Thursday, July 15, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
A letter ……….. By daksha
A letter to my son discussing about the language subject taught in Fountainhead.
Do you know what language is? Well! I’ll tell you. It is considered as one of the boring subject taught in school, But I can teach it well, you know? To kindle the interest of language I do 3 interesting read alouds per day with lots actions, facial expression and voice intonations. Believe me Pu, my children feels dazzled and fully engrossed till the end of the book. They are lost in the pictures as I read each page. Do you see, how read alouds causes a magical spell on my students. Pu , Did you have such experience in your language class? Of course not, right!
Then we continue with our daily timetable of the day. If we are starting a new reader, I will inform them about the author of the book first. A little information about him triggers lots of interest in my students. Pu, Did your teacher ever give you such information? No, right! See this how we start a new reader. As we proceed through the storyline, I ask my students to perform a role-play on the story line too.
Pu, Do you know at this junction all the students shout and scream to be a character in the story. Did you experience this throughout your school! No, right. This is the magical power that keeps my students attached with the storyline.
Once they are cleared with that particular story, I give them a blank paper and let them use their imagination to draw something about the story or draw their favorite character in the story. Here the child has to attach himself in the story to be able to draw. All my students really enjoyed this activity, Pu could you think how creativity comes out through this.
After this junction I plan to introduce this grammar connected with the story. My students will fill in all naming words in the name chart. Pu these are nouns. On the next sheet they will enter describing words if it is there in the story. Pu these are adjectives. On the third sheet they will fill in words which shows actions. Pu these are verbs. See Pu we teach grammar through stories. Wasn’t extra grammar book too much a burden for you in school? Well for Fountainhead students it is an interesting activity connected with an interesting stories. Okay bye dear I guess I have said enough. So you see how language is taught through various ways which also makes sure that their enthusiastic spirit is cultured throughout. My students love language class very much.
A “Typical” School Day
( Attempted poetry-Mariyam Baxamusa)
Students standing in a queue for assembly…..
Kids jumping around during circle time.
Students quietly sitting in class writing surprise tests….
Kids completely engrossed in research work.
Students moving through the plain corridors with fingers on their lips……
Kids, moving about through colorful corridors, learning from the displays.
Students making noise in the class-No teacher about…..
Noise in the class- kids and teachers actively taking part in the inquiry process.
Whatever the teacher says becomes the rule and everyone breaks it…
Everyone involved makes essential agreements and follows it religiously.
Students, being labeled as slow learners, L.D etc.
Special needs kids treated with special care and attention.
Students taking part in unhealthy competitions…..
Sportsmanship and team spirit all around the school.
Students pushing about, moving in the bus…
Kids discussing their day, with their seatbelts on.
Yes…you guessed it right…it is a typical school day at a normal school versus,
A typical school day at Fountainhead school.
Education is evolving every moment. Every moment, is spent learning something new. Some day you learn something new or you are guided to do something new. The same things you implement with the children, they perform well & you feel satisfied. Then suddenly one day you come to realize that whatever you were doing is not exactly correct, is this conflict also a part of education?
As a teacher, sometimes I am a learner & sometimes I am a guide. As a guide, when you are doing something wrong you feel de-motivated. Then I talk to myself “No! Don’t be de-motivated. You are a learner & you learnt something new” I feel that is where education comes in.
Learning new concepts everday is education. Education is dynamic
When I reflect on my education, I was in a convent school in Mumbai. In that school we had Marathi as the third language. I was doing well in studies. Then for business reasons my family shifted to Surat. My third language was changed from Marathi to Gujarati. My mom started teaching me Gujarati in summer vacations. To get good percentage & also to be addressed as “passed and promoted to” I had to clear the Gujarati subject & that meant bringing good marks in the weekly tests. I used to score poor marks. I strived hard to get good marks without understanding & also started hating Gujarati. Also in my school, I was humiliated in front of my class, as the teacher read out one of the essays written by me in Gujarati. (Because the essay was a combination of Hindi & Gujarati) I started hating the subject as well as the teacher.
And, when I talk about my son, Dev he reminds me that “Mamma, aap promise to karte ho, par aaj aapne read aloud nah kiya! I think this is education!!!
A small poem that I wrote-
WHAT IS EDUCATION?
WHAT IS EDUCATION?
I DON’T KNOW…….
LOVE IS OR IS NOT EDUCATION.
A FEELING OF CONFLICT IS OR IS NOT EDUCATION.
QUESTIONING IS OR IS NOT EDUCATION.
STRIVING TO ACHIEVE IS OR IS NOT EDUCATION
Parents Involvement In Education
A kitty party is going on and discussion is on child’s academic.
1st lady - Hey, you know my son secured 90% in 1st term. MUJHE TO ISSE KAM CHALTA HI NAHI.
