“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them” – Aristotle.
As the new academic year came closer, our excitement rose. We had five new partner schools and we were to kick off our intervention with them, beginning with some teacher training programmes. In keeping with our practice of constant improvements, we began wondering how we could make this an enjoyable experience for the teachers. We asked ourselves – “How do we build the excitement for teaching? How do we build curiosity for learning?” After a lot of brainstorming, we came up with the idea of the Makers Lab. In our version of the maker movement – which focuses on learning through doing – teachers would be introduced to and encouraged to make innovative teacher-learning materials (TLMs) for different subjects using low-cost materials.
We launched the two-day session at Crescent School, one of our new schools in Basavanagudi, where the HM, Ms Yasmeen, is completely invested and all the teachers highly enthusiastic to learn and develop TLMs. On the first day, we displayed a few materials and explained how they worked. The idea is to use low-cost or waste materials to build innovative TLMs that can be used to explain abstract learning concepts to students. The teachers were encouraged to think about how they could use these materials differently. The materials displayed included those for maths, Kannada, Urdu, English, social studies, science besides classroom rules and trackers.
On the second day, the materials were displayed and the teachers were asked to work individually, develop materials and create a lesson plan using TLMs for a demo class. At the end of the session, each teacher conducted a demo lesson integrating the various TLMs.
During the session, the teachers were given access to a laptop and internet so that they could research online for new materials that they could create on their own. We were heartened to see the teachers enthusiastically diving in, sometimes even using their own mobile phones when they couldn’t access the laptop. Creativity was at its zenith as the teachers gave it full rein and played explorers to the hilt. They made full use of the internet’s potential and came up with some extremely innovative TLMs.
We planned the two-day session not knowing what to expect. But, in those two days, the teachers internalised the materials and inputs we had provided and churned out new TLMs and ideas at a rate that expanded our knowledge base by an exponential rate.
The Makers Lab received a lot of positive feedback from the participants. Sample some of the comments –
“From this training I have gathered a lot of knowledge,” said one teacher.
“The different sessions in maths, science, English and social were innovative and insightful,” said another.
“I liked the session because it gave us new ideas to make TLMs with very cheap quality materials,” said another teacher.
We, at Mantra4Change, are stunned by the power of the Makers Lab. We are now planning to take this forward and spread the magic dust of the Makers Lab to other schools in our fold.
By Ankita Ghosh, School Transformation Lead at Mantra4Change