When learning is fun

PLAYFUL: Innovative teaching session. Photo: R. Ashok   | Photo Credit: R_ASHOK

“I am Senthil Raja,” the fifth standard student introduces himself and smartly extends his hand for a shake. It is nice to hear a self-introduction not starting with “My name is…” “Sorry, it’s time to play,” is his next as he leaves to join his waiting friends. Inside the Government-aided school campus, when students of other classes are busy copying what the teacher has written on the blackboard, the fifth graders are involved in a fun-filled game called ‘Life Cycle of a Butterfly’.

For a school which saw number of absentees rising each day, it is a total turnaround today for Dr.T.Thirugnanam Primary School with full attendance of students now. Ask the reason for the change and all hands point towards headmaster K. Saravanan, who made the classroom lively by introducing games to teach complex concepts. “It is a conscious effort to break the rote learning followed in most schools,” he says. “My students no longer struggle with English and Maths and now they also show an interest in learning new topics outside the textbooks,” he says.

The main job of the teacher is to make the students feel comfortable in the classroom and facilitate independent thinking without inhibition. “I noticed students were reluctant to come to school and every time I had to seek parental help in ensuring their presence. When I started analysing the reason for the disinterest, I found the boys and girls were keen to play games. So, I decided to develop games for each subject,” he says.

Saravanan first made sure students interacted well among themselves to create better understanding. His games also supported group activity. He encouraged them to come out with ideas and nourished their creative ability, which propelled students to think independently and develop games on their own. “Teaching through games helped a lot as students’ involvement was more. Also learning did not stop with classrooms. Many students took the games to their homes and played with friends in the neighbourhood,” says Saravanan.

Two of his students R. Raghavan and M. Dhanaseelan have developed a new game for the lesson on Sangam Age. “Pertaining to the Tamil Kings Chera, Chola and Pandia, For instance, we link the Tamil Kings Chera, Chola and Pandia with their symbols such as the bow, arrow, tiger and fish, respectively. Once the symbol is shown, students identify the king and their achievements,” says Raghavan.

“Till recently my daughter Keerthana preferred home to school. She frequently feigned illness to avoid going to school. But after the introduction of fun games she has started hating holidays. Even at home she does not waste time and does origami. She is now on a thinking mode. She also helps her elder sister in her studies,” says Devi Balaguru, a parent.

Tasting success, Saravanan has extended the teaching technique to other classes in his school and has shared the information with his fellow teachers working in other Government schools. He has posted all the games in his blog Veeluthukal.blogspot and in his facebook account

GAME: To denote different stages of the Life Cycle of Butterfly students stand in groups. Say if it is the first stage where the eggs are laid on a leaf each student has to stand alone. If it is the second stage where the eggs hatch into larvae (caterpillar), students should form groups of two members each. Students should form groups of three members each if it is the third stage where the caterpillar makes a chrysalis. The fourth stage is where the fully grown butterfly comes out of the pupa and students are supposed to form groups of four members each. When the teacher spells out the activity, students are supposed to identify the stage and accordingly form groups.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 3:05:28 AM |

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