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Pachasaale - The Green School

Pachasaale - The Green School Pachasaale, the DDS Green School completed five years in 1998. This half a decade of existence has provided the School with moments both of exhiliration and exasperation. Exhiliration because most of the children who have come into the school are rediscovering their childhood and a lost opportunity at education. On the other hand in spite of a spectrum of efforts the effort to keep the children in the school and attracting fresh children to the School seem to be a never-ending battle. At times one seems to have reached ones wits end.



Children are taught ecological agriculture at Pachasaale
- the Green School

The school decided to take up this festival as one of the first projects in the series designed to celebrate the festivals of the region. In the festival the children of Pachasaale came together to pick earheads from different fields in the surrounds, string them and decorate their classroom doors, make sweet bread and eat together. The celebration was the first of the steps in the project.

The School however has moved on with grit and determination in its effort to addrss the special needs of a special sector of children. The working children from the poorest rural families. Children who are sibling supports, farm workers, cowherds, shepherds and bonded labour. Children who either lost the first chance to go the school or never given a chance to do so.

Most efforts of the School are towards creating new structures as well making cretive educational efforts towards fulfilling its goals of telescoping ten years of school education into five years and simultaneously offering the children in the School a basket of vocational skills. The combination of these two skills, the School believes will offer a reasonable incentive for the children from the poorest families to come to Pachasaale.

One of the high points in 1998 was the selection of Pachasaale as one of the four schools in the world to attend to participate in the 1998 Hampton Court Garden Show in the UK. That this was an unique honour for the School was unquestioned. But the fact that this the only Asian School to be accorded this honour was a special pride. Two children from the School, "General" Narsamma and Nagwar Kavitha were selected to attend the month long Exhibition. Ms P V Rama, a senior teacher of the School accompanied the children. A well known designer from UK Claire White visited the School and designed a replica of the School in the Hampton Court Show. A team of Independent Television news team from UK accompanied her to the school for a special feature for the ITV.

That two girls from the School who come from possibly two of the most deprived dalit homes in the country could attend and international exhibiton and hold themselves is a true measure of several creative steps the School incorporates in its curriculum.

Assemblies

The school assemblies are an important part of the school curricular objectives

  • to enable the children to express themselves freely
  • to remove stage fear from them
  • to enhance their skills like singing, story telling and games

The assemblies are divided into the following activities:

  • Monday local songs
  • Tuesday local games
  • Wednesday local stories
  • Thursday new issues (teachers narrate them)
  • Friday Report (children narrate the weekly happenings in their respective classes)
  • Saturday News (children narrate the happenings in their villages)

The Assembly continues to be the expression of the central objective of the School: creation of an empowered child.

Academics



Children making toys of clay
at the Green School

From the beginning the Pachasaale has been concerned about the tyranny of the examination system. But it has not found a reasonable way of getting out of the trap. One of the significant changes during this period has been in the way children are promoted to their next levels. Earlier we used to use marks as the basis for such promotion. Now the criterion is whether the child has attempted to answer each of the topics in the examination.

In the creation of text books, there are major changes. Individual teachers have tried preparing texts for their own classes. For the lower level groups, text books have been prepared in the local dialect of the children.

Projects

This period has been marked by a series of project-based teaching designed by teachers. There are specially designed projects for which the entire school comes together. There are also projects specifically fashioned for individual groups. Such individual group level projects for eg. have been done for Chiluka (Parrot), the first level group on the following subjects:

  • Human body
  • Animals
  • Trees
  • Vehicles
  • Occupations

For the second group Pichuka (Sparrow), 18 projects have been designed covering all the subjects from Chiluka and including subjects like Permaculture, Birds, Water, Air etc.

The most exciting thing the school has seen in the recent period are the projects which have either celebrated the agriculture festivals of the region or the cultural plurality of the region. Some of the major projects built around the festivals have been:

  • Endlagatte Punnam (Festival of the earheads)
  • Erokka Punnam (The Day of the Bullock)
  • Moharrum
  • Dasara
  • Christmas

AGRICULTURAL PROJECTS

Endlagatte Punnam

The most fascinating festival in the region has been the Endlagatte Punnam, the Festival of Earheads. This is a dream festival of the lovers of biodiversity. Coming in the month of February when the rabi crops are in bloom, the festival offers farmers to showcase the diversity on their fields on the doorfront. Each farmer brings the earheads of all the unirrigated crops from her/his field and ties them on her/his door. Before doing so she takes the new grainheads with specially cooked festival sweets to the village goddes and makes an offer. For the students of biodiversity this festival is the finest social ritual in the expression and celebration of farmlevel diversity.



Children are taught ecological agriculture at Pachasaale
- the Green School
The school decided to take up this festival as one of the first projects in the series designed to celebrate the festivals of the region. In the festival the children of Pachasaale came together to pick earheads from different fields in the surrounds, string them and decorate their classroom doors, make sweet bread and eat together. The celebration was the first of the steps in the project.

