It is said that in the State that there were interesting pedagogical experiments and projects that were carried out. But it is only possible when somebody within the establishment to take the initiative to look into an education system. According the work of another worker, who came upon children and worked as bonded labour and got them released then.
All the researched students had literally lost their childhood and they had been lost opportunity of their schooling. In this way those students’ learning time was wasted. Then with the help of some colleagues, Supriya Sahu and Murugannandam, had opened some special schools for those kinds of the students. To capture the attention of those children, the learning methods were introduced a child-friendly and joyful so that these types of students can take interest in their studies.
The new school was constructed with the regular school. The new teaching methods that were adopted used attracted almost all the students of both the schools. The teachers and students of the Panchayat schools wanted to know why they could not had more activities and make the classes interesting and enjoyable. On the other hand in old and traditional schools, there had old and traditional classes that were being used. In this new concept of teaching, 60 Head Masters were come together, for the training in the beginning. That was the beginning of the extension of joyful learning in all these sixty schools.
By using the new methods and techniques there were almost 7000 teachers were trained on the methodology by the new methods. A Teachers’ Guide was published that was called “Karpathu Karkandey”. With the assistance and help of UNICEF and then ‘Katralil Inimai,’ an anthology of songs, stories and different games, were brought out to take the interest of the students. Some groups of the teachers and some personnel of the BRCs and the DIETs went to Ekalavyain Madhya Pradesh and to Siddharth Village in Orissa. There were30 teachers and some supervisory staff with them went to Rishi Valley Rural Education Centre for a training of three-months programme. They wanted to learn the methods and many different ways for their students. The teachers were very quick to absorb the principles in systematizing the teaching processes and they use them in their schools to get maximum and desirable results from the students. They adopted and used the Telugu materials to Tamil. They did research over suitable folk and local cultures. They want to include it in the curriculum to make the curriculum very interesting.
From the trainees’ teachers, some of them, Activity-based Learning and Teaching, they continued from the nineties. Some young teachers of different classes like class One and Two had also understood the methods very well. They were made trainers and sent for the rural schools. All the schools in the Corporation of Chennai had been functioning efficiently on the ABT since 2003 and working properly. A team of independent researchers all were very experienced teacher and they had visited the schools in May 2007. They had a collective report and that was prepared by them.
An Activity-based learning and teaching is the method of education that was followed in the Corporation schools of Chennai from 2003, when M.P. Vijay Kumar became the Commissioner of the Chennai Corporation.
In mid-19’s The “Joyful Learning” experiments had started as an effort to provide special schools for the students who had been free from bonded labour. For this reason, the students worked hard by taking interest in it. There were some methods and materials were used to help the students catch up on the lost years of their childhood that seemed both appropriate and attractive to all the children. Added value to pedagogy came from the visits of teachers and trainers to innovative educational schemes in India, the faculty members from the DIETs and personnel of the BRCs. Teachers were sent to the Rishi Valley Rural Education Centers study the methods and materials developed for their rural schools.
According to Tamil Nadu, there came a turning point, his team had visited Rishi Valley school system. Here now first time was given a lot of emphasize to the curriculum of Mathematics and Environmental Science. The whole syllabus had been broken up into small units. The reason behind was that it could be mastered one at a time. The whole material of the syllabus was put into small incremental units, to be completed serially and steadily. Now this type of organizing the syllabus into ladder was valuable for the learners and the students. The structure to the curriculum had allowed every student to proceed at a self-selected pace of their own. This structuring ladder was very valuable for the learners.
The subjects covered were five plus one in the ABT kit in Tamil Nadu. Tamil language was the first area to be polished. In learning of Tamil language, the lesson began with the illustration of cards, small words and even short words because these were very easy in writing, speaking and understanding. It was rather in the alphabet sequence. A similar method was used in other subjects teaching. Other subjects were English and Mathematics. These subjects were learnt and taught through using the attractive and interesting Montessori materials. This material was designed very systematically with the fundamental principles of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The importance of cards remains as it is even in the learning of Science and Social Science. There were many activities that were written and attached before every chapter so that it increase the interest of the learners. Another area was story-telling, paper crafting, even reading of story books, sketching, drawing, collage work and many kinds of group activities and games that were played outdoors had become the part of it.
As we all know that the area and scope of improvement remains everywhere. There were also some improvements and omission on the Rishi Valley materials in the ABT. English as a subject and as a language had been included to the new curriculum in the ABT. But a pleasant surprise was noted that the students were learning both Tamil and English language at the same time with equal proficiency. Students were not feeling any hesitation or difficulty in learning both Tamil and English. After this experiment and research another difference was made. The difference was of the inclusion of both Science and Social Science, while the REC had included only Environmental Science, this was also a basic difference between these two courses of studies. The third innovation was the introduction of these things at the Primary curriculum and level, these were of three dimensional materials in Mathematics. The Montessori system of teaching and learning had proved to be a tremendously good to ABT. Now learning had become very easy and interesting. The material that was included in in ABT was very colourful, hardy, easy to understand and handle, interestingly developed and enabled the students to understand place value (units, tens, hundreds) and the basic mathematical concepts.
There was the time when black board was introduced for the teachers and their ease. The use of blackboard increased the efficiency of the teacher and understanding of the students. Then it was found that the dimensions of the black board are shorter and lesser then they increased the blackboard space. After the black successfully use of board two more learning aids had been created: a specific space for each student to write and a large space provided to read each others’ exercises easily. Every student can proudly play and own his / her part of that blackboard and can use it where and when required.
The teaching materials were colour-coded for each class and the teacher systematically stacked on the shelves too. After all above-mentioned and said, they did another thing to introduce logos of many different animals and even insects for different aspects of the curriculum to identify class-wise. It was again categorized class-wise when the students complete their one set, they had a card for them for their “self- evaluation” so that the teacher could judge himself /herself very well. And even it was easy for the administration of the school to check, evaluate the work and progress of every student. Another opportunity was provided to every student in his/her books to recall the learnt material at each stage of their learning. In this way the evaluation had become a necessary part of the process for every student. As there was no pass and fail for the students that is students worked without the fear of failure and their hidden qualities came in front of the teachers and the students. It was noticed that the drop out was greater in number from the schools because of the fear of failure in the ordinary school systems. The need of annual examination system was over in this new system of education. So there was no examination at the end of every school year or school calendar. They were called “Annual Exam”. If we think that how children were generally given ranks for their performance in school subjects and how ranking becomes a subtle way of indicating the “value” of a child, we had a sense of liberation from ranking here to them. It was considered that No child is “better than” or “worse than” another. The teacher had to keep an eye on the levels of the students attained by every child and sometimes helped by pairing an advanced learner with a slower one and strugglers, for specific exercises