The Magical World of Shadow Puppets

“Hello, children! I’m Simha, the lion – the king of the jungle… ROAAARRR!!!” – Ms. Nagashree, a Nali Kali teacher of the Government Lower Primary School, Kadagraha, Dommasandra cluster went on in a heavy voice as her students of class 1 sat amazed watching the shadow of a lion on a white screen.

With twinkling eyes learning more about different animals, tiny tots of this GLPS were among those of various other schools who have been introduced to the world of Shadow Puppetry!

On October 8, Nali Kali (Joyful Learning) teachers of 13 schools in the cluster came together for a one of a kind workshop. Conducted by our very own Academic Lead, Mr. Mounesh Nalkamani, this workshop witnessed teachers creating puppets along with narrative scripts to practice the teaching technique.

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“In my experience, I’ve witnessed children loving to learn through shadow puppets in the classroom. With proper guidance, children will be interested and encouraged to narrate stories on their own with these puppets,” said Mr. Mounesh.

An important teaching aide

As part of primary education’s syllabus, prescribed by the State Government, shadow puppetry has been believed to enhance the language skills of children in a fast and effective manner. Owing to various limitations, this exercise remained on paper until teachers of our Dommasandra Cluster decided to take it up for the benefit of their students.

Shadow puppet
Representative image: source

As per the syllabus, it is advised that children of classes 1 and 2 learn about various animals and birds through shadow puppet shows. A simple set with a white screen and some hand-made cut-outs of these figures are all that are required to conduct a fun, attractive, and innovative lesson.

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With understandable dialogues in Kannada, and a performance presented in the form of a story, these teachers soon took forward their learnings from the workshop to their classrooms.

Sure enough, the outcome of it all was as expected – the kids loved it! In no time, these young ones took the puppets in their own hands, hid behind the screen and began narrating their own stories with their animal puppets. For many of them, this was the closest to learning about tigers, lions, and other animals and birds for the first time.

Creating a fun learning environment

Stage fright, lack of effective communication skills and harnessing an emotional, creative, and contextual understanding of various topics have for long been a pain point in many of our schools.

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When our teachers began teaching through shadow puppets in their classrooms, it encouraged students to do so as well. Improving their language, creativity, and the vanishing of their stage fright – this has been the result of the method so far!

Teacher speaks

Ms. Radha, of the Government Lower Primary School, Chanbena Halli said, “The workshop by Mantra4Change was very helpful for all our teachers of the cluster. Learning to make puppets and using these in the form of stories was an enjoyable experience and this trickled down to our students as well. We have been using this technique in our classes and they all enjoy it immensely!”

By Team Cluster Transformation Project, Mantra4Change

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