December 2017

Bringing the fun back to learning

Gurappa’s story-telling puppets, ATM-like machine, games and other tools make learning English and other subjects fun for students in Yadgir

The classroom, colourfully decorated with Gurappa's teaching learning aids, provides a stimulating atmosphere for students of Malakapanhalli school

Gurappa of Malakapanhalli is a Nalikali teacher in a government school in Yadgir district of Karnataka. He has a fair understanding of English, but was not comfortable using the language. This was before he enrolled in the Tata Trusts’ supported Enhancing Proficiency in English Language (EPEL) course.

The EPEL course is implemented by Kalike, an associate organisation of the Trusts, in Yadgir district of Karnataka as part of the education programme. The programme aims to provide access to quality education and interventions are designed at every stage of a child’s education, from primary to high school. The focus is on the ‘train-the-trainer’ model, where government teachers are provided with intensive training on how to involve children in the learning process and to improve classroom interaction. Kalike plans to cover 125,000 children in Yadgir schools by 2020.

Initially, Gurappa was hesitant to participate in activities that were part of the course. However, a little into the training, he developed confidence and started activity-based teaching in his class and designed many teaching learning materials (TLM). Due to his efforts, students in Malakapanhalli now speak in simple English with correct grammar, and their confidence level has increased significantly. His teaching methods and TLM have been captured on videos and shared. He has also designed an ATM-like machine (an innovative TLM) to teach mathematical operations and vocabulary.

He makes and uses local puppets for his storytelling sessions, as well as a repertoire of games to teach English. Owing to this, the attendance in his school has improved and is the maximum for the area, with more than 90 percent average attendance. Students who had left and joined private schools have returned to the government school as the parents felt that the teaching there was better and students’ knowledge of English was of a higher level.

Talking about his students, the proud teacher says, “They recite rhymes with actions, follow instructions, know and use grammar accurately, and can converse in simple English.” He has motivated them to greet everyone in English; thus the villagers are a happy lot to have picked up basic greetings as well as a few words in English. Gurappa is well known in the village for making a difference in students’ lives. He attributes all his motivation and achievements to the proficiency in English training course and its inputs.

Consequently, he has used and adapted the learning from the EPEL course to teach other subjects too. Gurappa has won laurels and appreciation from government officials and seniors in the sector for his excellent teaching methods and innovative TLM designs.

Click here to view the Kalike video