Tuesday, January 29, 2008
The manual can be downloaded here.
You are welcome to print it or share with any interested individuals or schools.
This is seen as a document that is likely to be modified or refined over time. Any comments you have may please be submitted by writing to email@example.com
Monday, January 28, 2008
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Possibilities that have been explored and those under explorartion.. a rough picture is given below
RURAL OUTREACH POSSIBILITIES
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Two significant things have happened in school during the past 3 months - one you may have already heard about, the work of the school being stretched to 10,000 schools! A little more detail below:
1. MIDDLE SCHOOL - ACTIVE LEARNING METHODOLOGIES for SSA
During conversations with the SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan - Education for all) wing of the Tamilnadu Education Department we learnt that they were keen to follow up on the ACTIVITY BASED LEARNING in Primary schools with a similar program in the Upper Primary classes (grades 6 to 8). SSA were eager for us to conduct workshops for their TEACHER TRAINERS at the earliest since they wanted to change the methodologies in the current academic year.
We crafted a program called MIDDLE SCHOOL - ACTIVE LEARNING METHODOLOGIES, based on the pedagogic movements at at school. Our teachers ran a 11 day program for 60 SSA teacher trainers during the period May 16 to May 26th during our summer vacation. A draft manual was prepared at the end of these workshops.
The term ACTIVE LEARNING METHODLOLOGIES has been used by us for this programme, but coined much earlier to denote a range of strategies linked to learner-focussed pedagogies. From May - Aug 2007, the Outreach wing of The School has been involved in devising workshops and a framework for the SSA wing of the Education Department. The framework of interactions for the workshops was evolved and coordinated by Sumitra M. Gautama, our Coordinator for Outreach programs, and the content and details of the workshops were conceptualized, collated and conducted by Suchitra, Padmavathy, Girija, Ramakumar, Akhila and Sumitra, assisted by several more teachers (Arun, Sampath, Kala) and also value-added by teachers from Olcott School (Poornima, Indira). All the people involved chose to volunteer their time, and did not accepted any remuneration from the Government.
This work has developed as a sequel to the workshops Padmavathy and Sumitra had done in 2003 - 2005 for teachers of the Corporation schools of Chennai. This was followed by a year-long research on life-skills by Suchitra. The materials generated by these efforts have provided the basis for the present work.
These workshops were very well received by the 60 trainers and SSA decided to try out if the learning was replicable and effective. A pilot program was scheduled in 12 districts, 10 schools in each district. This was so well received that the indicated that they now wished to go further in an accelerated manner across the state. Last week the news was out in the papers that the Govt is going ahead with the programme across the state in 10,000 schools.
It may be pertinent to say here that this extraordinary movement from one set of workshops to a state-wide educational transformation for the upper primary children was beyond our wildest expectations. Credit for this must clearly go to the dynamic State project Director, Shri.M.P.Vijay Kumar and his team of vibrant BRTEs ( Block Resource Trainer Educators). We set out to share our pedagogic learnings and best practices in a horizontal transfer, which we have found good. Programmes with the SSA are still under development. The stories we hear from the villages and the work we see from the students is most heartening and the school feels fortunate to be able to meaningfully contribute to the larger context. It is wonderful that we can offer the Middle Schools of Tamilnadu the best of what we ourselves have evolved over the past 9 years for our school, in the area of self-study and Active Learning Methods.
Now, we are hear that the Government is formally going to inaugurate the program shortly. We have also helped SSA in finalising the Manual for teachers. Once completed, we have been told this will be in the hands of 200,000 teachers and form the basis of the pedagogy in the current year.
We are now working rapidly to consolidate this work in English as well - all the work for the Government has been in Tamil. Once an English Manual is ready we propose to publish it so teachers in English medium schools as well may also have access to this approach. The problems and the pedagogy are not that different in English medium schools from the Government schools.
The links below lead to some newspaper articles...
2. Nutritious supplement at Kilapakkam school - almost as wonderful in quality and scope...
We had written a proposal to offer a Millet Mix (a nutritious supplement) to primary school children in Government school In the village of Kilapakkam. This is the village where the school's old farm is situated. The school in Kilapakkam has about 210 children, many of whom suffer from malnutrition. Our proposal met with many obstacles as there was no precedent for a programme. The Government offers a noon meal to all children. Sumitra and Sampath visited many Education department officials to obtain permission. Finally the SSA-TN Director graciously issued a letter indicating that the project can go ahead if the Headmistress was willing to 'personally supervise' the preparation and distribution of the nutritious supplement.
The Headmistress-of the Kilapakkam village school agreed to the nutritious supplement project. From July 210 children have been getting a nutritional supplement, a porridge of millets and grain. The vessels, tumblers and all the ingredients have been donated by the school. The running cost of about Rs 5000 per month takes care of the ingredients and the cooking charges. We have donations for the next 3 months to run this scheme. This effort was spearheaded by Sumitra, based on the feedback of malnutrition from Dr.jayashree Gopal, an endocrinologist who works with the Apollo Hospitals, who has been visiting the farm once a week in the first term.
The response from the village had been extremely positive. We heard that daily some children would faint from hunger. This has completely stopped. The teachers feel happy to see the children active. We have been requested 'never to stop this work'. This project is now extending to Vellaipandal village as well, thanks again to the permission given by the SSA-TN Director.
This effort creates a model. This is probably the first example of a Govt school receiving / accepting an input such as this. The approach shows the possibilities for many children in many such schools receiving nutritional supplement. This shows a way for private initiative to contribute directly to children's well being through Govt. Schools.
Contributons for this project are welcome and may be made by cheque c/o The School KFI.