Archive for the ‘Teacher Training’ Category

An Extraordinary Turnaround

Little Abdul, posing

We love to share stories of change from the RDF community as well as from the Bahadurapally Government schools that are part of a quality education initiative between RDF and Tech Mahindra Foundation. We love to hear and share stories of how children are blossoming in the school environment, especially because of the painstaking work that has been spent on training teachers on how to build rapport with children and encourage child centric methodologies.

Asleep in class!

Abdul Salam is an orphan who was sent to study in the Mandal Parishad Primary School by the Shishu Vihar orphanage. When he first joined the school, he was lackluster. He didn’t participate in any classroom activities or even extra curricular ones; he only liked playing in the mud, wander around the school corridors and sleep. There were also some behavioural issues such as disturbing the class, rudeness, not listening to teachers’ instructions and lack of proper hygiene in using the toilet. In any other school, he would have been reprimanded, punished or asked to leave. But his teachers did not do so.

They showed a tremendous amount of patience and care towards him. They understood his background and life circumstance and how hard his life had been. So they gave him total freedom to go in and out of the class as per his wish. He was allowed to sit, sleep, read or do anything that interested him while in class. They also taught him to how use the toilet properly. Hence, over a period of time, he began trusting his teachers and classmates and his behavior changed for the better. Now he participates in class, enjoys playing with his friends rather than being alone and speaks well – he loves to recite stories and rhymes and has become so friendly that every teacher wants to chat with him!

Engrossed in work with a classmate

What better testament as to how teachers’ attitudes have a strong influence on a child? Abdul has had a complete turnaround and we couldn’t be happier to see him as the bright, sincere boy that he really is!

Advertisements

Art and Inspiration

RDF schools provide plenty of opportunity for students to showcase their skills and talent. After all, academic development and achievement is not the only measure to gauge students’ progress in school.

In Redlawada School, an entire wall has been dedicated to display students’ art work. Seeing their work up on the wall gives our students a lot of encouragement and support for their unique talents. In fact, RDF teachers are trained to identify children’s skills and talents and encouraging them to work in their own areas of interest, thus cultivating their inherent skills. The freedom to work on their art really allows their imagination to soar! The smiles and sense of pride to see their work on the wall is really special!

MEO & Government school visitors admiring the Art Wall

As part of an Educational tour, some Government school students and teachers visited the school. They were amazed to see the Art Wall and commented that children should be given opportunities to showcase their special abilities, be it art, craft, dance, music or sports. They were so taken by the idea that they spoke about it to their families and other community members too, which made our students even happier.

We feel really happy to see RDF children blossoming in so many ways. We thank our teachers for working so hard to nurture individual talent and creating an atmosphere of care and encouragement RDF schools.

The Silver Oak Tree Nourishing RDF!

Silver Oaks, an international school in Hyderabad has been helping RDF schools in multiple ways for over a decade! This relationship has blossomed and grown stronger by leaps and bounds each year, which has hugely contributed to RDF’s work with rural, underprivileged children.

The Silver Oaks management and staff have created a sense of compassion in the students towards rural children through awareness activities and school visits. Each year, not only the management and staff, but also the students have been saving money to donate to RDF. They have initiated a unique programme called ‘Coins for Our Country’ – a fundraising drive, wherein students saved money from their pocket money for RDF’s cause. Other creative ways that have been employed are organizing bazaars, doing chores, creating art etc. This year, we received Rs. 10, 00,000 from the school! We truly feel blessed at the empathy and effort of the Silver Oaks community!

In addition, they also organize regular teacher training programmes for our teachers in order to improve their teaching skills and employ child friendly activities to build a fun and engaging classroom environment. Recently, Maths teachers from our schools visited Silver Oaks to interact with their Maths teachers. They sat in and observed their classes, interacted with the students and learnt interesting ways to teach the subject. Some RDF students also accompanied the teachers, in order to observe the school practices and meet the students.

