It was an off-day for me and I have decided to visit the Eureka School at Kanchipuram as a volunteer. Those who read my blogs know about this “Eureka Schools”. This is the same school which I wrote about in the title “ABC Nee Vaasi ! - English is never a stumbling block for the rural kids”, where I wrote about a wonderful event performed by the students of the same Eureka School @ Kanchipuram (Vembakkam). The event was related to English and the students from the remote villages have performed extraordinarily. The event showcased the students' abilities in English in all the verticals - Reading, Speaking, Analytical, Reasoning etc., It has been exhibited in the form of game shows and competitions. That was a wonderful evening for me and a detailed post on the same can be read by clicking here.
I wanted to visit this school after witnessing that wonderful event and they had some practical assessment test on the day I wanted to visit. So what more can invite you to visit such a school than this; where I can directly interact with the students, Kids, Teachers & Parents. It is a primary school – KGs to 5th Standard.
It was an early start for the day for me, as I have to travel from Chennai to Kanchipuram. The day started with the wonderful bus travel, and it was some local festival in temples in Kanchipuram that day it seems, the buses are fully occupied. Thus started the journey and reached the school on time. The kids welcomed & greeted with the natural smile on their face. It is quite obvious for the kids to have a fear and feel tensed, when some outsider is visiting the school. But I couldn’t see any such fear on the kids while seeing me. I see that as a good thing that the kids are not tensed, that too on their assessment day.
After sharing a brief intro with the teachers, I started visiting the labs. Yes, you heard it right – It’s Labs and not class rooms. Remember, it’s the school for the students of KGs to 5th standard. I was actually wondered after reading the name “Math Lab”, “English Lab” etc., that too for primary students. Frankly speaking, I came across the word Lab only during my 8th standard and have visited a laboratory only during my 11th standard. I was quite surprised to see these terms being used for the students of primary school. Those who know me, knows very well that, I never stop asking questions and doubts. This is no exception. I asked the same question to the Head Master of the school. The reply they gave, made me feel that the school is running with a wonderful vision. They replied that, “The subjects should be experienced more than being taught. The kids should be given a practical exposure of what they have to learn and hence this concept of Labs has been incorporated in our schools”. That’s something I am seeing as an eye-opener for me. Being a guy who studied in a city based school, I am literally surprised to this model and personally, I appreciate this way of learning. This reminds me of a famous quote by Albert Einstein, “I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn”. The quote seems to be proved here.
As I keep discussing with the teachers and Head Master, I have observed that the kids keep going to one room after another. There comes the next surprise for me. There is no specific class room for the students where the teachers will come and take classes. Instead, the kids will go to each lab and learn based on their time table. For example, if it is an English period, the kids will go to English Lab. It was explained that our mind will get relaxed and chose to learn a particular subject better if we are surrounded with an environment of what we wanted to learn. This reminded me of my 11th standard, where the Students of economics & Sanskrit will go the respective department to learn those subjects and the students liked learning that way. Good to see the same is being implemented in this primary school. You can have a look at the pictures of the labs below. The atmosphere and environment plays a key role in learning something. The below pictures tells you more.
|Kids are ready for the school prayer.|
|Some puzzles being pasted in front of the class rooms|
|Kids play area.|
|and some posters....|
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I was there as a volunteer to assist in practical assessment of the kids. Till my college days, I have been tested by way of written examinations which often I felt boring. But we have no other go, we have to prove ourselves by writing those exams. But what I saw in this school is extremely a different methodology. There will be a written exam, which carry some weightage. But major weightage is given to their performance in one on one assessment. The kids never felt me as an outsider, they neither had fear nor tensed. They were just being themselves and completed their exams / assessments without any sort of fear. Sorry for my comparison with my school days, but that is what makes me write a post about this school here. I still remember the fear I had during my Practical examination in my 12th standard exams where an external examiner will review and ask questions in viva. I was literally shivered to face the examiner. But seeing the kids here who are not showing their fear on being examined by an outsider, that’s something we should learn to adapt.
More than that, the kids enjoy the learning methodology being followed here. Gone are the days where I blindly memorize math tables as “One one zaar one” (Without knowing that it is “One Ones are One” which I came to know only during my college days). Here the kids learn almost everything practically. Instead of reading out the problem of “A boy has a basket of five mangoes, and he dropped one mango – How many mangoes does he have in basket now”, It is always better to demonstrate the same make it easy to learn than to make it complicated by way of a problem of two paragraphs.
I concluded my previous post of “ABC Nee Vaasi” with the speech of Mr. Balaji Sampath who is the backbone of these Eureka Schools where he mentioned that they want the Eureka schools to be the MODEL school in all the ways. After visiting one of their school, I should tell that the school is going in the right direction to be seen as a model school for all others to follow. Overall, it was a wonderful day for me where I have learnt a lot from the school and the kids. I am sure to visit the school again soon.