The project pegged itself on to the cultural base of the children as represented by the festival and wove a number of different academic subjects like Natural Sciences, Physical Sciences, Chemistry, Geography, Mathematics, Arts and Crafts into a project web. The web looked like this :

Subject
Information
Concept
Experiment
NATURAL SCIENCE
1. Earheads : kinds & uses
2. Birds, animals, insects
Grains, pulses
Germination process
PHYSICAL SCIENCE
Tools, Materials
Air, maximum and minimum temperature
Measurement of temperature, Air currents, Soil moisture
GEOGRAPHY
Seasons, Soils, Favourable conditions, moon phases
Temperature, air, water, soil types, moisture, crops, soil fertility
Soil collection, Soil testing, moon phases through a torch and mirror
MATHEMATICS
Seeds, earheads, tools, sweets
Addition, multiplication, division, fractions, graphs, etc.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Drawing, Collage, Clay work, School Decoration, Dramas, Dance
Decorating the school with earheads, agricultural tools, Bhagotam etc.

 

The Endlagatte Punnam Project Plan included a number of things :

  • Questionnaire
  • Work cards
  • Matching Exercises
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Multiple choice
  • One word answer
  • Right, Wrong
  • Creative writing
  • Letters
  • Essay writing
  • Group Discussion

The teachers met every day to share approaches and prepare materials like work cards. At the end of the project, the teachers prepared a Project Report which analysed the merits and demerits as follows:

Merits

The Project helped us the understand in depth why festivals like this are celebrated and analyse them from a social and ecological perspective

  • When the entire school works together on a project, each teacher was able to plan for the level of her/his own group as well as well as link up this to the total school. This was an unique experience.
  • Sharing between teachers increased. Teachers took help from other teachers on subjects they did have much knowledge about.
  • During the duration of the project, the teachrs experienced the process of daily preparing material for their next day's teaching.
  • Children gained a lot of journalistic experience of meeting new people, interview them and report them through writing.
  • Children felt extremely happy to celebrate a festival in the same fashion as they do in their communities. This was a pleasant experience for them.
  • From individual group-level projects to a school level project was a distinct growth.

Demerits

  • The time was not sufficient. Such projects need a longer planning time.
  • Such projects necessitate regular attendance of teachers. The absence of some teachers for a few days resulted in the incompletion of some activities.
  • Practical work was not adequate.

Erokka Punnam

The most important farmers festival in the region, Erokka Punnam celebrates the first day of their farming operations by worshipping their farming implements and the most revered symbol of their farming : the bullock. It is a day of great festivity. IT is thorugh such rituals that farmers make a statement about the sacred relationship between them and their land, animals and tools.

Through the Project Work on Erokka Punnam the Pacha Saale children systematically explored the meaning behind these symbols and the relationship between man and agriculture. As a part of the project the entire school celebrated the festival. The children decoreated the three bullocks owned by the School, worshipped them, fed them with special sweets, took them around the school in a procession, sang and danced in the procession.

The children also prepared work sheets based on the festival to interview their village elders. They went to their respective villages, documented the process of celebration of this festival through interviews with the knowledgeable people in the village, took photographs of the celebrations and recorded the songs of the festival.

They came back to the School, pasted their pictures on a chart, captioned each photograph, made a photo essay and put them up on the School walls.

Some children made theme collages of the festival with clay and broken glass bangles on their classroom walls. The dominant images in their collages were bulls, fields, houses, trees, dancing people etc. Other children made drawings and some made clay models of the ritual bulls. For a week the entire school reverbrated the sounds and images of Erokka Punnam.

The project became a tool for reinforcing the strong and vibrant traditional knowledge systems which reverse nature and its relationship with the farming communities.

CULTURAL PROJECTS

Of those projects which dealt with the cultural plurality of the region, the project on Moharrum locally known as Peerla Panduga - the festival of Saints was the first. Moharrum in the Deccan is a great festival of integration. Hindus, Christians and Muslims together celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm and vibrance.

The Project started with a participatory exercise with children as to what do they want to explore about the festival. The questions from children ranged from simple questions like Who are these saints and why this festival ? to complex religious questions like How come this festival is an all-caste and all religion festival ? to far more complex gender questions like Why are women not allowed into mosques ?

The children explored the answers to their curiosities through observing the festival as observed in their villages, photographing them, interviewing the maulvis and the community elders, recording the songs etc. When they came back to the school they brought with them the images and sounds of this wonderful festival. They pasted their photographs on the school walls, wrote photo essays, drew the images and analysed the process of the celebration of the festival.

Mr Laxma Goud, a major artist of the country who is from this region visited the school and explained to the children the great influence of Islamic culture on the region and its manifestation in the Peerla Panduga. Fascinating dances were performed for the children by women of many villages. The women from Hindu religion danced and sang songs recalling the great sacrifice of Hassan and Hussain at the Karbala field. In contrast a Muslim man Allauddin sang the song of Pandavas. To top all these experiences, the children were taken to the famous sufi dargah of Saint Khaja Bande Nawaz in the town of Gulbarga. For the children it was an awe-inspiring feeling to look at the magnificent architecture of Khaja Bande Nawaz and far more magnificient ambience of the mausoleum of a saint who preached spirituality based on love.

