Teach a Man to Fish, Feed Him for a Lifetime – Mauritius
Raksheet Haulkory believes that “living values” – empathy toward nature, compassion for others and ethical living – should be front and center for educators. That belief, along with a commitment to utilizing technology to teach 21st century skills, led to the project “Learning about the world through our senses.” With partner Yogesh Sunoo, Haulkory created a multi-discipline approach to learning, addressing differing learning styles with creative technology tools. The project was recognized at the national level in Mauritius and was selected among the best projects in Middle East and Africa region to be represented at the Microsoft Partners in Learning Worldwide Global Forum 2011 in Washington D.C.
Haulkory shared with us his views on what it takes to prepare students to lead responsible lives, and about the particular challenges of education in his country.
Can you describe how your professional achievements have advanced innovation in education?
I feel that it is important for students to be trained in such a way that they emerge as responsible world citizens. While knowledge is important for one to reach one’s ambition to grab certificates, it may be more important to learn how to make the world a fit place for continuous development in a healthy environment. The education that I profess is one imbued with living values, such as empathy towards nature, compassion for others, sharing with consideration and ethical living with rights, roles and responsibilities.
What has changed as a result of your efforts?
With ICT, the students became active and dynamic learners in their study. They have started using active teaching strategies such as scaffolding, cooperative learning and peer tutoring to learn concepts. The students became responsible and accountable as they started experiencing community schooling. Furthermore, other colleagues have become more interested in the work I do. Many of them have started using ICT tools in their classrooms and they are gradually accepting the change that is going on. Finally, this year SARM SSS will continue its project on community schooling by providing help and assistance to primary schools in the region on the use of ICT in innovative ways.
How have you applied technology in innovative ways to support your work?
I have used almost all technologies that were available, ranging from PowerPoint to mobile phones, Mouse Mischief and songsmith. One example I can quote is the use of Mouse Mischief for upper grade students. One of the criticisms against the program is that is more appropriate for kids. But I have proved them wrong by converting the multiple choice questions in Mouse Mischief format and this has become an enriching experience for me as well as for the learners. Likewise, mobile phones have been used both as a learning tool and a way to communicate with parents. Facebook has proved to be the most efficient way of remaining constantly in touch with the students… and many more.
What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome to ensure students are receiving a quality education?
Mauritius is a country where you need approval from the Ministry of Education for every new thing you want implemented in your classroom. This normally takes a lot of time and very often you have to take the initiative yourself, with the fear of having to bear the consequences. But I must say that all of my endeavors have been fruitful. At this stage, special thanks goes to the rector of SARM SSS, Mr. Pandey, who is still supporting me in all my projects.
What is your country doing right to support education?
In Mauritius, education is free for all. This type of welfare state exists only in a few countries in the world. The government spends huge sums of money every year for this purpose. However, I must say that there is slackness when it comes to innovating in the way we teach. Such initiatives would be regarded as going against the system and there is much resistance to change.
What conditions must change in your country to better support education?
Educators must broaden their minds and see what’s happening in classrooms throughout the world. It is only then that they will realize the unlimited possibilities they have to make their classrooms more interactive and innovative.
What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?
Educators must be able to develop 21st century skills in their students. This can be done by using ICT in their daily lessons and encouraging their students do the same. Microsoft has provided us with lots of tools such as Mouse Mischief, Songsmith, Autocollage, Movie Maker, Kinect and many more. But most important is how to use these tools to increase the interest and develop the skills of the learners.
What advice would you give a new teacher?
For me the most important factor to make a difference in education is PASSION. You need to be passionate in what you do. Doing so will ensure that you will leave no child behind. Indeed the teaching profession has become one of the most difficult, or I would say
complex, jobs in the world. In a classroom, teaching takes up only one-third of your time and effort. The rest goes into dealing with each individual child’s character, managing discipline and so much more. But if you are passionate and you have confidence in yourself, then all these are just minor issues.
What educational “trend” do you think is helping students? Is there a trend that is getting in the way of learning?
Access to information technology/the Internet has become so easy that the role of the educator must change. A teacher in front of the classroom with chalk and talk is outdated. Nowadays, students have better performance when they have the opportunity to tell their teachers what things in the classroom need to be changed or improved. Students should have their say in what goes around in the classroom; this would give them a sense of belonging in the classroom. The only fear I have is the misuse of technology which can harm these children.
If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be? Why?
Like Auren Hoffman rightly said: “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” You would be astonished to know this was
exactly the last question I was asked during my interview to become an educator. And this was the answer I gave to the interviewers. I believe every good educator should not only impart knowledge to their students, but also be able to teach them to become good human beings and be able to “survive” any problems or obstacles they may face in life.
More on Haulkory’s work:
About Raksheet Haulkory
Current residence: Rose Hill, Mauritius
Education: Diploma in Business Administration, Bsc Economics, Msc Information Technology
Websites I check every day: Facebook, DailyEdventures, Microsoft Partners in Learning
Person who inspires me most: Sri Satya Sai Baba with his teachings on life.
Favorite childhood memory: When I was kid, I used to accompany my father to the city centre every Monday with the only objective of eating “Dholl Puri” and drinking “Halooda”.
Next travel destination (work or pleasure): 1. India (pilgrimage/leisure) 2. Australia (additional study)
Favorite book: Bhagvad Gita
Favorite music: Indian music by A.R. Rahman
Your favorite quote or motto: “The end of knowledge is LOVE. The end of education is CHARACTER.”
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