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Developing good habits through puppet stories

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Students of a government school in Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh find puppet lessons on moral and human values simple and easy to follow

Sometimes it amazes, sometimes it amuses, Meena, the puppet, is children’s best friend. It sings, dances and tells stories to motivate and encourage them to adopt good habits.

Dressed in a blue shirt and white bottoms, similar to the uniform of students at Government Middle School in Housing Board in Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh, Meena keeps her date with them twice a week.

Suneeta Sharma, a Social Science and English teacher in the school, is the brain behind making Meena and using her as a source to convey to students the importance of adopting good habits in life in a fun way.

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“I use it for telling stories based on proverbs, moral and human values like honesty, kindness, generosity and integrity. Children listen to it attentively and enjoy the presentation,” Suneeta said
Sharma said that puppet stories in the 6th-8th school of 60 students have become very popular as children learn quickly through this source of entertainment as compared to reading it from books.Sharma had initially made the puppet for taking part in the state level story telling competition for teachers in Dec. 2017 and was not sure what to do with it after winning the consolation prize in the event.

It was after she attended Sri Aurobindo Society’s teacher orientation under Zero Investment Innovations for Education Initiatives (ZIIEI) in Feb. 2018, she learnt that it could be put to use to spread awareness about social issues as well as building strong character in students.

“I recalled that during the parent-teacher meetings, parents used to complaint about their wards for being disobedient, always late for school, careless and unsympathetic,” she added.

Sharma said that this made her think of telling stories about the importance of coming to school on time, being honest, respecting elders and helping others at home and outside.

“After telling the story, I then explain the message hidden in it and how it can benefit the student, his/her family and the community as a whole,” she added.With this innovative technique, the teacher has been witnessing positive results in students.

“They are becoming punctual, dress up neatly for school, started developing a feeling of harmony with their school mates. Parents too now do not come up with many complaints of their children like before,” she added.

ZIIEI training programme was started in Madhya Pradesh in October 2017. A total of 1,332 sessions were conducted in 51 districts. 97,561 teachers were oriented towards innovations out of which 68,774 submitted their ideas.