Monday, July 13, 2009

Education in Bodoland

I recently spent almost a fortnight in the heart of Bodoland in Assam.The place was the last Indian village on the India-Bhutan border.I worked with teachers from rural north-east and Women self-help groups.Something interesting the teachers brought out regarding the challenges of education :
1.No safe drinking water
2. No infrastructure - schools do not even have a proper buiding- bamboo structures keeping the students in.
3.Poor attendance - half of te year there are floods and rains and for the other half - Malaria.
4.FIrst generation learners - no support for education from home .
Few take away's that I thought worth mentioning -
1. All classes will ahve some bright students and some slow learners(this is called the Differential Ability Group or the DAG). Teachers will face problem in handling both the higher and the lower ability groups. Simple solution : give the higher group pupils something extra, something higher than the normal class ability level.This will keep him occupied.For the lower ability group - give more tasks that will make him use his hands.USe Activity based learning (ABL).
2. We did not try to tell the teachers what to teach - rather how to teach. Keeping the interest level up for the students is purely on the onus of the teacher.
3. Every 30 -45 seconds there should be some interaction between the teacher and the student.
4. Saw a very good teacher - she started the class by gossiping and asking the students how are they. But gradually she moved into the topic/subject matter.This transition was so seemless, so smooth that the students hardly felt they are learning something. They were like the teacher was still gossiping with them.

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