Through these activities the Peerla Panduga left an indelible impression of the children's minds the long history of communal harmony and delightful coexistence in this region.

Similar exercises were taken up in celbrating Dasara and Christmas in the later part of 1998.

WORKSHOPS

In 1998, the teachers of the School met in early January and made a list of the workshops they would like to have to meet some of their own felt needs. Accordingly for the year 1998 they identified the following topics for special workshops:

  • Skill Training methods and interface between academics and skills
  • Language teaching skills and the role of dialect in language teaching
  • Teaching Mathematics
  • Gender and education
  • Non-text book based teaching
  • How to prepare for Project-based teaching Discipline and liberal education
  • Teaching Adolescents

Of these, three workshops were held in the School during 1998. They were on:

  • Skill Training methods and interface between academics and skills
  • Language teaching skills and the role of dialect in language teaching
  • How to prepare for Project-based teaching

Language Teaching

Mr Raghu Babu of Tapovan held a week long workshop with the teachers on the theme of Language Teaching. The workshop which focused on making language teaching creative, consisted of the following elements:

  • Collecting story books and making them into language lessons
  • Reading newspapers
  • Documenting local stories
  • Writing essays
  • Picture compositions for lower groups
  • Individual projects for children which will have work sheets

On the worksheets a number of points were included:

  • Matching exercises
  • Filling the blanks
  • Choosing the correct words
  • Opposite words
  • Odd one out
  • Alongside these formal things, teachers also did a lot of reflection on their methods of teaching, the strengths and weaknesses of these methods etc.
  • Meanings
  • Singular - plural
  • Disorderly sentences
  • Verbs - Nouns

The School also had one workshop on Gender by Dr Rukmini Rao.

Skill Teaching

The Skills teaching in the School is divided into two sections : Foundation Courses and Advanced Courses. There are eight skills being taught in the school at the moment : Permaculture (an organic agricultural method), Paraveterinary Sciences, Masonry, Carpentry, Pottery, Tailoring, Book Binding and Herbal Medicine Making. Each child in the school goes through six foundation courses in six skills.

Click to enlarge

An arial view of the
Pachasaale

Each skill training is for a duration of six months. In this manner they spend the first three years of schooling in going through the foundation courses. The next phase is a two years advanced course, two skills, one year each.

During this period, the school started the first set of Advanced Courses. There has been a steady effort to design the curriculum for such advanced skills and consolidating them. Simultaneously the School has also been trying to strengthen the Skill - Academic interface.

Skill - Academic Interface

With Mr Philip and Mr Suresh Vaidyarajan as resource persons, the workshop on Skill and Academics was held with the main objective to sharpen the relationship between skill teaching and academics. Teachers thoroughly discussed their role in skill teaching and came up with a number of points on which more focus was needed. A number of suggestions also came up from the group. As a result, it was decided to make work sheets based on questions and answers on themes like how and why a particular tool or teaching aid is used in a skill. For eg.

  • In Carpentry, a work card could be around the question : Why a chisel cuts. The theme could envelop questions like What happens when it is blunt? What is the process of sharpening it and what happens through this proces?
  • In pottery, a work card could address the question of why is the mud in the centre of the wheel ?

In the process of answering this question the child starts thinking about the entire process of the skill she is learning and the whys of it along with hows of it.

After these workshops, the teachers created 45 work cards and started using with children in their skill classes.

Educational Tours

The teachers visited Sumavanam a resource centre for alternative schools set up in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh. The special focus of teachers visit and interaction with resource persons Ms Usha and Mr Narasimham was teaching mathematics creatively. The teachers also closely observed the functioning of the alternative school run by Sumavanam in that village in terms of its classroom organisation and methodologies of teaching.

Simultaneously the children went on two tours : in1997 they went on a tour to explore two of the major irrigation projects at Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar. In 1998 they went to visit the Green Agriculture project in Auroville, Pondicherry. They met with the famous ecological agriculture specialist Mr Bernard and learnt how to grow soil and many other fascinating aspects of sustainable farming.

In between the children went for a couple of mini tours : to Bidar town to visit the historical monuments in the place and to Medak for a Science Fair. Satheesh and Rama attended the meeting of Alternative Eduation Network in 1997 and 1998. Gurumurthy attended two workshops : one a Peer Group Evaluation and the other a special workshop by the DPEP at New Delhi.

Vidya Karyakartas

A long time dream of the School came true when we started our programme for Vidya Karyakartas [Educational Activists] in June this year. The School Board actively encouraged the idea and selected the Vidya Karyakartas from their respective villages. Later the entire School staff, the Parents Committee members from the villages and the School Board members came together to have a meeting with the Vidya Karyakartas in which the following decisions were taken.

