innovating learning

Richard Fernandes co-founded Centre for Learning (CFL), Bangalore - an ‘alternative’ school, where he developed and implemented laboratory-based curricula for learning Physics. A strong believer in the dictum that “Physics is best learnt by doing”, he enjoys building experimental apparatus from material found in scrap yards or cannibalized from discarded instruments. In this interview, he shares his experiences of being a Physics teacher at the middle and high school.
Are all that children surmise from their day-to-day experiences, actual scientific truth? In this article, we discuss three  examples that show how children have such 'prior mental models' before they enter classrooms, and how these could persist, even into adulthood. We also discuss potential ways to help learners replace these 'prior mental models' with correct scientific models.
If real learning has to happen in children in the classroom, a good preparation on the part of the teacher is a must. We teachers need to know what kind of preparation is necessary. It’s always better to think ‘How does the child learn?’, rather than thinking ‘How to teach the child?’, because the child learns only when he is ready to learn by himself. There is no end to learning, education is a continuous process. While learning in school is one stage, adopting the same in life is another stage.
We have often seen that what we think happens the way we wanted it to happen but at times the results are much better than what we expected.
One must tune into what one’s natural inclinations and talents may be, and once aware, nurture them.
Cinema as a club activity and a learning tool in the classroom space.
“To try is art. To find is aesthetics”
While J. Krishnamurti, the noted philosopher, says ‘Art is putting things in their right place’, Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish master of minimalist cinema, on being asked if he thought art was useful to human beings, said bluntly - ‘It has to be, it has to be, otherwise we might as well go to hell!’
A scene from a ‘life skills’ workshop held at the Concerned for Working Children (CWC) centre in Kundapura, Mangalore District :
Puppets as educational tool serve as animated symbols of thoughts, feelings and experiences. Research interests are directed towards the puppet´s meaning and significance by the activity´s subjective product in the human activity. By illuminating the puppet’s communicative properties, the aim of my research is to develop knowledge about the puppet`s relational, linguistic and actionrelated potential as a mediating tool in preschool and school education.

"For education to be liberating, learners have to be active subjects not passive objects as in the present education system." - Paulo Friere

Work is inextricably linked to learning. If our education system pretends to have something to do with learning (not just creating a work force for industry) then it has to incorporate work in its curriculum. It is a must.

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