Archive for the ‘Life skills building’ Category

Nurturing Creative Intent

Nurturing creativity, thinking and analytical skills is far more important than memorizing texts and writing examinations. While clearing examinations are necessary to get the requisite degree, it is ultimately skills such as creative thinking, analytical reasoning, exploring interests and seeing them through with perseverance that actually help in career and life.

Raju, showing his JCB model to trainers from Andhra Mahila Sabha

Raju, a Class 10 student in RDF Redlawada School, was inspired to construct a JCB after seeing one lumbering down the road in his native village of Redlawada. He was also intent on making a working model and not just a toy. Since growing up in RDF, from LKG onwards, he was always exposed to the importance of conservation and recycling. Therefore, he also decided to recycle waste materials to create his JCB.

With prior experience in activity based learning methods which nurture curious minds, it is not surprising why Raju was so keen to see his experiment to fruition. With the encouragement of his Science teacher, he procured materials such as syringes an pipes to assemble his model JCB. Once he put it together, he displayed it to his classmates, including its workings. It is amazing how creating working models of everyday vehicles bring to light so many scientific principles that make learning so easy. Raju proved to be a very able teacher to his peers by demonstrating how a JCB works!

Raju has always loved the atmosphere in his school, even when it was running in a small rented premises till 4 years ago. The atmosphere of invention, encouragement and creativity make him and other students interested in learning and their lessons. RDF teachers have been trained to pay attention to students’ innate talent and abilities, which support their growth and development.

Well done Raju & the teachers of Redlawada School for polishing a diamond like him & our RDF students! This is true value of Educating, Engaging and Empowering!

 

Alumni Career Achievements

“Education is the vehicle for rural development” – this is the motto that inspires RDF’s work and vision to educate, engage and empower rural, underprivileged children.

While RDF leaves no stone unturned to develop its students through being taught by well trained teachers, the provision of computer, English language and science labs, a well stocked library and development of mind, body and spirit through focus on sports, yoga and meditation; it is the successes of its students, who absorb the learnings with enthusiasm and grit, that truly allow us to feel proud. Their success and achievements are RDF’s success and achievement!

Sandeep

The focus on sports in RDF schools is not merely considered an extra curricular activity. Sports development creates discipline, resilience and an ability to handle life challenges. Therefore, sports development is seen as an essential life skills and not a ‘P.T period’ per se. Several RDF alumni, having shone brilliantly at their chosen sport, have gone on to get Government jobs, which provide job security and financial relief to families, who have been mired in poverty for generations.Sandeep and Madhukar are alumni of the 2007-8 and 2005-6 batch respectively. Both were interested in sports and games since their primary school days. They eventually took up sports seriously and excelled in athletics. Both come from financially deprived families and were determined to work hard and excel in academics too. With this focus on excelling in both academics and sports, both boys eventually got jobs in the Police department.

Madhukar

Examples like Sandeep and Madhukar provide inspiration to scores of RDF children who hope for a better and brighter future for themselves and their families. The values of hard work, determination, perseverance and rising up to life’s challenges are instilled in students through understanding the struggles and achievements of alumni like Sandeep and Madhukar.

We salute these bright alumni who continue to shine a light on how a quality education system, such as that instilled by RDF institutions, deep engagement with students and teachers that comes from a space of care, truly empowers them to take on their future with courage and break the bonds of poverty.

To the Aid of Friendship

What happens when an 8 year old falls and injures herself? Do you imagine an adult rushing to her aid to soothe and assist her? But this is not what happened. When Priya of Class 3 in Redlawada School injured herself in the school’s playground, it was her friends, D. Deepika and S. Harshitha who ran to help her.

They had the presence of mind to get her back to the main school building and bring the First Aid box. They administered the primary treatment till the Science teacher, Mr. Ashok, arrived to help them.  The 3 girls have been friends since LKG, so while it is no surprise that they helped their friend, what made the act notable was the remarkable composure of both girls as they calmed their friend and treated her wound.

The qualities of compassion and empathy demonstrated by Harshitha and Deepika, as well as the ability to make a quick decision to solve a problem is what makes this incident stand out for us. Instead of getting worried or waiting till an adult arrived, the young girls took matters into their hands. Again, such stories make us feel very proud and we thank the school for noticing the girls’ abilities and bringing it to everyone’s attention.

Commending an innate talent, an act of kindness, noticing the good things in children go a long way in bolstering their belief in themselves. We are sure both girls will continue to be positive role models for their peers and the community as they grow up.

Chess Mate!

RDF Rollakal School has a budding Vishwanathan Anand in its midst!

Koushik (R) at the State Level championship

Meet Abbaraboina Koushik, all of 9, who recently won a Gold medal in a State Level Chess competition that was open to people from all age groups, held in Hanmakonda. Hailing from a poor family, the son of agricultural labourers, Koushik, from a young age had the grit and passion to do well in whatever he decided to do.

This deep determination can be seen in the way he approaches chess, absorbing the training provided to him the Physical Education teacher as well as his academics. A self motivated person, he was encouraged by the school Headmaster and PET to participate in the State Level championship. Unperturbed by going up against people much older and experienced compared to him, he was delighted to bag the 1st place!

The Telangana Sports Authority Director, Mr. Rajanala Srihari, commended him on his effort as he handed him his gold medal and merit certificate.

We commend Koushik, his family and Rollakal School for championing his spirit and his talent. We are very proud of all that he has accomplished at the tender age of 9. He is certainly an inspiration to everyone!

A Good Hand for Handwriting

The two Government schools in Bahadurapally that are part of the School Quality Improvement Program – a partnership between RDF and Tech Mahindra Foundation follow RDF’s best practices when it comes to upgrading student’s and teacher’s skills. RDF continues to do its work with rural, underprivileged children due to its committed education partners and also thanks to passionate trainers and volunteers.

One such passionate volunteer was invited to the Mandal Parishal Primary School and the Zilla Parishad High School for a training training program on ‘Handwriting Skills’. Aimed at techniques to improve handwriting skills for Primary and High school students, the workshop was facilitated by expert handwriting specialist Mr. Azaz Ahmed.

The school was abuzz with excitement as many had already viewed his handwriting skills session on YouTube and Whatsapp. During the workshop, he trained students in writing in Hindi, Telugu and English. He explained new techniques to develop good handwriting, including how to and how not to write.  He also won hearts by singing Sanskrit slokas and narrating motivational anecdotes to the audience. The feedback received from the students and staff was very positive. Mr. K. Balraj, the schools’ Telugu Pandit said that he loved Mr. Ahmed’s way of teaching and found it an unforgettable class. The schools intend to have him back for more sessions soon!

 

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.