This week we went to The Galaxy  School- Wadi,  Rajkot to interview Ms Gunjan Rupani

She has been our Mindspark Star Teacher, and her tips and classroom hacks are lauded across her fraternity. Ms Gunjan has been teaching for 23 years now. She is one of those teachers who has witnessed the great gearshift in the education system. She is camera-shy, but oh boy, the candid conversation that we had with this fantastic educator has motivated us to look out for more teachers and share their exciting journey with our readers.

Here’s what we asked her.

So, you have been teaching for almost two decades now. Tell us about your journey as a Teacher.

I have been in teaching in SNK for 23years. I started with teaching Kindergarten students, and now I teach grade 6&7. Basically, I am a science person, I have done my masters in Microbiology. However, I always had more liking for Math. It was almost like a Math teacher stuck in science shoe. Following my instincts, I attended lots of in-house training, participated in teacher discussion forums and armed myself with the best techniques. And, here I am, teaching Math, and it has been five years now!

Woah! You mentioned taking in-house training, do you think teacher training helps in enhancing skills as well as framing your career path?

Indeed! I think training is part and parcel of teachers day to day life. It’s essential especially when you are in a fraternity that is responsible for shaping a child’s life. For instance, we have science and Math experts coming on campus, with who we undergo rigorous training. The kind of ideas that comes out in this trainings are amazing. We even have Math workshops, where we exchange teaching ideas, discuss our lesson plans and share ideas across.

This enables us to identify how concept gets build across in grades. For example, if its fraction, we map the teaching method based on how it gets introduced in lower classes to how they learn in higher. So we build connections/topics based on how they comprehend in higher grades. To simplify, we lay the strong base for them and make sure they understand and not just ‘learn’. We make our own customised Curriculum!

That’s interesting! As a teacher, what’s at the centre when you make your own curriculum?

Skill-Based Learning! That’s what I have always focused on when I enter my class.

How do you align skill-based learning curriculum with the prevailing one that you have to abide by?

Well. Let ’s say in a typical math class, students first learn formula and then apply it. But not here. We teach students to break down the problem statement and address it. I’ll give you a recent example. We were doing percentage and application in the classroom. Say, what is 20% of 50. The connection was built that students already know about fraction. i.e. what is two fifth of ten? So if they know what is two-fifths of ten, it will be easy for them to comprehend 20% of 50 and figure out.

Once students crack this step, we put it in the word problem. For instance, you have borrowed 50 rs from your friend on 20% interest for a year how much you’ll have to return back.

This is gradually building the concept from fraction to per cent of quantity to the application of percent to calculating simple interest. In the entire process, students don’t have any formula. We give them formula once the loop is closed.

Wooow! I so wish I had learnt Math like that. I remember being so Mathphobic. I’ll invariably fall ill before my math exam…

(laughs) We have students who love math. There is no math fear or dislike towards it.

And, I must say your tips on imparting math learning in a classroom is quite lauded by teachers across the fraternity on Mindspark Teacher Forum.

I am so happy teachers are liking my ideas and hopefully implementing too. It’s quite motivating. Most importantly, teacher forum is a fantastic platform to know what other teachers are doing in their class, how they are executing their lesson plans, and building on concepts.

On one hand, there are these amazing questions, and on other strategies to engage students in the best possible way. It’s a rare combination. All said and done, it’s a platform where we get a chance to give back to our community and share all that we have. It’s also great to see EI experts posting a lot of interesting articles which are quite insightful.

As an edtech tool, where do you see Mindspark and what role it plays in Students/teachers life

We have been using Mindspark since its launch. I find it a fantastic practice tool. It’s like we teach in class and Mindspark validates if the student has got it clear. It just makes stuff easy. The best part is we (teachers) can make worksheets in Mindspark, so our load of making worksheets have reduced. It also aids in remediation.

Usually, what happens in classrooms is we just address common mistakes that students are likely to make or have made, but Mindaprk gives instant feedback to each of them, creating a personalised learning path.

As a teacher, I get a report of common wrong answers in my class, and that helps me identify misconceptions in class. The detailed report and worksheet analysis are cherry on the cake. I plan my lesson plans accordingly.

It’s a complete package. Infact in our school, teachers do their own Mindspark before assigning to students. We actually incorporate Mindspark in our lesson plans.

How do you find implementing edtech in the classroom? Is it a friend or foe.

(With a broad smile) Well, our school is an edtech space in itself. We believe technology will make a fair share of difference in the classroom. It’s also something that students like doing over traditional chalk and board setting. Though there is a resistance in general for adopting technology and embedding in the classroom, I feel tech tools/platforms comes handy in strengthening students conceptual understanding and works as best practice tool too. 

So if you were to recommend Mindspark, would you?

Definitely! 

Devarshi Pandya

Devarshi Pandya

Devarshi is no Angie Fox but she writes conversational content on Education. She is an enthusiastic writer, active twitterati and a die-hard Buzzfeed Fan.
She brings along her experience in extensive research and branding. A passionate writer by day and an avid reader by night she packages for a blend of technical and creative write-ups.
Devarshi Pandya

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