Class acts: Teach­er­scross­lan­guage,in­frahur­dles

From learn­ing di­alects to past­ing QR codes in books, teach­ers in ru­ral ar­eas across state over­come lack of re­sources to cre­ate bet­ter study­ing en­vi­ron­ment for stu­dents

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTMETRO -

re­sources and ad­min­is­tra­tive ap­a­thy.

Asked about how the ini­tia­tive has helped im­prove learn­ing, Kru­tika Naru Baraf, a Class five stu­dent from the school, says, “I feel a lot more con­fi­dent speak­ing Marathi now. This has helped me un­der­stand con­cepts well.”

Ran­jis­inh Disale, a ZP school teacher from Madha taluka in So­la­pur, is fa­mously re­ferred to as a ‘global teacher’ by the vil­lagers. In 2014, Disale re­alised that stu­dents need to learn be­yond text­books. While he de­cided to use tech­nol­ogy to bet­ter the learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for his stu­dents, the school only had one lap­top. “It would take a long time to show con­tent to stu­dents on a sin­gle de­vice. I tried to look for so­lu­tions on­line and found an easy op­tion — QR codes. In the days to come, I cre­ated QR codes and pasted them in text­books. These codes could be scanned with the help of mo­bile phones and ad­di­tional re­sources on the topic would pop up.”

In 2015, state govern­ment adopted Disale’s idea and made QR codes avail­able in Balb­harti text­books. In or­der to ex­pose stu­dents to a global en­vi­ron­ment, Disale also started to con­duct Skype ses­sions with var­i­ous schools across the world. So far, stu­dents of the school have learnt about 142 coun­tries. “There were nine stu­dents from Classes one to four in 2009. To­day, there are 47, thanks to these changes,” he says.

At Chi­rad­pada ZP school in Bhi­wandi, Pan­durang Bhoir has come up with a low-cost strat­egy to make sci­ence in­ter­est­ing for stu­dents. Bhoir uses waste ma­te­ri­als like plas­tic bot­tles, old wires and rubber to make mod­els with the help of which, stu­dents can con­duct ex­per­i­ments. “In ru­ral ar­eas, stu­dents are mostly scared about sci­ence ow­ing to lack of ex­po­sure to the sub­ject. Set­ting up a so­phis­ti­cated lab is a costly af­fair for which there is no fund­ing. With the help of dis­carded items, we cre­ated mod­els with the help of which stu­dents can learn about im­por­tant con­cepts like air pres­sure, elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion, among oth­ers. While Bhoir ini­ti­ated the project in 2016, his stu- dents are now tak­ing it for­ward. “Re­cently, a stu­dent won an award for com­ing up with a pro­tec­tive guard for trees made of old plas­tic bot­tles, which would save them from for­est fires and soil ero­sion. Stu­dents are no longer scared of ex­per­i­ment­ing, which is a big achieve­ment of the project,” he added.

Jagdish In­dalkar, prin­ci­pal of KVK School in Ghatkopar, said while ru­ral schools have is­sues with re­spect to ac­cess, those in cities have to of­ten deal with ap­a­thy from staff and par­ents. The school runs an ini­tia­tive called Bolkya Bhinti (talk­ing walls). where each wall of the school is used to cre­ate learn­ing aids for stu­dents — from maps to math­e­mat­i­cal for­mu­las. “We re­alised that stu­dents in the city do not get enough ac­tiv­ity ow­ing to seden­tary life­styles and thus de­cided to rear­range our breaks. In­stead of just one long break, we have short breaks af­ter ev­ery two pe­ri­ods for stu­dents to go around the school.”

De­spite their in­no­va­tions, how­ever, the teach­ers have to still strug­gle for ba­sics. “We have to teach 40 stu­dents in a sin­gle class­room be­cause the sec­ond class­room needs re­pairs. It is sad to see that de­spite our in­no­va­tive prac­tices be­ing recog­nised, there is no im­prove­ment in the sup­port that we get to keep go­ing. Teach­ers dou­ble up as clerks and pe­ons to do ev­ery­thing — from plant­ing trees in the cam­pus to serv­ing mid­day meals.”

Vechya Gavit, a teacher who came up with in­no­va­tive teach­ing prac­tices in 1995, said most teach­ers like him are driven by the sheer mo­ti­va­tion of giv­ing chil­dren a bet­ter learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Gavit, who ear­lier worked at a school in Kar­jat, is now work­ing at the Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity. “I started out in a de­crepit struc­ture in Kar­jat, which looked noth­ing like a school. Af­ter learn­ing the lo­cal di­alect and in­ter­act­ing with par­ents, I could slowly bring about in­ter­est in learn­ing among stu­dents. At a time when most vil­lages still lack ac­cess to ba­sic fa­cil­i­ties, teach­ers who wish to bring about a change can only make learn­ing in­ter­est­ing.” Gavit’s ef­forts had prompted the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment to in­clude di­alects in lan­guage text­books from 2012.

Re­cently, Balb­harti, the pub­lish­ing bureau of the state came up with the first bilin­gual text book. The book for class ones Marathi has trans­lated text in Ma­dia, lo­cal lan­guage of prim­i­tive tribes in Gad­chi­roli.

Ash­wini Son­a­vane , ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cer in the re­gion, sent a pro­posal to the board to come up with text for kids to un­der­stand the lan­guage well. “Most kids here speak only their lo­cal di­alect and find it dif­fi­cult to ad­just to Marathi ini­tially. A bilin­gual text helps in ini­tial ori­en­ta­tion,” she said.

HT PHO­TOS: PRAMOD THAKUR

Ra­jan Garud, a teacher at Khoricha­pada zilla parishad school in Pal­ghar, trans­lated text­books into Warli, a lan­guage spo­ken in Pal­ghar, south Gu­jarat and parts of Nashik, to help stu­dents tran­si­tion to Marathi with ease.

KVK School in Ghatkopar runs an ini­tia­tive called Bolkya Bhinti (talk­ing walls), where each school wall is used to cre­ate learn­ing aids.

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