A very good evening to our dear centre principals, administrators and tutors.
I thank all of you for taking the time off to be here today. Tonight is about us at SINDA showing our appreciation to you for being our champions on the ground and working tirelessly towards improving our students—academically, mentally and emotionally.
Each one of you is giving the greatest gift possible to our future generations, the gift of knowledge. In addition, you are also building up our children’s self-confidence, maturity and independence—virtues that our students will carry with them for life.
In Tamil there is a saying—Mata, Pita, Guru, Deivam, or Mother, Father, Teacher and God. This lists in order of importance the impact that someone plays in a child’s life. After one’s parents, they are to hold Guru or teacher, with the highest respect. That’s how important you are to them. The influence you have in a child’s life and the ability you have to shape someone’s future is immeasurable.
We have seen in recent years the impact of your efforts. Our students are doing much better; more STEP and Project teach students are passing at landmark examinations and our Indian students’ performance is slowly but surely narrowing the gap each year.
At SINDA, we believe in a constant process of improvement and enhancement, fine-tuning our initiatives to better meet the needs of each student cohort and benchmarking ourselves against proven academic methods. Many of you have shared with us feedback, based on your experiences, on how to better SINDA’s tutorial programmes. We have taken these into account into our strategies for coming years; strategies that will better position our programmes and become more effective in improving our students’ learning.
Let me highlight some key ones that will span the breadth of our programmes nest year:
Enhanced Classroom Experiences
There is an increased need for us to move beyond academic matters and also cater to our students’ socio-emotional needs. We introduced Whizboosters this year in classes to better motivate and engage our students; a motivated and engaged child is able to learn better, quicker and more easily.
This motivation component has proven very effective, with more than three-quarters of the teachers that we spoke to, sharing that their students enjoyed their lessons better with Whizboosters.
Also popular has been our pilot of the HeyMath Learning Portal at four STEP centres. Through this ICT platform, we have been able to encourage formative assessment and self-directed learning. We will expand this initiative to more centres in 2016.
Bettering our Tutors
Tutor training has always been central to our efforts in improving and fine-tuning our tutorial programmes. In the last few years, the Content and Pedagogy Unit has focused its efforts on enabling you to become experts in your respective fields. This, we will continue in earnest, while also equipping you with the necessary skills to master different pedagogical approaches as well as be more effective in classroom management. Such trainings will be structured according to your developmental needs.
Our annual Tutor Forum will also focus more on tutor development through sessions with curriculum experts as well as with our senior tutors who can function as mentors.
It is also important that we regularly calibrate our performance, to ensure that our students receive maximum benefit from our teaching lessons. Moving forward, we will have more structured evaluation that will be distinct according to the role you play at our programmes. More details on this will be shared with you at later platforms.
All these efforts are in place to ensure that eventually our students are afforded the best possible learning opportunities. At the same time, we also want to ensure that you, as tutors, are taken care of and equipped with the right skills. Platforms such as tonight’s dinner and initiatives such as Long Service Awards and other appreciation modes are in place to show that we value your efforts. You are very much part of the SINDA family, and you staunch partnership with us will allow us to stand tall as a community, achieve better progress and move forward together.
On that note, I wish you a very enjoyable evening.