Tag Archives: education

More Details on Support School Students

At Manana our senior students (Class 9-12) have been revising grammar topics such as Tenses, Active Passive, Prepositions, Noun, Adjective ,use of the Pronouns May/Might, Can/Could, Will/Would etc. Along with doing a comprehensive study of the chapters in their school textbooks, they have also completed the exercises at the end of each lesson. We assess the students on their understanding at the end of each topic and chapter.

We have introduced techniques such as story telling sessions and short essay writing to the students and now they enthusiastically participate in it. We encourage students who are strong in a topic to partner with a younger/ weaker student and they participate in quizzes and presentations to the class together. This serves not only as a fun activity, but as they teach each other their understanding of topics and ideas become stronger, as does their empathy for other students. We make it a point to have balanced teams with both strong and weak students and it is in the best interest of the students to help each other and work together as no student can present or answer until every team member gets a turn. Healthy competition has made them thrive.

We employ the use of worksheets after we introduce a new topic; these are a good method of checking their levels of understanding and ability to follow written instructions. Oral practice and presentations as well as role playing are also activities put in place to foster confidence in not only school work but everyday situations they might encounter. In order to check that they are retaining lessons, we test them on concepts at regular intervals, not only after covering a topic but a few weeks later.

This academic session we have six new students of differing abilities, including several who are not familiar with the grammar topics that our other students have already learnt. They have begun to learn these and require a few extra sessions. Often they are asked to join the junior students (Class 6-8) as they are taught. Our newer students get extra one to one time along with exercises and worksheets tailored to their ability. Our only Class 12 student comes to us lacking the basics in grammar. She is eager to learn and we are confident she will catch up quickly.

Our junior students are from Classes 6-8. Some students have been with us several years and they continue to do well and improve, as they are familiar with not only with our teaching techniques but the basics we insist upon. The newer ones, are quite weak. They are however sincere and hard-working and willing to work to catch up with their peers. They get extra lessons with the teacher as well as worksheets to complete. We try to engage all of our students through word games, worksheets, quizzes etc. They read stories and try to make up short stories. We build their vocabulary not only through reading new stories, but by insisting on strong skills in using a dictionary. They have learned very quickly how to use a dictionary to search out unknown words and their uses. The junior students have completed Noun, Pronoun and its uses, Pronoun chart, use of is/am/are, use of was/were and now they are heading towards the tenses.

An Update on Support School Students

The new academic year at Manana has brought many changes. We have gained many new students, almost equally distributed through the classes. Several of our senior students have completed their 10th Boards and have moved on from us. We are pleased with their hard work and results and happy to see them spread their wings.

At Manana we continue to emphasize the teaching of the basic and core aspects of the children’s curriculum. Along with revision of their schoolwork and homework we regularly return to build up their basic skills in both Maths and English. This is done with a variety of techniques, ranging from interactive quizzes, tests, worksheets and flash cards. The students are receptive to the range of techniques and often don’t realise that they are being tested. We have found that many of our students who were weak in the previous years, such as Raju take great pride in explaining exercises and concepts to younger and new students. Having them teach each other (under supervision from the teacher in charge) has been wonderful for their self confidence and pride, we often find that their teaching style mimics their teachers and not always in a flattering manner. These techniques have also made them more confident in school and they report back to us, about teachers praising their skills at school.
This academic year we have nineteen students aged 5-10. While in previous years we have been reluctant to take such young children, it has become clear that there is a real need for teaching this age group. We understand that we can give this age group not only help with schoolwork but a firm grounding in basic skills that will assist them as they progress through both school and life. At this young age it is easier to teach them alternative techniques of learning as well as broadening their minds with new experiences. However with such a large group of younger students we have a real need for another teacher.

We currently have a small group of 4-6 students who require extra help and fresh techniques to hold their attention in lessons. These students have thrived with one on one attention, and enjoy having a teacher’s full attention, even if it is for 30 minutes at a time. We employ slightly more unorthodox techniques with them, and occasionally allow them to self direct with their lessons. Manju in particular, while extremely bright is unable to hold her attention if she isn’t supervised. However on a one to one basis she is highly motivated to read out multiple story books or work on basic skills, such as 3 letter words and learning to tell time.

Sita is another of our challenging students; while bright she has moderate medical issues that affect her concentration. With Sita we have worked with her parents to emphasize appropriate behaviour, as well as following through on tasks. This discipline has helped Sita to understand what she must do in different situations, she is gaining confidence in her abilities and is capable of reading simple picture and phonics books, and her vocabulary is growing along with her confidence. Our aim is to help her grow and make sure she gets the medical attention she requires.
Raju has grown by leaps and bounds with us, in past two years he has gone from a timid student with severe learning issues, to a student willing to try everything his peers are learning. In the past Raju was happy to be learning with much younger students as he felt it was a safe place for him. In the last six months Raju will sit and work with his own peer group and attempt the same work they are doing. He takes great joy in learning Sanskrit from Mrs. Chawla and is the first student to appear at her table every Wednesday. Working with her has done wonders for his self confidence.

Along with academics, here at Manana we try to organise activities that will broaden the minds of our students in other fields.  With this in mind we have organised field trips, picnics, and painting competitions in the past for the children.
Manana tries to take the children on a field trip every academic year, these trips have involved visits to museums and monuments.  In the weeks before rousing discussions are had about the destination and the children are ‘prepped’ and excited about what they will see and learn on the day.  It is our aim to take our students to the Zoological Park in October.

At Manana, we like to encourage the creative side of our students.  Our younger students have regular art and craft days, where they learn drawing, painting and other paper-crafts, and we try to have a larger event for all students to showcase their art skills. In 2014 Manana held an art competition with the ‘Swachh Bharat’ motto for ages 11 and up, while the younger children had ‘In my Garden’ as their theme.  The children’s art was judged by a local artist and prizes were handed out, both for skill and participation.
We will hold another art competition in November 2015.


Note: Students' names have been changed.

Manana Teachers’ Initiative in History and the Social Sciences

An initiative under which a few school teachers, educationists, teacher educators, historians and academics hold monthly workshops at Manana to discuss a range of issues pertaining to History, History Education and Social Science Education in schools.

A number of changes in school syllabi, textbooks, teaching practices, evaluation strategies and the overall system have been set in motion following recommendations set out in the National Curriculum Framework–2005. One of the chief aims of the workshop is to examine the latest research in the subject of History, and in Social Science more generally, especially the research that has gone into the making of the NCERT’s new books. We desire to understand how History is done; that is, the methods of the historian. Equally, we seek to discuss pedagogic questions, the place of our subjects in the school curriculum, and the problems we face as teachers of History and Social Science.