National Public School- with TFI

Few interesting and exciting things happened this week.

The week started with TFI (www.teachforindia.org) inviting applicants to visit a school where TFI fellows were teaching a class. I was unable to make it to any of their previous “weekend coffee chats” but decided to go to this one since it seemed like a good opportunity to get acquainted with some ground issues in education. Even after considering that I had to wake up way early than usual and that the school was in Shahdara, it turned out to be a great decision!

The site of crowded naked red-brick houses as the metro crossed the Jamuna was prompt in reminding me of the reality of our cities and societies. The locality of the school- perhaps a worker's class colony on the vicinity of an industrial area made me even more pensive. However, my mood was instantly lifted as I stepped into the school courtyard. The sounds and the feel of a generation being forged! About 7-8 of us were soon welcomed into a class by a young, smiling teacher and the echoes of “Good Morning Didi, Good Morning Bhaiyya” from all over the tiny classroom... The whole place oozed a cheerful positivity... It was after a while that I was returning to a classroom and it was amazing to see how Ghazal (the teacher) introduced India's constitution to kids of 9-10, the way she encouraged kids to think, prodded them with questions, encouraged them to answer, appreciated their efforts... she was so into it! Tottaly made my morning!! All the walls of the class were filled by colourful charts- displaying the "stars" kids had earned, instructing them to speak in English and so on... My favoritest idea was the "curiosity box". Whoever had a question to ask, wrote it on a chit and placed it in the box... what a cool idea! :) Later Ghazal patiently answered our questions about teaching and TFI... After the class visit was done, Mohit- a former fellow, also shared his experiences about working to bring a change in and outside the classroom.

One of the most important take-home message for me was TFI's professional approach to teaching... When I had begun filling their application form, I was frustrated by the same thing- professionality in the information they asked for... But perhaps achieving a real and tangible change on the ground needs much more than the right intent and spirit... We had tried being more systematic when I was involved at Manavya and the Hadapsar project of DreamIndia, but somehow I could never sustain it! But quite motivated by the visit, today I offered Kaushal to help him bring a more professional approach to their efforts in teaching kids in the Timarpur area. The plan is to document and monitor progress- assess and record student levels, keep realistic goals, choose teaching strategies based on an objective analysis, and follow the progress periodically. Have to make it work this time!

I have also filled in the TFI application for 2013... Have to think about where that's going. Probably no where, but still...

Meanwhile, 80% of students enrolled in the Economics class on Coursera are males!! What a shame!

1 comment:

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