A Collection of Perspectives on Teaching Practices


Central Square Foundation (CSF) is a philanthropy venture fund and policy think tank focused on improving K-12 education for children from low-income communities in India. CSF is strictly a philanthropic funding and capacity-building organization that operates by making early and growth stage grants in education-focused NGOs.

Centre for Teacher Accreditation (CENTA) is a social enterprise that has been founded by people with deep backgrounds in education. With excellence as its core value, CENTA aims to focus on a broad spectrum of teachers, from reputed branded schools to low-income schools. Our methodology is highly scientific, research-backed and fact-based, supported by an advisory board of eminent leaders.Our long-term vision is that with the increase in opportunities and recognition and with greater professionalism overall, a larger number of people with the appropriate skills, attitudes and passion embrace teaching and it becomes a more celebrated and preferred profession!




Teachers are the central character in any school system, and their effectiveness and success are key to children’s learning. In classrooms across India, our teachers work tirelessly, sometimes under severe resource constraints, teaching children with a diversity of learning levels, interests and backgrounds. Teaching can also be a lonely profession, with limited avenues to discuss successes and challenges amongst peers. Several platforms are gradually emerging to bridge this gap between teachers, providing resources for continuous professional development and the motivation to tackle stiff challenges.
Chalk and Challenges is a collection of perspectives on teaching practices written by a group of winners of the CENTA Teaching Professionals' Olympiad 2015 and 2016. This group includes school teachers, fellows, school leaders and education experts. They offer ideas and inspiration to the teaching community by sharing strategies and techniques that they have successfully used in their classrooms.

This is a book by teachers for teachers. It speaks directly to their needs, and shares practices that could be replicated in classrooms across the country.



Central Square Foundation and Centre for Teacher Accreditation would like to thank our expert facilitators (listed below) whose interaction with the teacher-authors and in-depth feedback on the drafts has immensely benefitted this book. Their support and critical insight has led to a significant improvement in the quality of the chapters.

  • Ms Medha Bankhwal, Founding Member, The TeacherApp
  • Mr Sandeep Bapna, Managing Director, Khan Academy India
  • Ms Smriti Jain, Co-Founder and Director, I Am A Teacher
  • Mr Vinod Karate, Founder and CEO, The TeacherApp
  • Mr Rahul Panda, Chief Academic Officer, Science Education Initiatives
  • Ms Shoba Raman, Principal, Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Chennai
  • Ms Kunali Sanghvi, Chief Learning Officer, TEACH-NOW
  • Ms Gayatri Vaidya, Manager - Assessments, Educational Initiatives


The themes covered in this book are broadly aligned with the ‘CENTA Standards’. This is a competency framework comprising well-defined expectations from teachers at different stages of their careers. These Standards were rigorously developed through intensive research on international teaching standards and gathering inputs from several hundred stakeholders within India. The Standards are regularly refined based on stakeholder input, research and data.
    The five sections of this book capture perspectives on:
  • Subject Expertise and Pedagogy
  • Child Learning and Classroom Management
  • Role of Technology
  • The Teacher as a Professional
  • Student-centred Learning

The first three themes reflect many of the ‘Technical Competencies’ in the CENTA Standards, the fourth reflects some of the ‘Core Competencies’ and ‘Professional Competencies,’ and the fifth reflects overarching ‘Mindsets.’ Each essay provides a unique perspective on a topic within the broader theme of the section, based on the teacher-author’s ideas and experiences.