Customising innovation to suit children’s needs

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Teacher Virender Kumar’s initiative of creating his own method out of ZIIEI innovations is an example of how a teacher’s creativity can improve children’s participation in class

knowledge tree in the classroom
A tree placed in a corner of a classroom with pictures hanging on its branches is a very unusual sight. But for government school teacher Virender Kumar, it is a way of making classroom teaching interesting and engaging for his students.

An innovator himself, Kumar likes to experiment with different teaching methods for the holistic development of children and encourage them to participate proactively in the classroom to improve learning outcomes of his students.

Kumar, who teaches at the Government Senior Secondary School, Dharogra in Sunni block of Shimla district in Himachal Pradesh, came to know about the innovation Learning Through Comic Strips during the ZIIEI teachers’ orientation program in June 2018.

The method involves teaching with the help of pictures and picture-based stories to make the topics simple.

Drawings are combined with suitable dialogues and sentences to make learning an effective process for students.However, Kumar modified the innovation to suit his students’ needs. He put up an artificial tree in a corner of his classroom and hangs pictures of the topic he wants to teach his students on the branches of the tree.

After this, the students are asked to identify the pictures and relate to the topics.Explaining further, he said that class 10th students have English poems by different authors in their curriculum.

Besides teaching the poem, he puts a picture of the poet along with a little biography of the person on the tree so the students get to know about whom they are reading.

“There are some concepts which cannot be taught through the traditional, theoretical way. Pictures make the subject interesting and students are able to grasp the topic easily,” Virender said

“I realised that it is very easy to explain the children about a particular chapter or topic through pictures.They recall the content easily. This method is most beneficial for below average students who have difficulty understanding any subject,” he added.

Kumar, who has books on activity-based learning to his credit, was impressed by ZIIEI’s efforts to provide a platform to the teachers to share their creative zero investment ideas with their counterparts to improve education and facilitate better learning outcomes of students.

Overall 25,691 teachers were trained across 12 districts of Himachal Pradesh with highest participation from Shimla (4,168) followed by Sirmaur (3,681) and Chamba (3,288).

This is the first time teachers’ efforts are being recognised.Their creativity and imagination is brought to the fore where they can realise their true potential and bring a change in the education system of the state,” Virender said

Of the above numbers, 79 per cent of teachers developed their own zero investment ideas and shared with the ZIIEI team. 75 per cent of the teachers adopted only one idea of ZIIEI, while 25 per cent of teachers adopted multiple ideas.

Learning Through Games was the most popular idea followed by Children’s Parliament and Learning Through Comic Strips.

Lahaul and Spiti, Una, Chamba, Kinnaur and Sirmaur were the best performing districts of the state in terms of adoption and implementation of ideas.