Archive for the ‘Learning Trips’ Category

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!

 

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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!

Sandeep’s Dreams…

Sandeep studied in Vigneshwar Vidyalaya till Class 4. He joined RDF Matendla school in the Class 5. His parents are uneducated – his father is a mason and his mother is a beedi worker. It was his parent’s decision to change Sandeep’s school and join RDF Matendla. He likes the school because of the importance given to academics, sports and other cultural activities.

ms-1It was due to the school and their efforts that Sandeep started developing an interest in martial arts. A yellow belt holder, he has participated in state and national level karate competitions. The national level karate championship was held in Jammu and Kashmir. It was the first time that Sandeep traveled by train to an entirely different state. He was part of the Telangana team and traveled with 20 other team members.  Around 200 participants came from all over India. ms-2The 2 day train journey was very memorable. The train passed through the states of Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Punjab and Maharashtra to reach Jammu. The indoor stadium was big and nice. It was the first time that he realized how serious people are about sports. Sandeep is keen for more children to participate in sports. He believes that it offers great exposure and allows him to meet many more people. It teaches discipline and punctuality.

Sandeep recently participated in a quiz competition conducted by Birla Planetarium in Hyderabad. 2 teams represented RDF Matendla. Matendla was the only rural school in the competition that saw 50 urban school teams. The quiz was very tough. He was not aware of the answers of many questions. It was a great learning experience for him and he is eager to participate in many such competitions.

ms-4In his free time, Sandeep likes to play with his younger brother and visit the village library. The library is open from 8 am – 10.30 am. It again opens in the evening from 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm. Every Wednesday, the library remains closed. Sandeep likes to spend time in the library and update himself. He reads newspapers and borrows GK books. According to him, newspaper reading is a very good habit. The Telugu newspaper gives information about the state wide news where as the English newspaper has country wide news.

Sandeep is also interested in politics for social good. He believes that social policies are implemented for the welfare of society. For example, KCR constructing double bedrooms flats for poor people and other programs like Mission Bhagirath will help Matendla a lot. If the mission is a success, there won’t be any water problems in their village they will have access to tap water.

Sandeep is very keen on becoming an IAS officer and help society. We wish him all the very best for future endeavors.

Dreams of Green

Inspecting and learning about  'Magic Pit' with locals

Inspecting and learning about ‘Magic Pit’ with locals

Ibrahimpur in Medak District has earned the distinction of being a ‘model village’. For the past couple of years, its residents, under the tutelage of the Sarpanch’s son, have put together several ecological practices which has made the village a ‘must see’ for people wishing to lead greener and more sustainable lives.

So the students of Classes 4 to 8 from Matendla School went to visit the village to observe these practices and see how they can be replicated in their own villages. The locals were proud to show them their ‘magic pits’ which are soak pits that allow waste water from a household to be recycled. Almost every house in the village has one. The students were informed of a water purification centre which ensures clean water for every home. Each street is meticulously cleaned everyday, with garbage taken daily to a dumping yard where it is disposed off in a sanitary manner. There is lush greenery around, with seasonal plantations.  In the evenings, solar lights power the streets and the homes. The village has also been free of seasonal viral outbreaks or water borne infections due to the clean environment.

Interacting with locals to understand creating model villages

Interacting with locals to understand creating model villages

The staff and students returned with a sense of wonder and what can be achieved with the power of good ideas and partnerships between local people and its elected representatives. We hope some of what they learnt will be put to use in Matendla and surrounding villages and create a new green revolution!