Early Childhood Education

In school teaching-learning culture, it is assumed that a classroom is the learning platform for students only and teacher on the other end has a responsibility of educating them. But it is a mutual process in which both the student and teacher are in the same stream of learning. I experienced this during my classroom practice where I have got a different viewpoint. A classroom is fully meaningful if the teacher and students both are part of learning process so it is not only students but also the teacher.

I, Saud, have been teaching Mathematics to students of Classes 6, 7 and 8 in the Azim Premji School for the last five years. In each class there are three to four students with little interest in Mathematics. Two years back, there were three such - students in Class-6, and their behaviour with classmates and teachers too was not proper. Speaking loudly in class, using bad language and quarrelling was usual.

We had a big hall in our previous school which we used as a book distribution area because there was no library as such in our rented premises. It was different from the usual library as it did not have shelves, chairs and tables and reading corners. However, this didn’t mean we restricted our students from reading. We arranged the necessary resources for reading to them. From the beginning, there was no specific structure in the functioning of our library.

‘Teachers in government institutions do not work, they have a leisurely job, ample holidays, they weave sweaters all day, eat peanuts idly and even if they decide to teach their students once in a week it is more than a boon for them. What after all will the students in these schools end up doing anyway? Not that they have to grow up and take up any prestigious, skill demanding occupations’.

These and many other such perceptions can be found around us even now...

It was very early days in a new school. Also it was a new experience for me to be a facilitator of English in a school where English was the second language. I found that English was a ‘Monster’ in the mind of every child, especially in upper- primary classes because they don’t get any hearing input from outside or from their environment (where listening is the first step to learn any language).

Even though this could be an issue for debate, it can surely not be denied that the teacher definitely has a significant role to play in whatever children learn at school. And a teacher would always like the children to be able to learn various skills and perform well. But another aspect in the process of teaching-learning is how much co-operation the child gets from his or her socio-cultural context, the environment at home, his or her upbringing, the parents’ co-operation and discussions with friends.

Our lives aren’t perfect paint-boxes with equal cakes of every colour. Are schools meant to give us a taste of utopian equality, or do they prepare us to accept an unequal, imperfect world with compassion and understanding? Art can help us question and alter our existing perceptions in order to share it with others. We attempt making beautiful things with what we have and get our voices heard authentically.

I joined Azim Premji School, Dineshpur in July’16. Its been almost a year working with this school. I am a graduate in science and did my BTC from DIET Lucknow. Though I have worked with children before in some government primary schools during my internship but working here is a totally different experience, even a challenging one.

This is an account of an attempt made in February this year to clear the concept of perimeter to class five. A story was narrated that was connected to the environment of children. The children loved the story from the beginning to the end. This story had the names from their surroundings, village and rural environment. The children understood the concept of perimeter almost in the first attempt itself. There was a village called Ichhapur where this incident took place a few years ago. There was a big open space in Ichhapur.

In the Azim Premji School, the meaning of classroom observation has been seen in a different perspective. Here, classroom observation is meant to help out the teacher in such a way so that he is able to see those things which he would have missed out in the flow of the class. It’s seen more as an assistance to the teacher in observing the micros of the class than a fault finding mission. These type of class observations involve a lot of patience and thought of converting a challenge into a learning opportunity.


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