Making Learning Fun & Meaningful

Mr. Naveen KM, is the Managing Director of the TRIO Schools. He is a MBA graduate, who has deeply and passionately involved himself into the business from a very young age. He has conceptualised and established several successful ventures under the MCN group including the Trio World Academy & Trio World School. He has also established Trio Tots, a chain of futuristic pre-schools.
In this interview, Mr. Naveen speaks of how inculcating reading habits in young minds is very important and much more.

1. What or who inspired you to get into the education space?
The potential for high academic achievement exists across socio-economic spheres. There are talented and dedicated students in government schools, private educational institutions and international schools.
International schools offer many benefits: exposure to a wide variety of cultures, better teacher-student interaction with small classroom sizes, a blend of academic and extracurricular activities. Students leave these schools with better communication, time-management and critical thinking skills. The experiences that they accumulate at an international school can pave a way for global opportunities in higher education and career. But the costs can seem prohibitive to an average household. One of my main goals was to provide deserving students with an affordable international education that does not compromise on quality. I also wanted to parallelly improve existing schools, so that they provide the best to their students.
2. Your school was recently recognised by ‘The Economic Times Best School Brand’. What according to you has helped the school achieve this feat?
We have the very best teachers educating and guiding our students. We have created a place of safety and joy. Naturally, this environment makes students more open to learning, connecting meaningfully with their peers and teachers, and taking on challenges when it comes to exploring new concepts. Many of our parents have responded positively to our approach and are highly supportive. The recognition was a result of all these factors.
3. What differentiates your school from the other emerging schools in town?
One of our hallmarks is that we are a very happy school. It is a result of growing organically, and cultivating a deep sense of community. Our culture is founded on helping each other grow, as well as making learning fun and meaningful. We are consistently improving our standards year on year. We continue to maintain the same ethos, even as we set larger targets and meet them.
4. What are the key ingredients that are necessary for a smooth running of a school? Kindly elaborate.
I strongly believe that, as an organisation, we must be aware of our values and let them guide us. We must make sure that the school culture remains positive and maintained that way. It is also essential for us to ensure that we select the right teachers for the job who are enthusiastic, well-trained, and fit into that culture. It is extremely important to involve parents and caregivers along every step in the process of education.
5. In this era where books, apart from textbooks, are hardly read, how do you think non-academic reading habits be inculcated in children?

As adults, teachers and parents play a very crucial role in cultivating reading habits.  A good library / reading programme in the school, can support teachers, parents and students to make the most out of reading. We need to make books more accessible to children at home and school. Keeping bookshelves at the eye-level of a 2nd grader can go a long way. We must help children pick books according to their interest and reading levels, so that they do not get discouraged or bored. We must read with them!
We have always involved parents in the process of improving our school reading programme. We have redesigned the Trio library to support multiple educational activities like formal study, casual reading, research, storytelling and more. We have created zones for solitary study, group work, online research, and storytelling, so that students are free to read in a way they are most comfortable with. We invite authors and professional storytellers from all over the world to the library for book reading and story-telling sessions.
6. What according to you are the major things that children need to be taught in schools today, apart from academics?
It is important to teach children how to be compassionate and responsible individuals. International curricula ensure that the outcome of education is much more than just academic achievement. The IB programmes are designed to cultivate a set of attributes, collectively known as the IB learner profile, in students. These develop individuals who are inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective.
7. What are the measures that schools need to take, keeping child safety in mind? Kindly elaborate.
Firstly, schools need to implement strict policies to prevent bullying and harassment within the campus. Students must also be protected from harsh disciplinary methods like hitting and yelling. Schools must be extremely vigilant about who is permitted to enter the campus. Background verification of all employees should be done prior to recruitment. Systems like round the clock security, CCTVs, and real-time tracking of school vehicles should be in place. The school must ensure regular communication with parents to keep them reassured of the child’s safety. Teachers should also be trained to identify signs that a child is being bullied and to appropriately respond to any critical situations.