Archive for the ‘Career Development’ Category

A Foundation of Change

(L) Rama Devi & (R) Srikanth, leading a Bonalu procession

The Tech Mahindra Foundation and RDF partnership in the 2 Government schools in Bahadurapally, is creating positive change in the lives of rural children and their families, just like the impact being created in the RDF communities. Therefore, it makes us very happy to see former RDF students come and work in these schools.

Rama Devi, with her PS students

Rama Devi, helping during a Health Camp

Rama Devi is a Primary teacher in MPPS. After finishing her entire schooling in RDF Kalleda School, she went on to do her B.A., inspired by her caring teachers at RDF. Having received the benefits of a high quality teaching-learning environment as a student, Rama Devi puts the same care and dedication into her own teaching practice. Her enthusiasm for sports and cultural activities as a student can be seen even now as a teacher, thus making her one of the most popular teachers in the school!

Srikanth, playing with PS kids

Likewise, Srikanth, joined as a Non Teaching Staff in the school. Highly dependable and friendly, Srikanth manages security, snack time and looks after the organic garden in school. He also assists the PET during inter school trips. Remembering his Kalleda school days, he happily joins the kids for play and fun.

Snack time!

Both of them are enthusiastically engaged in so many aspects of the running of the school, eager to make a difference! We are so glad that both of them have found secure jobs and are contributing to rural children and society in their unique ways! Their families now have ease of mind, knowing that their children are flourishing in their new jobs and a life free from poverty. Life has indeed come full circle for these 2 alumni.

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A Workshop on Micro-teaching

We love our teachers. They’re caring, dedicated and truly invested in the development of the students in their charge. We are constantly looking at ways to enrich the teaching and learning environment in our schools and RDF teachers are always enthusiastic to implement new ideas!

Matendla School organized a workshop on ‘Micro-teaching’. Micro-teaching is a teacher training and faculty development technique whereby the teacher reviews a recording of a teaching session, in order to get constructive feedback from peers and/or students about what has worked and what improvements can be made to their teaching technique. Micro-teaching is one of the recent innovations in the field of educational technology. It offers a new model for improving teaching. It has been found to be an effective  strategy for modification of classroom behaviour of teachers.

Rather than feeling uncomfortable at being recorded and reviewed, the teachers were very open to feedback. It is gratifying to see how engaged they are in their own education and development; with a healthy and robust exchange of ideas on good teaching practices! We love seeing the support and encouragement that the teachers share with one another. It is precisely this level of care which translates into the creation of a nurturing learning environment in our schools…the drops that make up the ocean!

Synchrony-sed English Development Efforts!

Learning English is remote, rural areas is a very challenging task. With Telugu being the native language and there being no usage of English in a child’s natural environment, a lot of effort is taken to implement English in RDF schools and teach it in ways that students are able to retain the new language skills that they’re learning.

We are very fortunate that the need to learn English in today’s global environment is understood by RDF’s supporters and that more effort is required to implement English in a rural school. One of our long term supporters has been Synchrony Financial who has helped us in innumerable ways for over 10 years! In order to help enhance English skills in our schools, Synchrony Financial set up an English Language lab 3 years ago in Kalleda School, equipped with computers, language software and electricity back up. This lab is changing the lives of the children and teachers through giving them access and exposure to innovative English enhancement programmes in a high quality facility!

Over the years, several employees and senior management have visited the school and most recently, the school was honoured to receive Mr. Ravi Kiran. He spent the day observing the work in the lab and was shown the lab maintenance registers. The children happily informed him on how much their English skills are improving through better grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and sentence formation. They told him they feel less inhibited and more confident about using English.

Mr. Ravi Kiran was pleased with this progress and reported feeling good that the lab is being used effectively by the school and his interaction showed that everyone is indeed getting better at expressing themselves in English!

 

 

 

Ushering in a New Era with a US trip!

L,R: Divya, Sumathi

We are so excited by 2 RDF students, Divya and Sumathi, of Class 10, Kalleda School, who have been selected to go to the USA for a Youth Exchange Study Programme! For the 1st time in RDF, our students have been selected for such a programme and understandably, everyone is excited!

This opportunity has been given by Synchrony Financial, that has been supporting RDF’s work for over a decade though annual summer camps, development workshops, setting up English and Computer labs in our schools and teacher development. Last year, RDF students were invited to their ‘Goals for Girls Leadership Summit Programme’ in Hyderabad that was facilitated by the Synchrony Financial USA team. Here, students learnt about life skills through the metaphor of playing football and actually learnt football to make it an experiential learning process. They learnt valuable skills like communication, teamwork, goal setting and dealing with life’s inevitable challenges through understanding the game of football – a unique experience for everyone!

During the programme, the students had to create a themed project and the 2 girls chose Recycling as their theme and made ‘Plasto Coolers’, a low cost cooling mechanism that can help rural communities during summer. The girls, looking at a real life problem thought inventively and came up with this project idea which impressed and inspired everyone. Based on this project, they were shortlisted for the US study programme and thereafter cleared 3 rounds of interviews too! Though they were nervous, they received a lot of support and encouragement from the Synchrony team and we are very grateful for that! From a pool of 40 hopefuls, for 2 rural girls to get selected is an absolute honour and a testament to their sincerity and fortitude to do well for themselves.

We wish Sumathi and Divya lots of luck for this amazing, new journey that they are embarking on. We know they will come back enriched and ready to pass on their learning to everyone!

A Whole day of Holistic Interaction!

