Our quest for outstanding educators continues, and this time we are lucky to have India’s Most Outstanding Teacher awardee: Dr. Dheeraj Mehrotra, an educational innovator par excellence. Join me in welcoming him and learn a thing or two from his wisdom shared with us through this Q/A:
LIN: As one of the pillars in Indian Education, what made you decide focusing your time, skills and the like on education, technology, teacher training, among others?
I wanted to stimulate the future generation to become life long learners, I have values which I feel I should contribute to the society – that, what I have learnt and experienced over the years. By doing this I will be paying back and fulfill my desire to make difference to the future generation. I believe education is an empowering process that allows students to develop holistically. Moreover the satisfaction I get by investing my time in my passion is far better than or would reward me more than anything else would.Thus I chose to go in for teacher training among any other profession. I believe in sharing my knowledge to others for the sake of learning to learn. My objective of life is “The more we learn, the more we earn, in terms of honour, respect and recognition.”
LIN: What, to you, is the 21st century teacher? learner?
I believe in the fact that the 21st century teacher is a teacher who is prepared to Learn, Un-Learn and Re-Learn. The one who uses technology and its power to empower self and others through experiential learning. A new learning has emerged with technology. The shift is from education to learning. Secondly it is consumption of learning to participation and thirdly thinking. In today’s world students have a rich learning environment. The teacher for them is a facilitator, a coach, a mentor and a mediator.
LIN: Elaborate on the essence of education toward achieving excellence in life, career, success, etc. of individuals? How about the fate of a nation or world in continuous changes in economy, politics, environment, and technology. What is the role of education on aforementioned aspects?
Education is the part and parcel of one’s future. It makes man and literate person to earn a living. It is the power in oneself which explores other powers of our senses and provides wisdom to our living. The career is directly related to our moves in education. The nation is in requirement of future literate citizens who in turn shall make the things possible in time to come. The country’s economy hence forth needs a greater emphasis towards investment in education of its children. Nothing is possible without the literacy of the hour implemented via technology and to understand and explore technology one has to have the power of learning. Education is all about learning and developing your abilities to their full potential. It gives the knowledge and skill they require. One cannot say that they do not need any further education no matter how smart they are because the quality of education is always improving. With the standard of education getting higher, an organization’s demand for an individual’s level of education is also getting higher.
LIN: Do you believe giving awards to teachers as motivator to more effective/efficient teaching? If so, why?
As a National Teacher Awardee myself, I believe in recognition of the teachers as one of their life time achievements. The awards to the teachers give them the pride to work for them and the society in a better framework and above all it also gives a narration to the others to do their best. I feel recognition given as a mark of achievement will always be motivating. And by awarding the teachers, in a way one motivates them to perform better and feel appreciated for all the hard work he or she puts in, throughout her life to get the best out of someone else’s life.
LIN: Have you heard about Global Teacher Prize? Sort of seeking for outstanding teachers around the world to qualify for a million dollar prize. What is your take on this? And if you were one of the judges how would you rate shortlisted teachers with outstanding qualities to get the most deserving among them? Would you rely on the given criteria or would you risk choosing a finalist over the rest through gut-feel?
I have not heard about this earlier. It is certainly a great recognition to the teachers’ community globally. I believe the companies and other establishments must come together under Corporate Social Responsibility and join for the common cause towards the recognition to this community of TEACHERS who are the only blessed creatures after GOD to dwell a product which is a living being into another refined product as a RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN of the nation in particular. Well I checked on the criteria and I believe we would also add on to some more conclusions viz. PUBLICATIONS/ CLOUD PRESENCE/ COMMUNITY OUTREACH/ INNOVATIONS. Adaptation to change, ability to engage and inspire in students independent and original thinking and how does he or she handle children with different learning abilities can also be the add-ons in particular.
LIN: The battlefield of education is not the classroom, but the hearts and minds and souls of learners… do you agree on this? Why?
I do agree of this fact with the reputation to believe that we need to teach the hearts not the minds. For the fact is the children like the subject only when they like the teacher. It is such a fact that explores learning with heart and soul to replicate the fact of making the learning as a pride within classrooms a possibility. Teaching breathes like poetry. No two learners can interpret teaching the same, just as no two teachers can write same. It is like two humans sharing a space in mind and body by personal interaction and transfer to one another. Thus the battlefield of education is not the classrooms, but the hearts and minds and souls of the learners. It is how well you can connect for learning to happen.
LIN: Would you be open to collaboration with other teachers out there so as to spread the wisdom of authentic learning or whatever you want to propagate in the global stage of enlightening the minds and hearts and souls of everyone, anywhere in the world?
Certainly, as my great pleasure and honour too. I would be very happy to explore the opportunity to train other teachers over WEBINARS/ Skype virtual sessions. Knowledge grows by sharing. I would definitely be more than happy to share information, skills and expertise that I possess with the teachers and try to make whatever little difference I can.
LIN: How would you do that? And if ever, would you like to co-author a book with anybody who is willing to explore possibilities?
As I said, using the power of technology I would like to share my expertise in a big bang way. Yes I would be happy to co-author a book of subject of any taste and tribe. As an author of over 40 books, I do believe in share in that aspect too.
LIN: Away from the limelight, who is Dr. Mehrotra?
A learner for LIFE – Lost In Fight (For) Education!!! That is me, myself. I take pride in working towards Quality Literacy For All. Amen.
LIN: Any piece of advice to teachers out there who are doing their jobs sans thinking of getting an award, but doing it for the Glory of God the Greatest Teacher of All?
My advice to them is ” Remember to be on Learning Spree for I repeat: The more we learn, the more we earn, in terms of Honour, Respect and Pride!!!. Also let us all be IT Strong and not just IT Savvy for we believe in an age where Technology is the way of learning not just the pathway!! Cheers and May GOD bless us all.
So there you go. To know more about Dr. Mehrotra’s passion, you may check out http://dheerajmehrotra.tripod.com