Kerry Dolan, a school teacher from the U.K., brought to the children of Rajagiri Public School a slice of her country

A culture box is culture in a box. Kerry Dolan, a school teacher from Summerlea School in Rustington, United Kingdom, came with the ‘culture box’ to acquaint students of Rajagiri Public School with the United Kingdom. The white box with the Union Jack painted on it is a treasure trove… the red London bus and the red post box, tea, football, bunting… all those aspects of British culture which are not too familiar.

Kerry teaches the equivalent of Std. 6. It is interesting listening to her talk about how a school functions in the UK. Most schools in India have classes up to Std. XII whereas in the UK there are primary and secondary schools. “After primary school the children can go to another school for secondary education.”

The Indian education system, which is largely derived from the British prototype, seems very different from what is practised there. “Here I noticed that right from the beginning there are designated teachers for each subject. In our schools it is not so. One teacher, the class teacher, teaches all the subjects. The teacher can mix up the subjects and teach accordingly,” Kerry says. A big difference from our ‘time table’ system. Neither are the classes divided into the usual A, B or C. Instead they have interesting names of trees or flowers. Kerry says, “Schools name their classes differently – it’s their choice. Some schools might call their class 6R or 5H (after the year group and teacher’s initial) while others name theirs after sea creatures. Our classes are named after trees. Year one are Oak and Holly, Year two are Cedar and Hawthorn, Year three are Chestnut and Redwood, Year four are Elm and Beech, Year five are Sycamore and Juniper, and Year six are Aspen (mine) and Rowan.”

Of the children she had a chance to interact with, and whose activities she had a chance to see, she says that the children here are ahead when it comes to spellings and confidence.

This is her second trip to India. Besides a culture box, she comes with ‘All About Me’ books. These notebooks detail the lives of Kerry’s students in their words. The children talk about themselves, their times at school and other activities. These books were shown to children at Rajagiri School. A culture box was sent to Summerlea School from the school. The box included the tri colour, chips, miniatures of an elephant, Taj Mahal, India Gate and a snake boat, spices and many other icons of Indian culture. A teacher from the school will visit Summerlea School for the same purpose as Kerry.