Archive for June, 2014

Rewards of Recycling

Matendla School puts their old textbooks and notebooks to great use by recycling them. Some ways being used are reusing textbooks for 3-4 years, selling old notebooks as ‘scrap’ or recycling unused pages as new copies or rough sheets. There are multiple benefits to the children & school by adopting such eco friendly practices – the school includes the income from sale of used books into their new years budget – a small but sure step in their effort towards sustainable operations. Redistributing old textbooks & notebooks allows the school to save money, at the same time showing the student community a solid example of recycling, which is not only friendly on the pocket, but our environment too!.

Practical Realities

Theoretical instruction is necessary when first grappling with new subjects and concepts. However, everyone is aware of the learning that comes with visual and kineaesthetic instruction i.e. Practicals. Science lends itself beautifully to understanding via practical instruction. Concepts that seem obscure theoretically, come alive when practiced in a lab or in nature. Urban schools come well equipped with Science apparatus, allowing students to experiment freely and hone their understanding. However, what is easily available in urban schools can be challenging in rural areas.

RDF has worked hard in raising funds to create fully equipped Science Labs in its Junior College. Students are very proud to have full fledged labs to study Physics, Chemistry, Botany and Zoology. No stone has been left unturned in the endeavour to provide excellent learning facilities and infrastructure to students. Disadvantaged economically need not translate to disadvantaged educationally!

Project Play!

Students collecting soil samples from the neighbourhood

Students collecting soil samples from the neighbourhood

We all know how much fun play is! In school, real time projects allow for crucial hands on experience to be gained for students. The aim is not merely to ‘experiment’ as an academic activity per se, but to engage with the local environment and milieu, so that classroom and project learning can be applied to real life experiences. Only then can the learning become meaningful for students.

In Redlawada, students had precisely this opportunity when they decided to do a project on soil – understand types of soil locally, learn about their qualities, the kind of crops each type supports. They gained this knowledge not from their books, but through meeting parents and farmers. The project allowed them to understand good agricultural practices, without the use of fertilisers and optimization of soil. With many rural children wanting to move away from an agrarian lifestyle and seek jobs in bigger cities, we hope such project spark interest some students, which will encourage them take up agriculture.

Engaged with English

RDF staff in English Language workshop

RDF staff in English Language workshop

There has been a thrust on understanding and learning English in RDF schools for the past 2 years. As a 2nd language, teaching it to non native speakers is an understandable challenge. However, schools have been proactive in seeking support and organizing upskilling sessions for themselves.

RDF Head Operations, Mrs. Subhashini Potluri, organized an English Training Program for all RDF schools. Rollakal School is the 3rd RDF school to begin the transition to English and have started with transitioning grades PP1 to Class 3. Therefore, Rollakal teachers had much to learn from the session. Understanding basic but crucial steps like preparing and planning for English classes in advance, understanding questioning techniques and their usage, with ample role play boosted their confidence and have left them feeling better prepared for English classes in the new academic year.

With such trainings, they are now self assured about teaching the language in their respective classes.

Parent Partnership

A parent interacts with High School students in the Science Exhibition

A parent interacts with High School students in the Science Exhibition

RDF believes in deeply engaging with parents and the wider community in order to have a transparent and democratic set up in running its school operations.

Kalleda School invited all parents and village elders to the school in order to observe all its activities and have a proactive interaction amongst management, staff and teachers. The objective is comprehensive development of the school and students, in partnership with parents. Parents got the opportunity to observe activities such as the Science Fair, Balamela, Classroom observations of teaching methods, Dining system, extracurricular and support programs such as Archery, Khan Academy, Computers, Social Awareness Program, Farm activities and all academic interventions. They learnt about education partnerships and interventions in detail. The Headmaster shared the annual budget with the parents, including sources of income for the school, in order for parents to understand the challenges being faced.

With such transparency, parents and the community have always figured out ways of assisting RDF in meaningful ways, if needed. The day long event promotes trust based relationships, which is what garners respect within the community and has allowed RDF to thrive for 18 years!

Kalleda School Headmaster addressing staff & parents

Kalleda School Headmaster addressing staff & parents