2nd lady - OH! My child is champion in Football because I like it very much. But I told him to secure above 80% in 2nd term without option.
3rd lady - So lucky you are! My child is not interested in studies , every time he is busy with drawings, singing and day dreaming. I am fed up of all these. PAR MAI KARU TO KYA KARO…?
4th lady - Same with me… I told him to study 3-4 hours after coming home. No,to T.V. , games and friends because I want 80% next time.
5th lady - I also arranged for tuitions . I told him that you have to become a doctor without choice. AB MUJHE TO TIME HOTA NAHI. You know I am so busy.
Friends, this is the scenario of today’s involvement of parents in education. They want their children to do according to their wishes , never asked about their interest, caliber and passion. They treat child as prestige symbol and want results by hook or crook. But reality is totally opposite. You are so lucky to give birth to your child but you are not the owner of his life. They are not your possession like jewelers, house, furniture and clothes. They are sensible human beings with their own passion, capabilities and goals of life. You can only provide right environment to grow, they will blossom themselves and fragrance will spread automatically.
For a plant to grow, gardener can provide proper manure, water, sunlight and protection. Plant will grow according to his quality and time. You can’t grow a mango from chickoo plant. Plants can take 3 months, 6 months, 1 year , 5 years or 10 years.
Similarly, a child will grow naturally according to his potential, provided by proper care and support. Education is not mugging up of facts and getting good marks. Education is something that enables a child to grow in adverse and changing conditions even in competitions. So education is enduring understanding of facts as well as real life experiences on personal and social level. As a gardener, parents can help them by providing resources and legible support as time, sharing of views, security, motivation, appreciation , guidance and love whenever they need.
Nursery’s current unit is based on “Play”. What I am looking forward to is to how these young children are going to develop their language skills through listening/speaking while playing along with developing their social and cognitive skills as well through play.
Initially, whenever I gave them anything to play with, they just played and that is how it was meant to be; but then I thought that why not make use of play to develop language skills, social skills and thinking skills in children. It is then that I decided to give them certain situations around which they had to use their toys and play. I would like to share one of the finest reflections that I could have ever got- kudos to my young children. Here are excerpts from a drama based on ‘A Hospital Scene’.
There are 4 corners in the class: Art & Craft corner, Sand and table corner, Block corner, Drama Corner.
Day 1: There are 2 doctor sets in the drama corner.
Tried to create the SETTINGS of a Hospital:
Students: Wow! New toys Ma’am?
Teacher: Yes, they are all for you but before that we need to form 4 groups by using the grouping strategy of colourful flowers. (Red for rose, Yellow for sunflower, White for jasmine, Pink for lotus)
After the children grouped themselves, each one took up a toy and started playing individually. Someone became a doctor, someone a nurse and they were just using the materials.
Day 2: Same as day 1
Students: Ma’am, please let us play with the doctor set today; we could not get the chance to play with it yesterday.
Teacher: Ok, but today, all of you have to perform a drama using the doctor set, and I will be there to help you. All of you have to form 2 groups; one group will be the staff of the hospital and the other will be the patients of the hospital who come for their check up and treatment (I again used the grouping strategy of ‘favourite fruit ‘to form 2 groups)
Students started using all the given materials to enact the roles of a doctor/a nurse/a patient/ other staff. After some time, they got stuck and did not understand how to take the drama ahead. As a facilitator, I was saying,” what does the doctor say when we go for our check up when we are sick or when our tummy aches, and what all do you observe in the clinic; think and enact”. But unfortunately, their period got over.
Day 3: Same as day 1 and day 2
Students: Ma’am, are we going to play with the doctor set today?
The students formed 2 groups and they started the play- all on their own. They formed 3 corners namely doctor’s corner, waiting corner and medical corner.Aahana became the doctor and started checking; Deep was the assistant doctor who was helping in the check up procedure; Surya became the medical shop keeper; someone became the helper trying to organise the waiting list of the patients. The assistant doctor said to the doctor,” He is not well and is having fever. Please give him some medicine.” The next patient was bitten by a dog. They decided that he needed an injection since medicines alone would not work. At times, the children would have arguments on whether it was proper to inject the patient or not.The medical shop keeper was calling all the patients to collect their medicines from his shop.
The time period got over and I asked everyone to wind up. Suddenly, I saw Surya enacting as if he was pulling down something. I asked,”what you are doing?” He said,”Ma’am, we should close the shop at night otherwise anyone can come and take the medicines without money.”
It was a great feeling to see such young children perform this type of a drama. I wanted to share one of my most cherishable moments with all my colleagues.
The most important thing in early years
The most important thing is that I am a child and I love to play.
