In a small classroom, 30 schoolteachers walked down memory lane when they spent the afternoon drawing, colouring and doing craft work.
“Though it seems odd to learn painting and origami at this age, we are happy as we can pass on our skills to our students,” said a primary-class teacher on Thursday, at a three-day art workshop for Chennai School teachers, organised by NalandaWay Foundation.
Seated at a table for five, they painted rivers and folded paper to make fish. “Last month, we attended two days of art workshop and after that, we taught it to our students. They were also excited to learn Origami,” said a teacher with a smile.
The teachers were chosen from different primary schools run by the Chennai Corporation.
Through the workshop, the foundation aims to train teachers so that they can prove students a better learning experience. Special learning modules have been prepared in Tamil as well as English and are being distributed to the teachers. If the project is a success, they will expand their efforts to reach out to teachers across 240 Chennai Schools.
“Initially there was some hesitation among teachers. But then they opened up and started enjoying themselves. On the first day, we made them sit on the floor and learn like children… they enjoyed the feeling,” said Sriram V. Ayer, founder and CEO of NalandaWay Foundation.
The foundation will also arrange for a group of volunteers to oversee the classes when the teachers will pass on their knowledge of arts and crafts to students. “A close watch will ensure that the students are doing as well as they should be at their age,” said Mr. Ayer.
The volunteers will participate in the training and help in giving feedback on the performance of the teachers.
Mr. Ayer said, “NalandaWay believes that art can contribute towards behaviour change.” He pointed out that students of Chennai Schools, who are from a less-privileged background, needed special attention.
Through the training given to the teachers, there can be an increase in their creativity which will in turn significantly increase the enthusiasm and the creative output of the students, he said.