Shobha Padarha: A Visionary Force Illuminating the Path Towards Holistic Learning and Transformative Educational Leadership

Shobha Padarha
Shobha Padarha

Though formal education begins in school, learning begins the moment we are born. This natural learning is never theoretical. Rather, we unintentionally keep learning experientially—by doing things in practice even after being taught. So much so that, even when we are being told as a baby or child not to do something or in some way, we never listen. We keep doing everything in our own way. That is how we and everybody must learn and keep learning in our lifetimes.

It is the only way we can face all the unforeseen obstacles, challenges, issues, and problems and, by tackling them successfully, emerge as the mighty individuals and global citizens the world needs more urgently than ever.

Our education needs to be more holistic, sustainable, and all-inclusive to create future leaders. With this vision, it is that in the realm of education, where the quest for knowledge transcends traditional boundaries, Shobha Padarha stands as a luminary—a guiding force reshaping the learning landscape. Her journey, rooted in the belief that education extends beyond the confines of formal schooling, underscores the transformative power of experiential learning and holistic pedagogy.

Unveiling the Essence of Learning 

The essence of learning, as Shobha advocates, transcends the structured confines of formal education. From the moment of birth, humans embark on a journey of experiential learning—absorbing knowledge not merely through theoretical instruction but through practical engagement with the world. This innate learning, characterized by a hands-on approach, remains foundational throughout life’s journey, enabling individuals to confront unforeseen challenges and emerge as resilient, adaptive global leaders.

Shobha embarked on her professional journey with a vision to redefine education—a vision that champions holistic, sustainable, and inclusive learning. Her initiation into the educational realm began with establishing a Montessori play school in Hyderabad, symbolizing a departure from conventional teaching methodologies. As her journey unfolded, she transitioned into teaching primary students, leveraging her belief in experiential learning and nurturing a comprehensive understanding of education as a transformative force.

Beyond Formal Education

Transitioning from teaching to the role of a coordinator in Hyderabad schools marked a pivotal chapter in Shobha’s educational odyssey. Her evolution as an educational trailblazer was marked by a commitment to fostering an ecosystem that nurtured future leaders. Embracing the ethos of holistic education, she espoused the values of inclusivity, innovation, and sustainability, laying the groundwork for a transformative educational paradigm.

Shobha’s educational philosophy resonates with the belief that nurturing future leaders demands an approach that transcends traditional pedagogy. Her emphasis on holistic learning aims to cultivate well-rounded individuals equipped with critical thinking, resilience, and adaptability—essential traits for navigating the complexities of the modern world. By instilling a passion for learning that extends beyond textbooks, she envisions a generation of individuals poised to tackle global challenges.

The Vision for Holistic Education 

As an advocate for holistic education, Shobha’s legacy is enshrined in her commitment to fostering a learning environment that transcends academic boundaries. Her endeavours have laid the groundwork for an educational landscape that cherishes experiential learning, sustainability, and inclusivity—pillars upon which future leaders and global citizens can thrive.

After beginning her professional journey, Shobha started teaching primary students and further shouldered the coordinator’s responsibility at Hyderabad schools. Shobha recalls that the trend was mostly of traditional teaching; only a few forward-looking schools were practising experiential learning methodology. “I was lucky enough to explore my teaching skills in an open environment,” she believes. God was merciful, and at her native place, Raipur, she could see the opportunity to develop a state-of-the-art infrastructure school. To give back to society and set a new educational trend in Raipur, Shobha moved back to Raipur with her family and established a K-12 school. She looked into the school’s academic excellence, training the teachers of her school, and kept them abreast with the latest 21st-century skills. Shobha states, “I continuously work towards integrating the core subjects with different art forms for the holistic development of the students.”

A Commitment to Creating Future Leaders

Shobha has emerged as one of the most admired women in the educational sector. Sharing the guiding philosophy that has propelled her success, Shobha says it is ‘To develop within children a concept of self, with a growing sense of independence and a curiosity to know about the world around them. So that they become observers and explorers and take the initiative to experiment with their surroundings. Children need to experience things to learn.

To ensure that a conscious, purposeful, organized and sustained effort is put in to facilitate students’ physical, intellectual, emotional and social development through standardized instructional programs encompassing curricular and extracurricular activities. According to Shobha, the success mantra has to be a ‘Never give up attitude, create something new each day, innovate and think outside the box. Enjoy the process of building up the team and students.’

The educational landscape is continually evolving. Shobha further believes that education cannot be constrained into watertight compartments. Physical, social and emotional development should go hand in hand with intellectual development. An integrated approach to learning provides immense opportunities while making the experience as enjoyable as it is educative. “We at Brahmavid The Global School (BTGS) believe in experiential learning in environments beyond the classrooms, making it fun and meaningful. Our empowered students shall explore, experiment and exceed all expectations and develop a love for learning all their lives.”

Classes outside the classroom. Shobha informs, “Learning in the open is something our teachers and students crave more and more.” Teachers must create lesson plans which can be incorporated outside the class amidst natural surroundings. She adds, “I am proud to state that my school, BTGS, is associated with Google for education, and our teachers get training for using Google tools to apply them to enhance their teaching techniques. Technology plays a major role in our school. We are trying to become a paperless institution and have taken many steps forward on that road.”