Our teachers and students feel very motivated with this level of support and mentoring. The Maths teachers were quite excited about their visited and are already implementing the new methods they learnt for teaching and learning of Maths. In this way, we are working hard, with the constant support of our well wishers like Silver Oaks School, in order to provide our deserving students and teachers with an energetic learning environment

Scientific Creativity on Fire!

It all starts with an idea!

RDF is always encouraging its students to dive deep into a particular theme, topic or subject through interesting activities. Science is a subject that comes alive through the practical demonstration of experiments that can explain concepts easily. Our teachers also go through extensive training in order to teach their subjects better and help ignite children’s imagination.

Fine tuning with the Science teacher

Success!

This is precisely what was created in Kalleda School during a Science lesson recently. M. Yashwanth of Class 8 and M. Rajender of Class 9, with the help of their Science teacher, came up with the idea of preparing liquefied petroleum gas by mixing fire and petrol through a scientific contraption. This concept is used routinely in small and large scale industries, however our students were able to innovate and create a very low cost working model using plastic bottles, pipes, a air pump and a burner! The model was successful and was exhibited at the District Level Science exhibition. The experiment was praised by everyone and got 1st place and was selected to be shown at the State Level exhibition. While they didn’t win at the State Level, this encourage and inspiration they receive in school helps boost their confidence and also get them fired up to continue engaging in scientific experiments.

District Level triumph!

We have seen that providing children with a hands-on, learning environment really enhances their interest and curiosity in a subject, which then deepens their understanding, leading to further inventiveness. This is what we strive for – happy and creative children – letting their imagination soar!

 

Teachers’ Skill Development

RDF has been partnering with Tech Mahindra Foundation for the past 4 years in order to improve the quality of education in 2 Government schools that TMF has adopted. The School Quality Improvement Program (SQIP) involves RDF planning and implementing best practices to enhance the teaching and learning environment in Zilla Parishad High School and Mandal Parishad Primary School in Bahadurapally. An integral part of this approach is the skill development of government school teachers through visiting RDF schools and being mentored and trained by senior staff from RDF schools. This is an established practice in all RDF schools, wherein teachers visit other schools to observe classes and processes in order to share and learn from one another. This fosters a spirit of team work and harmony amongst schools, teachers and children.

Introductions during morning assembly

School observation accompanied by MS coordinators

As part of this skill development and learning initiative, 4 government teachers from MPPS and 8 RDF teaching staff from RDF schools visited Matendla School in Siddipet district. They observed the morning assembly which also provided an opportunity for the visitors to introduce themselves to the school. The children presented songs and stories as a special activity during the assembly to welcome the visitors.  The unique clapping system was really appreciated by everyone.

Examining the Word Wall

Classroom observation

Thereafter, accompanied by school coordinators, the visiting staff observed classroom teaching, sports activities, kitchen garden, kitchen and libraray. The display work in the classrooms and corridors attracted the attention of visitors especially in the pre primary block. They admired the ideas and creativity of the students. The teachers were mesmerized by the display of well organized behaviour of the staff and the students during leisure time and the midday meal.

 Each visiting member shared their observations, experiences and expressed a wish to implement some of the best practices like – systematic clapping, encouraging individual talent like dancing, singing, display work, following road rules in the school corridors using colour cones as dividers, using ice cream sticks to call student by name (names are written on the sticks), Word Tree to develop English vocabulary etc.

As a token of appreciation, one of the Government teachers, Mrs. Chinnamma offered biscuits to children and another teacher, Mr. Surendar, announced that the students scoring 10 out of 10 in the board examinations will be gifted with a cash award of Rs 2000.

We are happy that this program gives an opportunity to empower teachers to reach out and learn from one another, work together for everyone’s benefit. We are glad that the years spent in promoting and implementing such a practice is bearing rich fruit and that the culture of sharing and learning is extending beyond RDF schools.

 

 

‘Foam’enting Inventiveness

How many of us remember Science classes, trying to understand Physics, Chemistry or Biology only through theory and trying to grasp these theories with just our minds? But take the same concepts into the realm of experiments and suddenly complex theories become so clear and simple to understand!

