The Chartered Institute of Marketing Sri Lanka held its first Teacher’s Forum titled ‘The New Age Education’ with the objective of highlighting the challenges associated with school education. Participating at this thought provoking event was a large gathering of teachers from the country’s leading national, international and private schools. The forum comprised an exciting roster of experts and leaders in education, who helped stimulate vibrant discussions.
Drawing from her experience internationally as well as her wide ranging understanding of the local education system, Nicola Walsh, Inspector to the Government of the United Kingdom spoke on the importance of providing effective feedback. “Positive feedback – as in what you do, say and write influences the performance of the children. Research shows positive feedback has high impact with minimal cost,” she said.
She encouraged teachers to devote time for students to talk – collaborative working – setting work to match ability which helps children feel challenged. She also noted that learning from one another with peer to peer support is tremendously effective and that teachers need to be a doctor and a psychologist, they need to consider all the barriers why the child has fallen behind.
Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Dr. Udena Attygalle addressed the gathering on ‘The common mental health issues in children and adolescents and how it impacts education. Dr. Attygalle noted that, “A child is a developing being, learning in several domains such as cognitive, physical and academic. Mental health issues are simply a label but what is needed is to understand the child.” He cautioned that, “When working with children we need to be non-judgmental especially working with mental health issues. Most mental health issues manifest as behavioural problems in children and we need to understand what is going on in their world.”
Advising teachers present he noted, “Interventions need to be modified according to the child and the teacher’s understanding of the child.” In dealing with bullying, he noted that it is painful in a child’s world, advising teachers to employ, “Common strategies for bullying i.e. create a safe supportive environment, manage the classroom to prevent bullying at the onset, intervene immediately when it occurs, looking at the issue from both the victim and perpetrator’s perspective and support all involved.”
The next speaker, International Academy of Beauticians Ltd. Course Director Hasini Gunasekera discussed areas on the importance of image building and personality development. She noted that, “Appearance is a communication tool which tells others about your profession, professionalism, level of sophistication and credibility.” Instructing ‘How image can add value to your life’ she advised the audience, “You need to take certain initiatives to project yourself in the same form you would like others to perceive you. So just like a personal brand is built – how others see you and how you see yourself.”
Gunasekera shared insights into the significance on maintaining general hygiene, tips on always being well-groomed and the positive mindset it creates. She noted, “Building self-confidence comes from how you feel about yourself.”
Reiterating the role of CIM Sri Lanka, Educational Services Manager Onalie Dissanayake said, “As an educational institute we would be delighted to assist the teachers and principals to improve our future generation through career guidance, motivational sessions, etc. Our professional members with wide range of experiences are willing to support to improve and develop the students of our country. We conduct these programs free of charge to schools on their request.”