Nature Day in the new Clay Brick Fabrication Hall
On the last Nature Day the teachers and the older students gathered in the clay brick fabrication hall the very first time. Coordinator Chandra Mohan and project manager Horst Wagner joined because an important priority planning had to be done. To realize the plans for the total school area will be very expensive and take some years as well; because of this reason our main donor Mr. Professor Weyer from Cologne (Germany) asked us to deal with a priority planning. All the persons working at the school thought over in a cooperative way which buildings and facilities are absolutely necessary for shifting all the school activities to the new school area as soon as possible.
Im the momentary school building – which is very narrow – we have eight rooms for eight classes (in the last academic year we had no 7th class) and teachers’ office, team room, two toilets and one bath room. In the new academic year – starting on June 6th – we will have nine classes again and need one more room. At the moment the children are sitting under the trees beside the school when the teachings take place outside. When we start with the teachings on the new school area some trees should be planted already for enabling classes in the shadow of the trees as early as possible. The following questions were discussed on this Nature Day:
· How many and which type of rooms are needed to enable a basic school activity on the new school area?
· Which facilities should be present on the area?
Teachers and students planning their new school
Two groups - working independently - came together to discuss their results. Project manager Horst Wagner reports the following measures as basically needed:
· Completion of the entrance area
· Completion of the administration building with 7 rooms (teachers’ office, team room/library, computer room and four rooms for four classes) – the entrance of the building can be use as meeting and exhibition hall and as „dining hall“ for the students
· Five additional class rooms
· Five toilets
· Watchman house
· Gardener house
· Play ground if possible
· Guest house
· Water tank
· Second bore well
· Drinking water tank with eight taps
· Basic foot paths
· Leveling special areas
· Basic electric works
· Plumbing works
· Storage room
· Two tempels (Ganesha und Saraswathi)
According to this plan the big eight corner shaped administration building – the basement is already completed – has to be built before the class rooms are done. This building will be built from granite stones; the class rooms will be realized with our self made clay bricks. The completion of the class rooms will take more time because a sample of clay bricks has to be done first – and we can start with the clay brick production only when the new brick machine has been delivered from Auroville. (Originally the brick machine exhibited in the Eco sustainable Centre in Puttaparthy should be used by us; for every clay brick we should have to pay one Rupee only. But the owner (an Indian from Bombay) suddenly – in spite of our agreement – wanted to sell it for 1 lakh or 100000 Rupees (more than the price for a new machine); that’s why we decided to order a complete new machine in Auroville at Auram Press). The clay bricks produced by us have to dry for one month in the clay brick fabrication hall; afterwards the building of the sample for the class rooms can be started.
Fundament of the administration building
As a Nature School we want to teach and to learn with the nature, in the nature and through the nature as far as possible; nevertheless class rooms are needed. The climate is not suitable all the time to teach outside; and for special works our class rooms will be needed as well. Sometimes it is important for the students to retire into their own sphere because of different reasons. Our vision of a Nature School was inspired by the traditional Indian School under a big tree, the „Ashram potashala“. Teachings under Kumar‘s or Amulya‘s tree are our desired ideal; that means the children should plant „their“ own trees, water them and care for them. Creativity is a central key for realizing our Nature School – creative and ecologically conscious teachers and students are able to build up their school actively, to develop and experience new techniques and to take responsibility for the development. We are busy with planning and realizing our Nature School for nearly five years now – with a holistic and integrated approach: we think that functionality and creativity have to be crossed with each others. Functionality is not sufficient because the non functional aspects (emotions and feelings) are often neglected. In our School Program we can read: „Balance, peace and harmony in the outside world can be achieved through the existence of these values in the inner world only. Mind and heart, male and female, giving and taking have to be given the same importance.”
Fleeing the heat into the water of the small pond
The School Program is telling as well that an approach with appreciation and love is most important in education and pedagogy. The traditional teaching style – even nowadays in the contemporary India – is based on the so called „Black Pedagogy“; teachers deal with fear instead of love primarily.