Science needs hands on learning. It is to this end that a ton of effort is put into teacher training in our schools so that teachers understand new concepts and ideas to make their subjects interesting, to enable child to learn in interesting ways, thus retaining the learning. Once a concept is grasped, ideas and creativity to understand a concept better keep mushrooming! We have seen this time and again with our students.

In Kalleda School, students and teachers turned their attention to soaps- how they are formulated, what makes them pure or impure. Through a series of demonstrations, the Chemistry teacher made the students observe the foaming capacity of soap samples that were purchased from the market.

They were able to grasp how the purity of soaps is related to its foaming capacity. Through this experiment, they were able to clearly understand how soaps are made, understand their quality and differentiate between various soap formulations. Coming away with new knowledge and a greater understanding of stuff we use on a daily basis is the kind of positive impact we hope to nuture in every RDF student.

Now, at some stage, we are sure we will see some innovation related to soaps coming from the imaginative minds of our students!

The Spirit of Giving and Volunteering

Volunteers – their spirit of giving, their generosity of time, effort and commitment have been an integral part of RDF’s story since inception. RDF has been progressing for over two decades, not only due to financial support from organizations and individuals, but very importantly, also because of the many individuals who have volunteered their time to support RDF’s work.

Ms. Geeta Nambiar, an educationist from Chennai has volunteered with many NGOs across the world. She recently spent one month based in Matendla School, to offer her services to the students and the school team there. With English being a necessary language and skill in today’s world, she focused her efforts on working with Pre-primary and primary children and teachers to build their English communication skills. She also spent time with the villagers who asked her a very important question – “What is the use of staying for just a month? To make a difference you have to stay for a year.” She was unable to stay longer, but feels that in order to support the school and community’s development, other volunteers should try to stay longer.

She wrote a beautiful note about her stay at the school and her interactions with the local community –

Ms. Nambiar, in a teacher training session in MS

It was a privilege, indeed, to help the teachers with their English, at this school, which started under the trees, nearly 20 years ago and waited for 7 years before it got its beautiful building.
I was deeply moved to hear that every brick was handmade by the parents. These unlettered farmers and shepherds realized the value of education and later, the value of English when they requested for the change of medium.
The villagers were warm and friendly and invited me to their homes and many asked many questions. As first generation learners, educated in the Telegu  medium, the sincere, dedicated teachers truly deserve support .
The school is run with transparency, honesty and integrity and optimum utilization of resources including human resources. Discipline is strict but benevolent and the students happy, healthy, friendly and confident. Congratulations to the RDF and to the staff and students on what has been achieved in Matendla. May you go from strength to strength.”

Ms. Nambiar’s commitment created a wealth of experience for the children, teachers and the extended community. Her stay will be cherished forever in our memory and we are very grateful for her selfless support!

Mr. Kaeding’s note about the 4 schools

Another visitor to the RDF Kalleda School campus recently was Mr. Erik Kaeding, an educationist and attorney from California, USA, who has been supporting RDF’s sister NGO, the India Rural Development Fund (IRDF), for several years, through fundraising efforts and also served on the IRDF board. This was his third visit to RDF and he took the time to visit the four schools. He observed classes, interacting with teachers and students. He appreciated the training the teachers have gone through that enables them to create student friendly teaching and learning techniques that enrich the classes. He provided feedback and suggestion for improvement, including suggesting other child friendly techniques for teaching. He also took a tour of the organic farms and the school labs. He was impressed with the expansion of infrastructure in the four schools that includes more classrooms and school buses. The methodical transition to English medium and the increasing use of English in conversation and in teaching also made a positive impression on him.

Mr. Kaeding, interacting with villagers

He met several parents in each school, taking feedback on the education system and facilities at the schools. He was very happy to learn that the parents are satisfied with the facilities and the quality of education being provided and that the children are also happy and proud to be a part of RDF. He also met several alumni to discuss their careers, giving them tips about furthering their skills and ongoing learning and development on the job.

We are immensely grateful to every volunteer who supports RDF and the advice and help that they extend to the entire community. In their unique ways, the help Educate, Engage and Empower these deserving rural communities!