“A teacher who loves learning earns the right and ability to help others learn.” – Taljit Kaur, India
When we see a learning activity where the primary objective is “to make education a more joyful and fun-loving process,” it gets our attention. And as it turn out, this objective perfectly describes the work of Innovative Educator Expert Taljit Kaur.
Kaur works with young students (13 and under) as the Junior Coordinator at Rayat International School, a Microsoft Showcase School. In that role, she works with school leaders and teachers to reconstruct curriculum and activities while enriching teaching and learning to meet 21st century needs.
“My aim is to incorporate project-based learning,” Kaur says, “using technology to collaborate on projects with other schools all over the world, so that my students are well prepared to face the challengesand, if needed, bring about change.”
For Kaur, inspiration comes with everyday activities, and from seeing her students work together to accomplish a goal. “Every day for me brings a new challenge and a new ray of hope, a ray which will result in a new and desired change in my students,” she tells us. “The most inspiring day for me was when my students performed well in a collaborative task — beyond my imagination, and with just a small spark of guidance.”
Back to that learning activity… Kaur developed Streams of Knowledge to give her young students the means to create their own projects. They research topics, collect research and connect with others in the process, ultimately presenting their work to a wide audience – including students from schools in other countries. (Here’s a Sway on the project.)
The result? “Naturally, the child is groomed with curiosity, inquisitiveness, scientific aptitude, independent learning, exploring, technology usage, etc. in a guided and fun-loving environment,” Kaur says. “They celebrate every project of theirs and also share others, thereby linking globally and feeling that they, too, are very precious drops of this ocean.”
Visit Taljit Kaur’s blog to learn more about her approach to making learning more joyful, and enjoy today’s Daily Edventure.
Why is education important to you?
The importance of education in the life of an individual cannot be overstated. It shapes individuals in their formative years and imbues them with values that will govern all their choices in life. It is said: “If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” Indeed, one can even say that the quality of education will determine the destiny of the nation.
For me, education does not mean providing answers. It means equipping the pupil with the means to find the answers for himself and within himself. Education empowers students to discover themselves – who they are as people.
Within each student is a doctor, an engineer, a teacher, a social activist, a sports person, an environmentalist, a poet, an author or an economist. The teachers support them in channeling resources and technology vis-à-vis their dreams thus, sustainably generating civilized and productive human capital for serving our mother earth.
Can you describe the teacher who most influenced you?
A teacher who loves learning earns the right and ability to help others learn. This holds very true in my life, too. The teacher who developed the ability to learn in me is none other than my mother, who has been ever inspirational, supportive and motivating me in every moment and every sphere of life. She is the teacher who molded my thoughts when they went wrong and helped me to look at the world with a positive and challenging attitude.
The teacher who inspired me the most is my English teacher, Mrs. Dubai, who really made me meet myself and was the person to recognize my inert potential and also guided me at every step.
What is your proudest professional achievement?
I always feel proud to be an educator as it is the best profession since we are learning and dealing with futuristic thoughts and ideas.
I try my best to make every day my best day, as my smile makes children smile, which in turn makes their parents and people associated with them smile. My motto is to teach in the way my students enjoy learning by collaborating with technology and other schools of the world and in doing so, I never realized where I reached until I was named a Microsoft Innovative Expert 2015. It was the proudest moment for me as it was brought to me by my students.
How can other educators facing similar challenges implement what you’ve learned?
“Never give up for that is just the place and the time that the tide will turn.” Challenges make you more prominent towards your goals, so keep moving and change your thoughts and you change your world. Start implementing new strategies, share them, collaborate and help your students work with others. Enroll yourself in the Microsoft Educator Network. Put your ideas into reality using 21st century skills, and communicate using social sites as thoughts do not just move but fly beyond any boundaries.
If you could change one thing about today’s “system” of education, what would it be?
“Change is the law of nature and also a sign of progress.” I would surely opt for the students and make education more student preference-based and embed vocational education in the school system itself. Preparing the future in their ideas of interest so they can create wonders and enjoy their field.
What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?
“Innovation moves the world of ideas into reality.” So to mark innovation in education is to move with the technology and imbue the technical skills in both the teacher and those to be taught. Collaborate with ideas all over the world together to raise the future generation without boundaries in any sphere.
What advice would you give a new teacher (or to anyone wanting to make a difference in education)?
The will to win, the desire to succeed and the urge to reach your full potential, these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence. New teachers should explore, interact, apply and evaluate the performance after every task.
Introduce more technology and collaborative ideas to their methodologies, at the same time update oneself with the latest developments in the field of education. Interact with educators all over the world, go for collaborative projects giving your students the same freedom to imagine and put that imagination into reality.
What is your greatest hope for the future of education in your country?
“There is nothing that hope does not permit men to do.” Hope is the fuel to motivation. I hope for:
- All schools to be sound on the basis of resources like infrastructure, technology and human resource.
- Technology reaching everyone, and affordable by each.
- Schools where thoughts are not confined by subjects, syllabus and assessment criteria.
- Education where parents are not burdened economically.
- Schools where talent is nurtured in the environment of freedom, love, values and the desire to achieve success in harmony.
About Taljit Kaur, Teacher, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert
Rayat International School
- Birthplace: Mumbai, India
- Educational background: Masters in Science, Masters in Education, Bachelors in Education Website I check every day: Microsoft Educator Network, Sway, Facebook, Twitter, Bing in the Classroom, LinkedIn
- Favorite childhood memory: As such childhood is a period of life which is unforgettable, but still certain events mark a difference in our life and it was the day where my poem was selected and published in my school magazine and I was really appreciated by everyone for it.
- Next travel destination (work or pleasure): USA
- Favorite book: India of my Dreams, Awakening India (Swami Vivekananda)