Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bichitra Pathshala
Proposed projects for the year 2011 – 12

Rationale behind activity/ Description of activity
Cinema in the classroom

Developing a resourse bank of lesson plans and exemplary lessons

Tools in Schools workshop for teachers 

A competition among teachers to award the best lesson plans based on movie clippings

Reading Movies workshop for teachers

A film appreciation workshop for teachers

Parents’ workshops 

A workshop on parenting using appropriate movie clippings

Children’s vacation workshops 

Exciting activity based workshops with primary school children

District activities Activities engaging children from the districts

Mini fests
Screening of CFSI films for district children

Our Lives Our Stories Page 

Story development workshops with district children

Production Pool workshop for media students 

Script development workshops for six young filmmakers and their teams

Production of six short films 

Six young filmmakers will make six short films based on stories developed by children

National Seminar “Children’s Television in India” 

A two days long seminar to lobby for qualitative and quantitative change in children’s television programmes in India




Total time required: 7 to 8 months

The revised National Curriculum Framework (NCF) opens with a quotation from Rabindranath Tagore's essay, Civilisation and Progress, in which-the poet reminds us that a 'creative spirit' and 'generous joy' are keys in childhood, both of which can be distorted by an unthinking adult world.
In the words of Prof. Yash Pal, "We need to give our children some taste of understanding, following which they would be able to learn and create their own versions of knowledge as they go out to meet the world of bits, images and transactions of life. Such a taste would make the present of our children wholesome, creative and enjoyable; they would not be traumatized by the excessive burden of information that is required merely for a short time before the hurdle race we call examination. The NCF-2005 document suggests some ways of getting out of this self-imposed adversity."
In our mission to promote cinema as a pedagogical tool, we have been inspired by the guidelines of NCF 2005. We have been applying this method in various subjects in the classroom as well as in the workshop situation and the fair degree of success that we have achieved, has reaffirmed our conjecture that using film clippings meaningfully facilitates in actualizing the NCF guidelines to a large extent. A well made film can be used in various creative ways by a teacher to introduce a topic, generate classroom discussion or even initiate an activity.
The NCF recommends the softening of subject boundaries so that children can get a taste of integrated knowledge and the joy of understanding. Integrated knowledge can easily be imparted through movie clippings. When we see Durga putting her ears to the telegraph poles to catch the rumblings of the approaching train and Apu gazing awe struck at the speeding metallic monster cutting across the kash field, a host of thoughts about modernization, technology, development and a child’s curiosity to discover the world and his coming of age may come rushing to the viewer’s mind. A teacher can pick up any or all of these thoughts and initiate a discussion in the classroom. Cinema reflects life. Therefore it is only natural that movies be used as an efficient tool to generate holistic learning.
To encourage teachers to apply this exciting methodology, we intend to develop lesson plans based on 100 films. Although we shall have a conventional subject wise approach to develop the lesson plans, possibilities of inter disciplinary approach will be indicated in our lesson plans. Our lesson plans, based on popular films, documentaries, short films or even films downloaded from the Youtube, will serve as a guide for the teacher to optimize the film’s use in the classroom. The lesson plans will have the following components:

Name, duration & synopsis of the film

In case of feature films and long documentaries, identified sequences and their short descriptions

Possible usage of these sequences for various age groups and subjects

Outlines of possible activities and discussions based on the films or on identified sequences of the films

Cautionary notes in case of controversial issues in the discourse of the film or creative liberties taken by the filmmaker

Methodology for developing the lesson plans
FIRST ROUND: INITIAL SORTING: Viewing 100 films and identifying the subjects/topics that can be addressed through the films
The first round will be carried out by 5 persons, each of whom will view 20 films.
Before they begin viewing the films individually, they will sit together for 2 days and view at least three films together to arrive at a common ground for the following:

• Writing the synopsis

• Identifying sequences

• Enlisting the age groups and subjects for which the film will be useful

Estimated time for completing the first round: 2 months
An appropriate format for developing the lesson plans will be developed at a day long workshop. An expert will give an orientation on developing lesson plans based on the NCF 2005. Then participants will work in groups to develop the format. This workshop will be attended by resource persons of various subjects who will develop the lesson plans.
The films along with the write ups developed in the first round will be given to the subject experts who will develop lesson plans following the format developed in the workshop. It is likely that one film is useful for various subjects. The films will be circulated among the
subject teachers for developing lesson plans for different subjects. Estimated time: 4 to 5 months
Once the lesson plans have finally developed, they will be catalogued in a way so that they can be accessed by the name of the film, by the subjects and by the age group. Estimated time: One month
Teachers who have never used movies in the classroom may need some guidance in applying this method. It is not possible to go to different schools and give demonstrations. But a large number of schools can be reached out distribution of recorded demo lessons. Hence we plan to record ten excellent lessons in ten different subjects and put them on a DVD.

A DVD with 300 lesson plans, where the required lesson plans can be accessed through a cataloguing system

A second DVD with ten 45 minute lessons on ten different subjects fully worked out with the film clippings, work sheets and other accessories 

-Subha Das Mollick, Debasish Mandal

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