Anxious and partly unsure about how the teachers would perceive our presentation, we started off for Siddhatek on Wednesday 28th March morning from Pune. Once we reached Siddhatek, we took a short break and reached the town of Rashin at about 11.30 am.
The 'sabha kaksh' of a govt school was filled with about a 100 teachers and more were pouring in. By my request, the coordinator split them into two groups after welcoming me and Nalini with the traditional 'shrifal'.
The concept of the workshop was to inspire teachers to become proactive educators and to begin implementing the best educational practices known today. To give some knowledge to them, I wanted them to want it first. Hence the first part of workshop was to make them realize the redundancy of current teaching practices and the need of a modern pedagogy.
I split them into five groups of about 12-14 each within which they were supposed to ideate and discuss. To begin with we made them go through an ice-breaking activity wherein we made them shed all inhibitions by acting stupid. And then they were to ponder, discuss and put forth their ideas on the concept of education, issues in present educational practices and dream of an ideal village school in 2020. After which I gave a small lecture on Modern Pedagogy and the practices which are an important part of it. (Five Investments, Differentiated Instructions, Curriculum Designing).
With no electricity, the projector and powerpoint presentation we carried was rendered useless. Yet the workshop with the first group went very well and I could see a good set of people who were inspired to improve their practices. The workshop with second group was a disappointment in terms of cooperation from the teachers hence nothing from that one deserves a mention here. It was only one notch higher than being an embarrassment and a good test of my tolerance. Erasing this memory I will proceed with the blog...
On the second day I went to see a local municipal school near Siddhatek. Observed the proceedings of the school for first hour and then it was tickling me from inside to have some fun with the kids. So began the brief session with kids in which I made them sing two songs, have some fun and learn a couple of Hindi words. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the session and were singing the Hindi song even as I left the school after some half hour. I even talked to them about where I come from and they were laughing out loud when I spoke in Gujarati for a minute to stress on importance of Hindi. They will remember me for a very long time and more importantly the six new hindi words they learned.
Nalini's family hosted me for two days at their home in Siddhatek. The hospitality was overwhelming and the simple food was so delicious that I didn't mind being overfed by her elder brother. I enjoyed driving bike on the rural roads winding through beautiful landscape of the region while traveling from Siddhatek to Rashin and back. Sparrows from around her house still hop in my memory. I feel like I traded my knowledge and skills in education for an authentic rustic experience. The insights I got into rural life, rural schools, issues faced by villagers have surely widened my perspective. All in all, this trip was very refreshing and enriching. Thanks to Nalini and her very cute family.
Click on the pictures for a bigger view.
|A teacher sportily doing 'Ting Ding Ling Ting Ding' dance for the camera... Shedding all inhibitions, opening up to new ideas...|
|Making Hen sounds and Flapping Wings... :D My brilliant idea of an icebreaker was very effective.|
|'Listening'(not simply hearing) to someone is the first step to make them listen to you...|
|Discussing the issues in education...|
|The chap writing in the centre, Subodh, was quite inspired. He approached me after the workshop to take some suggestions on curriculum designing...|
|Girls playing at the town school where workshop was held...|
|Later they shyly peep from the door and ask 'did you click photo?' 'kharach?(really?)'... i said 'ho' :)|
|The small school of a small village with total strength of 30 children... grades 1 to 4|
|All 4 grades sit in the same classroom as out of two teachers one was at the teachers training. Each grade turn by turn gets up and recites poems in their syllabus - english and marathi.|
|One of the best policies of public education in India... Mid-day meal for children, increases attendance and decreases malnutrition.|
|In the break time, this little princess picked up her book, sat in a corner and started doing exercises...These children become excellent self-learners due to the weak teaching they receive in schools.|
|And there my session begins.. :D :D ...|
|They had to sing these words 'Jimma Gapori (2) Jimma' the way I did... And here I chose to cry while singing.|
|Crying or laughing?!|
|i was so pleased and satisfied and happy from within...|