TF is working with five schools in Bangalore under the Turning Schools Around Project supported by MSDF. The schools [Princeton Public School, National English School, Shanthi Children's Home, Citizen English School and Willington English School] are located amidst bustling commercial cum residential parts of the city with a large working class population. Most schools do not have an independent building. They function from rented commercial places that typically have shops on the ground floor and classrooms in the floors above. A couple of schools do have their own building located within a compound but do not have any open spaces or common areas leave alone playgrounds for their students.Some schools have their morning assembly on the road and some on the terrace of the school building. On the road, teachers position themselves in a manner so as to guard the students from the passing traffic.
Two schools have computer labs but it is only in one of the schools that the machines are in good condition and being used. None of the schools have a library. Although a couple of books are kept in the principal’s office.
the classrooms are quiet functional and are usually packed with students. In many classes, up to 6 students are seated on benches that could possibly seat 3 or four. As a result children have very little elbow room and have to move to the floor when they have to write.
Classroom observations show teachers reading out from textbooks, writing answers to questions from textbooks on the blackboard or dictating them. teacher questions are few and are usually answered en masse by the students. The questions usually have a ‘right answer’ which the student is expected to have memorized.
Teachers involve students in minding the classes in their absence. Some schools follow the system of ‘bench leaders’ Some schools involve students in conducting assemblies.
Posted by Padma Murthy, Project Head, TTF Bangalore