Head mistress Sabitha writes in her „PEDAGOGICAL MEETING REPORT” the following lines:
It is common that children are afraid of studies, and so very often they don’t like to go to school. But education is essential for their bright future. Hence, instead of making them receive it in a threatening atmosphere it is better to implant education with love. To develop better human beings teachers’ efforts are needed.... Right pedagogy will cause the children’s all sided development. If the teacher goes on teaching the children with traditional methods giving more importance to a piece of chalk and the blackboard the children will lose their interest in learning.
They need new teaching and learning situations. It is essential to change the way of teaching to let the children go to school with interest. They should be free from fear while learning. They should love education and get it with utmost interest. With the aim of imparting education with love, we are trying to change the teaching methods.
Children will certainly like it and learn with interest.
I introduced a regular Pedagogical Meeting in September 2010 - it is held every two months on the 6th day. All the teachers sit together and discuss the development of the children with new pedagogical ideas and methods.
Students working with soil for the garden
First Pedagogical Meeting (06-11-2010)
As a result of our discussion we made a slight change in the teaching/learning process with songs, dramas, group activities, drawing etc.
Example: The teacher reads out the lesson and discusses the characters with the children. Then the children act (a small drama) learning the lesson through acting.
With this method the children show more interest and participate in the learning activities enthusiastically.
After the introduction of this method by Sabitha we found a lot of changes in the children’s learning process. They had less fear and were more interested in the learning process. The implementation of the new method is successful.
Second Pedagogical Meeting (06-01-2011)
We had a review about the consequences of the decisions of the last pedagogical meeting. I enquired the teachers if they are facing any problems with the new way of teaching; and I asked them how the children are participating in the learning process. The teachers reported that the children understand the lessons quickly and show more interest with this method. The teachers also felt that we should put more efforts in this method and go further with it. Later we planned a syllabus for the pedagogical meeting by using the following format:
TITLE OF THE LESSON
TO BE USED
All expressed their opinion that they will know the material to be used in advance and get ready with it through this format. But the performance seems to be difficult for some subjects – for example HINDI - because there is a lot of vocabulary to learn in this subject. I suggested that we could take all the words in a lesson and weave a story with them. Moreover flash cards can be used for the role play. Drawing will be helpful to make the students understand in a better way. We decided to implement these changes. Then we discussed assigning homework to the children.
Third Pedagogical Meeting (07- 03-2011)
We discussed the decisions of the last meeting. A lot of developments were found concerning the home work. Most of the children are doing the homework with interest. We decided to assign the writing work and the practical work for three days; a considerable development in the reading and writing skills was noticed like this. The Children were able to grasp the meaning of the words in HINDI more easily with this new approach.
Another point of discussion was the introduction of a practical examination - additionally with the common written examination. As we are teaching the lessons through dramas, songs and stories it should be effective to allot 50% of the marks for a practical test. All the Teachers thought that the children will be free from examination fear if there is a practical test how they learnt the lessons. But the Teachers saw some problems with the preparation of question papers. They asked to prepare the question papers with their own ideas.
All the Teachers felt happy with the decisions taken in this pedagogical meeting; they were ready to encounter the problems that might arise with their implementation.
My opinion: I implemented this method. I have great hope that the children will get their education in a fearless atmosphere with all the new approaches. The Children are interested in this type of education.
M. Sabitha, April 18th 2011
„Two weeks before Anna Hazare, a 73 years old Gandhi activist, announced that she wanted to fast till death if the government is not willing to give permission to the civic society for bringing up a draft concerning a new powerful Anti Corruption law. Within 36 hours only the incredible number of 500.000 Indians took part in the Avaaz Campaign for supporting Hazare’s call for a complete reform. Within four days only this public call made the Indian Government sign up a written draft including all the demands of Hazare… Today a new India is born – same like in the last year in Brazil with a pioneering law against corruption. (Recited press report about the Avaaz Campaign against corruption in India, The Hindu (English) http://avaaz.org/the_hindu_hazare_launch, 27.4.2011)
With cordial greetings,
Yours, Helga Shanti Fründt
Foreigners should give their donation to this FCRA account
Shanti Ananda Education Society
Andhra Bank, Mudigubba Branch
Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India
Account No: 185410100007532
Indian persons should give their donation to the
Shanti Ananda Education Society
Geetha Nagar, Mudigubba 515511
Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank
Account No. 19073080607
Guest house under work