It is true that we need to learn and to know what is going on in our surroundings,
But the most important thing is that I am a child and I love to play.
It is true that we need to come to school; we need to give respect to our adults, teachers, and parents,
But the most important thing is that I am a child and I love to play.
It is true that social interaction at home, society and school facilitates new understanding as well as gives us opportunities to grow up,
But the most important thing is that I am a child and I love to play.
Seeing through teacher’s eyes
INSPIRE inspired me to be a teacher
who loves notorious creatures
They taught me to laugh and to be tough too
coz they are sweet and rough too
They give loads of love and lot of respect
Which every teacher does expect
Teaching is a life time experience
Which requires a lot of patience.
Purpose Of School
There is a lot of expectation from a school. And therefore by extension, from a facilitator too. A facilitator is required to be equipped with at least some of these listed below:
When the child comes to you -
The school remains an organization very different from an office or a factory or for that matter any other organization.
As teacher – facilitators each one of us bears the burden of responsibility of an unwritten contract with the child not only for the text book but also to be his lamp in all the areas listed below plus a thousand other areas.
To develop in him:
If I had to sum up THE PURPOSE OF SCHOOL from my own life experience:-
The Creation Of The Teacher
The Good Lord was creating Teachers. It was his sixth day of overtime and He knew that this was his tremendous responsibility for teachers would touch the lives of so many impressionable young children….. The angel appared to him and said, “ You are taking a long time to figure this out.”
“ Yes” said the Lord, “but have you read the specs on this Order?”
…..must stand above all students, yet be on their level
…..must be able to do 180 things not connected with the subject being taught
…..run on coffee, coke and leftovers
…..must have communicate vital knowledge to all the students daily and be right most of the time
…..must have more times for others than for herself/himself
…..must have a smile that can endure pay cuts, problematic children and worried parents
…..must go on teaching when parents question every move and administration is not supportive
…..must have six pairs of hands
“six pairs of hands,” said the angel, “that’s impossible”
“well,” said the Lord, “it is not the hands that are the problem. It is the three pairs of eyes that are presenting the most difficulty.”
The angel looked incredulous, “Three pairs of eyes on a standing model?”
The Lord nodded his head, “One pair can see a student for what he is and not what the others labeled him as. Another pair is in the back of the teachers head to see what should not be seen, but known. The eyes in front are only to look at the child as he goofs up in order to reflect, “ I understand and I still believe in you”, without so much as saying a word to the child.
“Lord”, said the angel, “this is a very large project and I think you should work on it tomorrow.”
“I can’t.” said the Lord, “ for I have come very close to creating something like myself. I have one that comes to work when she is sick….teaches a class of children that don’t want to learn….has a special place in her heart for children who are not her own….. understands the struggles of those who have difficulty…..never takes the students for granted…..”
The angel looked closely at the model the Lord was creating. “It’s too soft-hearted.” Said the angel.
“Yes,” said the Lord, “but its also tough. You cannot imagine what this teacher can endure or do, if necessary.”
“Can this teacher think?” asked the angel.
“Not only think, but reason and compromise,” said the Lord.
The angel came to have a better look and ran his finger over the teacher’s cheek.
“Well Lord,” said the angel, “your job looks fine but there is a leak. I told you, you were putting too much into this model. You cannot imagine the stress that will be put on the teacher.”
The Lord moved in closer to lift a dropof moisture from the teacher’s cheek. It shown and glistened in the light.
“Its not a leak,” said the Lord, “it’s a tear.”
“A tear? What is that?” asked the angel, “what is a tear for?”
The Lord replied with great thought, “It is for the joy and pride of seeing a child accomplish even the smallest task. It is for th loneliness of the children who have a hard time to fit in and compassion for the feelings of their parents. It comes from the pain of not being able to reach some children and the disappointment those children feel in themselves. It comes often when a teacher has been with a class for a year and must say goodbye to those students and get ready to welcome a new class.”
“MY,” said the angel. “the tear thing is a great idea…..You are a genius!!”
The Lord looked somber, “I didn’t put it there.”
(source - internet)
Values and Education
Value is a very broad term to be defined. Value, for us, goes a long way to define a person.
But what are Values? Do the set of values differ from person to person or from country to country?
Values are universal. Almost every set of parents in this world whatever their culture or country be, wants to teach these good values to their offspring’s.
For eg. Honesty is one such value that no matter where you go people try to imbibe this value and it is respected by everyone.
So, my question to everyone is when values are so very important, should not these be a part of our educational system?
And I feel the undisputed and unanimous answer would be “YES” and yes we at fountainhead school have tried to create an inter-woven system where education and values go together.
Values are a guiding light,
That makes life meaningful and bright.
May the child shine
Holding the tourch of values through education,
In everything he does and
In everything he achieves.