A school’s EE Coordinator tells us how community building and skill-based learning can really empower students and educators.
An educator with almost 20 years of experience with the IB program under her belt, Rupa Bhowmick’s journey has been a series of diverse experiences. “IB is a never-ending journey of learning and exploring,” she says.
Rupa is currently the Extended Essay and Language Acquisition Coordinator at Beacon Academy in Jakarta. She started her teaching journey at the Good Shepherd International School in Ooty in 2000.
Then she moved to Pathways World School, Gurgaon in 2003, where she started with PYP and moved to MYP and DP.”
She then explored other areas like ATL, Personal Project and Extended Essay. She is also working with IB in various roles.
Rupa loves to empower people. “My journey starts with trust and faith,” she says. “Be it a member of my department or a student, I love empowering people and encouraging them to explore.” She associates this motto with Callido. “I love Callido because it empowers you. Especially when it comes to the extended essay and the ATL, Callido and I go on the same track.”
Preparing for crisis
Beacon Academy was one of the institutes in Jakarta that was very proactive in dealing with the lockdown brought about by COVID-19. “When it came to planning to meet the challenges brought upon us by the COVID-19 situation, we were lucky because we planned well in advance. The leadership team was very alert. On the 13th of March we started training our educators using Google classroom. As soon as the lockdown began on the 17th of March, we were ready to teach our students remotely. Of course, our students were upset that they were not meeting their friends and teachers physically but then, they were well-occupied with work. In a matter of two months, we have become very comfortable with our teaching and our assessments. We have taken Callido on board.”
The DP Dunia community is a well-knit IB community that extends different kinds of workshops to different teachers according to their needs. A big believer in mobilizing communities in education, Rupa was part of the team that hosted the DP Dunia Teacher’s Conference at the Beacon Academy in October 2019.
“There were more than 350 teachers across Indonesia. They came from Bali, Bandung, Bogor and other places. We had many sessions and workshops. Our keynote speaker was Mr. Clark from the IB office in Singapore. We had speakers from our own community of educators who wanted to share their experiences. Everybody cannot afford to attend IB workshops, so this conference gave everyone the exposure to the IB program and the chance to interact with different educators.”
Rupa credits the Beacon Academy with supporting her explorations of IB outside the classroom. The school constantly encourages its teachers to update their skills.
“Recently, I took a workshop for local teachers. I got a buddy from Beacon who could speak the Bahasa language. The local teachers were getting translations while I was doing the activity and giving my presentation. "
"Beacon Academy gives tremendous support, especially to the local community. Very few schools give you this kind of forum and think about their own local community."
Driving excellence in remote learning
Rupa credits Callido’s resources with helping her manage many crucial sessions remotely. According to her, the platform helps her make key decisions and empower other faculty members.
She believes in keeping clear benchmarks even during the lockdown.
For example, with Callido’s Extended Essay research tool, the students could save what they were reading and streamline their work. Beacon also uses Callido’s DPF program that makes students ready for DP by working on their ATL skills.
After all, it is the IB’s focus on conceptual learning that really makes its students shine.
“You need to constantly empower people and make them understand you because not everybody will sail on the same boat,” she says. “Mindsets are different but for me, the first thing is acceptance. You can always take a photocopy or download the guide but what else are you bringing to the student?
Sharing a best practice makes people feel confident. Even if a teacher shares a best practice in front of 20 students, it is empowerment. As a leader one needs to be very attentive and alert behind the scenes.”
An educator who always likes to stay ahead of the curve, Rupa believes in multitasking and exploring different opportunities. “You will find me everywhere, on Facebook, LinkedIn, Online teaching, in the kitchen, reading blogs and working continuously with IB,” she says. “Even in this pandemic I presented four webinars. Being a self motivated lady, work keeps me going and that how I keep myself updated.”