In each of the 10-12 villages catered to by the DDS School, one educated village youth will be selected to work as an activist for the School; this person will have the following tasks:

  • do a survey at the beginning of every academic year of all the eligible children for enrolment in various levels of school in and outside the village. S\he will identify the children who should be attending the local balwadi, the local primary school, enrolled into the government hostels and finally identify that segment of older children who are outside the sphere of all the above institutions. These will be the target children of Pachcha Saale.
  • after the survey, the vidya karyakartha will have an intense dialogue with the parents of these children and persuade/help them to admit the children in the relevant institutions. The targeted children for the Pachcha Saale will be introduced to the School by the vidya karyakartha who will ensure that they attend the School regularly.
  • in the evenings, the vidya karyakarta will teach the children in a Non-Formal Education centre set up by the Deccan Development Society in that village and help them understand better the lessons that they have been taught at Pachha Saale. In this Children's Centre, among other things, they will pay special attention to the children who are unable to attend the Pachhasaale regularly and work with them to bridge the gaps in their learning. They will also run a village-level library there and inculcate reading habits in the children. They would, in effect, be supplementing all the education efforts going on in the Pachcha Saale. Since the students are first generation learners, and are also expected to compress ten years' education into five years, such a reinforcement is extremely essential.
  • the vidya karyakartha will have a continuous interaction with the School by attending a weekly meeting with the school staff wherein there will be a two way information flow regarding the children under her/his jurisdiction. The vidya karyakartha will also be offered a course in educational activism.

Therefore, the vidya karyakarta will be an animator for education within the village community and will specifically serve the interests of the Pachcha Saale by promoting the concept, ensuring attendance of the children to the School from her/his village and teaching the children during those periods when they are not able to attend the School. In this manner s/he will become a unique institution in the village.

The Vidya Karyakartas will be trained partly through researching and addressing educational issues in their village and partly through training workshops wherein they receive theoretical inputs, reference and reading material, review and feedback on the work done in the village and guidance for subsequent action-research in the village.

The institution of Vidya Karyakarta and a series of steps taken by the school the strength of the School increased dramatically this june. Suddenly it jumped to 300. But this dream did not last long. Again the problem of irregularity and drop outism caught up with the school.



A class in progress -
Pachasaale

Management

The School continues to be managed by a Teachers Council which takes all the day to day decisions. A board of rural women meets every quarter to assess and revied the school function. A quarterly meeting with the mothers of the school children continuously updates them about the School and the scholastic achievements of their children.

This year a Children's Council joined the Management structure. The children elected by all the children the School sits in two monthly meetings, one with the Director of the School and one with the teachers of the School. They represent the other children in the school and brings their opinions to the meeting. This has considerably changed the management decisions.

Irregularity

These questions continue to haunt the school. Many measures have been taken up by the School and its teachers to address its trend. In the Operation Zero Drop Out the school teachers allied with the night school staff and the sangham staff to halt the drop out of girl children. Each teacher adopted a set of 8-10 girl chidren from one or two villages and continuously kept track of them. If they absented themselves from the school for a period of time, they along with the night school teachers and the sangham staff from that village visited the village of the child and explored the reasons for her absence and helped her to come back to the school. This resulted in a considerable stability of girl children's attendance. But this also is a continuous and arduous process. Any let up in the process will create a slide back.to lower attendances.

This is a reality the School is confronted with. We understand that we are dealing with a very difficult target group. Most of them are working children and therefore an economic asset to their families. With a lot of education, awareness and creation of a favourable environment for education, the parents get persuaded to send their children to the School. But at the first opportunity, they wean the children back from the school. The see-saw battle goes on and on. It will be only through patient long time effort that the School can win the battle for the deprived children of the region. At the end of the half decade of Pachasaale, to derive hope for the work the School has done, one has to recall the impact assessment of the School on the girl children and the community done by the teachers of the School which runs as follows:

Impact of the School on girl children and community

  • Children can think independently on a few important issues.
  • Children can express their opinions freely.
  • The Project Work method adapted by the school establishes special relationships with the community.
  • Some children have acquired new awareness about their communities.
  • Girl children attending the school have been able to postpone their marriages by five years. This way the school has had an impact on child marriages.
  • Children are gaining confidence to control their lives.
  • Growing community confidence on the school.
  • Growing community realisation on and commitment to education.
  • Isolation in the Muslim children is disappearing.

The Pachasaale Team

Gurumurthy, Rama, Raghu, Sarada, Satheesh, Sugreev, Sumalini, Suresh, Kavitha and others.

 

This year at Green School

It is a moment of pride for us to start this report stating that this year The Pachasaale (the School for Permaculture and Sustainable Development) came very close to fulfilling its avowed aim of enabling children to pass the X Class examination within five years of schooling. Out of 11 candidates who appeared for the Class X exams seven have successfully passed which is a record of sorts in this region.

For a normal school this may not be much of an achievement. But consider the fact that most of the children who attend the Pachasaale are first generation learners. All of them have been working children. They have either never schooled before or were early dropouts. Invariably they are all from very poor farm labour families. Against this backdrop, the fact that 65% were successful in finishing Class X in five years is a matter of great pleasure to the School.

