“At Creatnet Education (CE), we believe in the idea of life-long learning.”
The process of learning is conscious and continuous, as it brings about reflection and action.
In turn, we believe that a facilitator of learning (or, a teacher) is that of enabling such reflection, action and construction of relevant knowledge.
Paradigms of education are changing; there is a shift from a one-way knowledge transfer from teacher to students, to creation of knowledge together through facilitation. Traditional lecture methods are not working anymore; the textbook or prescribed syllabus is an initiation point for bigger enquiries. The impetus for change and reform must spark from the Head of School (HoS).
“For schools to become a learning organization, we see the school principals as leaders and change agents.”
In 2012, CE started its journey with Directorate of Education (DoE) schools in Delhi. CE has not only strengthened the leadership of 1024 school heads over the past 4 years, but has also build internal capacity by nurturing HoS as facilitators. These facilitators will enable continuous learning within their own schools and in their clusters.
Presently, there are 50 HoS as facilitators and 15 as Facilitator Developers in the Delhi Government School system.
In CE Programs, a network of facilitators establishes a framework for disciplined reflection, action and feedback. This is a space of trust and promotes inquiry, whereby school leaders come together once a month to share common challenges, commonalities and identify the roles they play. Mutual trust and accountability to the group ensures that the principals are continuously working on improving themselves and their schools. The focus on relationship building during these workshops fosters an enabling environment where systemic changes are being made.
Over a period of time, principals are more self-aware in their ability to bring about a systemic change.
The critical step, however, is when leaders make the leap from self-awareness to group awareness.
Principal Program Design
Exceptional leader Ram Autar Sharma’s case is a proof of concept. As a principal, he participated in the first cohort of CE’s Leadership Development Program in 2012. Since then, he has been influencing the leadership of over 12 school leaders in Delhi Government schools.
Through the program, Ram Autar Sharma formed a strong team of teachers and SMC members in his school. This unity amongst teachers and SMC members created an environment of collaboration and mutual support in the school:
- Teachers’ responsibilities and burdens have reduced due to constant support from fellow teachers. Hence, teachers can focus on children’s learning outcomes.
- Regular meetings with teachers and SMC members were organized to discuss concerns, learning needs and facilitate group problem solving.
- Enabled his team of leaders to take initiative and build a sense of ownership for school improvement.
Ram Autar Sharma did not act on the basis of his authority; he acted as a facilitator of change.
Collaboration & Partnerships
Peter Senge in the Fifth discipline says “the staggering potential of collaborative learning – that collectively we can be more insightful, more intelligent than we can possibly be individually”.
Central Square Foundation has been instrumental in supporting our work in more ways than one. They have not only supported us financially since 2013 but also through their participation at programs, continuous constructive feedback on various aspects of the program, and connecting us to other funders, partners and resources in the ecosystem.
A Few Milestones in Our Journey of Engagement
- Facilitator Development Program- intensive offsite programs designed and implemented in 2016, 2017. https://youtu.be/x5t7urnfMn0
- Sharing of best practices of school leadership and innovative teachers through the platform created by CE – SharED https://youtu.be/hs8De8pE75s https://youtu.be/I6jk9Qxlxx8
Finally, our work has been made possible because of the commitment and determination of Principals of Schools, mentorship of Mr J B Singh (ex-Deputy Director of DoE schools) and the volunteer time of Darshan Bhat & Meenaskshi Sharma, Founder CE and Ravi Gulati, Founder, Manzil.
Creatnet Education will be speaking at the AVPN India Summit 2017 as a Deal Share Live Participant. They will share insights into their collaborative projects, and areas where funders and resource providers can support them to scale their impactful work.