Learning

In this article D. Annarathinam talks about reading corners - how they can be set up and used to create learning spaces for children.

Yesterday, one of my juniors called me. “Samvida, I have my physics exam tomorrow, and I have a doubt. Can you help me?” I was only too happy to assist, and spent a couple of minutes going over the question with her. When we reached a concept she hadn’t learnt yet, I began explaining to her, but she cut me off midway. “It’s okay, we haven’t learnt it, it can’t come in the paper,” she assured me confidently. When I put down the phone, I did so with some niggling uneasiness.
We all have an image of what a classroom looks like. It could be based on how we were taught, the classrooms our children may be in, or classrooms that we may be teaching in ourselves. In most cases, this classroom has a teacher talking with a group of children, who may be 25 to 50 in number. There is a blackboard, books and worksheets, and colourful charts and material on the walls, if the children are ‘lucky’. The government school version of this is expected to be similar, and in most cases, drabber.
Any school which has set out to bring about learning in an interesting atmosphere could bring in a dedicated area for working with hands. A craft studio or center could provide a rich resource in exploring various materials and could be introduced for children from an early age. Natural materials like clay, bamboo, wood, coconut shells, seeds pods and other fascinating materials like paper, thread, cloth and beads could be brought in for the mere joy of understanding the nature and differing qualities of these materials.
“A child is not a vase to be filled but a fire to be lit” was the opinion of the French renaissance scholar and writer Francois Rabelais. Numerous educationists of eminence across centuries since then, have held that the true purpose of education is the blossoming of the individual in every possible way. Why, then have we focused so hard on “filling the vase” in our schools, while the “lighting of the fire” doesn’t seem to fit somehow into the overall agenda at all?
Over the last four years, I have heard various educationists, school leaders, teachers and policy makers talk - at various Education conferences and in the media - about the enormous challenges in school education. Over time, I found a few recurring themes:
1. Focus on learning, not teaching.
2. Create the joy of learning – and children will learn for life.
I clearly remember the moment when I realized that I could read. I must have been five years old. I was at home, sitting on the floor with a storybook, reading a story one word at a time. And suddenly (this is how I remember it, at least) - I was reading whole sentences from beginning to end, without stopping. I could read!

To teach his students about the environment, B. Ravichandrane takes them out of the classroom. Through activities, his students learn about nature, the eco-system, etc. He shares here some of the activities they carried out, in this article published in Thisaimani (Journey 2) - an APF-Puducherry District Institute publication.

Teaching can be done in many ways. In his article, D. Arvinddaraja, talks about the project based learning approach he used to create an impression on the minds of his students. This article was published in Thisaimani (Journey 2) - an APF-Puducherry District Institute publication.

Sometimes learning becomes easier when you look at a concept as a whole and realize the relationship of the parts with the whole. Here's how you can bring concept mapping into the classroom.

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