The School has a strength of 180 children of whom about 145 attend regularly. Of these children, 84 (58%) are girls and the rest are boys. The factor of 35 children being irregular is still a point of concern and being addressed by the school. But compared to previous years, the attendance has stabilised quite a lot this year. However this kind of irregularity being a reality of the poverty ridden rural India, the School will further its quest into addressing this issue.



Director, P V Satheesh, shares a lighter moment with the children at Pachasaale

Apart from the major success with which we began this report, the other highlights during these year are :

Jaggery Production Unit

A major highlight of last year's work has been a thorough integration of the school curriculum with agricultural activities. The dominant focus of the School has been to integrate the School curriculum with local relevant agricultural learnings. A major step taken towards this end was the start of a Jaggery unit in December 1999.

In the year 2000 the Jaggery unit became the hub for a number of learning activities for the children. For example using the very environment of making Jaggery was used to teach the children the following topics.

History By tracing the origin of sugarcane both to trade and present agriculture as well as relating it to the traditions of local agricultural systems.
Geography By looking at the areas of Medak district and Andhra Pradesh where sugarcane is grown and making a sugarcane atlas of the area.
Economics Looking at the input output costs, wages, labour saving devices, recycling of the wastes produced in the process and the use of byproducts.
Civics The human and animal skills employed in the process and the role of the key skilled people and managers. Also the relationship with market.
Geometry By making children observing various shapes of the structures and tools used in making Jaggery as well as studying the relationship between area and volume.
Physics State of the matter and its transformation
Chemistry For eg. presence of Glucose, Sucrose, Fructose, Starch etc. in Jaggery

Two special books were produced as a part of the project which are enclosed as annexures. The books have included the following topics.

  • Soil preparation for sugarcane planting
  • Required conditions for cane germination
  • Cane varieties - traditional and modern and their qualities
  • Pests on sugarcane
  • Advantages of growing cane organically
  • Uses of sugarcane
  • Uses of Jaggery
  • Tools and instruments for making Jaggery and their special characters
  • Simple machines used in Jaggery production and their principles.
  • Energy and its recycling in Jaggery production
  • Nutritional qualities of sugarcane

Seed Room

A new seed room was created last year in the school campus. The seed room has the following elements in it.

  • Over 80 varieties of seeds actively used in agriculture in Deccan
  • Classification of seeds under
    • the cropping seasons [kharif seeds, rabi seeds etc.]
    • the major food groups they belong to (cereals, millets, pulses, oilseeds etc.)
  • Special cultural classification of seeds in the region. For example
    • crops of poor
    • crops of truth.
  • Various storage methods
    • in pots
    • in woven baskets
    • in hessian bags
  • Typical mixed crop field models specially created.
  • Various tools of the region used in traditional agriculture

The seed room has been used by the teachers not only to impress upon them the huge traditional seed wealth of the region and the valuable knowledge systems associated with it.

Some teachers have also used this resource to make the children learn about the functional and nutritional classifications of seeds and crops.

Some other teachers have used this to make children understand the relationship between seed varieties, soils and the crop types and their seasonalities.

In this fashion the seed room has served itself as a major new resource for the school, strengthening the permaculture principles taught the school.

Permaculture

Encouraging children to produce a number of their own textbooks on permacutlure has further strengthened the permaculture studies. Since most children who come to the school have spent a few years of their life working on the farms and with the cattle, many of them have accquired intricate knowledge of local agriculture and its processes. Making use of this faculty of children, books on the following topics have been produced by groups of children which are used as texts to study not only the agricultural component of permaculture but also a number of other scientific, sociological principles. The major studies that have been generated are

  • Agricultural mathematics
  • Creation of an Herbarium
  • Farm instruments, their rationale and their use.
  • Their relationship with the soil structure
  • Crops, soils and soil types
  • Crops and livelihoods
  • Crops and nutrition
  • Crops and diets
  • Crops and moisture needs
  • Crops and culture

The children have also been provided small patches of lands on which they can experiment with different plants and prepare observation charts on their growth patterns. Science and agriculture have also been used to study principles of photosynthesis, germination, heat and energy etc.

The school has also started increased use of its science lab to facilitate children to conduct experiments in various disciplines of science.

There has been a number of improvements in the academics of the school. Child centered methods like card games for individual learning and memory games for collective learning have been increasingly employed by the teachers.

Local stories and songs have been collected and used as teaching material. In view of the fact that a FM Radio Station has been built by the Deccan Development Society on the school campus makes it advantageous for the school to use it and produce audio material.



A girl child working on
her own patch of land provided at the Pachasaale

A major gain has been the steady stabilisation of children's attendance. After a seven year struggle the DDS community and the school teachers have been able to build enough confidence and motivation among the poor families in the villages surrounding the school that sending their children to the school is an advantageous proposition. Particularly heartening for us is the fact that the regularity and stability in the attendance of girl children has improved considerably.

The teachers of the school, however, continue to have an organic link with the community of parents through regular village visits.

