Finding answers: After working with students on their study strategies for a number of years, Madhavi Shilpi had burning questions about the learning process of children. NZTC’s online study mode was perfect for Madhavi’s busy lifestyle, allowing her to study at her own pace, find answers to her questions, and develop new questions.
What were you doing before you began studying with NZTC?
Before I took on studying with NZTC, I taught a program called ‘Study Smart Now’ to middle and senior school students. This program, that I developed seven years ago, aims to empower students with techniques and personal management strategies to study effectively.
What inspired you to study early childhood education?
The absence of a love for learning that I saw in a vast majority of the students I worked with raised some burning questions… How do babies learn? What can we do, as parents and educators, to keep the fire of learning burning bright? I began searching for a study program that would help me find answers to these questions. I was drawn to the online self-study option that NZTC provided, and a very informative and positive information session at the Mumbai Office led me to sign up.
What appealed to you about studying online with NZTC?
The ease of learning at one’s own time and pace, as is only possible with online learning, appealed to me greatly since it would allow me to continue working and wearing the many hats I do as wife, mum, daughter, aunt and then some! I felt very comfortable talking with the staff at the Mumbai Office, and their reassurance that they would guide me through the ‘academic’ processes that I was worried about, led me to make a commitment to the program.
I found that the online study environment made the learning process very simple. The ease of navigation, online support, links to the library and research journals, as well as study skills guidance made it easy for me to step back into the world of academia.
How did NZTC and the NZTC India Office support you during your studies?
I requested the New Zealand library to help me locate articles I needed and could not find. I called and eMailed lecturers in both Mumbai and New Zealand for help. Whether my questions were about essay formatting, referencing, understanding concepts or simply because I was panicking about a deadline, help was always available: non-judgemental, kind and timely.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during your studies?
Academic research and writing was the biggest challenge for me. But, like a child learning to walk, my early fumbles became a more confident walk as the entire teaching and learning community supported my efforts to conquer this challenge. The lecturers in Mumbai were very helpful and the markers’ comments steered me in the right direction so the challenge eventually turned into a triumph!
What do you consider your biggest achievement during your studies to be?
I think my biggest achievement has been to walk out with more questions than I walked in with! Yes, I had many of my questions answered over three years of reading, thinking, researching, talking with other students and writing assessments. But my newfound knowledge has opened up doors that need to be walked through and areas that need to be explored. And I know I am going to enjoy the process!
Now that you have graduated, what are your plans for the future?
I am designing a series of Parenting Workshops for parents of young children. With these I hope to enable parents to understand their children and the process of growth and learning. I also hope to be able to connect with early childhood learning environments to foster discussions with teachers and parents.
What would you say to people considering studying early childhood education?
I would say, NZTC is the place that embodies the very teachings it seeks to impart. My educational qualification is the outcome of gentle teachings, unwavering support, and the freedom to ask questions and explore ideas that touched me deeply.