Archive for the ‘Learning Trips’ Category

Experience is the Best Teacher!

RDF children belong to families that sustain themselves on agricultural or daily wage labour. Over decades, due to reliance on chemical based agricultural methods and climate change, farmers have faced immense loss. Therefore a field trip to learn about organic methods of farming was precisely the kind of empowering journey for our children that would allow them to learn from live examples and pass it on to their communities.

On a hot sunny day, the children of Class 9 of RDF Kalleda High School walked nearly 5 kilometres to farms that had gained renown for using organic farming methods. The farmers were very willing to pass on their experience and knowledge to the children, which we were very grateful for. The children and staff observed drip irrigation system,  sprinkler system and crops such as paddy, maize, mango and vegetable gardens too. The children were bursting with questions and the farmers explained everything to them patiently, which was a wonderful interaction to see!

Through the trip, the children learnt the benefits of using bio fertilizers, how it improves soil fertility and how to obtain high yields. They understood the damaged caused to the soil, and the microbiome that are essential to crop growth, if we used chemical fertilizers and pesticides. After this informative trip, the children visited a dairy farm in order to learn about livestock, milk production, caring for milch animals, their diseases and how to prvent them.

All in all, the children were thrilled with their outing and felt that they had learnt a lot from the farmers. They are now eager to speak to their community elders about using such methods in their own field. We absolutely love the feeling of responsibility and empowerment in these children, who genuinely want to strive towards making their communities economically stronger. Hats off to them!

Advertisements

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

A Learning Journey

My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored paths, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards. This is my message to the young people. ~ A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

A day trip away from college and from the regular activities promises to be an exciting event for students, so one can only imagine what a few days away would mean for these students! RDF strives to make education a contextual and meaningful experience for students, so that they not only learn what is in their academic textbooks, but also learn from their own life and the world around him. So a learning journey becomes an intrinsic part of students’ academic experience. 

The RDF VAPV Junior College organized a trip to Karnataka for 54 students and 10 teaching and non teaching staff. For many students, this was the very first time that they were venturing out of their hometowns and they were very excited! They read up about Bangalore and Mysore on the internet, learning about Karnataka’s cultural heritage, historical monuments, the progress and development in its cities etc.

Students and teachers really enjoyed the visit to Mysore, understanding its relevance in local and Indian history. The enjoyed their visit to the Mysore Palace and ISCKON temple. Some students purchased the famed Mysore silk saris and appreciated its background and weaving. Next on the agenda was Bengaluru and the students were in awe of the city. Known as the Silicon Valley of India, some students are definitely dreaming of working here when they complete their education!

Keerthana, an MPC – 2nd year student, studying in the English Medium stream said this – “This is the first time I have gone for an educational tour leaving my parents. I enjoyed well throughout the journey.  I have leant many things in this trip. I have seen different nature, different language of famous places and we got knowledge and significance of historical places and monuments by the guides. I will never forget this experience in my life. I would like to thank RDF College management for organizing such a wonderful trip.”

 Travel and exploration of new places and cultures is a wonderful learning experience and we hope that we have ignited a curiosity about new places and people in these young hearts. All the students and teachers had a great time! The experience, the memories made will be a talking point in the college campus for a long time, we’re sure!

 

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.

 

 

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!

Empowering Primary Teachers

The dedication of RDF teachers is a singular cause for the development of RDF schools over its two decades in rural education. There exists a wonderful ecosystem within each school of providing personal and professional training to teachers, thus inspiring teachers to give their best to their classrooms and the children, along with their inherent determination to put in the work required to better the lives of rural children through engaging and innovative classroom practices.

Demo of inventive child centric activities

Having motivated teachers, who benefit from a caring and supportive school environment goes a very long way in providing a enriched environment in which children can thrive and learn. Therefore, ongoing teacher training remains a prime focus.

Interaction with IPPTA facilitators

With this focus, Primary teachers were sent of a training program organized by the Integrated Pre-school Training Academy in Hyderabad. This was conducted for pre-primary and Primary level teachers to understand pedagogical techniques.  4 teachers from Kalleda School, 2 teachers from Redlawada and two teachers from Rollakal attended this event in order to better their teaching practice.

The teachers learnt several methods such as using rhymes, stories, playway method and preparation of teaching and learning materials for English, Maths and EVS from IPPTA facilitators. This helped the teachers understand engaging and fun way to teach their classes, helping children learn in an active and fun environment. Such activities also build rapport between teachers and students, which also plays a crucial role in student responsiveness, helping them learn better.

The teachers came away brimming with new ideas on how to deepen their own learning and deepen student learning too!

Understanding Underground Water Depletion

India is in the throes of its relentless and harsh summer. Nowhere are people more at the mercy of summer, fraught with anxiety over crops and water, than in rural areas.  The bedrock of the Indian economy, agriculture, is faced with increasing anxiety with each passing summer, due to erratic weather patterns caused by deforestation, lack of rainfall and depletion of underground water.

This is the reality that RDF’s rural children and their families live in. In order to understand the seriousness of this problem, the Science and Social Studies teachers in Matendla School decided to give a project to students of Class 8 and 9, wherein they had to understand the reasons for ground water depletion and the challenges faced by farmers due to this. The students decided to meet some farmers at their fields and were accompanied by the Science and Social Studies teachers.

The farmers showed them the irrigation systems which are created though agricultural wells and borewells. They explained that underground water levels were depleting due to erratic rain and deforestation. This is resulting in farmers being forced to rely on digging borewells, which is also a temporary solution.

While an immediate or sustainable solution is not yet forthcoming, we hope that some of our students pursue sustainability and water conservation research methods which can be implemented in their villages. At the very least, students are very aware of the causes and remain conscious and mindful of water usage in their homes which is a good start!