Our aim is turning students into inquisitive learners

By: | Published: September 28, 2015 12:04 AM

The four theories of learning—constructivism, behaviourism, cognitivism and connectivism—are woven into the curricula with conventional, interdisciplinary, active and blended learning approaches.

Calorx is an autonomous institution focusing its activities on K21 education from preschool to university. “The Calorx group aims at empowering children, helping them to succeed in all spheres of life,” says Manjula Pooja Shroff, chairperson, Calorx group. Since its inception in 1995, Calorx today operates 40-plus institutions across western India and has also created a global footprint in the UAE by establishing a preschool chain by the name of Blessings. In an interview with FE’s Vikram Chaudhary, Shroff says that the group will expand its operations pan-India over the next three years. Excerpts:

Unlike some other school chains, the Calorx group is not expanding aggressively in urban centres. Why?

Our schools are mostly in tier-2 cities where there is an express need for quality education. Currently, we operate 40-plus institutions across western India and have also created a global footprint in the UAE by establishing a preschool chain by the name of Blessings. We aim to expand our operations pan-India over the next three years and add more institutions in the Middle East. Our model of schooling ensures that it covers a cradle-to-career spectrum by providing education from preschool to university.

What kind of innovative teaching procedures do you follow?

The four theories of learning—constructivism, behaviourism, cognitivism and connectivism—are woven into the curricula with conventional, interdisciplinary, active and blended learning approaches. Our two approaches—WORLD (Workshops and trainings; Overall development; Role of mentor; Life skills; Doing versus rote learning) and 2i, 2t (innovation & inquiry, teachers & technology)—ensure students develop people skills. At our preschools, the curriculum blends four houses of thought—multiple intelligence, Piaget’s cognitive theory, Reggio Emilia and Montessori. I must add that our most important goal is helping children become independent, self-confident and inquisitive learners, rather than focus on rote learning.

Does a young kid need to be very sharp for securing an admission into Calorx schools?

While there is no entrance exam, a child needs to be confident to seek admission. Also, a round of parent interaction is a special focus for assessing the attributes of these tiny tots.

What are your views on the concept of “donations”—apparently still a phenomenon in urban India?

Donations are passé. There are Supreme Court rulings to this effect. The new concept of CSR funds being used for school development purpose is more the order of the day.

How do you ensure faculty quality?

The procedure of hiring teachers at Calorx is such that we get the best people in the industry. Applications are short-listed based on CBSE guidelines and only the qualified teachers are called for interview. The interview process ensures that the teacher being hired has the necessary knowledge and skills. Calorx has a learning, development and quality cell which imparts mandatory 20 hours of training to each and every teacher throughout the year.

Once hired, teachers are trained to use technology in the classroom. The organisation keeps providing teachers with opportunities to upgrade themselves through external workshops and in-house trainings. They are continuously trained on the effective implementation of the Calorx taxonomy, the focus being on inquiry and innovation for our glocal learners.

How can ICT meet India’s education and skilling challenges?

ICT is a very important tool in maintaining quality and access to far-flung areas. ICT has been deployed in India quite successfully. MOOCs reach out to the largest student numbers in the world. Research has shown that ICT is an adult learning tool for mature learners aiming to acquire a second degree.

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