M3 Features

Kolkata schools take kids beyond classrooms

February 19, 2014

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.

Education beyond classrooms

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.


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