Taking coaching to a new paradigm
Notes from the Founder Director Mr Vishva Mohan:
Right from my IIT days, I have enjoyed teaching and have coached Secondary and Senior Secondary students in Math and Science. This fetched me neat pocket money ( ), besides enjoyment. Further, the teaching made my thinking process more logical/analytical, aiding my own academic and professional success.
After IIT, while in job, I continued helping wards of neighbors/colleagues/friends/relatives – mostly not for money, but for the joy of teaching and helping. Those students have grown up into senior executives and I enjoy with them a fond, lifelong kinship.
During the last 8-9 years, I have very closely observed the present coaching system as a parent, as my two daughters and son went through the crucial phase of classes 9th to 12th – completing their class XII (Science) in 2012, 2015 and 2017 respectively. I have extensively interacted with students, parents, teachers, and education administrators (both in schools and universities/IIT) during this period. Although I met large number of students who conquered the entrance exam race, I also came across excellent students who just could not cope with the pressure. They just fell by the wayside and had traumatic senior secondary years. Seeing this, their younger siblings concluded that Science was very difficult (which is far from truth!), and chose commerce/humanities for themselves!
The students are punishing themselves in places like Kota, sacrificing their best years; and parents are spending beyond their capacity on coaching. Yet, IIT/NIT faculty complains that the students are already worn out by the time they join college, due to excessive coaching! And industry says that our graduates are not employable, lacking as they are in communication skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills.
The feeling I have been left with is that the coaching system, although
desirable overall, can be accomplished in a far better way. Instead of being
traumatic for large number of students, the 4-year pre-college period (classes
9th to 12th) can be and should be a festival of learning, laying down strong
foundation for lifelong success, with IIT admission only a beginning.
My perception of some of the glaring deficiencies in the present coaching system is annexed .
STEP Academy has been started to give a fresh approach to coaching with emphasis on giving its student best infrastructure and faculty, individual mentorship, peer-to-peer learning, and a happy environment which boosts creativity and productivity, instead of inducing stress.
Pedagogy in STEP Academy:
The story of science is more gripping than the best mystery story, but unfortunately the story is being told by school teachers/tutors in a boring/instructional, one-way communication. Add to this the anxiety of securing admission into IITs/other top institutes, and you are left with an unhappy classroom.
In STEP Academy, we endeavor to bring to the student:
- the joy of learning;
- Sharp insights into basic concepts and problem-solving
- Not just learning, but also learning how to learn
- Development of communication skills, critical thinking
- Habit of pursuing excellence throughout life, with college admission only a beginning
To accomplish the above, our recipe is:
1. Excellent infrastructure
2. Knowledgeable, communicative faculty, passionate about teaching
3. Interactive classes with shared learning between the teacher and all students
4. Regular but flexi-timed testing, benchmarking the student against himself and also against the best students in the country.
5. Collaboration with parents to support the student and keep motivation high
Snapshot of infrastructure:
1. Classrooms with natural light and adequate LED lighting, air-conditioning, inverter back-up, vibrant choice of colors, comfortable chairs
2. Smart board with projection of videos with good audio,
3. Recording facility for class sessions
4. Good size computer lab with internet for viewing recommended videos and other educational subject material, and taking computerized tests
5. Pantry equipped with refrigerator, microwave, etc. for those students who prefer to spend long hours in the institute and need facilities to store and warm their food
6. Drinking Water, etc.