Taking forward MHRD’s vision of experiential learning in government schools
With ample resources and teachers fully equipped, private schools in India have been shifting their focus from traditional methods of teaching to activity-based learning. However, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) too has felt the need to introduce child-centric education in government schools and have initiated steps towards preparing and training teachers to incorporate learning in students’ day-to-day routine in the given limited resources and encourage creative thinking in them.This approach will help improve learning outcomes and put a check on the drop-out rate of students in the given limited resources.
Sri Aurobindo Society’s one of its kind initiative- Innovative Pathshaala- aligns with MHRD’s vision. Innovative Pathshaala is the new age guide for experiential teaching in government schools. It is completely based on the Society’s largest mass-education outreach program Zero Investment Innovations for Education Initiatives (ZIIEI) that aims to bring out the best practices of teachers at the grass roots and scale them up to thousands of schools.
Innovative Pathshaala is the renovation of the existing school syllabus, converted into evolving experiential learning content. It is compliant with the National Curriculum Framework 2005 and mapped with state-level curriculum for the whole academic year to impart value education through life skills and achieve learning outcomes specified by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development. It also focuses on learning outcomes for children with special needs.
How can teachers incorporate everyday activities of students in the learning process? Here are some activities that teachers can conduct for Class I students.
Chapter 1: Letters and Sounds
The chapter focuses on English alphabets, their pronunciation, and different objects starting with a given alphabet.
• To enable students to name familiar objects in pictures and associate words with pictures.
• To enable students to respond orally to comprehensive questions.
• To impart values through life skills that will be inculcated during the execution of the plan.
Meditation and Warm-up
This section of the plan deals with meditation, body exercises, and sitting exercises to trigger the lesson. It focuses on breath during meditation and reciting poems with actions as warm-up.
Learning Through Pictures
This technique works as a dynamic teaching methodology focusing on the visual aspects of learning. It depicts the words based on alphabets and encircling the alphabet in the given word.
The teacher will call one student and ask him to rotate the wheels and map the correct sequence of any one object. This game will go on in the same manner for the rest of the students. The teacher can use this activity for the revision of topic ‘Letters and Sounds’. The wheels must be, properly visible and clear, with colourful pictures and must be easy to rotate.
The teacher will prepare a chart based on ‘Alphabets and Related Pictures’.
• The teacher will divide the chart into two parts. In the first part paste the pictures of different objects or things starting with different alphabets.
• In the second column write the alphabets. Teacher will show this chart to the students. Students will identify and circle the correct alphabet.
Sports Grid Game
The teacher will prepare a grid with related pictures of different objects, things, etc.
• The teacher will give an alphabet to one student and the students will identify the picture related to the alphabet.
• The same will be repeated with other students and other alphabets. For example, for the alphabet A: Picture on the Grid – Ant, Arm and soon.
Students will sit in the class in their own places. The teacher will discuss the way of taking attendance with the students.
• The teacher will call the roll number for the attendance and the student will answer with an alphabet followed by the next student calling out the next alphabet. ‘For example: When the teacher calls out Roll Number 1, then the student will respond by calling out A; for Roll Number 2, the next student will respond with B, and so on.’
• In case a student calls out a wrong alphabet, the teacher needs to correct it to maintain the sequence.
Teacher will write the alphabets in big fonts on paper chits to be allotted to the children.
• Teacher will allot 26 students a chit each with an alphabet written on it. This chit will be worn by the student on the pocket with a stapler pin.
• Students will call each other by the allotted letter for next few days (till they memorise the alphabets). For example: The student with a C on the chit will be called ‘C’.
• After some time the teacher can add a picture related to the word. This time students will call other student by the name of the object allotted to the student. For example: The student allotted with the alphabet C will be given the picture of ‘CAT’. So everyone will call him by the name of ‘Cat’.
Experiential Learning in Surroundings
After the chapter is taught in the class, the teacher will ask the students to identify the objects, things, etc. In their house and surroundings with the alphabets learned in the class.
• The students will try to describe the objects starting with the different alphabets there by learning to appreciate the beauty in self and others during the meditation and warm-up exercises.
• The students will speak and listen to others which will create a ground for effective communication among them during the warm-up activities.
• The aspects of creative thinking will develop when the students will read the ‘pictures’ and comprehend them and identify the given alphabets in their mind and on paper.
• The students will improve critical thinking to identify the errors in the given charts and solve the problems thereby deciding the correct sequence or match in the chart or wheel game or answers to the questions in grid game.
• The students will be able to work in the vicinity of each other or in groups where under the supervision of the teacher, they will learn to cope with their emotions, create space for themselves as well as give space to the other students.
• All these will help to create values and inculcate a sense of responsibility and care in students towards self, people as well as things around them.
Learning Outcome For Children With Special Needs
LD – Learning Disability, SL – Slow Learner (Borderline Intelligence), ID – Intellectual Disability -Mentally Retarded, ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
• Meditation will improve concentration and creative thinking in children with LD, Mild ID and SL.
• Learning through pictures is a creative way of providing interactive learning to children and this will improve focus, participation and creativity.
• Wrong chart will help ADHD child to increase focus in the class room.
• Wheel game will be very helpful for each child to understand the lesson better.
• Through grid game activity, children with ADHD, LD and SL will improve their cognitive ability.
• A child with Nutrition Deficit Disorder (NDD) will be more attentive in the class through the theme-based activity.
• A child with ID will be able to understand the environment, nature and surroundings through the experiential learning method and will be motivated towards vocational skills like gardening, animal husbandry etc.