Hands-on learning

Veena Pradeep

A city school uses exhibitions to give parents a glimpse of what their children have learnt in the classrooms.

How do you know your child is learning, that teachers are actually teaching, that the school is delivering on the promises made during admission time? One good way would be to let the child, teachers and school show you first-hand what they are up to during school hours. And that is what Geethanjali Montessori and Vidyalaya, at Kaggadasapura, Bangalore has been doing for the past several years. Opening its gates to parents during their annual Montessori, Science and Arts Exhibition and letting them experience the hands-on learning of their children. This year’s exhibition held on November 8, 2008 was no different.

Model Montessori classes were in progress and Montessori equipment on display. Parents could walk in for an explanation of the teaching methodology and teachers patiently explained how four and five year olds, learning the Montessori way, could calculate the square of five or spell ‘alphabet’ or ‘paragraph’ without so much as batting an eyelid.

Almost the entire student and teacher community of the school took part in this mega exercise. In one hall the English students reconstructed the Globe Theatre and put up the Shakespearean tragedy, Julius Caesar, while in another, students dressed as freedom fighters explained the history of pre-Independent India, and yet another hall displayed the art and craft work of the children.

The science corner had some of the most interesting experiments conducted with some very basic of stuff. Water flowing down a magic tap suspended in mid air and apparently unconnected to any water source was a big attraction. The students’ explanation helped one to understand the trick. Can electricity be produced from potatoes and apples? Yes, said a child, showing us proof as well. Another student explained the generation of hydro-electric power with the use of a simple water container connected to a hand made turbine.

At the Math section children juggled numbers and equations and entertained parents with their mind reading games, while at the Computer corner students showed parents their prowess over technology.

In the Space section, student-made models of major satellites sat pretty as their young makers explained their historical significance and functions. In yet another corner a student asked, ‘Where does silk come from?’ Don’t we all know the answer? Yet how many of us have actually seen a silkworm? Here were students explaining the origin of sericulture, not with charts or diagrams but with live silk worms nibbling at mulberry leaves or within cocoons ready to be dipped in hot water for silk extraction! If that’s not hands-on learning then what is?

(Call 25272357, 65712199 or 65712197 to contact the school)

Source: Deccan Herald, Nov 13, 2008

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