Monday, 21 March 2016

Rekha Gupte
(Rekha manages the Learn, Out of the Box programme in Mumbai)

LOTB has the opportunity of interacting with diverse schools and teachers. Regular visits of our field staff in Mumbai schools exposed us to the fact of teachers facing challenges in teaching and learning methodologies. Some teachers keep exploring various ideas and try to bring innovations in their teaching-delivery mechanisms but majority of them stick to their regular teaching styles.
Teaching-learning implementation in Mumbai classroom

Teachers often don’t get a chance to brainstorm on problems faced by them. LOTB rendered support and took a step to cater these difficulties of school teachers where they could think, discuss, ideate and implement various solutions. This helped us to build a network of teachers who would work together to solve various issues faced by them innovatively.

The Process of Networking

Teachers of Mumbai schools were asked to pen down any one unique innovation which they implemented in classrooms and received a positive feedback from students.

The "changemaker" brainstorming session
Initially, not many were interested in sharing their experiences but gradually as we started showing them the bigger picture, the intent and the importance of the activity, the engagement and enthusiasm proliferated. As we all know group learning is always helpful, similarly the group of teachers collectively worked like a think tank and figured out ways for efficient interactive teaching-learning mechanisms.

All the thoughts recovered from these intensive brainstorming sessions were collected, shortlisted and stated as “Out of the Box Ideas”. A group of teachers subjecting to these unique ideas was formed and they were appreciated and lauded for their vision of excellent education. Apart from verbal recognition, many teachers were given “Changemaker Influencers” certification from STiR.


A teacher sharing her ideas
As expected, teachers were happy after their first network meeting and started participating proactively. They were recognised individually and praised by the school management and formed an identity of their own.

The teachers started feeling empowered as they formed a cluster that contributed to a pool of diverse ideas and innovations and were constantly commended for. They started seeing a value in their work and respected each others opinions.

With the introduction of this networking exercise, teachers started sharing their other classroom experiences and envisaged a different classroom environment.

So, do you think networking always makes life easy?