BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London welcomed 317 teachers and senior management representatives from 48 different supplementary schools, mandirs and community groups across England to an educational conference on Sunday 15 July 2018.
The conference followed a similar event organised by BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha in February 2018 and provided practical knowledge and training to enhance the teaching of Gujarati for teachers presiding over beginners, intermediate and advanced (GCSE & A-Level) levels as well as a separate session to promote best practices and robust administration for schools to comply with current legislation.
Attendees were warmly welcomed and gathered for an enriching opening session which included a welcome dance and presentation of a letter from the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, thanking teachers for their tireless efforts to promote and preserve Gujarati.
The programme was delivered through speeches, workshops and networking sessions designed around the theme of ‘Treasure, Innovate and Inspire’ – to treasure and promote the rich heritage of the Gujarati language, to innovate novel teaching methods (including technology and media) and learn the latest information about the GCSE exams, and to be inspired with renewed enthusiasm to teach Gujarati to the young and bring awareness to their parents.
The keynote speaker in the morning session was Domini Stone, a highly valued member of the wider languages network at the University of Westminster, London. Amongst her many roles, Domini is the Regional Manager for Network for Languages and also manages a programme of CPD (continuing professional development) for primary and secondary language teachers. Domini shared methods to motivate children to learn languages and many of the themes and topics she covered formed the basis of the workshop sessions throughout the day.
Viveksagar Swami, a senior swami of BAPS, shared motivational messages of Gujarati learning and teaching via a recorded video presentation. Video blessings were also played from His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj, who stressed the value of all Gujarati schools working together. Manoharmurti Swami further encouraged all the delegates to join this journey of working together and raise the level of Gujarati teaching.
Lord Jitesh Gadhia addressed the congregation and thanked the teachers for their selfless service to the community. He drew upon the challenges faced by Gujaratis in the UK and emphasised the importance of preserving the language in the country by working as a single community.
Feedback from the delegates was overwhelmingly positive with many pledging to attend future conferences. A number of attendees also expressed their happiness at the opportunity to network with many schools from their respective towns and cities as well as further afield.
An attending teacher later shared, “The conference provided a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with the wider Gujarati teaching community. Learning about the different teaching methods in an interactive forum was particularly valuable. Thank you for organising such an insightful event.”
To read an insightful blog about the conference by Domini Stone, please click here
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