Yesterday, IT for Change, as part of the TCoL (Teachers' Communities of Learning) programme conducted a BalMela at GKHPS Akkitimanahalli, Bengaluru. The programme ran all day. It began with the children experiencing a puppet show by an independent puppeteer Jayasree who set the tone for the day, with bright-eyed children eager to explore and learn.
The sixth and seventh standard children were divided in two groups and worked on laptops for two hours exploring different educational tools along with their teachers. What was amazing in this session was to see the teacher take a back seat and allow her students to teach her. This is a rare sight to see in our schools. Technology does break hierarchy...
The younger children had a great time doing language and mathematics activities facilitated by the faculty of the Indian Institute of Montessori Studies (IIMS). At the end of the day, one of the teachers told me how she was excited to try out some of these activities, as she witnessed new ways of teaching certain language and mathematics concepts. She said it was unique because she witnessed the institute teachers facilitating an activity and subsequently saw how the children were responding, rather than just hearing about the method/approach.
What stayed on my mind was the power of the government schools. There are all sorts of children with different learning abilities that were accepted by the teachers. It is something I never see in private schools which, as they always seek the best results, invariably exclude children with learning disabilities. In the closing, one such girl child came up to me and said in Hindi: 'I really loved today and best of all to touch the computer!'.