Tagore had said it many years back. Today the top schools of
the city are replicating that spirit so that kids once again start reading for
joy and not merely for exam performance. Twelve schools of the city have come
together to start a movement, called Bol-Beyond Classrooms, in an effort to
find solutions to a slew of psychological problems that are bogging children
these days and are interfering with their pursuit of knowledge.
Schools say that in a typical class of 40 children who
attend a session of 40 minutes, less than 10 students are able to pay attention
to the entire lecture. Most of the others stop absorbing lesions beyond the
12th minute, unless the lecture is punctuated with visuals or involves some role
play where kids have an interactive role with the teacher in elucidating the
lesson. Beyond Classrooms is specially designed with several modules that can
help teachers take their students on a trip outside the routine textbook aided
learning to arouse curiosity that will automatically make them look for answers
in text books.
Among the schools that are part of this movement are, Loreto
House, Calcutta International school, Modern High School, South City
International, Heritage School and Mahadevi Birla World Academy. Many are in the process of tagging up.
"For years students we read Alice in wonderland in
primary class, but now we have now decided to read Sukumar Ray's nonsense
novella Hajabarala alongside it. That will automatically show kids that fantasy
writing as a genre had reached a zenith in Bengali literature," said
Satajit Banerjee, principal of Calcutta International School.
All round development
Right from reading, storytelling, theatre, music and dance
to excursions, Beyond Classrooms is packaged with interesting modules that
helps kids live what they are taught while equipping them with life skills like
listening to lectures and teamwork. "We suddenly ask them to take off from
the lesson and re-tell a known story differently or design a cover for their
favourite book or even introduce graphic novels to explain concepts," said
Gouri Basu, vice-principal of Loreto House.
Children love to communicate in the classroom
and hate it when they are just spoken to and asked to pay attention. "Only
when we are able to divide the class lecture into pure textbook lesions and
practical interactions that we can aim to get results," said Mona Sengupta
of Ahava Communications that is putting the movement together with the schools.