Monday, Oct 20, 2014

Not just schoolteachers, but changemakers in education

Participants at India’s first teacher-changemakers summit, organised by STIR (Schools and Teachers Innovating for Results) Education, in the capital. Participants at India’s first teacher-changemakers summit, organised by STIR (Schools and Teachers Innovating for Results) Education, in the capital.
Written by Shikha Sharma | New Delhi | Posted: April 14, 2014 2:33 am

Fifty-five teachers from government and other schools from across the country come together to share simple, innovative approaches they practise to redefine learning. SHIKHA SHARMA profiles a few of these micro-innovators.

Vivek Chauhan, Principal

Government Primary School, Jaswala, Rajasthan

Every time an official would visit the government primary school in Jaswala, Rajasthan, its principal, Vivek Chauhan, remembers feeling embarrassed when students were quizzed on their vocabulary. “Woh cat ko kutta bolte the, mango ko more; dedh baje good morning kehte the aur nashte ko lunch (For them, cat was a dog and mango a peacock; at 1.30 pm, they would wish others good morning and refer to breakfast as lunch),” Chauhan recalls. Things, however, hit a low when a local newspaper reported ‘the funny English’ the children spoke.

“I knew I had to do something, but didn’t know what,” he says.

When all else failed, Chauhan devised a technique of his own, using the ubiquitous attendance register. “Instead of calling out a student by his name, I’d address him using a fruit’s name in English. The student would answer the roll call by responding with the Hindi word for the fruit,” he says.

To begin with, students found it funny, but soon the change was visible. Students not only responded to names like orange and papaya, they reciprocated with the correct Hindi equivalents too. Encouraged, Chauhan extended the technique to other things — names of vegetables, birds, animals, countries and their capitals, scientists and their discoveries, books and their authors, etc. “I devoted five minutes to the exercise everyday. The children have learnt approximately 400 new English words in the last one year,” he says.

Chauhan is one of 55 micro-innovators — teachers from the country’s many government and budget schools, who may not have the desired resources or capital at their disposal, but who are constantly pushing the boundaries when it comes to improving learning outcomes through sheer creativity, enterprise and innovations.

At India’s first teacher changemakers summit, organised by STIR (Schools and Teachers Innovating for Results) Education, they came together to share simple, innovative approaches they practise in their own schools, revealing how small, novel methods have redefined learning in the environment of their own little schools.

 

TURNING STUDENTS INTO ‘AUTHORS’

Banraj Singh Shekhawat (Class 3 teacher)

Satya Bharti Government Primary School, Dhani Pipliyan Amer, Rajasthan

A librarian at the school, Shekhawat was taking a walk when he chanced upon several children sitting under a village tree, exchanging bedtime stories told by their grandparents. “We had storybooks in our school, but children rarely picked up these books because they found it difficult to read. The books were in English. Yet, I wondered — which child doesn’t like stories?” he says.

To encourage a love for stories, he first started asking students continued…

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