Many skills like carpentry have moved on to advanced stages like training in carving.

Children's Committees

In order to make the school management increasingly participatory and to involve the children in the school management, a children's committee has been established. This committee interacts both with teachers and other children of the school, understand the problems and issues on both sides and helps a systematic and smooth running of the school. In order to strengthen the children's committee three counsellors from among the past students of the school has been established. Whenever the children are in doubt about anything they call up on these pearls to draw from their experiences and understanding of the school system.

Another highlight is the preparation of teaching kit which consists of

  • Card games for language and maps
  • Text books : internal and external
  • Projects conducted by the school and related material

There are six groups of classes through which the students are required to be admitted/ promoted:

  1. Chiluka
  2. Pichuka
  3. Pavuram
  4. Palapitta
  5. Kokila
  6. Chekumuki

Here is the complete sketch of each of the above groups through which the curriculum was taught. These were also taught along with the academics to the students.


GROUP I : CHILUKA (PARROT)

There are 3 divisions in this group:

a) Those who have the knowledge of alphabets and Guninthalu
b) Those who knew only alphabets
c) Those who know neither

As said earlier, since most the children are first generation learners, they have not come from a family environment where reading and writing become habitual. Therefore the children have a very short attention span in the classes. In order to overcome this handicap, the teachers prepare special learning materials which can hold the attention of these children. The materials include the following:

Vratha Pattikalu [Writing Tables] which are given to the children to draw lines which ultimately lead to learning alphabets

Carved Alphabets recognising the letters

  • Flash cards which 56 telugu alphabets are written on each card and tied around around the neck of the student. Each student is asked to introduce the other by calling that letter.
  • Telugu Vachakam (Telugu Reader) is prepared which can be learnt in 75 periods by the students.
  • Puzzle cards which has arrangements of animals, flowers, words, etc that have to be matched. Also taught are the names of the parts of human body, trees etc.

This group also learns the traditional folk play called Bhagotam. Apart from enhancing their aesthetic skills, Bhagotam also helps in their speech and expression of language. This year the following plays were enacted by the children:

  • Sri Rama Pattabhishekam
  • Sri Krishnarjunala Yuddham

GROUP II : PICHUKA (SPARROW)

TELUGU :

The target for the group is to learn the following :

  • vottulu [Emphasis]
  • samyukthaksharalu [compound letters] and
  • sentence formation

Some of the methods used to impart this knowledge are like dictation games.

Some topics from social sciences and science were also taught to this group. For ex: Human body, festivals, water, plants. Discussion takes place among students and a questionnaire is prepared, Each topic is covered within 5 to 7 days.

MATHEMATICS :

For learning counting and understanding shapes several designs were done with match sticks and valve tubes and children were encouraged to play with them. Card games are used to teach additions, subtraction etc.

Promotion Tests were conducted in April, 2000, October-2000, Feb 2001 and 9, 5 and 12 students got promoted respectively.


ENGLISH :

Alphabets are taught and also words are explained in detail be prepare one english text book comprises of easy words; A) Colouring the Pictures, B) Correcting the words, C) Odd Man out, D) Matching, E) Fill in the blanks. Children themselves learnt there words and written on black board. Flash cards also been used for vegetables, fruits, birds etc.


GROUP III : PAVURAM (PIGEON)

SCIENCE :

WHAT WERE THE TOPICS TAUGHT IN SCIENCE DURING THE YEAR? [PLEASE ANSWER THIS QUESTION]

The topic water was done in 7 days and exercises were given it is very difficult to do lessons since the childrens writing skill is very poor. Grammar is poor which forces to concentrate on subjects. Some literacy games, new methods, hot to be introduced in this year.

ENGLISH :

Method of teaching was selected in two ways A) Word Method, B) Topic Method. Based on life and environment a text book is prepared. A topic method consists of a discussion before one subject is selected. The matter prepared by the students is in their own language. Matching cards are displayed to improve the subject. Students are taken out to teach in Permaculture farm, cattle shed around the school campus. They were given exercises from the text book, spelling, writing correctly, rhymes and songs were also taught. Clay models were prepared by the students. They were also supplied paper through which they prepared drawings and colouring them by naming.

MATHEMATICS :

The syllabus consists of A) Additions, B) Subtractions, C) Multplications, D) Divisions, E) Fractions, F) Finding time on watch, G) Balancing, H) Distances. Work sheets are given to the students they did the sums and exchange with one another. Monthly test were conducted after successful tests the romotion will be made.

SOCIAL STUDIES :

For preparation of the material the taxt books of Govt. is taken for the classes 3rd, 4th, 5th to teach our Pachasale Students. Some of the topics covered A) Our Festivals, B) Important personalities, C) crops, D) Important places etc. The students wrote about stories, songs, in their own language for the above topics. There are No.of lessons completed this year and among them are ; Ancient Man, Forests, Persons, Gouthama Budha, Gandhiji, Ashoka, Shivaji, Nehru, Charminar etc.

