In the last few months, the Turning Schools Around team has piloted a few modules of two new programs, Mathe-Logic and Reading Can Be Fun. As the names suggest, the programs tackle basic concepts in English and Mathematics. Both programs involve giving teachers ready-made lesson plans to transact, observing these transactions and giving feedback on them.
Creating ready-made lesson plans was initially a philosophical struggle because we did not want to limit our teachers' freedom in the classroom. However, we realized that the topics, though important, were seldom covered in conventional textbooks and were therefore out of the realm of the teachers' expertise. We then decided to use these plans to introduce teachers to novel material and give them a chance to practice innovative methods of teaching, learning and assessment.
We have been well-rewarded for our efforts in putting the program together because as we see teachers put modules into action, we seem them innovate, create and interact with their students in new, more productive ways.
Within the constraints of the plan, teachers are able to use their creativity to bring lessons to life in their own unique ways.
Teachers are using the blackboard effectively, organizing material in such a way that a single glance at the end of the class tells the story of the whole class.
Since they are confident of the material, teachers are able to focus less on content and more on classroom management. One demonstrable change is that teachers now give clear instructions to students, which ensures that they know what is expected of them.
As a result, students who once struggled to share material and resources, complete work in pairs and groups because they have a clear understanding of their roles.
Since the topics are new to both the teachers and the students, both teacher encouragement of student participation and student participation itself are far more authentic and engaged.
For the members of the TSA team, observing teachers over the last few weeks have been an absolute pleasure.
Posted By Amrita Randhawa, Co-ordinator Training and Teacher Support, TTF Bangalore