Towards Building a Culture of Inquisitiveness

“What will happen when I connect the battery to the bulb?” asked Ms. Ashwini, Dinesh’s Grade 6 Science teacher, holding up a model of an electric circuit. “I remember you taught us this, Ma’am, but I can’t explain it now!” replied Dinesh, a student at Government Higher Primary School (GHPS), Muthanallur.

The young boy’s response haunted Ms. Ashwini for a few days, “What can I do about helping students retain the key concepts from the lessons?” she wondered. A few days later, teachers were discussing revision strategies at the weekly meeting, and Ms.Ashwini recognized this as the perfect time to bounce her idea around. Ms.Ashwini proposed, “Why don’t we host quizzes for the students? Students would find it more engaging, and it will be a fun way to revise previous chapters.” 

The teachers at GHPS, Muthanallur were impressed by the suggestion, and soon, the discussion turned towards making it a school-wide structure, an initiative led by the teachers. The team of teachers planned to host a school-level quiz for students from Grade 4-7. The questions would be selected from the school’s curriculum.

On February 1st, the first round of quizzes was hosted at the school. It was the joint effort of many teachers who volunteered to share the responsibilities of curating the questions based on subjects and grades. Mr. Nagaraj, the Nalli Kali teacher, offered to collate questions on Kannada and Social Studies while Ms.Brinda M, the English teacher, opted to do the same for English, amongst others.

The students were equally divided into groups of ten, with children from across 4th-7th grade. Each group assigned themselves a name inspired by a leader from the Indian Freedom struggle and everyone geared up to begin the quiz. The rules of the game were explained, the scoring sheets were ready, and the students learnt that they would participate in three rounds for the winning title.

As the rounds progressed, the competitive energy was soaring high. In the end, there was a tie for second place. The tie-breaker round saw the teams engage in a rapid-fire where they had to give correct answers in 10 seconds!

Finally, the top three groups were felicitated by Ms. Suguna, who awarded each winning team with notebooks. She also reminded the students that the quiz was not about winning but to help students understand and remember their lessons in a fun and productive manner! 

After the event, the teachers sat down to reflect upon ‘what went well’ and ‘what could have been better.’ They were delighted by the decision to assign groups with students of different grades as it encouraged peer discussions and shared learning. However, the curation of questions and the facilitating of the quiz were acknowledged as areas of improvement by most of the teachers. Some teachers also pointed out that many questions were factual recalls, and they must include problem-solving questions in the future.

In retrospect, what began as a single teacher’s idea to help her classroom, was later adopted by the whole school team, who helped organise an event that helped all their students.  Moreover, the teachers are now confident about hosting interactive activities like quizzes, which makes learning fun, encourages peer learning across grades and also, embeds the spirit of an inclusive culture at the school.

Contributed by Tirthankar Chakravorty, Team MANTRA

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