Thursday, July 28, 2016

Little world of creativity

12:30:00 PM

Little world of creativity Education Blog for Pratham India  Written by Priyanka Shertukde

Holding a flash card with a photo of an Octopus on it Pooja questioned her tiny students, “What is this?” A chorus of ‘Octopus’ resonated through the room but one boy yelled out, “Yeh bhoot hai (This is a ghost)!” We looked at each other and burst out laughing. This 4 year old boy decided to disagree with the entire class and stretched his imagination to guess the creature. He was promptly corrected but he surely gave us a good laugh.
As the flash card activity continued other children tried to interpret the pictures in their own way which turned it into a new game altogether.
This Balwadi is one of the many Pratham Balwadis that function in Pune city of Maharashtra. It is a delight to see a bunch of kids reciting poems and indulging in interactive sessions like puppet shows and storytelling. The children are full of surprises. Nishka is another five year old who avoided any eye contact with visitors but loved to show off her talent of reciting stories. She would start off by introducing herself and narrate a story without any pause or confusion. She recited three long stories in the same organized manner and did not show any sign of exhaustion. Her teacher informed us that she started telling stories in one of the Balwadi’s puppet show activities. Nishka would go ahead and create her own versions as well.
Some say pre-schools are unnecessary, some say they turn out to be an added burden on children while some look at it as a waste of effort. But as we see kids get along, play, draw, sing, talk and indulge in so many creative activities we wonder is it truly unnecessary?
The little ones prove an interesting fact: It is never too late to educate yourself and it is never too early to begin learning as well.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Exploring new avenues

1:20:00 PM
Exploring new avenues Blog for Pratham India Education Written by Priyanka Shertukde

Choosing a profession is a man-made concept, so are gender bias professions. Those dwelling in the cities are consistently fighting against this bias but those in the Tier II and Tier III cities have their own unique battles to break the norm. A bunch of girls who have moved to Pratham’s Vocational training center in Panvel from the nearby villages and small towns are shining examples of one such battle.

All of the 8 girls seemed to be in a discussion with one of the instructors. There was some excitement in the air. The girls walked towards the storage area with purpose. They put on their aprons and a safety helmet and set to work on their last day at the center.

They represent the first all-girls batch of PACE’s Electrical training course in Maharashtra. These girls were absorbing some last minute tips before heading for an interview for job placement in Pune. The move from their respective homes to Panvel for training and then to Pune for employment is a big transition in their life back home which was about household chores and routine since childhood.

Samita is one of the girls who dreamt of going places. After completing her 12th grade she was at home with no direction towards any definite career path. This is when she heard about Pratham Vocational training course. She opted for the Electrical training course without a moment’s hesitation.

Samita says, “I was always the go to person in the house in case of a break-down of any appliance. I was more interested in the ‘man’s world’ of hard physical work, gadgets and equipment.”

The three month course provides theoretical as well as practical knowledge of the subject. The students get an opportunity to work hands-on at the centre which is build specifically to give the students a feel of being on field.

This opportunity with PACE gave Samita and other girls like her a chance to step out and explore a world of possibilities. It helped them learn to not limit themselves at an age when there is scope for every passion. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Freedom to Imagine

12:20:00 PM

“To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's.” 
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Freedom to imagine Written for Pratham India By Tarun
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Freedom - The very base of our existence, the very mechanism of nature which straightens the existence into harmonious living amongst all. Who doesn’t like to be free? No one wants to be bounded either physically or emotionally, we are the prime species of living things on Earth, and we strive to live with our thoughts being free and easy to be expressed and without being judged. Another instance at the summer camps, where the independent beliefs are really the first priority, that ability to speak and suggest freely. KIDS, wild imaginations, freedom thought processes, without judgements and vague perceptions like the “matured”. We hate being judged and like to be accepted as we are to the world, so talk to a kid about it, “see” the difference!
A certain moment I would like to share is the activity of telling a story on a random topic and continuing it along by the other students in a circle, starting with, “Reeta goes to a fest with his Nana ji, and goes on a ride, soon she loses the sight of him, she was worried and began finding her”, and the kids were asked to continue the story upon their imagination followed by what should have been done, everyone had interesting stories to tell along. Some even included, “Uske nanaji ko aliens utha ke le ga
ye the, tabhi wo ghum ho gaye the”, “bhoot the uske nanaji”(hahahah).
At the end all were asked what should have been done to avoid or cope such situations, the responses were spot on, “sir reeta pagal hai sir, bina btaye jhula lene chli gyi, aise ni krna chahiye tha usse”, “jo bhi karo batake karo badon ko”, “usse nanaji ko btake jana chahiye tha” and so on. Every one had a view based on their thoughts, either to change the story or to present an advice. The teachers also had various advices to suggest and the activity paid off well crossing the expectation figures.
We need a way to vent out the mental slavery that we have enclosed ourselves in, the boundations that we have engraved ourselves with are too deep to be replaced now, but we need a change, a step to start, to initiate the journey to the enigmatic hallway of freedom, let’s again look at the kids and learn.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Interacting One to One

11:23:00 AM

by Tarun Khullar

“Social media is an amazing tool, but it's really the face-to-face interaction that makes a long-term impact”. - Felicia Day

One to One Interaction, blog written for pratham India by Tarun Khullar
The idea generation phase, where everyone's opinion is discussed.

