Aim is to connect learning with real-life experiences: official

Following the School Education Department's announcement of the introduction of the child-centred intensive bridge course from this academic year, a detailed lesson plan with guidelines on how to structure the classes over the one month has been sent to all schools on Wednesday.

The Department has sent the details to the schools district-wise through the Chief Educational Officers' offices. Sources in the Directorate of Teacher Education Research and Training (DTERT) said senior faculty from the District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs) and teacher-trainers were involved in the exercise.

“We have drawn upon the National Curriculum Framework 2005 guidelines. The aim is to structure the classroom sessions in such a way that students have an opportunity to connect the learning with real-life experiences,” said an official.

According to heads of Government schools in Chennai, each school has received a note that runs into several pages via e-mail. “On Tuesday, we received a note on syllabus to be covered for each class. This is a detailed lesson plan,” said the head of a government girls' higher secondary school.

R. Visalakshi, president of the Association of the Managements of Private Schools, Coimbatore, said the school received detailed instructions on how to conduct classes for classes I to X.  It covers topics to be taught, which are essentially the basics of all subjects for each class,” she said.

The topics covered, include grammar and communication lessons in languages, basic exercises in mathematics, formulae and fundamentals in social science instruction, class-wise. She said many schools, even in the absence of such an instruction, were more or less prepared to teach the basics and revise the gist of last year's lessons.

The prescribed sessions are aimed at enhancing students' learning skills of students, increasing their confidence, encouraging self-learning and peer learning through classroom interaction, motivating children to think creatively, sources said. Preserving the environment and natural resources also gets attention in the “bridge course”, as many School Education Department officials terms the sessions.

At G. Ramaswamy Naidu Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Coimbatore, the teachers had worked for the last 15 days on what to teach the students for the first few days.

“Our teachers took the best and common portions of Matriculation and Samacheer syllabi and prepared a draft syllabus to teach the students,” said Seetha Poovaiah, principal of the school. For students of class II and VII, who had studied the Samacheer Kalvi syllabus in the last academic year, the school had planned a refresher course, she added.

Some school heads said they had planned trips to places such as the museum and the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University to given students practical exposure.

Schools in a fix

For Class X, however, the schools are in a fix. Having completed a portion of the Class X lessons both under the Matriculation and Samacheer Kalvi syllabi, they are wondering what to do next.

“Neither the schools nor the students know what to study. Last year, a few chapters of Class X under the Matriculation syllabus were covered. And then the schools also covered a few chapters of Samacheer syllabus. Now, with no clarity on the syllabus to be followed, my daughter and so many like her are worried,” said R. Radha, a parent in Coimbatore.

School heads in Madurai said a timetable was given for Class X, too. Math tables, grammar, map drawing, rain water harvesting, simple experiments, Indian Constitution, health and hygiene, reading and writing, graphs, group discussion and science in everyday life are among the various topics to be covered from Monday to Friday timetable till July 15, they said.

A. Roseline Mary, Inspector of Matriculation Schools (IMS), Madurai, said students going to State Board and Matriculation schools were generally considered as being strong only in learning by rote . “This bridge course emphasises learning by doing and will strengthen the fundamentals. It is a different experience for us,” she said.