Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Initiating Change towards Foundational Learning

‘Parivartan’, the training center of The Society for Door Step Schools, Pune (DSS) has been doing a commendable job since its inception in 2007.  It was started with the aim of bringing about uniformity in the training given to the staff of Door Step School with a special focus on the teachers working at grass-root level in various DSS projects. Since its inception, it has evolved into a well recognized training center even for other organizations working in the field of education. Their effectively planned and result oriented modules for language and math are more than welcome in every teacher’s repertoire.     

DSS recognized very early, the challenge of achieving the most basic learning skills- being able to read the local newspaper. As a result, DSS first devised a 120 day language learning programme based on their experience in the field and simultaneously designed and developed various teaching aids/tools to implement this programme. DSS soon started an intervention programme for Std.I in municipal schools and adapted the 120 day programme to its syllabus. As a result, 90% of the children with 80% attendance can read the Std.I text-book at the end of the year. A similar 120 day programme for Maths was developed that was to be simultaneously implemented with the language plan. The methodology to implement these programmes involves rigorous monitoring and revision work done regularly. The tools include (other than the usual charts and picture books) various adaptations of popular games, puzzles, specially designed competency based reading material including story books and stories written and illustrated by children themselves, and plenty of creative work to make learning an enriching experience.       

Sampark Bhaje, Eklavya Nyaat, Disha Samaj Vikas Sanstha, Asha Kiran, New Vision and Saans Foundation are some of the NGO’s who have also been trained at Parivartan between April and June 2019. The common factor is always, ‘Which is the best way of teaching children and especially under privileged children who have no encouragement at home?’    
Every NGO that approaches DSS for training first gives their requirement and then DSS plans their schedule with the appropriate modules. Most of them come for training to teach language and math. 

The first reaction of any trainees handling DSS’ teaching aids is, “Oh….why didn’t WE get to learn like this!”  And then, “This is such fun! I’m sure the children will love it!” The enthusiasm takes over and the teacher is drawn into its folds with a commitment to teach and learn. They are once again students and enjoy every aspect of the training….the games, activities, role plays and the theory… all are popular. The structure of their own training teaches them the importance of diverse ways which they can use to make the children’s school experience a happy one.

Many admit that their own reading and writing skills improve by attending even a few days’ training. They realize the importance of planning and following a time-table. They also appreciate the ingenuity of making difficult concepts easy and yet interesting; they feel confident to take part in discussions regarding the teaching – learning process; and also feel confident to control a class!

All the trainees always appreciate the total commitment and the passion of the DSS trainers who have developed the teaching aids/ tools. They also admire their patience, and humble and co-operative nature that encourages interaction at every turn.   

Door Step School thanks all these organizations and wishes each one of them the very best in helping to transform the foundational learning in our schools and provide more strategies for improvement at all levels.    

Very often, in the process of teaching, assumptions are thrown to the wind. Back to the basics.

Contributed by: Mrs. Archana Vyawaharkar, Volunteer, DSS