Kapil Jung Pandey knew about the British Council’s International School Award (ISA) project through our Facebook in 2019.
“I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook when a bright picture of school students caught my eyes. I stopped scrolling, held my phone close to my eyes, and looked at the picture carefully. The students in the picture were doing some sort of activity together. It looked fun,” says Kapil.
“I then read the description. It was a post from the British Council mentioning their ISA project for schools. I immediately inquired about the project and it drew me to apply for the next batch of ISA 2019-20,” adds Kapil.
Kapil is a Science teacher at Tarun Secondary School, a public school located in Balaju, Kathmandu. The school applied and was selected to enrol in the ISA 2019-20. As an ISA Coordinator for the school, Kapil became a focal person to coordinate with teachers and support whole-school (ISA) activities implementation. It was a new experience for everyone in the school.
“Initially, it was challenging to convince teachers to integrate creative thinking, digital skills, and incorporate international dimension in their teaching and ISA activities. They weren’t used to it because of the old-fashioned teaching method that still exists in many schools in Nepal. As a teacher, it was a high time for us to move away from the chalk and talk method,” says Kapil.
In the last two years of their enrolment in the ISA, the school planned and implemented altogether eight project activities. Although this school is in the capital city, it does not have adequate and well-functioning computers for the students, enough space to conduct school activities, and lack staff. It was difficult for Kapil and his team to manage, but they were motivated to nurture the teaching and learning environment for their students.
As part of the ISA activities, the school conducted its first science exhibition. They hosted extra-curricular activities like drama, dance, festivals celebrations, and field visits to engage and involve the students beyond class and remove the limits on learning. They also developed an international network with a school in India to share and gain knowledge and experience.
“The support we received from the British Council in planning, implementation, and evaluation of our ISA activities was meaningful. The trainings and workshops they provided to our teachers were equally helpful not just to implement the project but also to examine our teaching ways and ensure our professional growth,” says Kapil.
“Projects like ISA guide to new teaching and learning styles. It helps to equip school leaders and teachers with 21st-century skills required for improving teaching and providing students with knowledge, skills, and opportunities to experience subjects from the depth and new ways,” he adds.
Kapil is always excited to share about the differences made in the school through their participation in the ISA. Teachers at his school are now more understanding, taking leadership and bringing new ideas to teach lessons, whereas students are learning to work in teams, think logically, and communicate. They are slowly but surely moving away from the chalk and talk method.