Taslima Sheikh (30) a vidyasahayak (temporary teacher) at Shree Olvan Government Primary School in Una of Gir Somnath district has four years of teaching experience. In these years, she turned educating into an interesting experience by recording the poems sung by her students in class, on her mobile phone and uploading on YouTube.
The poems are sung by her students in the class with actions. And the irony is that her school in this small village near Diu, has no Internet connectivity.
Sheikh has turned more than 70 poems in Hindi, English, Gujarati and even Sanskrit of Class VI, VII and VIII into melody without using any musical instrument. She has set these poems in various ragas that not only help students to have a better understanding of music, but also they increase their interest and retention. Further, to retain students’ interest, she has also added actions with these melodious poems.
Several videos have been uploaded of primary children singing rhymes like “Grandfather’s glasses”, “I live in a funny town where every thing is upside down, bird walk and humans fly….”, and “There were five in the bed and the little one said, Roll over, roll over, roll over, so they all rolled over and one fell down….”. The English poems are the most popular ones with maximum views.
Another one in Sanskrit rhymes, “Jai jai hey bhagvati sur bharati, tav charano pranaamam, naad brahm mayi, jai vaagiswari, sharanam te gachchham…” of Class VII.
It is surprising to see how students who find difficulty in reading and writing in English and Sanskrit languages follow these poems. With Sheikh’s efforts, they find it interesting and easy to learn and can easily sing these without a fumble.
“With the introduction of new textbooks a year back, the teachers faced difficulty in teaching poems to students. I came across this problem during teacher training sessions. Having studied in a government school throughout and now teaching students at government school, I understand what kind of problems one has to go through,” said Sheikh who is also a Resource Person (RP) and Master Trainer (MT) for her district.
It was then that she decided to come up with such an initiative where students can easily understand and enjoy these rhymes. Initially, she started with 3-4 Hindi rhymes in Class VI and VII. She recorded the audio and shared it with other government teachers during assembly and training sessions.
Soon, these got hit among students and teachers demanded more poems turned into songs. With a masters in English and BEd and without any formal training in music, Taslima decided to convert these audio files into video clips.
“Initially, I could not find a professional videographer to shoot these poems as the minimum charge demanded for shooting one poem was Rs 100. With a monthly salary of Rs 5,300, it was very difficult for me to pay this amount. So, I decided to shoot these poems on my mobile phone in the actual classroom conditions without any musical instrument. As using musical instruments was also out of our reach as government schools are not provided with these and even if we had arranged, we would have required professionals to play these as well,” she shared.
Apart from recognition from and state government along with students and teaching fraternity, she has made a place in the list of 34 government teachers as transformers and another list of 100 government teachers with best innovations across the state under Gujarat Education Department’s project with Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) in association with Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT) and Gujarat Educational Innovations Commission (GEIC).
Sheikh shared that these recognitions inspired her in a great deal as she considers getting recognition from the chief minister, educationalists and senior officers was a real appreciation of her efforts.