Archive for March, 2017

Adieu and Welcoming the New!

In the time honoured tradition of educational institutions across India, the RDF VAPV Junior College conducted a Farewell Party for the 2nd year students. It was a grand affair, organised and executed in an efficient manner by the 1st year students themselves.

Farewell note by a graduating student

The senior students were asked to say a few words about their experience in the college. What they actually expressed was very emotional and touched the hearts of everyone present. They expressed gratitude for the excellent facilities and amenities such as good lectures, provision of a computer lab and technology, a well stocked library, sufficient science lab equipment, hygienic food and water, along a a focus on sports and cultural experience during their college tenure. The felt that all of this contributed to a high level of education for them.

B. Shireesha of BPC 2nd year had this to say, “I am feeling very sad to leave this college and friends. I have learnt many things here. All the lectures were taught very well. The friendly nature of the faculty and the academic atmosphere is what attracted me to this college and I think this college is like Shanthiniketan. The hostel facilities are comfortable and nice. We were inspired by the guest lectures and their messages. I was always encouraged by my lecturers and I will always remember my college for the rest of my life.”

The graduating batch with the Junior College faculty

Every year, we bid adieu to another batch of students, who have struggled due to the family circumstances that they were born in. But we send them onward into the world, to seek new experiences, with the hope that these 2 years have provided them with all the tools that will help them better their lives and those of their families.

A Tale of Two Dramas

Today we bring a story (or two) from RDF Kalleda School on how a Drama can be used in 2 different ways to achieve different, yet meaningful outcomes.

To begin with, learning English in rural areas is very challenging. Students and teachers have very limited exposure to the language. Their struggle to learn the language to the extent that they can communicate in it well is very real. The children and teachers receive a lot of training from our education partners and dedicated volunteers to learn to speak in English and gain confidence in using the language.

The setting for the English play

Performing a drama is an effective tool to speak in any language, with its emphasis on intonation, pronunciation and facial expression. It can also make a challenge a lot of fun. Students of Class 10decided to pick a story from the Class 10 syllabus titled ‘Dear Departed’. The adaptation of the story into a play, the writing of dialogues, practicing it and then performing it in front of an audience was done entirely by students, with the able help of their English teachers.  The audience appreciated the confidence with which students spoke their dialogues and were able to put across the message of the original story and the play successfully. This highlights the willingness of the children to take ownership of their own learning, their creative thinking skills in creating a play from a textbook story, their writing skills in creating dialogues for delivery as well as good speaking skills! That was a lot of hard work put in by the children and they felt very satisfied with their effort.

The Telugu play in progress

The young children of Class 5 decided to use the medium of drama to bring across a social and environmental message about the detrimental effects of using plastic. Their play was done in Telugu and was performed on National Science Day celebrations in the school. The play made spectators aware of how plastic continues to be used everyday by most people, how it is not disposed properly, that it creates landfill which is slowly choking our planet. They made the audience aware of alternatives such as paper and cloth bags and ways in which we can say no to plastic. The kids and the audience both learned an very serious and important ecological problem and they got to exhibit their acting and performance abilities too!

We encourage the use of drama to create many relevant and fun activities for children. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the process and the final outcome!

No Limits for Knowledge

RDF schools continually strive, every single day, to put its vision of creating a nurturing, high quality learning environment through all its programs. How many us remember being intimidated by Science concepts in school, because merely reading about them in theory and rote memorizing them scarcely produced any real understanding of the concept or its application in real life.

RDF schools encourage their students to spend time researching Science concepts, create experiments and allowing their natural creativity to come through.

3 students from Class 9 in Matendla School, Nagaraju M, M. Nagaraju and Balanarsu decided to prepare an exhibit for National Science Day celebrations in school. They took some waste materials and shaped it like a boat. They attach a small dynamo, taken from a children’s toy car and connected it to a small battery. This allowed the boat to move in water. They then fixed a small switch to enable the boat to move forward and backward. Such experiences help students learn better through kinesthetic learning medium.

