K. Manikandan

To prepare them for launch of ABL method in schools

TAMBARAM: Over 1,000 teachers in government and aided primary schools in the southern suburbs of Chennai are undergoing a vital orientation programme ahead of the launch of the Activity-Based Learning (ABL) method in their schools.

Three years ago ABL was implemented in all schools of the Chennai Corporation, and at the same time in 10 select schools in St. Thomas Mount Panchayat Union (or Block) were selected where it was launched. With the State Government now extending the launch of the method to all primary schools in Tamil Nadu, the teachers of all the schools too are getting ready for the new method.

In the 132 primary government and aided schools in St. Thomas Mount Block there are 65,000 students and 1,137 teachers. It is crucial to train all the teachers and equip them with the necessary skills so that the ABL method of teaching is implemented in the schools.

Initial training for a fortnight was conducted in the first week of June in about a dozen locations after which the teachers went to schools. Subsequently, orientation programmes were held, where the teachers’ feedback, initial response and doubts were addressed.

One such programme was held at the Panchayat Union Primary School in Chitlapakkam. During the workshop, which concluded two days ago, State-level coordinators sought to dispel the doubts of the teachers and encourage them to adapt to the changes in the education system.

Problems encountered

According to senior officials of the Education Department and coordinators who conducted the orientation programme, the teachers faced a host of problems when they entered classrooms after the initial training in June. Making the students adapt to ABL, creating the conducive atmosphere for adaptation of the new system, and teething troubles of the teachers in communicating with students under the new method were some of the initial problems, they pointed out. The orientation workshop aimed at addressing these issues. Problems faced by both the teachers and students would be solved in the next few weeks, officials added.

A teacher of a primary school in Hasthinapuram, Chromepet, one of the 10 schools in the Block where ABL has been on for three years, said that there was a remarkable improvement in the students under the new method.

Reading newspapers, particularly English dailies, something not quite common in the past, was now a reality among the primary students in her school, she said.

With many components drawn from the Montessori system, the core objective of the ABL method was to strengthen the students’ fundamentals in science, mathematics and language, teachers said.

Moreover, the separate table and chair for the teachers were made a thing of the past and they now had to share floor space with the children. This, officials said, was to cultivate a relationship between students and teachers that was built on affection and respect.