ENGLISH :

A text book is prepared for the english lessons. A slip test is taken for every three days to know about the students ability of understanding . Some of the lessons which have been completed are ; Namavachakam, Nakka Upayam, Animals, Letter Writing, Kartha, Karma Kriya.

HINDI :

The letters of big Mathra are being learnt in this subject and human boyd colours, fruits, plants names, etc. were explained to them through black board and exercises.

GROUP IV : PALA PITTA (BLUE BIRD)

LANGUAGE :

Topics like plants, crops, pottery, festivals, etc. were covered in this group the student. These children sit together in groups for preparing the material which will be in the form of stories. The book lets an exercises were also prepared to improve their language and assistance is taken from a seventh class text books of govt. There are two ways of learning language. A) composite cards - Each child is given a picture and he is asked to write a study which ultimately becomes formation of sentences B) Grammar Card - Different grammar cards singular, plural, synonyms, antonyms are given to them and they are asked to arrange in a correct way.

HINDI :

The letters Kra, Kru, Kre with bindis were taught in this group. Joining the words were also explained to them with small stories and poems to the students.

MATHEMATICS :

The following is the syllabus A) Averages, B) Proportions, C) Fractions, D) Simple Interest, E) Geometry, Algebra. The explanation is given on the black board and the teacher hand over work sheets on these subjects to the student they complete and exchange among themselves. They were given training in Ganuga project.

SCIENCE :

Charts are prepared and mounted in the class rooms. The students were taken into agriculture fields while work is on. This type of visits increases the students capacity to know more about the cropping patterns. There were monthly tests were conducted.

SOCIAL STUDIES :

There are three methods of operations A) Discussion, B) Question and Answer C) Topics. The following chapters were completed in this subject with Andhra Pradesh as main topic A) Medak Dist. B) Hisoty of Medak, C) Projects in Medak, AP History D) Important Cities, E) Mandals of Medak.

ENGLISH :

The initial level was to understand & learn words. Formation of sentences were practiced. These sentences were exercised taking into help of our school vocational courses, prepositions etc.

GROUP V : KOKILA (CUCKOO)

TELUGU :

Since new children were promoted the old students were taught poetry, Sandhulu, essay writings, letter writings. For new children Kavala Pillalu, Hasyam, , Chima, Vishwam etc. the lessons were taught.

ENGLISH :

The following lessons wre taught in this subject A) Neighbours, B) Use of since & for, C) If, D) The present perfect tense E) Letter writing. A No.of 11 students were promoted in may, 2000 to Chekumuki Group. A text book is prepared with simple structural based grammar, short stories, etc., The text book comprises of A) Vowels and Consonants B) Use of A, An, The, C) Nouns, D) Adjectives, E) was, were F) Preposition. We are also conducting exercises for speech to the students of this group.

SCIENCE :

Booklets are prepared on plant growth, plant diseases, animal husbandry by following Govt. text books. Charts were mounted on class room walls to enable the students to look at these diagrams daily.

HINDI :

Small stories, poems, leader name, Prime Minister's name, reverse names, birds names and human body parts were explained to the students and each month a test is conducted.

SOCIAL :


Prepared text books with the assistance from our library. For 8th & 9th Classes the text books information is derived from the Govt. machinery to enable our students to get acquainted to the lessons. They are given questionnaire. The weak students are taken more interest for various lessons. We have also taught about lands, crops, Weeds, agricultural implements lessons in consultation with our permaculturist Bidekanne Chandramma. On each subject a collective information is sought from the students and material is prepared in permaculture way.

GROUP VI : CHEKUMUKI (WOOD PECKER)

ENGLISH :

A total No.of 11 students got promoted from Kokila Group in May, 2000 and we followed purely a Govt. Text books teachings since this is the last level of Pachasale before they taken up the SSC Examination. Exercises were displayed on black board and for these students the information and curriculum was a bit difficult in the initial stages. Even then 7 out of 11 students got successfully passed in March, 2001 SSC Exams.

BIOLOGY :

After completing the lesson an assignment is given to them. Charts were placed on wall rooms a monthly test is conducted and one diagram book let is also prepared for the students.

LAB :

The following subjects were taught through the laboratory
A) Skeleton B) Slides, C) Microscope, D) Earthworms etc.,

SOCIAL :

There are three methods of teaching A) Questions & Answers, B) Discussions, C) Lecture.

We have also shown some of the teaching aids through which a student can learn easily.

A) India Map, B) Globe, C) World Map.

PHYSICAL SCIENCES :

The students have learnt the following by using our lab: a) vernier calipers b) screw gauge c)vibgyor d) sound e) magnetism f) radio g) solutions

HINDI :

Difficult words are written on the blackboard for the students to get them well acquainted. Letter writing is also taught and easy way of teaching the important essays in the examination point of view is also taught.

