Archive for the ‘Learning Activities’ Category

Electrifying Education!

Learning is present all around us and every person we meet has the potential to teach us something. Learning from professionals is a great way to make children understand the variety of skills that are required in everyday life.

In Matendla School, the staff came to know about Government issued electrical work that was going to be undertaken near the school. They decided it would be a great opportunity for children to observe the work and learn from professional electricians. The electricians also agreed to explain their work to the children.

The work involved earthing a transformer near the school. They explained the importance of earthing, including how the fitting will be done and the materials that are required for the connection. The students were fascinated by the work and asked plenty of questions, which the electricians patiently answered. Very importantly, they also cautioned them about the hazards about working with electricity and the safety precautions that need to be taken.

Through such real life observation and interacting with skilled people, children learnt about how electricity is supplied to transformers and homes and how to work safely. These field sessions are vital to real education, far beyond textbook education. The children really enjoyed their interaction and came away with more knowledge than when they started!

 

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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!

 

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!

A Culture of Compassion for Agriculture

Learning from one’s local environment and community is very valuable for school children. While learning from textbooks for a curriculum is important, it is equally important for students to be able to connect textbook knowledge to real life challenges around them.

RDF children belong to financially backward, rural, agrarian communities. Most parents are either small farmers, farm labourers and cattle herders. Learning about challenges in farming is necessary for them, if they are to begin thinking of sustainable solutions – this is the vision RDF has been actualizing – by educating them about the world around them, engaging in deep and meaningful ways with the local communities and empowering them to understand the challenges and find ways to help them in various ways.

In Kalleda School, as part of a Science field trip, students  of Class 8 visited farms in their local village to understand the challenges in a farmer’s life and to observe the use of a Harvester machine. The farmers were happy to interact with the students, demonstrating how the harvester helps them save time and money. The farmers explained how it is getting difficult to retain farm labour and the economic burden of agriculture. Use of technology such as the Harvester machines is helping farmers, but they need more help to make their lives financially sustainable. They also had a productive discussion about paddy and its diseases and methods being employed to ensure good crop year on year.

The Harvester machine

Through this trip, student became much more aware of the difficulties present in eking a living through farming, awareness about how Science and Technology can help farmers and that there is still a long way to go in order to make this more productive and less cost intensive for them. We hope this reality and its inherent challenges will help our students utilize their academic and life skills learnt in RDF, to return and help our farmers – the backbone of India’s economy

Creativity, Coins and Kudos!

The true spirit of education and learning is to ignite curiosity and facilitate the natural interest of children. We can never stop smiling when we see creativity, born out of interest and curiosity, unfold itself through interesting experiments and contraptions.

Vijay, building the ‘Coin Separator’

Thumma Vijay, a Class 7 student of Rollakal School, combined craft and science to make a ‘coin separator’ for the school. He had observed that carrying small change can be a little troublesome. So he fashioned a ‘set of drawers’ from thick cardboard to separate Re. 1, Rs. 2 and Rs. 5 coins! He also had the foresight to think of user comfort and stuck 3 bottle caps to pull and push the drawers! With this model, everyone saves time counting out coins and they stay safe too.

The freedom to design their own creations, either based on what they learn and understand in the classroom or from other sources of inspirations is a joy to see. We are very proud that RDF schools actively promote this spirit of freedom in all its students. The teachers receive full credit for supporting students’ learning journeys.

Now Vijay’s classmates have resolved to come up with their own ideas to create something useful for their school or their home. It’s brilliant how a simple contraption is creating this wave of inspiration for everyone.

Well done Vijay – we are very proud of your invention and look forward to more creativity from the school!

Chekumuki Champions!

Redlawada School has created history by having 3 students selected to the State Level in the Chekumuki Talent Test and Quiz Competition. RDF children have been doing quite well in these tests that are organized by the Jana Vignana Vedika (JVV) to promote scientific temper in students. However this is the 1st time that Redlawada School students have cleared the District level test! Kalleda, Rollakal and Matendla schools also received a District level award.

Neeraja, Class 8, J. Rakesh, Class 9 and P. Raju, Class 10 showed that they have what it takes to win! The parents, teachers and students at the school are delighted with this news and are now praying that they achieve success at the State Level competition too.

Participation in such interschool and competitive tests build academic skills and understanding in the students and also provides them with the necessary exposure to test their knowledge and skills outside the classroom. It bolsters their confidence, regardless of the outcome. The children have always given positive feedback after participation in such tests and other academic oriented fairs.

We wish the Redlawada team all the very best!

The Joy of Learning

Children crammed into a classroom for 7 to 8 hours a day, memorizing their lessons is not exactly a picture of fun filled and joyous learning, is it? Imagine active and exuberant 4 to 5 year olds being made to sit or stand for hours on end. Young children have a natural curiosity to explore, to play and to run around. Many schools cannot provide an environment conducive to the natural nature of young children. But the RDF environment is very different!

RDF recognizes the natural drive and ability of young children, so the teachers are trained to work with these natural abilities in order to help them learn. This method of ‘activity based learning’ or ‘playway’ method has created fun filled classrooms for RDF’s young learners.

In Redlawada School, kids learn English and rhymes through songs and stories. Toys and other playthings become characters in a short play or story; the teacher and children together weave a wonderful story, adding songs and rhymes to bring the story to life. Rhymes are learnt with actions, music or play and games too! When kids are having so much fun, time just flies!

These activity based methods have been proven to show that children can retain content easily. Instead of making them undergo the stress of memorizing, having fun and play makes them retain what they need to learn effortlessly! Parents too are happy to see their children learn new things and develop themselves in this manner. The teachers too feel creative and engaged with such teaching methods.

We are very proud of the efforts of our teachers who take the time to creative engaging and meaningful lessons for these young kids, keeping their needs in mind. We admire their own playfulness and patience! As always, it’s always lovely to see the smiling, happy faces of the little ones!