Activity Based Learning
It is a sad reflection on society when the education system is irrelevant and out of context for most children in school. The typical school in India follows a formula which predictably fails both in learning outcomes and in employability. The formula includes a combination of an out of date curriculum coupled with rote learning, compartmentalisation of courses and non applicability of learning. A human being essentially passes several years in a school structure only to come out in the real world and have to learn everything again in a practical, contextual and applicable manner. Moreover, the value structure in our education system takes away emphasis from a hands on approach to an extremely theoretical approach claiming one to be over the other In the end, we have a society that disrespects people who work with their hands (whether it be farmers who grow our food or the carpenter who builds your table). Children across the board from rural to urban areas lose the ability to work with their hands and strongly believe that they must move away to a hands off approach based on working with their heads. It is “someone else” who is meant for such work.
At Tamarind Tree School, our aim is to combat each of these issues and experiment with newer pedagogies in a common sense way. We ask ourselves – is this relevant to the child's life? Is it useful? Will it touch her mind and heart so that it stays with her for life? Does it make sense to learn this? The curriculum is divided into topics and developed such that a student is “taught” in both a conceptual manner as well as an experiential manner. A course compulsarily has “Activities” which are divided into digital or online activities and offline activities. Digital activities include answering an interactive online quiz, online games, writing an assignment, chatting with peers in a network, creating a digital painting or a power point presentation, reading a book online and so on. The experience of working on an individual laptop having to create, produce or answer a question posed to you on your screen changes the dynamics of learning. The screen is compelling and the system allows for individualised learning.
Offline activities are plenty. These can be classroom and group based or field based. Children in Tamarind Tree are seen working on land, running around looking for clues in a Treasure Hunt, working with clay, or doing a science experiment on yeast. Drama, classroom based games, cards, dice, leaves, soil are tools used for experiential and activity based learning. Teachers are encouraged to use the real world and the field outside to teach. We are fortunate to be located in a beautful landscape and students learn about mountains and rivers by sitting next to one. Interviewing the community and understanding the political structure of the village are activities planned as the children grow older.
Read more about Treasure Hunt and how we use it to encourage english reading and comprehension. At Tamarind Tree, we also use the famous “passing the parcel” game played at birthday parties to encourage english conversation, communication and reading. Check our Blog for regular updates on our different ideas for Activity Based Learning