What Makes A School? - Paul Puthvenveetil Variath

I would look at schools as holistic well-being centres where children are taught how they wish to learn, addressing not only academic needs but also mental health, physical fitness, and social development. This approach fosters a healthy and balanced lifestyle, personalised teacher-student solid learning, fostering strong teacher-student relationships and a sense of community. 

Schools must be cultural exchange centres, connecting students globally through virtual classrooms and exchange programs promoting a deep understanding of diverse cultures and perspectives. Teachers play a pivotal role in the moulding of children into responsible citizens. I can summarise what a classroom should look like with the following analogy. 

In a garden, seeds are planted carefully, providing the right conditions for growing. Similarly, in a child-friendly classroom, educators plant the seeds of curiosity and love for learning. The environment is nurturing and conducive to the natural growth of each child's inquisitive mind. Just as plants thrive in sunlight, children flourish in an atmosphere of positive reinforcement.

Recognition, praise, and rewards act as the sunlight that encourages their intellectual and emotional growth. A garden is where diverse flowers bloom, each with a unique colour and fragrance.

A child-friendly classroom cultivates various interests and talents, allowing each child to bloom in their own way. Just as solid roots support plants, supportive relationships between teachers, students, and peers form the foundation of a child-friendly classroom. These roots provide stability and nourishment for emotional and social well-being. Gardens experience different seasons, each contributing to the life cycle of plants. 

Classrooms embrace changing "seasons" of learning, incorporating diverse activities, themes, and approaches that keep education dynamic and engaging. Just as a garden yields a harvest, the classroom aims to cultivate students' unique strengths and contributions to a rich harvest of knowledge. Teachers, Parents, and Students, like eager gardeners, participate in the joyous process of reaping the rewards of their learning efforts. In a garden, weeds can hinder the growth of plants. So it is in a child-friendly classroom. 

Teachers work to identify and eliminate obstacles to learning, creating a space where children can thrive without unnecessary hindrances. Like fertiliser enhances soil fertility, a positive classroom environment acts as the nourishment that fuels a child's academic and personal growth. Encouraging positivity and mutual respect creates a fertile ground for learning. A diverse garden is visually appealing and ecologically rich. Similarly, a child-friendly classroom celebrates diversity, recognising each student's strengths and contributions and creating a vibrant and inclusive learning community.


The Masterclass 2024 opened on the 7th day of January 2024, and this is the maiden Reflection by Paul.

REFLECTION - Food for thought!

Word Association: List 5 words that come to your mind when hearing the word, school? (Building, books, admin, teachers, work, students, learning, break, competitions, exams.)

If the school is the body, then the admin, buildings and rules are the bones, and the people (teachers, students and others) are the flesh and blood.

So, can we say that the School is a Community, Place of Work, Place of Learning, Sharing and Conscious Engagement… a mini version of the play of life with everyone involved playing their role?

If yes, can we say that the lead of each person’s role in the school is, in some ways, in their hands by how they fulfil their role?

How does that make you feel? (Liberated? Renewed? Burdened? Responsible? Afraid? Excited? Curious?)

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