We have been associated with schools for the past few years and in our experience with schools and students, we have observed that there is a huge disconnect between what is taught in the schools and the real-world experience of these kids. It is a fact that children’s “Basic language and Literacy Competencies” play a crucial role in continuing secondary & higher education in a meaningful manner. Due to the lack of these competencies, students are not able to think critically and act independently. We also realized the interventions at this level will lead to change in the entire generation.
In this context, with the guidance and suggestions from experts, we could plan and experiment different interventions in Telugu Language- like balanced approach in literacy, using storytelling and libraries as best pedagogical tools for language development and literacy development.
In a balanced approach to literacy instruction, teachers integrate instruction with reading material on a regular basis, helping the students to learn on how to apply and utilize the skills and strategies they are learning. This is done by introducing a range of different reading materials like – Fiction, Non-fiction, storybooks, Newspapers, comics, maps among others. A wide range of reading texts ensures all students are engaged and interested in literacy learning.
From November 2018 onwards, Haritha had been working full time on the project – Strengthening Primary School education through developing Language, Literacy and Numeracy competences. (with the support of Wipro). Through this project we are learning and improving our understanding in language, literacy and numeracy domain along with experimenting and practicing in the classroom. Under this we are working in 2 schools, Haritha is working as a regular teacher in MPP School, Ram Nagar Colony, Shad Nagar and Srinivas is conducting Weekly interventions in MPP School, Chattanpally, Shad Nagar.
In this association with these schools, we have identified that the classroom frameworks are varied and students have different approaches to learning. Following a rigid and fixed mode of teaching is not really letting the students develop their language, literacy, and numeric abilities. So, we have moved to the teaching methodology – where students are given opportunities to lead their own learning, to ask questions, and have the tools and materials necessary to explore the answers. This helped the students to apply the concepts discussed in the class in practical life. This also ensured enough motivation for certain kids to continue their learning.
We realized that every child is capable of learning everything, but the only thing we need to do is to focus on their learning styles which are different from child to child and their interests. This experience helped us to rethink our beliefs like dull / poor students, teaching language in traditional method (akharas, matras, word, sentence) and started connecting new concept to each child’s pre knowledge and developing relationship with students. We are able to accept children as they are and make sense how their context, their social economic status, cultural, behavioral aspect and family background influence the way they think, feel and act.
We see significant improvement in the way we identify each child’s need, present schema, and are able to plan for required and relevant input. Right now, we see clearly that children can learn on their own, need freedom and a safe space to think and express themselves in their home language, and the importance of good teacher-student relationships. We are also planning our content, classroom, and teaching practices based on these newly verified inputs and experiences. We are able to engage the children even in multi-grade multilingual classrooms. We could able to figure out their learning patterns, why and when they are disconnecting in the classroom etc.
Schools we are associating with
- MPP School, Ramnagar Colony, Shadnagar – Haritha – Daily – November 2018 to till to date
- MPP School, Chattanpally, Shadnagar – Sreenivas – Weekly – November 2018 to till to date
- Kanya Gurukul School, Ameerpet, Hyderabad – Dhanesh Khakkar – Weekly – 2018-2020
- GBS School, Bulkumpet, SR Nagar Hyderabad – Haritha & Dhanesh– Weekly – 2011-2019