On the first day I attended a session on moving our classrooms from teacher centric to student centric on the expectation that it would give me some key insights about activities that can be done and have been done to help the kids co-own the classroom. But unfortunately the session which was conducted bt two TFI fellows was very generic. They talked two ways to making a class child centric- student focused and student lead. As the name suggests the first one is where the teachers can differentiate between the kids and can take parallel classes based on the kids learning levels. While in a student lead classroom the teachers and kids co-own the classes, which means more of the peer learning happening. They shared the importance of circle time where the kids teach each other basic things like names of the months, days, time.
I personally went back to my LQ days where I tried to teach the kids by forming grpups. It is possible to do parallel teaching and this is what we can plan to help my teachers out with. Some of the teachers complain about the heavy admin work especially at month end. So we can design some activities were kids would co-own the class and learn from each other.
SESSION 2- Change in education: when, where and how?
This session was conducted by Madhav Chavan from Pratham. The theme of the session was, Every child out of the school and learning well. He talked what the future of education in India where alternative structures would be created apart from the formal schooling system.
He talked about the history of education where education was one-to-one transfer of knowledge. About 2000 years ago, the enter village/community was responsible for a kids’ education and then there were some learned people who took the lead to teach kids. Students would travel long distances to seek education in Nalanda and other universities. But even in that era the learning use to happen on a one-to-one basis. Then as the number of kids started increasing there came the blackboard. The teacher became the most knowledgeable person and started transferring or rather downloading the knowledge. The education systems have not seen any remarkable change since then. Rote learning and cramming of the books is what is we call education.
We have to break this down and start the many –to-many way of teaching, where the teachers is just as facilitator and also a leaner. Today the kids have access to technology and can google anything at any point of time. We have to start connecting the education that to provide our children to their daily life. Schools based on J.Krishanamurti and Shri Aurobindo’s idea of education are aleady making some efforts to do the same . IN some of the schools of Aurobindo’s students have the right to choose their teachers for particular subjects. The concept of home schooling, deschooling will create alternatives to schools. The idea is simple, teachers just have to provide the right kind of environment and the kids would learn by themselves. Each kid must be made responsible for their learning.
SESSION 3- CREATING SUSTAINABLE SCHOOLS.
The session was suppose to enlighten the participants about how to make our schools eco-freindly and sustainable, but it ended up to be a marketing session of Centre for environment, research and education. You can visit their website, www.cere-india.org to buy their products.
I was feeling feverish and so was able to attend just one workshop by Vishal Talreja of Drean to dream.
Dream to dream work with vulnerable kids in Bangalore on building their life skills . They try to create experiential cycles for the kids to build 5 skills in the kids, ability to interact, manage conflicts, solve problems, take initiatives and follow instructions. They do this through sports and art. The key word is reflection as i understood. They help the kids to reflect on over the 90 min sports/art sessions and create the learning moments in their life.
The session was brilliantly taken by him to make reflect over some of my learning/ winning moments in my life which help me to push myself and give my best. One interesting thing that he said was the power of positive engagement. How genuine appreciation can help create the learning moments and help us understand ourselves.
The session reiterate the need to reflect over my experiences as, experiences without reflection are of no use and are lost .
Because of time crunch we couldn’t engage into a deeper level of discourse about, what are the challenges in engaging with kids , how much time one need to invest and ways to cater the same with the mainstream kids.
Apart from this I met few some TFI fellows and Mr. Kamath the PL of Deshpande foundation, he working in Karnataka on enhancing social entrepreneurship in youth. You can mail him at www.deshpandefoundation.org. Had some chit chat with teachers of different schools here and there .