Communication is the key factor in the world, we all are connected with each other on this very basis and ensuring the harmony is prevailed by this means. When it comes to effective communication, there are certain barriers that every organization faces. Direct communication at the beginning of the relationship regarding expectations for the necessary behaviors and performance results that define success amongst students, it will greatly impact a teacher’s ability to have on-going candid, direct communication is the very being of every interaction we like to express, and it is the most accurate one.

The focus of the summer camps in Delhi was to make a bonding so cherishable that the fear of a student to talk to his/her teacher is no longer there, similar was the theme of the basic foundation of Summer Camp Program these summers. A positive relationship between the student and the teacher is difficult to establish, but can be found for both individuals at either end. The qualities for a positive relationship can vary to set a learning experience approachable and inviting the students to learn. A teacher and student who have the qualities of good communications, respect in a classroom, and show interest in teaching from the point of view of the teacher and learning from a student will establish a positive relationship in the classroom.

Blog for Pratham India written by Tarun Khullar on the topic "Interacting One to One"The main emphasis was on one to one interaction amongst the students and teachers, and this was scheduled everyday not a mere means to evaluate or assessment purposes, but to interact and share their imaginations as well as experiences. This was to harness confidence in views and clarity in the ideation, and it was a huge success as well. Every day, the students were seen talking to their teachers about assignments and various activities to be scheduled for the next day. The kids reviewed it as “mam k saath he share krunga sir”, well this confidence conveyed a lot about the change we were seeking for this program.

Interning at Pratham Namaste

11:09:00 AM

by Grace Beckman

Blog for internship at pratham, written by Grace Beckman for Pratham India blog.
The Blackboard and the English Class


One of the hardest parts about my trip thus far has been attempting to communicate India’s excellence to people back home. As with any adventure, when I am asked the question “How is it” I am at a loss for words, not knowing how to put one month of learning into a concise sentence. One thing that always remains consistent, without fail, is mentioning the people who I have met and the relationships I have made. It is because of everyone who I have met that I am unable to write India off into one neat and tidy little thought. This beautiful country cannot be explained unless you experience it for yourself because so much of what makes up India lies within its people.

    Each person that I have met has been genuinely welcoming. When I first arrived here my coworkers and my host family carried out small acts of kindness. Admittedly, I thought that these were done to make me feel more comfortable, as I had just arrived, but I began to notice that even after a couple of weeks things continued to happen. I also saw them carried out in the larger community. Each day I come across small acts of generosity, performed absentmindedly by strangers for strangers, by one coworker for the other and by one loved one onto another; there was no shortage of kindness. Whether it were someone offering up their seat on the bus, liberally passing their lunch, or greeting each person that walks in the room, these small acts of love are a part of daily life.

Because, as I rarely see cows away from farms in America, I am especially fond of the respect shown towards these beauties!
Each of these acts has stood out to me and has held great significance in my experience. With respect of the individual so frequently diminished in my own community, it is beautiful to be somewhere that places such a large emphasis on respect. I am aware that being a white woman living as a guest in India grants me a certain amount of privilege in this community. Therefore respect is also granted to me more easily. However, I have also taken note of these acts done to colleagues, friends and family members. These acts are, as I have said, performed in everyday life.

    All of this can be better explained through a more in depth explanation of “Namaste”, which was clarified to me by one of my close friends. One of my first days here I was surprised that I had never known this meant hello, to which she clarified that it is indeed a greeting but also much more. Namaste is a Hindu greeting that literally means “I bow to you”. Delivering “Namaste” along with folding the hands in the namaskar, are symbols of the belief that the life, the divinity, the self or the God in me are the same in all.
The Blackboard and the English class.

    When I first learned the meaning of Namaste I, of course, remember thinking it was beautiful but I don’t think that I could fully grasp what it meant. It is only while living here that I have been able to see its true beauty, which is carried out through people’s actions. Each time someone is greeted with the namaskar they are given faith, they are given love and they are given respect. The faith, love and respect are then carried out into daily lives through the littlest of tasks that make huge lasting impacts.


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