Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Lady Shri Ram College Visit 2018

From Dec 1st to the 6th, students of education from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi came to visit Southpoint, to observe our pedagogical methods and philosophical approach in practice.

See more pictures on our Facebook page!

A number of our teachers gave presentations on different aspects of our work at NIRMAN. Below is a report by one of the LSR students, Simran Sharma, on one such teacher presentation, by Harshita Wadhwa Shetty.

Presentation by Harshita Wadhya Shetty, Practitioner
report by Simran Sharma, student, LSR

Vidyashram-The Southpoint School was established in 1990. It has three main aims: Integration, nurture love for learning; create lifelong learners, imbibe the spirit of oneness; interconnection with all life forms. Pioneers, entrepreneurs, scientists, explorers. The classes are truly inclusive. Reading and writing are used as tools to empower learners. Through various teaching-learning activities, the school nurtures Minds to think constructively and bodies to work thoughtfully. Students are encouraged to engage in innovative tasks like creating an art gallery.

Learners are expected to do hands-on tasks like farming and composting under guidance. All this is done to allow them to gain a sense of ownership. They are also provided exposure for instance people from across the globe interact with the learners here. Music and singing classes are also held to keep students close to their cultural heritage and traditional roots.

The teacher is more of a facilitator. She/he accepts each child is an individual and has a mind of her own. She is flexible, open to learning, observes and grows, reads and researches, introspects in her own methods, develops patience, compassion and empathy, has the same energy as her children, discusses, debates and learns from her peers and her children, uses the limited resources and creates the best environments for her children. Parents are seen as partners in this voyage of learning.

Students experience success in varied ways. They can voice their opinion. They can talk and write in English, Hindi and their native language confidently. They know how to structure their own time. They work on academic projects and experience it from start to finish, for example, creating their own books themselves, farming in a small piece of land to selling organic produce, upcycling products and selling them, planning a play area and creating it with available resources, read stories and make plays out of them with reimagined plots. Children through these varied exposures realize their hidden potential and consider themselves as entrepreneurs sometimes involved in running their own business.

Harshita Wadhya Shetty is a practitioner at Vidyashram, provides us an insight about role of a teacher as a facilitator. She incorporated her experience as a teacher (class 1st and 2nd) in an alternative school setting. An important role of the teacher is to integrate every child in his/her classroom irrespective of gender, class, caste, religion or ethnicity and acknowledging the differences likewise her students vary in terms of socio-cultural and economic background as well. A teacher should inculcate various resources and apply different pedagogic strategies such as story telling, project-based learning to enhance his/her teaching while emphasising on hands on experience for the children for the all round development of mind and body. For instance, as project students were provided with piece of land where they sowed seeds, cultivated the plant and finally sold it in the fair. A teacher should know to manifest and utilise the energy of children constructively, there can be yoga, art and craft or music sessions to channelize their energy without restricting their mobility. Discipline can’t be imposed on students, a teacher should be flexible enough to provide the student with freedom in certain area and let the students take the onus of work or responsibility on them, in such a manner providing a scope for self-discipline. The classroom teaching must be in continuation with the child’s home environment then only a child would be able to learn without finding contradiction of ideas. For this the teacher and the parents should know about the activities at school and at home ,working as partners in nurturing the child then only it can be a successful process. At last she directed her speech for future teachers as it is important to understand that the willingness to work should come from within. As a successful teacher is one who is flexible , learn to monitor his/ her growth, introspects own methods and then only it would be justice to be teacher.

At the end of the session Prof. Farida Khan concluded it by putting some relevant questions for teacher educators and student teacher. This is the way education should be, why there is need of alternative schooling, why it can’t be mainstream. There is need to cater the diversity but firstly uniting the small groups so that they can be accommodated into larger ones. In a country like India where there is gradation of hierarchy i.e. hierarchy within a social group there is need to break that hierarchy by providing quality education and at the same time catering the diversity. There is a need to understand that schools are the microcosms of the larger society so the challenges at this level and the changes they can make, are to go beyond the classrooms. In recent times education has become the tool of indoctrination so it has become a challenge in itself for the educators to question the larger social values.

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