Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Learn, Out of the Box – STiR Partnership in Uttarakhand

-Rajeev Bahuguna
Rajeev supports and manages the 12 Learn, Out of the Box schools in Gairsain block (Chamoli, Uttarakhand)

Learn, Out of the Box has partnered with STiREducation Initiative to identify and nurture ‘Teacher Changemakers’ in our project schools in Maharashtra and Uttarakhand.

This piece covers the story of the changemakers from Uttarakhand.
In our teacher’s workshop held in September 2014 we introduced an hour long session of STiR in all the three blocks of Chamoli. In this effort, we tried to identity and recognize teachers as “Innovators” rather than just facilitators. In these Learn, Out of the Box – STIR workshop, teachers were introduced to various types of innovative ideas to improve classroom practices and thereby improve learning outcomes. We highlighted that their diverse teaching and learning techniques could be recognized and replicated in other classrooms as well, and how they can become “Changemakers”.
In this workshop, about 90 teachers from Chamoli district shared their micro-innovations. Thirteen of them were selected to represent their ideas nationally, at a summit held in New Delhi in October 2014. They were also conferred a certification from STiR, as a recognition of their efforts. The teachers got an opportunity to share their ideas and also learn from other teachers during the summit.
Now the ‘Teacher Innovation Network’ for Learn, Out of the Box teachers got established in Chamoli District. The purpose of this network was to bring together teachers with passion to teach, facilitate them to implement innovative teaching learning ideas in their classroom.
Initial block level meeting saw many volunteer teachers participating, but subsequent meetings saw continuous attendance of eleven teachers from Dasoli, ten from Karanaprayag and seven from Gairsain. So, we had final list of 28 “Networked Teachers”.
We had first formal meeting of these 28 “Networked Teachers” in December 2014. The key outcome of the meeting was the identification of the problems faced by the teachers in the classrooms, which can be categorized as below:
  • Issues faced in planning of a class
  • Classroom teaching
  • Student engagement
In the month of January 2015, a second meeting was conducted. within the face of extreme weather conditions, the participation of the teachers motivated our efforts. This meeting was primarily centered on understanding and discussing of “growth mindset” and classroom innovation. The teachers agreed that these were helping them a lot and classes were vibrant and cheerful unlike in the past.
In February, a third meeting was conducted. This was focused on those teachers who were still facing issues in their class. The network tried understanding their point of view and suggested a few recourses - like group work among the students, better ways to implement innovative ideas, etc. We tried motivating them by showing them the results of other teachers who had successfully implemented innovative teaching-learning ideas in their classrooms.
The final meeting with selected teachers was held in May 2015 in Gopeshwar. This final meeting was organized as a Seminar in which the teachers showcased their efforts to the administrative officers of education department. This event gave their efforts a recognition, which would help them in keeping up the motivation to innovate and implement innovations. This also gave a reason for other teachers to rethink about their teaching pedagogy. The meeting also gave an opportunity for the teachers to show their creativity, for they had set up their own galleries showcasing their work.

District Education Officer commended Learn, Out of the Box’s efforts and assured his full support in implementation of the programme.
You can write to Rajeev at: