Archive for the ‘Learning Activities’ Category

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!

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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.

A Bright Future Beckons!

The RDF-TMF partnership is in its 4th year now and the seeds that were sown in the shape of RDF’s best practices with students and teachers, are blossoming in myriad, beautiful ways. Today we celebrate the lives and stories of some more children from the 2 partnership government schools in Bahadurapally.

Akhil, in a dance-theatre programme

Akhil Chary, now in Class 6, was reluctant to come to school when he joined 3 years back. He used to run away from school and take things from his classmates’ bags! The teachers have been trained in understanding student needs, their psychology and work in ways to get their cooperation. Plus the teachers really care about the wellbeing of their students. So, his teachers extended lots of patience towards him which helped him slowly integrate into the school. Now Akhil is known as the ‘class clown’ making everyone laugh, plus he’s talented at dancing & acting too! Sadly, he’ll be leaving the school soon, though on a happy note, because he’s cleared the Gurukula competitive exam and will be joining their hostel. He’ll be missed and we hope we can see him again soon!

Sunitha (R), at a plantation drive in her school

Sunitha has completed Class 10 from ZPHS this year, with a high GPA of 9.5! An ace student, she also became adept at computers, sports, dancing and acting; all activities that were brought in to develop students holistically. In the kitchen garden, she learnt to grow seasonal produce and took care of the mango and coconut orchards too. The school has put in the miles to develop a robust extracurricular programme for its students, with the intent of recognising and building their skills. Sunitha has learnt multiple skills and with these under her belt, learnt under the able guidance of the school staff, her future looks promising!

We wish both the absolute best that life can offer!

Skilling for Life

A session in progress with an SF volunteer at Global Edge School

India has a startling statistic which is that it churns out the highest number of unemployable graduates each year! Rote based education, intense academic focus and little time invested in skill or vocational development is the root cause for this. Children in rural India also have it tougher than their urban counterparts due to poorer infrastructure and little done to develop teachers. However, the story in RDF schools is very different. We are cognizant of this reality of rural education, hence have put in intense effort for over 2 decades to ensure well trained staff and attending to the holistic development of the children, going beyond academic achievements.

Fully engaged!

India’s graduates need employable skills. For rural children, English is paramount, given that it’s not present in the learning environment. Communication, team building, dealing with conflict, cultural differences are other skill areas that we also pay attention to. We feel blessed that we have partners and supports who understand these constraints and customize skilling programmes for our staff and students.

Focused discussion

As part of English Communication Improvement and Personality Development programmes, our students attend a Summer Camp at Global Edge International School, Hyderabad, conducted by Synchrony Financial. This year 42 students came to Hyderabad for this camp. The children had a lot of fun with the Synchrony team who created interesting activities in English focusing on LSRW skills. They also had music and yoga classes. With so much fun and much to do, the 1 month training flew!

We are immensely grateful to the Global Edge team for not only providing the venue each year, but also providing accommodation and drinking water to the participants this year and of course, the Synchrony volunteers for caring about the future of our students and providing them with great activities to groom them for success. RDF has sustained itself for 23 years because of the committed support of such partners.

 

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!

Sustaining the Environment

RDF schools have been working with sincerity and dedication not only towards the development of its students but also finding innovative ways to build the local communities and preservation of local traditions and the environment. They take their social responsibilities very seriously and the impact is seen in the ways in which the local communities rally to offer their support to their local RDF school!

Over the years, the schools have worked hard at preserving the environment through planting and growing local organic gardens, helping farmers to move away from chemical intensive agriculture to more natural ways and sustaining local produce. Such tender, loving care towards the environment goes a long way.

The Rollakal School community planted coconut trees some years back, with the children taking responsibility for watering, fencing and weeding the larger garden. The children decided to protect nature and happily look after the young trees!The school also has a mango tree plantation which is thriving and helps to bring in a small income for the school. The non teaching staff takes care of this plantation with great dedication. The produce is sold at the local market and the income is used to provide more resources to the children. These are real and measurable ways in which the schools are also empowering themselves and striving towards sustainability!

Going the Extra Mile for Extracurricular Activities!

For most educational institutions, extracurricular activities is seen as something outside of regular school work; academics is given greater importance. However, in RDF, we believe that learning happens when it’s fun, therefore we place a lot of emphasis on extracurricular activities too, as the achievements and successes from such activities spill over into all areas of a child’s life, which is what we would like to see!

Our extracurricular activities encompass a gamut such as art/craft, reading/writing, sports and indoor games, poetry and elocution, experiments, with a big dose of fun! Our teachers are trained to spot skills and talents in children, even if they surface in small ways because small doesn’t mean insignificant! This foundation is created right from the time the child starts in our schools. With the encouragement and care of teachers, these children become confident in themselves and their abilities which allows them to face challenges in other areas of their lives too.

In Redlawada School, the teachers spend a considerable amount of time to thoughtfully plan extracurricular activities, so the ‘extra’ effort doesn’t feel like effort! They’ve seen how the smallest of accomplishments or even acknowledgement goes a long way in building self esteem and help students focus on their goals with greater clarity. The sense of play and building interest creates a nurturing environment in the school, which everyone thrives in. Our biggest testament is that the kids enjoy coming to school and interacting with their teachers.

This holistic, whole life education is appreciated by the parent community too, who feel happy that their children are doing well, supported admirably by their dedicated teachers!