RDF works very hard to provide resources to its children and teachers in order to aid their growth and development. Living in poverty for generations, we understand the life circumstances and limitations that the community faces and the programmes and mentoring they need to achieve their dreams and goals, as first generation learners. The philosophy also guides the progress of the 2 Tech Mahindra Foundation schools in Bahadurapally, which have come to be regarded as beacons of quality education in the surrounding villages.

The Sri Ramakrishna Foundation (SRK), Bahadurapally conducted a full day session on Life, Aims & Goals, Career, Moral Values, Success and Role of Parents for the students of the Zilla Parishad High School. The main aim was to gently encourage students about how to live in present day society, without fear and lead a life based on their moral values and how to achieve their goals.

The morning session was led by Mr. Bhargava Nagaprasad and Mr. Adiseshu. In addition to the main themes, they specifically spoke about financial difficulties and how to reach their financial goals. Plenty of inspirational examples from real life were given to the students in order to motivate them, such as Dr. Abdul Kalam’s humble roots and achievements.

In the afternoon session, Mr. Bhagicha Singh of TNR Academy and Mr. M.D. Rao were the speakers. Mr. Rao, at 85 years of age, who leads an independent life, proved to be a source of inspiration for everyone present. They also spoke on health issues such as abstaining from ‘gutka’ and alcohol and focus on looking after their parents’ wellbeing and achieve life goals. Mr. Singh spoke about the social problems of female infanticide and education for girls, urging students to encourage women and treat them with respect and preventing exploitation of children through child labour.  They also motivated the students to be of service to the country and help in its progress. Sarath, Jyothi and Vinayaka of Class 6 & 7 respectively were appreciated by the speakers for their confidence and ready answers. Mr. Rao was impressed with another student, Aruna’s thoughtful responses and gave her a cash reward of Rs. 500 on the spot!

TNR Academy gave each of the 247 students present an exam pad, pen, pencil box and notebook! They also promised to provide free coaching to ZPHS students, based on merit. The day ended with positive feedback from the students who felt inspired by the talks and ready for action!

 

An Educational Trip

Student and teacher development through student exchanges, peer learning, variety of training programs, mentoring with subject experts etc. are an intrinsic part of RDF’s approach to rural education. Silver Oaks has championed RDF’s cause for over 10 years and has been working closely with the 4 RDF schools. This time, it was the RDF VAPV Junior College students who got an opportunity to travel to Hyderabad to learn about their approach to education and have an open, sharing session.

17 students and 6 lecturers visited the campus and spent the day meeting teachers and students. They observed classroom interactions and methods of teaching, single and group projects, the use of technology, communication skills, sports and the layout and neatness of the campus.

Mrs. Seetha Murty, the school Principal engaged with the students on ‘Time Management Skills’. She explained how studies and extra curricular activities can be balanced and asked everyone for their inputs. In the ‘Technology’ class, they learnt about the usage of Khan Academy and Olabs – websites that are highly interactive and very useful for students. AIn the session on English and Communication skills, the students were given tips on how to communicate clearly and the importance of developing their English language skills.

Koppu Rajeshwari of MPC 1st Year said, “It was such a wonderful experience to me. I enjoyed a lot by visiting the Silver Oaks International School. I love the way of teaching and class appearance like limited students, computer with internet facility, projector and friendly nature students and teachers. I have learnt many things which are useful to my education and also further studies. In time management class I explained my problem to madam. She solved my problem and given suggestion to me. The teachers taught strategies in education, communication skill. There are many advantages which help me to learn more. There is a good education and sports attracted me well. I thank to RDF management to give a wonderful opportunity to visit the school.”

Overall, it was an enriching day for the RDF team and they have brought back their new knowledge and are already sharing it with their friends on campus! We love watching the children absorb from the world around them, and most importantly, apply their learnings to their lives!

The He’art’ of Drawing

The 1st language used  by humans to express their thoughts and feelings is the medium of drawing, then comes speaking and thereafter, writing. Cave paintings by our Neolithic ancestors were our 1st clues into the past and lives of early man. Similarly, when we are around young children, they take uninhibitedly to drawing and colouring, using any surface they can! Drawing is an important outlet for children who do not yet have verbal skills to communicate their thoughts and feelings.

Kalyan, engrossed in drawing

At RDF, we encourage not just the young pre-primary children to explore themselves through the creative medium of drawing, but children of all age groups are encouraged to do so. When a child draws something familiar to them they have the opportunity to think about what they know and how they feel towards the people, things and situations that they are familiar with. RDF children are provided many opportunities to develop their drawing skills.

Kalyan of Kalleda School, a student of Class 6 has truly taken to the medium of drawing! He draws pictures based on situations that he encounters in his school and personal life. His personal connect comes through in every drawing because the drawing is essentially a map of his feelings for the person/object/situation. In his drawing of a ‘farmer’, he has the opportunity to think about what he knows of farmers and farming and how he feels about farmers. Another area he has been exploring vociferously, is ‘Gods’.

Drawing & fabulous colours of Lord Hanuman

Kalyan can spends hours in deep concentration – almost meditative – when he is drawing. He finds it a very fulfilling activity and feels happy when left with his paper and pencils. All RDF schools also have a ‘Wall Magazine’ where children are encouraged to put up all artistic creations, be it drawings, articles, stories, poems etc. Other children in the school are inspired by Kalyan’s drawing and we’ve seen more kids take to it enthusiastically!

The Wall Magazine

We believe that academic pursuits can be unidimensional, if not explored alongside other pursuits that engage the body and mind, such as art, craft, music and sports etc. In fact, we have seen such creative endeavours make children confident and our teachers always promote children’s innate talents and skills. This opens up their minds to delve into professions such as photography and painting. It also creates a spirit of entrepreneurship because kids have a good sense of self and pride themselves on their abilities.