SKILLS AT A GLANCE :

  1. Masonry :

    A total No.of 15 children completed the masonry course. Among them four were girls and 11 boys. These children were given extensive oral and practical lessons. They discussed about the functions of a house and how the material is used, types of buildings. They were given classes for measurement. The layout procedure was also taught. They were taken to the field for constructing brick enclosures around plants and trees. They were also encouraged to sketch a dream house of their own using simple method. The children conducted a survey in their own village of their own houses about the construction. The students have also built a vehicle shed on the campus.

  2. Health :

    There are 39 Items taught in 6 months foundation courses in this skill. In each month one skill is to be learnt. For example

    I month : Preparation of Jeevan Dhara medicine
    II month : Fruits, Vegetables and their medicinal and nutritional values
    III month : Understanding the medicinal qualities of commonly used local medicinal plants like Vishnu Kantha, Tippa Teega
    IV month : Use and making of neem tablets, Alum Water and other Medicinal Plants
    V month : Water-borne diseases and their control, reading and
    understanding a primer on local herb and plant based medicines prepared by the School called Darwazalo Dawkana
    VI month : Common diseases and precautions

    Most of the children prepare the medicines during the above lessons. These medicines can cure scabies, cold, fever, headache, decentry.

  3. Carpentry :

    This skill is based on the use of tools. The mastery over tools is built into the children. Through using various tools like chisels, saw, planers, hammer etc. children learn to make a number of shapes and utilities. The geometric shapes are converted later into birds and other play items. The children also make simple furniture like stools and tables. This year some advanced techniques like carving were also introduced into Carpentry.

  4. Tailoring :

    The total strength this year was 22 with 13 children in the foundation course and 9 in the advanced course. Since this is directly livelihood based, most children are interested to learn this skill. Some chidlren excelled in stitching certain items ; Bhagya in Frock Stiching, George and Ramesh in Blouse Cutting etc.

  5. Book Binding :

    A total No.of 15 students are learning in this skill. They have learnt so far counting of pages, covering them with plastic and stitching books. They use Gum and Maida flour for preparation of note books which are supplied to all our school students free of cost. The School has the distinction of makig all the books that it needs within the school itself.

  6. Permaculture :

    Permaculture is a form of ecological agriculture with emphasis on designing. In this system children learn about soil health, plant guilds, earth works, mixed cropping systems, tree-crop interrelationships, designing cropping and planting methods and such other principles. Major principles taught in the school relate to companion planting, circle planting, alley cropping, internal energy cycles, innovative of designing tree nursery etc.

  7. Pottery

    A total of 16 students have learnt Pottery out of whom five are girls and 11 boys. They have learnt how to make clay chulahs, clay lamps, clay pressing and hand made toys and on wheel they have learnt to make small glasses, small pots, deepanthalu, etc. besides kiln preparation.

TEACHING AIDS :

Each teacher prepares teaching aids for the student like Card Games, Education Books. These were categorized into languages, mathematics, social, sciences, hindi, english, and other topics.

EVALUATION OF CHILDREN :

We conduct monthly Tests to know about the students progress in academic and skills. For promotion whenever a child crosses the group target he/she is promoted to next class. One progress card is prepared for each student to show progress in each subject. These cards will be taken to the villages to show to the parents of children.

VILLAGE VISITS :

Every month the teachers conducted the villages visits taking with them the progress cards of the concerned village students. This is a continuous process. The irregular students will be given priority for getting back to the school when the teachers visits the villages. Some parents still need a lot of convincing about the need to send their children to the School. The teachers face many critical questions from the parents. This process forces both the teachers and the school to think deeply about the relevance of the School and hones their sensibilities.

TEACHERS COUNCIL :

All the teachers meet every Saturday to know about what has happened in the previous week. This builds an understanding between them regarding the progress of the work, about individual children, problem children etc. A lot of work sharing is done in this teachers council meeting and suggestions are invited by each other.

EXPOSURE TOUR :

Eight teachers visited sholai school, Kodaikanal in the month of March, 2001 under the curriculum development work shop. This is a centre for learning organic agriculture and appropriate technology. They have the following units.

a) Science Lab
b) Carpentry
c) Water wind
d) Embroidery
e) Paravet Sciences
f) Computer Skills
g) Diary
h) Swimming pool

The system of education is child centred. They do not have a fixed curriculum. They prepare their own syllabus to teach the children. The total strength of the school is 35, and the land extent is 70 Acres out of which 30 Acres are meant for an organic farm. They prepare the students to appear before NATIONAL OPEN SCHOOL EXAMS. The school campus is well designed in all aspects. The children independently were doing masonry lessons, tile roofing etc.


NETWORKING :

In addition to our teachers meetings and our exposure tours one of our teacher Rama attends the net works meeting every year in which all the people who work in education field get together and share the educational work that they have been doing. The group discusses and plans for better education methods. This year we had short meeting with few members at Padma Sarangapani's House in Bangalore on April 3rd, 2001. The main issues that were discussed were 1) Violence, 2) Freedom, 3) Child Centred Education 4) Education with Agriculture. 5) Traditional skills, 6) Progress cards. The next meeting is in September, 2001 in which most of the members may attend making it a very big group.

 

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