Archive for the ‘Life skills building’ 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!

Teaching Goals

RDF believes in its teachers and the crucial role of the teacher in creating an impactful and meaningful learning environment for students. Therefore, the training and development of our teaching force is as important to us as the education of the children.

RDF’s Education Coordinator, Mr. Shastri, facilitates regular training sessions for staff. He met with the RDF VAPV Junior College lecturers for a session on methods to help students understand course content easily. It was a day spent discussing ways to refine teaching methods, unpack course material and motivating students to learn and achieve their goals. He shared his previous work experience as a teachers and showed success stories videos. He urged them to help students relate to the world by reading and watching autobiographies as real life stories can provide tremendous inspiration.

The lecturers found the day invigorating and Mr. Shastri’s training very motivational. They said it provided them with more ideas on how to teach better and make their classrooms dynamic, fun and informational.

Empowered Learning

One of the great sources of gratification for us is to see students having fun with their learning. Several research studies have shown that retention is high when the learner is engaged and interested in the content. Engagement and interest creation is something that RDF teachers are dedicated to, through their own passion for teaching and attending many training programmes to enhance teaching and learning methods. So to us, children having fun means that the teachers are having fun too!

Science subjects are generally seen as tough subjects to understand. However, when the textual learning is supported by practical application through experiments, then visual learning leads to understanding. We’ve seen time and again, students taking to experimenting on their own when a concept becomes clear to them.

Abinay, a Class 9 student of Rollakal School loves coming to school. He loves Science and often looks at growing his understanding in innovative ways. He recently prepared an activity for class to demonstrate the structure of particles in solids and liquids. He used ordinary, everyday materials such as thermocol, empty bottles of various shapes and sizes and fevicol to prepare his model. This was a self initiated activity, one that he enjoyed doing and preparing for his classmates.

This attitude to learning and a desire to share his learning with others is what makes us so happy. ‘Learning is Fun’ is a mantra we abide by and thank our teachers who understand the unique challenges in rural education and go to great lengths to create a teaching environment that inspires our rural children.

Turning Around Life!

We have seen time and again how creating a nurturing environment in school brings out the best in children and teachers too. Now in the 5th year of a quality improvement partnership with Tech Mahindra Foundation, the 2 government schools in Bahadurapally are attracting families from villages further away due to becoming known as schools providing a high quality of education and healthy environment.

Simhachalam (L), reading a book with his classmate & friend

The turnaround we see in many students time and again, show us how they blossom, under such care. One such case is Simhachalam, a Class 7 student in ZPHS. He lost his father in an accident at the age of 6 and was unfortunately abandoned by his mother. He was being looked after by an aunt, but due to her own financial difficulties, she couldn’t afford to any longer. An uncle, a warden at a children’s orphanage and hostel, heard about him, took him in and enrolled him in ZPHS.

At play! Having fun with Kabaddi

By this time, 6 years had passed since his father’s demise and Simhachalam was displaying disruptive behaviour. He refused to come to school and didn’t do school work. His teachers understood his difficult life circumstances and that he hadn’t had much support or care. They worked with him patiently, letting him be, counselling him and giving him a lot of attention. Slowly, his trust built up and he started to attend school regularly. Given that it was the one place where he could be himself, he started to enjoy school and became interested in his studies and extracurricular activities such as kabaddi.

In just a short span of 1 year, he is able to read Telugu, English and do basic Maths. He’s made friends and his classmates even celebrated his birthday, which was a very moving experience for everyone! We’re grateful to the TMF team for being such a light to children from deprived backgrounds – not just financially deprived, but emotionally deprived homes too. To see him smiling, robust and of sound mind and body makes our work worth all the effort!

Encouraging Sports Dreams

Sports is a way of life in RDF schools. Children look forward to the Sports classes, with more and more children engaging in various sports like athletics, volleyball, kho-kho, kabaddi, martial arts, badminton, fencing, archery and even yoga! Over the years, several RDF children have won at district, state, national and international level competitions. We are grateful to our Physical Education Teachers who are dedicated to developing our students’ skills in various sports.

Sreeja, in her Class 4 classroom

Sreeja, with (L) school PET & (R) Asst. Headmaster

Ch. Sreeja is a Class 4 student from Matendla School who recently cleared the District level selection for enrolment in a State run sports school. These schools provide academic and focused sports coaching, helping students build a career in sports, which open up many work opportunities for them.  Like all RDF students, Sreeja comes from a financially poor family. Her father is a lorry driver and her mother works as a labourers. She has practices very hard under the supervision of the school’s PET, before and after school, in order to do well in the selections. Each student’s achievement strongly motivates other students to also put in effort, practice and accomplish their personal sports goals.

We pray that Sreeja continues to do well and obtain a seat in the Government residential sports school.

Self Care

The ability to look after ourselves is also a life skill. Having a clean living environment by taking care of our surroundings definitely not the domain of just women! When the boys from the RDF VAPV Junior College returned to their hostel after the summer vacation, they found that the heat and rains had taken a toll, with dust and peeling paint on the wall. The rooms definitely needed sprucing up!

They took the praiseworthy initiative to clean and repaint the room by themselves and did not ask for any external help in order to do so. It was also great to see them collaborate and self organise themselves into groups in order to tackle the tast efficiently – again, life skills that are very much required. It is very heartening to see that RDF children took this initiative. This is a skill that comes in handy when anybody moves to a new location.