All the planning, information, circulars, and notices are sent digitally. Shobha says that they work on Google Cloud, which enhances their proficiency and provides them with ease of work. Teachers are given enough time to develop their professional skills to help the students reach their goals.

Holistic Learning: Shobha Padarha’s Enduring Legacy

Shobha’s leadership style is often recognized as an inspirational force behind her achievements. Shedding light on her leadership and team-building approach, she says, “I am a people person. I work along with the team, giving them SMART goals to achieve.”

As a leader, Shobha is always accessible to her team whenever they need her. She is open to their suggestions and feedback to take BTGS ahead. She conducts frequent workshops and team-building activities, which enhances the problem-solving and critical, creative thinking of her team members. “I give them the freedom to have a one-on-one with me. While mentoring them, I learn from them, which is my secret to success,” reveals Shobha.

The essence of education lies in bringing innovation and advancements to the niche. To balance advanced solutions and increasing user expectations, Shobha says they focus on the four pillars/strengths—Experiential learningICTMultiple Intelligence, and Design Thinking.

At BTGS, we integrate subjects and look towards the holistic development of students. We give them real-life experiences through various day-to-day activities to help them discover themselves,” says Shobha, adding that their motto is: An integrated approach to learning and discovering yourself.

She furthers, “Here, at BTGS {as we call it}, not only the students but all team members continuously work towards self-discovery. Our school is abreast with all the core ingredients NEP 2020 is asking for, and we are happy that we have been practising all the elements for a few years now, be it art integration, sports or reading campaigns, or innovative teaching practices.”

Discovering the Leader in Everyone

Shobha and BTGS have achieved remarkable success. Highlighting a transformative project that showcases their commitment to excellence and innovation, Shobha mentions the latest ‘LEADER IN ME’ program that her school has taken up.

Founded on the belief that everyone has the potential to leadLeader in Me is a comprehensive PK–12 framework that nurtures student leadership, fosters a culture of trust, and boosts academic success. This proven approach empowers students, educators, and families with essential leadership and life skills, preparing them to excel. Leader in Me is an evidence-based, social-emotional learning process—developed in partnership with educators—that empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. It is based on secular principles and practices of personal, interpersonal, and organizational effectiveness.

Students are introduced to the Seven Habits through in-class lessons and by integrating principles through a school-wide culture. When the Seven Habits resonate with students, their teachers, parents, and administrators can see, hear, and feel how life-ready leaders demonstrate principles of responsibility, discipline, and teamwork.

Schools that embrace the Seven Habits integrate them in various unique and creative ways, like hall murals and signs, classroom art, school songs, student speeches, leadership roles, and service projects. As part of the Leader in Me implementation, students learn to apply the Seven Habits not only at school but in all areas of their lives.

Fostering a Truly Global Knowledge Economy 

Today, every educational aspect goes beyond the physical realm, touching on digital transformation, constant learner engagement, and virtual learning experience. Addressing these critical factors in their offerings, Shobha says the BTGS offers:

*Circle Time

One of the strategies we use for behaviour management is circle time, a group communication mode.” Providing sensory experiences to children is also a time for fun, physical activity and socialization, leading to their all-round development. “I take loads of Circle time sessions with teachers during the training and equip them with tools of the trade.”

*Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader

Brahmavid boasts of one of the best libraries. Its LRC (Learning Resource Centre) accommodates books of various genres, and we developed a love for reading from a very young age. Shobha says, “Not only children, but my teachers as well parallelly read and complete their weekly Professional Development Diaries by filling in their learnings, and I personally look into this domain.”

*DEAR TIME @ BTGS– Where from the guards at the door to the Directors, drop everything and read.

Of Wisdom-full Geniuses

Divulging her future vision at Brahmavid, Shobha says that to continue making a significant impact on India’s educational landscape, they are offering maximum advantage to the students in their preparation for:

  • Qualifying examinations
  • Further education
  • Smooth transition to other institutions/Universities
  • Individual attention to students within the classroom framework and ensure maximum participation in the learning activity.
  • A solid base to nurture a set of positive values in students as individuals and national and global citizens while promoting:
  • ­ Self-worth.
  • ­ Cultural identity.
  • ­ Multiculturalism.
  • ­ Social and global commitment.

A Visionary Educational Leader

We are transforming the complete Brahmavid culture through the LEADER IN ME program—based on Dr Covey’s award-winning book,” concludes Shobha,

Shobha Padarha, as the Academic Director at BTGS, emerges as a visionary—a beacon illuminating the path towards holistic learning and transformative educational leadership. Her relentless pursuit of a comprehensive, experiential approach to education inspires educators and institutions towards a future where learning transcends textbooks and nurtures individuals capable of shaping a better world.

As the torchbearer of holistic learning, Shobha’s impact echoes in the generations she has influenced, fostering a legacy that champions education as a catalyst for individual empowerment and global progress.