August 7, 2019

Who's the best teacher in the whole wide world? XSEED Teacherthon will tell you

We've all heard of hackathons, but have you ever heard of something called a Teacherthon? Neither had we, but then a few days ago we spoke to Ashish Rajpal, Founder and CEO of XSEED Education. The company recently held the country's first-ever teacherthon, a competition for teachers to select a super teacher.

Over 10,000 teachers from all over the country took part in this competition and its finale was held in Chennai on August 10. Now how exactly will the competition be to select a super teacher, you may wonder. Here’s how it works. The teachers here teach a live classroom full of students in front of a large audience and their lecture judged by a panel of judges. Now, how cool is that!

Ahead of the grand finale, we spoke to Ashish and he had a lot to talk about the competition and XSEED. Excerpts:

What was the inspiration behind initiating the Super Teacher search?

There is a lot of talk about treating teachers with respect and recognising them on par with other professionals. However, there are

almost no opportunities for the best teachers to showcase what truly outstanding teaching actually looks like. We seek to bridge

this gap by providing a platform to find, nurture, and reward the best teachers.

How has the reaction from the schools been?

We have seen an overwhelming response to the XSEED SuperTeacher search. Over 7000 teachers from over 1000 schools across the country competed in round 1. These teachers represent schools located across the entire breadth of the country, in both large and small towns, serving children across the socio-economic spectrum.

Are there any teachers that you’ve come across here who inspired you?

The response from the teachers and the energy and the quality shown in their submissions is noteworthy. An early reading of the entries shows that teachers participating in the contest come across as extremely motivated, skilled, and innovative. Interactive experiences in the classrooms to bring difficult concepts to life, children asking probing questions and applying to learn to real-life problems show how well these teachers have mastered their craft.

What are the parameters for the assessment?

When people speak of assessing teaching skills, they speak in generalities. Our experience, however, is that it is the very specific micro-skills that make the difference. To be effective in the classroom, teachers must master five micro-skills, including the ability to set clear aim for learning, conduct and manage an interactive experience in the classroom, encourage children to ask probing questions to help uncover concepts, apply learning to real-life problems and ensure practice, and finally assess student skills and give useful feedback.

(As published in 07 Aug 2019 )

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