CLASS NOTES

AC­TOR RAD­HIKA APTE BE­LIEVES THAT A SCHOOL SHOULD HELP STU­DENTS NUR­TURE THEIR IN­TER­ESTS

India Today - - THE REAL STORY - BY URSILA ALI

On at­tend­ing a pro­gres­sive learn­ing cen­tre as a child

My school—Ak­shar­nan­dan School, Pune, be­lieves in self-learn­ing and com­pe­ti­tion—not with fel­low pupils but more with your­self. It also be­lieves in ed­u­ca­tion through re­gional lan­guages as it helps to es­tab­lish roots. The school doesn’t fo­cus on ca­reer build­ing as much as mak­ing chil­dren aware that they have a mind of their own and helps them nur­ture their spe­cific in­ter­ests.

A dif­fer­ent ped­a­gogy

Projects had to be done in groups or in­di­vid­u­ally rather than study­ing the sub­ject from text­book. We vis­ited places such as farms and fac­to­ries so we could ac­tu­ally see the func­tion­ing of an or­gan­i­sa­tion rather than study it only for ex­ams. We had a free timetable for two weeks ev­ery year which had to be de­signed by the stu­dents them­selves. It was in­ter­est­ing to see how a group of chil­dren ne­go­ti­ated their sched­ule, what they pri­ori­tised and with­out skip­ping any­thing that was nec­es­sary.

On the joy of learn­ing

My math­e­mat­ics teacher Geeta Ma­hashabde made the sub­ject feel like a new mys­tery that had to be solved by the end of the day. Some­times she only read out sto­ries. One couldn’t find a di­rect con­nec­tion with the story and the sub­ject. But it some­how al­ways came to­gether. Theatre was taught by Nan­dita Wa­gle and Paresh Mokashi— an in­ter­est­ing duo who through their teach­ing meth­ods de­vel­oped a unique re­la­tion­ship with stu­dents.

Why al­ter­na­tive school­ing?

We need to change our ap­proach to­wards ed­u­ca­tion and take away the pres­sure of ca­reer build­ing. Chil­dren need to flour­ish, feel free and learn the es­sen­tial val­ues that are go­ing to help the world be dif­fer­ent to­mor­row. We need to teach them that no job is in­fe­rior, that there are sim­ple ways to find hap­pi­ness and that we have free­dom of thought, speech and right to ques­tion. It’s es­sen­tial to find a school which works on this phi­los­o­phy.

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