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~His Majesty the Beloved King.


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Report on V-TOB CONVERSATIONS

Report on V-TOB CONVERSATIONS
In the year 2020, we were able to organize nine episodes of V-TOB conversation. V-TOB Conversation is an informal platform created on ZOOM for teachers of Bhutan to come together to share ideas and inspire each other. This year, we conducted a series of episodes on various topics and themes.
|26/09/2020| We had an inaugural session where 15 teachers across the country came together to discuss the way forward for the conversation. Upon sharing the background information on the forum, teachers expressed the need to have such casual conversations to boost our morale and inspire each other to serve our children and nation well. All teachers who participated felt that the covid-19 pandemic has given multiple spaces to reflect and do things differently. Teachers also committed to going beyond the normal teaching mandate to be real educationists.

|03/10/2020| The conversation gathered teachers’ perspectives on the use of mobile phones by students. The event saw around 50 teachers from all across the country sharing their perspectives on the use of mobile phones by students. Many teachers shared a multitude of advantages on how students and teachers could leverage phone to harness knowledge and skills. While there are many merits of using phones, some shared how mobile phones could hinder the studies and create problems. Almost all the teachers agreed that change is inevitable and it's time that we use mobile phones as an alternative way of harnessing the best potential it could offer in the teaching and learning process.

|24/10/2020| We had a seminar on communication and leadership facilitated by Dr. Dorji Wangchuk, Ms. Tshering Eudon, and Mrs. Karma Dema Tshering. Around 24 teachers participated in the seminar. The Webinar delved into the subject of communication and compassionate leadership. Dr. Dorji in his presentation talked about the need to have good communication skills, especially as teachers. He said that the role of teachers would be to inspire, facilitate, and produce leaders in this digital age where information and knowledge are lying everywhere. Dr. Dorji introduced participants to the three rhetorical approaches - ethos (ethics), - pathos (passion), and Logos (logic), and three personal communication approaches (- begin with why follow the rule of three and tell stories). He also explained the three elements of compassionate leadership (self-awareness, empathetic joy, and wisdom of ramifications). Furthermore, participants learned the distinction between information, knowledge, and wisdom). At last, Miss Eudon and Karma facilitated an activity on how people have spent their lockdown and asked them to share their experiences in line with compassion and empathetic joy.

|25/10/2020| The webinar focused on the importance and relevance of wellbeing in schools. The discussion dwelled on the need to have social and emotional learning integrated into our education system. Ms. Tshering Eudon presented the wellbeing initiative at ELC high school and how this program has benefitted students with their emotional and psychological needs especially during times like the recent lockdown. Three students who are a part of the wellbeing club at ELC shared their experiences and techniques to cope up with emotional stress and disturbances. Mrs. Karma Dema shared about the importance of mindfulness meditation and initiated a short guided mindfulness practice for the participants. All the teachers who took part in the webinar felt the need to have wellbeing programs in the schools to cater to the psychological needs of the students. Madam Deki Choden, ELC Principal, also shared her thoughtful insights on how such programs help students with their needs. 24 teachers participated in the webinar.

|01/11/2020| The Webinar was aimed to trigger the minds of teachers to understand the importance of Dzongkha as a language and what could teachers do to promote it. The guest speakers shared their knowledge, experiences, and concerns. The teacher representatives and the participants asked some pertinent questions to the speakers. MP Lhaki shared why Dzongkha as our national language serves as an integral part of our culture. Lop Kinley Gyeltshen shared how he as a private entrepreneur tried to promote Dzongkha through various means. Lop Karma Gyeltshen from DDC shared about some of the programs DDC initiated to promote Dzongkha among children. Lop Kinley Tshering shared about how RTC as a tertiary institute endeavor to promote Dzongkha. Meanwhile, Drungtsho Karma shared her hypothesis on the status of Dzongkha both in terms of spoken and written categorically among civil servants, farmers, and students. Some even shared concerns on why children do not take interest in Dzongkha, the reason being not having rich Dzongkha stories for children, no market for Dzongkha writers, and lack of support from the parents. Around 40 teachers participated along with the guest speakers.

|21/11/2020| The sixth episode of the V-TOB conversation revolved around the theme, “Sharing of Best Practices to inspire.” In the first series, three teachers from different schools took part as a speaker to share their unique practices in their schools. Mr. Pemba Gyeltshen from Radhi MSS, T/gang talked about reading week and unsung hero. The reading week is a weeklong program where various literary activities are conducted to promote reading and enhance creativity. The unsung hero is a title given to the best student from the graduating class. Mr. Yeshi Dorji from Gelephu MSS shared about democratic school management: good governance box. The program is an approach to tackle problems and issues from the students in a democratic approach, meaning, suggestions are received from the students and parents to resolve issues collaboratively. Mr. Yeshi Dendup from Changzhu PS, Samtse presented on Open Library and using Waste as a TLM. His focus was primarily on making books available for rural students by setting up open libraries whereby students can come freely to grab books and read. Waste as TLM is a concept initiated by him to make use of waste such as papers, plastics; sacks, etc…improvise and use it as teaching-learning materials.

|28/11/2020| In the second series, Mrs. Deki Choden, founding principal of ELC high school, Thimphu, presented about Design for Change (DFC). DFC is a program that equips children with the tools to be aware of the world around them and take action toward a more desirable sustainable future. It fosters design thinking and the ‘I CAN’ mindset where children are encouraged to become agents of change and take initiative. The program enhances interpersonal, intrapersonal, and cognitive competencies through responsibility, community engagement, and active citizenship. Mr. Gayatri Bhandari from Druk School talked about three best practices from his school. Among three, one was a celebration of Flag Day. During the Flag Day, all the teachers, students, and parents come together in the school, pay tributes together, eat together and celebrate together. The program galvanizes all in unity to appreciate the past and feel the present. Mr. Samdrup Tshering from Lamgong MSS, Paro talked about wisdom and knowledge. His attempt was essentially to differentiate between wisdom and knowledge and give more emphasis on wisdom than knowledge in the process of teaching and learning. He reiterated the need to focus on wisdom than just mere acquisition of knowledge from the textbook.

|05/12/2020| In the third series, Mr. Tshering Tobgay & Mrs. Kelzang Lhadon from Shari HSS, Paro presented about G-Suite for Education. They shared about leveraging G-Suite to create an online platform for teachers and students to access resources for teaching, learning, and self-learning. Mr. Shiva Kumar from Yoeseltse MSS, Samtse talked about factors that motivate reading and Mrs. Deki Choden from ELC high school talked about Young Ambassadors of Change (YAC). It is a rural-urban collaborative partnership program to contribute to the rural school counterparts to share the design for change, best practices, and contribute essential materials like clothing, shoes, and books, etc…
|12/12/2020| In the fourth and the last episode of the V-TOB conversation, Mr. Nim Dorji from Gedu HSS, Chukha presented on Social media as a digital platform to showcase positivity in students. He shared the social media policy of Bhutan and also how social media platforms such as Facebook can be used to showcase student’s talents and promote positivity in social media. Mrs. Deki Choden from ELC high school presented on Restorative Justice & Project Helping Hands for Health and happiness. ProH4 is a GNH inspired program to promote citizenship education and community vitality through paradigm shifts. It is a program that engages children and the community through projects to help the needy ones. Restorative justice is a program that responds to the types of wrongdoing, injustice, or conflict. It focuses on repairing the damage caused by the wrongful action through QCT-Quality Class Time, restorative circles, and reflection.

More than 50 teachers took part in the four series of sharing of best practices on ZOOM and thousands watched the program on Facebook LIVE and videos.