Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Documenting an Interactive and Diverse Teaching and Learning Process - Part I

-Lovnish Thakur
(Lovnish manages the Learn, Out of the Box programme in Himachal Pradesh)

The smile on young Arushi’s face took away any inhibitions I may have had on documenting one of the classes at Government Senior Secondary School in Kiarkoti – a picturesque rural hamlet located 20 kms. from the bustling city life of Shimla.

Ms. Viraj Kaushal - the Math teacher of the school has been implementing the programme’s ideas of interactive and diverse teaching methods and our aim was to document her in-classroom usage for wider circulation. Ms. Kaushal and especially her students were an excited lot when told that their class will be shot with a video camera. Their excitement was an assurance to our initial concerns of the students being conscious. Once the permissions and preparations were taken care of, we turned our focus to rehearsals with the teacher and role of the students.  The topic chosen was ‘Properties of Triangle’.

The mood of the village too was turning festive as the community took active interest in this unplanned engagement. All was set for the shooting to commence!

Shooting the Class
The day began early for us on 25th May as I along with Shadab, Daulat Ram and Krishna-the cameras person made our way to the school. Wading through the busy city traffic, we took a turn towards the link road which led us to our destination. The entire school was eagerly awaiting our arrival. The teacher, her students and all material required were prepared and ready. We were ready to roll!

The class was to be shot in five sequences and thereafter the shots will be integrated to present a full class using Interactive and Diverse Teaching Methods or IDTMs as we call them. The sequences were: Angle Yoga, Learning through Fun, Role Play, Quick Assessment and Project Work.

Angle Yoga
As evident from the name, the students were expected to show how different kind of angles can be made using their body parts. This activity was thought to be the opening activity for the class. The students were arranged into different groups and were both excited and confused initially as this was a unique classroom scenario for them.

Considering the fact that this classroom was shot in a rural ambiance, the young lads displayed much confidence and the shot was successfully canned after a few retakes. The teacher also showed the introduction video after this exercise to help children recapitulate on what they had learnt through the opening activity.

Learning through Fun
An ideal class should initiate the young minds to explore concepts and not memorize lessons. Considering this aspect, the concept of learning through fun was also introduced to the class. For this, we had cut out different shapes of Triangles as also of Square and Circles to confuse the students. The children were divided into groups for this activity. One child from each group was given 1 minute to pick up maximum number of Triangles from the box. The class was divided into 5 groups as the strength was 26 on that day. The teamwork and belongingness of students as a team was evident during this shoot as others in the group cheered the leader to pick up the maximum correct shapes in minimum time. The group with the maximum number of correct shapes was declared the winner.

It was almost 3:30 pm and we decided to call it a day as the school was about to get over in another half an hour. The exciting journey continued well into the second day too!

Read more in Part 2 of this unique experience that brought me more closer to the young kids whom I always love to be with!