Archive for the ‘Volunteers’ Category

A Good Hand for Handwriting

The two Government schools in Bahadurapally that are part of the School Quality Improvement Program – a partnership between RDF and Tech Mahindra Foundation follow RDF’s best practices when it comes to upgrading student’s and teacher’s skills. RDF continues to do its work with rural, underprivileged children due to its committed education partners and also thanks to passionate trainers and volunteers.

One such passionate volunteer was invited to the Mandal Parishal Primary School and the Zilla Parishad High School for a training training program on ‘Handwriting Skills’. Aimed at techniques to improve handwriting skills for Primary and High school students, the workshop was facilitated by expert handwriting specialist Mr. Azaz Ahmed.

The school was abuzz with excitement as many had already viewed his handwriting skills session on YouTube and Whatsapp. During the workshop, he trained students in writing in Hindi, Telugu and English. He explained new techniques to develop good handwriting, including how to and how not to write.  He also won hearts by singing Sanskrit slokas and narrating motivational anecdotes to the audience. The feedback received from the students and staff was very positive. Mr. K. Balraj, the schools’ Telugu Pandit said that he loved Mr. Ahmed’s way of teaching and found it an unforgettable class. The schools intend to have him back for more sessions soon!



Effective Use of Teaching Learning Materials

The growth and success of rural education and schools lies in the hands of skilling rural teachers in good child centred and goal oriented teaching practices, of which an important aspect is designing high quality teaching learning materials. These teaching learning materials need to be low cost in order for teachers to get trained with new information and knowledge easily and effectively.

Ms. Sridevi with teachers at her workshop

Ms. Sridevi with teachers at her workshop

It is also crucial that urban educators, teaching experts and volunteers provide their time and expertise in order to help the significantly larger base of rural student population (compared to the urban student population) as it has been shown that quality teacher training can bring tremendous improvement in learning outcomes

RDF was glad to have Mrs. Sridevi onboard to train the Tech Mahindra Foundation staff on producing teaching learning materials that are easy to make and help bring out key concepts in the topics being studied. She explained the relevance of having bright posters in the classroom as visual aids to help children retain key points from a lesson.

Learning how to use blackboards effectively

Learning how to use blackboards effectively

She also taught how to use coloured paper and recycled paper to make easy materials such as birds, flowers, leaves, stars etc. Teachers were asked to design a poster on one theme of their choosing. The teachers made two beautiful posters on ‘Save Water and ‘Follow Traffic Rules’. Teachers also learnt how to use the blackboard creatively to teach numbers and alphabets to primary children.

Posters made by teachers

Posters made by teachers

The teachers were very pleased with the wonderful session and are looking forward to putting their training to use in their classrooms.


The Language of Learning

The RDF and Tech Mahindra Team have been hard at work to build the requisite resources in the Mandal Parishad Primary School. Learning the English language is a key skills that is absolutely required in today’s world. Rural children are at a disadvantage given the fact that there is no exposure to English in these areas and rural teachers struggle with competency in the language.

TMF ANITA KHOSLA 2Over the past two years, it has been our effort to provide expert resources to these teachers, such that they learn to communicate with students using basic English skills. Students too have been provided with programs and resources to enhance their skills in the language.  We are grateful to volunteers who have provided valuable time and service to engage with children and teachers at MPPS to help them improve in English communication skills. A volunteer with immense experience in this field is Ms. Anitha Khosla, a qualified English Language trainer who regularly works with teachers and children in the school.

TMF ANITHA KHOSLA 1With the objective of improving English communication skills among staff and children, her classes have had an enthusiastic response. Her approach involves recitation of rhymes with emphasis on phonetics and pronunciation and story telling.

Students have started to use creative expressions and improved vocabulary in class. Teachers too have been observed to have improved fluency and vocabulary.

With a little help from the community

The committee at work

The committee at work

At RDF Matendla School we have appointed a Sahakara Committee; the 11 members of this committee are elected by and from the people of the village once in every two years. Every two months the committee holds a meeting where the members discuss the students’ progress, curriculum, education and ideate on how to develop all aspects of the school.  The committee even addresses problems the students are facing and comes up with ways to resolve it. The committee also decides the fee exemption for students who are unable to pay the full fee amount. Its not all work and no play at the committee, they even take the students for a picnic every year. Their support and constant help is invaluable to us at RDF and it’s great to see the community help develop RDF Schools.

Beyond education…

A leadership activity underway with RDF Kalleda School students

RDF believes in the all-round development of a student. Besides academic education we believe in inculcating leadership qualities in the students.  Recently, Kevin Crouse (PhD candidate in Education Theory and Policy at Rutgers University) came to RDF Kalleda School to implement his innovative teaching methodology and develop leadership qualities in students. Students from classes 9 & 10 were formed into groups, each group led by a facilitator. Through discussion, students had to create a village, describing in detail all its attributes such as geography, political system, and traditions of the people. They had to give this village a name and represent it symbolically. Through further discussion, debate and brainstorming, they had to identify some crucial issues afflicting their village. Some of the issues identified were the lack of schools, alcoholism and dowry. The activity did not end with the identification of issues but also discussed possible solutions to the problem such as ways to reach out to local government to convince them about education and take necessary steps, spread awareness through various campaigns such as door to door advocacy and street plays. After this exercise, the students seemed more confident and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. RDF would like to extend a big thank you to Kevin and his team for their effort!

Promoting RDF

RDF staff tell visitors about the foundation at Karmayog Seva Mela

RDF participated in the Karmayog Seva Mela at the Zoroastrian Club in early October. The event — during India’s “Joy of Giving Week” — brought together dozens of NGOs, which set up stalls to publicize their good works.

Alumni from Kalleda volunteered at the event, telling visitors about how RDF differed from other schools.  G. Rani, who did her intermediate schooling at Kalleda from 2002 to 2009, described events like “dancing, archery and photography.”

Kalleda alumni G. Rani and Ishrath Fathima volunteered at the event

Alumna Ishrath Fathima, who had attended Kalleda with the sponsorship of a donor and is now studying engineering, also told visitors about the values that RDF teaches, including the important role of women. “Mothers play a vital role in children’s education,” she said.

Graduated, but not gone

Kalleda alum B. Veranna teaching students

Although B. Veeranna graduated Kalleda school and now studies at the National Institute of Technology in Warangal, he regularly returns to his alma mater.

During his own school holidays, B. Veeranna is teaching 8th, 9th and 10th physicals science classes at Kalleda. (The regular science teacher had left for another job.)

B. Veeranna — who attended Kalleda from 3rd to 10th class — also visits other RDF schools, helps with the Youth Empowerment Program, the Social Awareness Program and conducts career guidance classes for 10th grade students. In addition to assisting the students, B. Veeranna regularly translates from Telugu to English for the volunteers.