Scripting new methods of teaching

Scripting new methods of teaching

As many as 60 pre-primary and primary teachers from various city schools just became more student-friendly. This happened after they attended the two-day workshop on experiential method of teaching students. Organised by the Thane Branch of Maharashtra Bal Shikshan Parishad (MBSP), the workshops were held on two consecutive Saturdays (August 16 and 23) from 11 am to 5 pm. MBSP is an organisation that promotes innovative methods in early child education.

As most children find studying from textbooks an extremely boring and cumbersome pursuit, they try and avoid it as much as they can. Being aware of this trait among children, this method uses dramatisation as a means to instruct students. So the objective of the workshop was to train teachers in scripting their lessons in a drama form and direct the students in acting and delivering dialogues that comprise of short lessons from their subjects.

Coaching them in this scientific method of schooling were Harshada Borkar and Vishakha Deshpande from MBSP. The techniques taught included body movements, facial expressions and most importantly, symbolic use of available material in classroom. For instance, a measuring scale would be used by the teacher to depict a guitar, a rifle, a stick or even a cricket bat. This approach helps in developing the imaginative capabilities of the children and also makes textbook lessons far more interesting. As students participate in the stories themselves, they find this a fun method of learning. They tend to understand the subject better and remember more of the subject being taught, leading to higher grades and better quality of education as compared to the traditional process of rote learning.

The workshop also promotes what can be called "Location Tuitions" where teachers are encouraged to take the students out of the four walls of the class into any area inside the school premises – staircase, passage, canteen, or even the rest rooms. This breaks the monotony of the classroom ambience and further helps the children in developing their imaginative skills.

According to Borkar, "When this method is employed by the teachers, it leads to an improvement in the relationship that they have with their students, who now look forward to attending classes instead of resenting them."

The dramatisation approach can be successfully employed for all subjects – History, Geography, Science and languages. Also, contrary to the opinion of many, this approach is equally effective for large, over-crowded classes with 50 plus students. For example, in a class of 60 students, if 10 students participate in the actual drama, the rest of the class become their audience and are far more engaged in the class proceedings than the in usual dreary one-way lecture from the teacher. Borkar says she has witnessed the number of hands going up in the air after a question is asked dramatically increasing after the use of this approach.

Being a radically different approach, most teachers were quite apprehensive about the workshop and its benefits before the workshop began. The fact that few had any skills in scripting, acting or directing added to their anxiety. Yet after the first session of the workshop, all 60 teachers were convinced of the potential of this innovative way of tuition, so much so that on the second Saturday, they acted in their own dramas directed and scripts by themselves. According to sources, the performance of these teachers was simply marvellous.

At the end of the second day, all the participating teachers were awarded certificates by the President of Thane Branch of MBSP, Kumudini Ballal.

Several prominent schools such as Saraswati English at Rabodi and Panchpakhadi, P E Society’s English School, A K Joshi, Bedekar Marathi, Saraswati Marathi, Bhagwati Vidyalaya, Dynaneshwar Vidyamandir, Brahman Vidyalaya and many more sent their teachers to learn this innovative approach to teaching. It is indeed an encouraging sign that so many city-schools subscribe to the view that school education needs to be made more interesting and appealing to students.

In fact, according to some teachers, this workshop can help parents too, in the sense that they can use the methods taught in helping their kids learn well even at home. For those interested in enrolling for the next such workshop, please get in touch with Harshada Borkar on 25381326.

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