[IAEP] NN, Mitra, and the role of the teacher
K. K. Subramaniam
kksubbu.ml at gmail.com
Sun Oct 31 23:23:51 EDT 2010
On Sunday 31 Oct 2010 9:25:30 am Caryl Bigenho wrote:
> Actually, Mitra's "Grannies" may not be actual grand parents and they do
> have a curriculum.
True. A Grannie need not necessarily be a grand parent of the learner but a
curriculum-driven learning is very limiting, esp. in India with its extreme
social diversity. Sugata's high tech props distracts us from seeing the
facilitative aspects found in the environment. "Grannies" do three things that
facilitates the learning process. Firstly, they are there during learning,
Secondly, when a child completes a task, they celebrate the culmination of the
process regardless of the economic value of the outcome. Thirdly, they guide
the child to select the next process that is *meaningful* to both the child
and the *social context*. Such appreciation and mentoring are invaluable in
helping children learn faster and better.
A centrally planned curriculum applies a linear model of learning over a large
number of children in different social contexts. It assumes that there is only
one way for the next level. In practice, a child is faced with lots of choices
on what to pursue next.
Notice the slip in TED teaser's last statement - "results that could
revolutionize how we think about teaching". We have a hard time treating
education as a learning process.
 In Sikshana, our school intervention project, the physical presence of an
friendly adult in the classroom turned out to be the most important motivator
for learners. One such "Grannie" volunteer was a young village girl in her
twenties who was so impressed with this transformation that she joined our
project and is now replicating the model across a cluster of 15 schools.
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