Telangana

The magic mirrors of TSWREIS schools

A student talking in front of a mirror installed in the corridor at a residential school on Saturday.

A student talking in front of a mirror installed in the corridor at a residential school on Saturday.  

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Mirrors installed in corridors help students shed their inhibitions and talk

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all” is what the Evil Queen asks the magic mirror in the fairytale Snow White & Seven Dwarfs. Here at the schools run by Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS), mirrors are put to better use—not to ask if someone is the ‘fairest’, but to improve the cognitive skills of its students.

In yet another novel initiative to instil confidence in girls hailing from the marginalised sections, some of whose self-esteem could have had taken a beating owing to the circumstances they come from, the TSWREIS has hit upon the brainwave of installing mirrors.

Mirrors on classroom walls and in corridors are being used to pep up communication, besides improving students’ language ability. The students are encouraged to observe their mouth, face and body language while speaking to make it appear as if they are conversing with someone to rectify flaws in English.

“We have told them that fluency matters and not grammar. The mirror exercise is to challenge oneself to speak without stopping or stammering,” says TSWREIS Secretary R.S. Praveen Kumar, who has made the educational institutions the best performing ones in the public sector in the last five years. Girls are advised to spend a few minutes before the mirror, set a timer for two to three minutes and “just talk” on the topic of their choice or sing a song or a nursery rhyme and try some tongue twisting sentences. “It made me confident and helped me shed my inhibitions in conversing with my own classmates and even with the teachers,” says Hasini, a class VI student of Gowlidoddi hostel.

In these hostels, the education standards are equal to any corporate school with English as the medium of instruction, uniforms, round-the-clock supervision by teachers, computers, extra-curricular activities et al.

“It had an amazing effect on our girls. Even we did not expect such a tremendous response. It has been made mandatory and all principals have been asked to put up mirrors and monitor the activity,” says Mr. Kumar. There is also a counsellor for every institution to lend an ear to those finding it difficult to cope with the academic activity.

There are no “slow learners” here, but “future learners”. “We give them hope and tell them the success stories of our eco-system to sidestep the harsh realities,” says the Secretary.

Earning while learning

In its endeavour to make girls self-sufficient and self-assured, the TSWREIS has come up with concepts like ‘Earn while you learn’, in which those with the passion for teaching can teach their fellow students through a live interactive session telecast on government-run Mana TV. Every year, 80 such ‘super’ students are paid ₹1,000 (for juniors) and ₹1,500 for seniors. The brightest among them are selected as ‘Green Gurus’ to teach in schools that are short-staffed and they can earn ₹3,500 a month for taking classes for 10 days a month.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 10:37:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/the-magic-mirrors-of-tswreis-schools/article22921194.ece

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