Wednesday, March 2, 2011


                          (BICHITRA PATHSHALA)
Jawahar Nabadaya Vidyalaya of Lakhikantapur is one of the eighteen Navodaya Vidyalayas in West Bengal. Situated in South 24 Parghanas district, it has a sprawling campus and a ‘tapovan’ like milieu with shady tree lined avenues, open fields and lakes. The students are alert, receptive, polite and eager to learn. JNV is a residential school and most of the students belong to the neighbourhood villages.
DRCSC and ASED conducted a one day biodiversity fair at Ashoknilay on the 26th of February and Bichitra Pathshala was invited to conduct an audio visual session at this fair.  Here is a report:

Session with a difference, this two hours event was focussed on understanding the nature in our surroundings. It was conducted by Sumita Majumder and Debasish Mandal of Bichitra Pathshala. They had a 50 students participating. Some of the students were from JNV, while some others were from other schools in the neighbourhood.  The workshop was exploratory in nature, with students narrating their own experiences then analyzing how these experiences affect their life. In the Biodiversity session Sumita Majumder showed some clippings from “The Private Life of Plants” by David Attenborough. The clippings showed various modes of seed dispersal. She paraphrased David Attenborough’s explanations in Bengali and paused the film at appropriate points to ask questions to the young viewers. Good interactions ensued at these junctures.  She showed the dispersal of seeds like a helicopter or like a glider and then connected these with the student’s life.  The participants easily identified the mode of dispersal and gave the example of cotton seed movement.  Many appreciated the way of teaching – learning environment created in that hall. One student even commented that the seeds and the wings had the right aerodynamic parameters.

In life skill development programme Debasish showed a cartoon “ A Brahmin and three crooked”. Instead of simply showing, through good interaction he tried to develop their self confidence connecting their own experience in life.  They learned and connected the negative effects of over confidence through clippings of Charlie Chaplin. There was much introspection with the facilitators encouraging participants to understand some life skills like self confidence, self esteem, critical thinking, problem solving, coping with stress, empathy etc.  A cartoon show from “Brahmin and a tiger with a golden bangle” created great curiosity among the students.  They understood “How to say No’  as an assertive skill and this made them happy. They enjoyed the experience and felt that it gave them better confidence to face difficult situations that they may encounter with their peers.  Asit  Pal  a student of class VII shared his emotion, how he  helped his friend by giving Rs.5 to buy a pigeon . Safiul, a student of class IX shared his grief on how his favourite friend left him and didn’t make any connection to him now.  “You can’t do anything, my teacher, my parents told me like that” – told Ruma, a student of class VII.  But after this session participants analysed and deconstructed their previous view, reconstructed their own view of life and shared their view with the facilitator. 
The participants emphasized that this two hours session was an eye opener to them, as it made them aware and conscious about their emotion and environment. Several participants commented that they had gathered some knowledge and skills at this session. The session was summed up aptly by the participants’ huge round of applause.
                                                       Some introspection for ourselves
Since ours are technology based sessions, we have to be self sufficient in our technological back up. It is desirable that we carry our own projector, screen and speakers.
If we can tune our sessions to what the students are learning in class, perhaps the students will find our sessions more useful.
It is desirable that we go to schools as a team of two – one facilitator and one technical person. The technical person can take some pictures - still or video and show the students at the end of the session. This will cause huge enthusiasm.
Since the rural students are usually starved of images the ones we bring to them, if time permits, we can show the film twice – once during interaction and once again after the interactions are over.

Posted by Debasish Mandal

No comments:

Post a Comment