The students, like all RDF students, come from poor agricultural families. Going to school and learning well is what can equip them with the ability to go on create a career and better lives for themselves. All of them feel that they learn a lot in school and that it is enjoyable to learn this way. We all know, when we enjoy the learning process, we retain the learning. This is exactly what we aim for.

Prior to starting the experiment, the 3 students didn’t know how to go about making the boat. With the support of their teacher, researching the concept of dynamo, electric current and floatation through the internet and library books, they experimented and created a successful working model of a boat. Rather than struggle to memorise the concept, it is much better to struggle while experimenting, since the learning and the concept become clear. There is truly no time for learning – any time is a good time and there are no limits for knowledge!

We thank our teachers in Matendla for helping Nagaraju, Balnarsu and Nagaraj with this project.

Inspired to Innovate

Ishupriya, all of 7 years old, joined Redlawada School this year. Hailing from a poor agricultural family, her family would like a better future for young Ishupriya. A bright girl, Ishupriya loves coming to school and is interested in all subjects.

During project work with one of the teachers, D. Mamatha, the teacher encouraged Ishupriya of think of something she can make using everyday materials found at home. The teacher got her thinking about her life, her parent’s work and soon, she came up with the idea of making a small bullock cart with corn sticks. The teachers asked her not to use metal as a support ingredient for her bullock cart project. Ishupriya asked her father to get corn sticks from his farm. The teacher helped a little with the design and assembly, but overall, it was the young and eager student’s creation through and through!

The purpose of the project and bringing this story to our readers’ attention is that children are innately curious. However their thinking and creative capacities can get dulled with regular school work. The school and its teachers need to be responsible towards creating an active learning environment, in which students can thrive. When a teachers shows sensitivity and gently encourages, rather than berating, a child will blossom.

Mamatha teacher did exactly that for Ishupriya. She helped her tap into her own thinking and creative abilities, which produced this wonderful piece of craft!

 

The He’art’ of Learning

The Tech Mahindra Foundation sponsored Mandal Parishal Primary School, in partnership with RDF bring to you more fun, interesting and creative experiments from their school.

A student displaying her peacock made with recycled & waste materials

Experiential learning or ‘learning by doing’ is the best way to help children understand any subject or theme. The teachers decided to explore the theme of ‘Art’ with the students using discarded and waste materials. It started with reflection and discussion of how humans produce waste and how it degrades the environment. This led to the idea behind using waste material like papers, packaging boxes, discarded bottles, plastic etc for recycling. The teachers asked them to think about how these materials can be recycled and use their imagination and creativity to produce art from waste. That got them excited!

A lovely butterfly made from waste materials

During their discussion, the children got ideas to make toys. This is the beauty of encouraging children to reflect on their lives and ways of living and organically come up with ways in which such materials could be useful to them. Children and toys – the idea was perfect!

They made a peacock using scrap paper, designing them into the letters of the alphabet and joining them to get the body of the peacock. Then old plastic spoons were used to form the feathers. A beautiful and colourful butterfly was also fashioned in a similar way. Very soon, ideas were flowing about using old cardboard boxes, plastic bottles etc. Not only the teachers, but the kids too were thrilled with themselves, appreciating each others’ ideas and creativity to create wonderful items of art!

The Yoga Star!

ros-2E. Kavya or RDF Rollakal School is an ardent advocate of yoga. Now in Class 10, Kavya took up learning yoga with the school’s Physical Education Teacher, Mr. Prabhakar 3 years ago. She has been practicing yoga daily and attributes her practices to her feeling of all around wellness. She feels physically strong, mentally alert and able to concentrate very well on her studies, sleeping well and feeling calm overall; all of which help her be in a better position to care and help others.

ros-1For her, it is very clear how yoga helps unite the 3 components of body, mind and spirit and how this leads of health, knowledge and inner peace. So, she uses every opportunity to advocate yoga to her friends and her community too. She strongly feels that physical ailments can be healed through yoga and distressful emotions can also be calmed through a regular practice.

ros-3Kavya is certainly a star for her friends and community, with her care and passion towards this ancient practice. We hope that she continues to be an inspiration to her friends, family and community to spread the word about yoga and empower ourselves by taking charge of our health at all levels!