inspire their teams, and achieve remarkable outcomes even amidst uncertainty and pressure.

Session 2

Topic                   : ‘Always Working Syndrome: Understanding Mental Health Issues for School Development’

Resource Person : Dr. Aditi Mishra, Principal DPS Gurugram

The  issue of ‘Always Working Syndrome’, prevalent in the educational sector, is driven primarily by access to technology. The resource person highlighted how this phenomenon blurs the boundaries between professional responsibilities and personal life, compelling individuals to remain constantly available for work-related tasks. Factors such as perfectionism, aspirations, and overcommitment contribute to perpetuating this syndrome among educators.

The discussion delved into the various impacts of ‘Always Working Syndrome.’ Physical effects such as fatigue, exhaustion, and health issues were noted, alongside social impacts like strained personal relationships. Cognitive challenges, including decreased concentration and decision-making abilities, were emphasised, along with emotional struggles such as heightened stress and anxiety. Additionally, behavioural changes like irritability and burnout were recognised as significant consequences.

To address the issue and mitigate the risk of burnout among educators, the resource person stressed the importance of prioritising self-care and establishing clear boundaries. Strategies such as time management techniques, setting realistic expectations, and delegating tasks were highlighted as effective means to alleviate the pressure of constant availability.

Educators were encouraged to learn to ‘switch off’ and disconnect from work-related obligations during non-working hours. The session emphasised the significance of taking time out for oneself, engaging in hobbies, and nurturing personal interests to maintain a healthy work-life balance and prevent burnout. By prioritising self-care and setting boundaries, educators can safeguard their well-being while continuing to excel in their professional roles, contributing to a more sustainable and fulfilling work environment in the educational sector.

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Session 3                  : ‘Managing Stakeholders in the Digital Age’

Resource Person   : Smt. Sudha Shastri, Director, InputsIndia

The session threw light on the impact of digitisation on various stakeholders within the educational ecosystem. The resource person highlighted the transformative nature of digital technologies and how they blur traditional stakeholder partitions. In the digital age, everyone is a potential reporter, and media accessibility has become ubiquitous, with Google reigning as the primary source of information.

She next delved into the strategies to manage stakeholders effectively in this digital landscape. Clear and proactive communication, ensuring that all stakeholders are informed and engaged is a must. Brand building was emphasised as crucial for schools to stay relevant, requiring continuous efforts to adapt to the evolving digital landscape.

Throughout the session, the importance of understanding the shifting dynamics brought about by digitisation was underscored. Stakeholders were encouraged to embrace digital literacy and leverage digital platforms for collaboration and communication.

As discussions unfolded, it became evident that stakeholders need to adapt and evolve in tandem with the advancing digital landscape. By fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation, schools can effectively manage stakeholders and harness the potential of digitisation to enhance the educational experience for all involved.

 

Session 4

Topic                          : The School Transformation Process: Designing Innovative Solutions

Resource Person   : Mr. Atul Nischal Educationist, Founder and Director – International Council for School Leaders

In today’s day and time, organisations that embrace innovation are more likely to thrive and stay ahead of the curve. To nurture a culture of innovation requires a deliberate and concerted effort from leaders and employees alike. Dr. Nischal discussed practical strategies to foster innovation at the workplace. One of the key factors is creating a safe and supportive environment, where employees feel encouraged to take risks and share their ideas freely. This starts with leadership setting the tone by demonstrating openness to new ideas, welcoming constructive feedback, and embracing failure as an opportunity for learning and growth. It was rightly pointed out that, innovation thrives when diverse perspectives and expertise come together. Encouraging collaboration among employees from different departments, backgrounds, and skill sets can lead to fresh insights and novel approaches. Additionally, fostering cross-functional teams, organising brainstorming sessions and encouraging employees to seek input and feedback from colleagues is helpful.

It was further elaborated that innovation requires time and resources, and organisations that recognise this invest in providing dedicated time for employees to explore new ideas and work on innovative projects. Implementing innovation days, hackathons, or dedicated innovation teams can create space for creativity and experimentation. Providing access to relevant tools, technologies, and training can empower employees to turn their ideas into tangible outcomes.

Acknowledging and rewarding innovative thinking is crucial for nurturing a culture of innovation. Therefore, it is imperative to recognise and celebrate both small and significant innovations, whether it’s a process improvement, a cost-saving idea, or a breakthrough product innovation. A growth mindset believes that dedication and hard work can develop intelligence and abilities. Fostering a growth mindset in your organisation encourages employees to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, and see failures as opportunities to learn and improve. This mindset shift allows individuals to be more open to innovation and encourages a continuous pursuit of improvement and exploration.

Technology plays a vital role in driving innovation in the workplace. Embracing digital tools and platforms that facilitate idea sharing, collaboration, and knowledge management can help any organisation go miles. Encouraging employees to engage with external networks, attend industry conferences, and participate in innovation communities to gain exposure to new ideas and trends is crucial for success.

Session 5

Topic                          : ‘Understanding the scope of National Credit Framework’

Resource Person   : Smt. Rashmi Malik Principal, SPS GGM

The session focused on the National Curriculum Framework (NCrF) and its aim to revolutionise education by integrating academic, vocational, and technical components, thereby fostering holistic skill development. It proposed a substantial increase in notional learning hours to 1200 per year, with successful completion awarding 40 credits, signaling a shift towards a more comprehensive assessment approach. At SPS Gurugram, a pilot project successfully demonstrated the implementation of the framework, highlighting student-centred learning experiences and competency-based assessments.

Smt. Rashmi Malik stressed on the the necessity for practical learning experiences. She urged educators to align their teaching methodologies with the NCrF, National Education Policy (NEP), and Competency-Based Education principles to catalyse comprehensive educational reform.

The pedagogical approach advocated by the framework necessitates customised assignments and activities to foster skill development effectively. A sample timetable, spanning five days with the sixth reserved for remediation and odd subjects, was discussed, that was successfully in practice at SPS Gurugram. A major departure from conventional practices is evident in the restructuring of lesson plans to focus on concepts and competencies rather than chapter-wise progression. Additionally, the use of exit tickets to gauge knowledge retention was proposed as an effective assessment tool.

Smt. Malik underscored the importance of servant leadership, urging educators to engage with students on a daily basis to ensure their holistic development. She passionately advocated for the widespread implementation of the NCrF in schools, emphasising the need for continuous improvement and adaptation to meet the evolving needs of students and society.

In her valedictory address, Smt. Rashmi Malik, Principal of SPS GGM, encapsulated the wealth of knowledge and insights gained throughout the workshop for leaders. With a sense of appreciation, she extended heartfelt thanks to all the speakers for their contributions in sharing their expertise and imparting transformative wisdom. Smt. Malik skilfully summarised the key learnings of the day, highlighting the significance of collaborative leadership, innovative strategies, and visionary thinking in shaping the future of education.

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