This year we’re interviewing 10 of our teachers from around the world to celebrate 10 years of Pamoja! We’d like to introduce you to Rajesh Jha who teaches online IB Diploma students ITGS (Information technology in a global society) and loves to share his passion for technology and learning with his students.
Please tell us about yourself
I’m Rajesh Jha, born and raised in India. Having completed a Masters in Computer Applications, I started my teaching career in 1999 and consider myself fortunate to have experienced different phases of teaching-learning process; from traditional classrooms with no technology, to modern classrooms with technology, and the most recent trend of flipped classrooms. The journey through this paradigm shift has been exceptionally amazing. I have worked in different schools and colleges in India for more than a decade and a half, and have recently relocated to Jakarta, working with one of the most reputed schools in this region.
In addition to the active teaching, I like to engage myself in tasks that strengthen my abilities at both personal and professional levels. I have been involved with the IB as an examiner, member of standardization team for ITGS P1 and Extended Essay, and TL for TOK and ITGS P3. I took part in TOK standardization at IB Global Center, Cardiff in March 2018, and working with senior TOK examiners was one of the best experiences ever. I travelled once again to Cardiff in Jan-Feb this year to take part in a new assessment assignment.
In this digital age when the production of knowledge is increasing at a very rapid pace, the roles of teachers have become a lot more challenging. Teachers, in order to enable learning in the best possible ways, have to be lifelong learners themselves and adapt to changes. I strongly believe that we must keep up-to-date with the changing trends of educational research and policies. We must also keep an eye on new pedagogical methods and good practices in our fields. One of my recent academic achievements was successful completion of the IB Examiner Graduate Credit program from Kent State University (KSU) in 2018. I am also currently pursuing a Master of Education in Advanced Teaching degree from University of People, USA.
This is my second year of association with Pamoja. My first assignment was to guide a few students in the May 2016-18 session of the ITGS Extended Essay. This year I am guiding 30 ITGS HL students enrolled in the 2018-20 cohort.
One of my strengths is my can-do attitude and that I like to take challenges. I strongly believe that perseverance is a lifelong skill and to be consistent in accomplishing your tasks is all about finding and striving for the right thing.
I like to travel and my hobbies include photography, listening to old Hindi melodies especially Kishor Kumar and network troubleshooting. I have very little expectations from life but top among the list is my desire to be remembered as a GOOD TEACHER.
“Teachers, in order to enable learning in the best possible ways, have to be lifelong learners themselves and adapt to changes. I strongly believe that we must keep up-to-date with the changing trends of educational research and policies. We must also keep an eye on new pedagogical methods and good practices in our fields.”
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
“Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.” ― Aristotle
For me, teaching is a complex craft. In some ways, it is impossible to capture in a page or two the sophistication of what being a good teacher is. Teaching has always been my passion and I strongly believe in the concept of learning by doing and exploring concepts in real contexts. It has motivated me to practice computational thinking skills in an amiable way and deliver the content and share my real-life experiences to an extent that make classroom discussions more interesting and effective. To share my experiences, I like to nurture my curiosity and explore new innovations in technology and try to incorporate this in my students too. My recent achievement has been the successful integration of SAP ERP enabling centralized operations management in one of the well know engineering colleges in Hyderabad with 8,000+ students and 1,000+ faculty and staff.
In my opinion, effective teachers strive to motivate and engage all their students in learning rather than simply accepting that some students cannot be engaged and are destined to do poorly.
Moreover, being an IB educator I learnt the art of acknowledging inclusivity and working together collaboratively. This had supported me in developing productive relationships not only with my students as well as with my fellow colleagues.
We are becoming more digitally literate and aware, how has this affected the teaching of ITGS over the years?
ITGS is all about technology and its impact, it is a subject which is evolving 24/7. The latest technological developments, new policies, recent challenges, and ethical impacts are all changing the way ITGS could be taught, therefore, teaching ITGS has always been fun and challenging. Being a good ITGS teacher means that you have to create a balance between the way you teach core IT concepts and how to analyze the impacts on different stakeholders.
Gone are the days when a text book was enough for students to learn and prepare for the examinations. Knowledge acquisition has gone beyond prescribed text books especially in subjects like ITGS. Moreover, by the time we think we have covered one part of technology in ITGS classroom, there is something new already in line for discussion and this is a never-ending process.
Alongside these challenges, it is fun too because students love talking about technology and these interests lead to healthy discussions which make the classroom vibrant.
What do you hope to see included in the next iteration of the ITGS course from the IB in the next curriculum review?
I would love to see ITGS recognized as an interdisciplinary subject which focuses on IT/CS concepts which can help better understand how it is impacting us in a more appropriate way. I would like to see the subject having a more practical approach rather than being a pure social science subject. Moreover, understanding core concepts will make them reflect in a more appropriate way.
One cannot deny the fact that integration of information technology into human life is not neutral. It has huge potential as well as huge challenges because technology and people interact in very complex ways, therefore, it directs to explore the impact of IT on different stakeholders at a local as well as global level and learn in diversified fields of social sciences and humanities.
What message would you like to give your students?
Every day is a new beginning, take it as an opportunity and do everything from your heart. This is the true essence of a successful life.
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