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​The five years in college help build a student into a well-rounded graduate` – Amee Vora, Vice Principal, N. M. College of Commerce and Economics, Vile Parle

Amee Vora, Vice Principal, N. M. College of Commerce and Economics, Vile Parle, tells Shraddha Kamdar in an interview about student development and engagement.

Lord Byron’s poem ‘She walks in beauty’ is perfect for the person I’m writing about today. Poised yet firm, educating yet inspiring is the way to describe the way she goes about her work. A little jest never hurt anyone, and she does not fail to apply it when discussing matters with her colleagues. It goes to show that her students also would have a lot to learn from Amee Vora, Vice Principal, N. M. College of Commerce and Economics, Vile Parle.

We start talking about the way students can be engaged in the classroom despite the tendency of the syllabus that can be a little limiting for some. She explains that most aided colleges are constrained by the Mumbai University syllabus because the University caters to a large number of colleges spread over a vast geographical area. She says that it has to take into account the various socio-economic backgrounds when forming the syllabus. “Colleges in the urban areas like Mumbai where the students are more alert and better exposed to what is going on around them would find a disconnect with what it happening,” Vora says.

“That’s where the teacher’s role sets in, and it is the teacher who has to enhance the experience for the students.” She adds that teachers need to stress on getting the fundamentals right and creating a strong foundation for the students, so that they are conceptually sound. “They will then be able to apply these concepts in whatever they pursue and wherever they are. I agree that bridging the gap is important, but students should be engaged in class in such a manner that they are able to apply the concepts in the corporate world as well.” This can be done in a variety of ways, including the use of technology, according to her, via case studies, making presentations, hosting debates and discussions and healthy interactivity.

Vora believes that today, teaching is a two-way process, where teachers also get to learn a lot from the students. This, she feels should not be compromised upon and that teachers should be open-minded enough to allow students to teach them a bit as well. “Today, students respect a well-informed and knowledgeable teacher. A teacher who can get away from the text book methods and handle the learning process differently will always attract students to class. In fact, the teacher also needs to be a motivator, a leader and spend time with the students, leading them to their different goals,” she says.

Reminiscing over the various experiences she might have had in her life, Vora says that at the end of the day, one feels more satisfied as a teacher when one runs into a student after say 20 years, and the student remembers the teacher for the methods and tells the teacher how he or she impacted life. “It is a different feeling altogether to have such students come back and narrate their life experiences that they might have based on something you said to asked them to do.”

Even though students may want to secure their future with the marks that they score, Vora feels that the five years that any student spends in college in the process of gaining a graduate degree, are the best five years of the student’s life. “At the same time, the students are highly influenced by what is going on around them, and things that are moving at a fast pace. They somehow automatically become a part of the rat race. That’s why they are struggling, and they want to try to get the best of both worlds.”

The elegant educationist feels that because students are still to gain a certain level of maturity, they have the passion, but often lose the will to fulfil that passion, so they suppress it. “Yet there are a few who are able to manage, and win laurels and every step. We have students who go to the IIMs and also go abroad, and when they come back to college, they say that grades alone don’t take a person to heights, but it is a combination of experiences, including the experiences they undergo with being a part of the various college clubs and societies and participating in the various inter-college festivals.” Vora says that these festivals offer them the opportunity to build confidence, and develop the ability to speak well and lead others, along with many other professional abilities. “All said and done, it is these five years that are the actual developmental years for the student to be a well rounded graduate when he moves of college.”

At this stage, I ask her where to marks figure in all of this, since everywhere a student wants to go, marks are a stepping stone. “This marks mentality starts right from school. It is now become a fight between boards, where students are now scoring extremely high marks, which seems unrealistic. At my time, it was so difficult to score even a 70% and that score would hold tremendous respect in society. Somehow if that system came back, where the student really had to study to earn every mark, the definition of hard work would change. It would help ease the pressure on securing marks for admission,” Vora says.

Along with the knowledge, the academician also feels that soft skills are becoming increasingly important in this day and age. “We hold special sessions for those students who are registered for placements and offer them training on communication, resume building and presentation skills. At the end, the students’ confidence is enhanced, and the command over the language also improves. It is essential for students to learn how to carry themselves. After all, that is the first assessment, and it is extremely important in the corporate world.” She says that

the students at NM are grilled thoroughly at mock interviews, and have to pass through several tests and interviews.

Towards the end of the interview, going back to her idea of a well rounded student, Vora points out that knowledge and information is important, but students also need to learn how to manage their time and more importantly, manage stress. “Students want to achieve a lot very early in life and that is where the stress sets in. They need to learn how to manage this stress.” She offers the example of many students every year who are able to juggle it all – be part of the core committees of the festivals in college, and also excel at academics since they are concentrated and dedicated and know how to get a lot done in a short span of time.

She feels that if a student focuses on self development, the other aspects will fall into place automatically.

Original: http://www.freepressjournal.in/education/%E2%80%8Bthe-five-years-in-college-help-build-a-student-into-a-well-rounded-graduate-amee-vora-vice-principal-n-m-college-of-commerce-and-economics-vile-parle/964689
By: FPJ Bureau
Posted: October 31, 2016, 12:34 am