Kiran Bir Sethi: Empowering Students with Design Thinking

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2015 Global Teacher Prize finalist Kiran Bir Sethi is changing the way students learn in India. At her Riverside Day School in Ahmedabad she is rethinking the traditional learning environment. Kiran’s innovative methods can be summed up in what she calls the Design Thinking Approach, which uses the design framework of feeling, imagination, action, and sharing. The result of this method is an empowered student (aka superhero!) who believes he or she can create positive and meaningful change in communities.

What are some of the impacts and results? Here are some quick facts:

  • In India’s national school assessment test, Riverside students have consistently outperformed the top 10 schools in Math, Science and English.
  • The Design for Change curriculum for middle school students is being piloted in 64 schools in India and 5 schools in Spain, Peru, USA and Taiwan.
  • The related Design for Change (DFC) School Challenge was initiated in 2009 and has since spread to over 35 countries, challenging children to design and implement solutions to problems they see around them.
  • aProCh, Riverside School’s city project celebrating childhood, has supported the implementation of these programs in five cities across the country, impacting over 50,000 children since 2007.

Watch to Kiran explain her education philosophy in this video.

Kiran’s students love her. In the words of students impacted by her work:

“You’ve given me confidence to face the world. Today, whatever I am…it’s all because of you” — we LOVE this video…

Posted by Global Teacher Prize on Thursday, January 29, 2015

In this TED talk, Kiran shared her personal story that inspired her to empower her students:

Recently Teach for America founder and Teach for All CEO Wendy Kopp and the Founder of Akanksha Foundation and CEO of Teach for India, both Academy members, visited Kiran and the Riverside Day School:

Kiran believes innovative teachers should apply for the Global Teacher Prize.


Happy Teachers’ Day in India!


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