A long term participatory action research project with a neighbouring government school was initiated in 2014. The project aims to develop a model of participatory action research in school education. Its broad objectives are: understanding the teaching-learning process; preparing instructional materials (worksheets, handbooks/activity manuals); generating simple and inexpensive experiments designed to nurture resourcefulness, and teaching aids including audio-visual aids. Each year, various activities, lesson plans and worksheets are designed by teachers and researchers together after discussion of subject content, pedagogy and possible resources. The activities and worksheets led to increased participation and questions from students. A month long summer camp is organised in the month of May, each year. The objective of the camp is to help students relate their day to day experiences to what is taught in school and to help them develop communication skills through different modes, such as, drawing, writing, mapping, expressing oneself, gesturing and raising questions. In these camps, students are introduced to sessions on design and technology, language, creative writings and other activities.
Making a Case for Outdoor Activities in Environment Studies at Indian Schools
School going children are spending less and less time outdoors. This is despite stances of philosophers; Froebel, Dewey, Steiner, Hahn, Comenius, Russeau, Pestalozzi and Rabindranath Tagore, that indicate learning in the outdoors as enjoyable and rewarding. Reduced outdoor activity is a worry considering research that indicates a relation between early child development. Another compelling premise that is central to this paper is the connection of educational achievement with children’s engagement with the outdoors. Being outdoors in educational context, apart from play and organised sports, is suggested to stimulate development of a wide range of skills like observation, creativity, exploration, investigation, language development and social interaction, in children. Yet most children, in the world and specifically India, go through years of primary education with barely any opportunity provided by their schools to consciously connect children with the real world outside. We present a theoretical perspective to emphasise importance of providing children, opportunities to be outdoors. Our argument is guided by; literature and our understanding of; what encompasses good education, the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005, India (NCERT, 2005), of the aims of Environmental Studies and our preliminary experiences during some simple outdoor activities with 8-9 year old children.
Bhide, S., & Chunawala, S., (2016). Making a case for outdoor engagement in environmental studies at Indian schools. XVII IOSTE Symposium, organized by CIEC – Institute of Education, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal, July 15, 2016.
Deshmukh, N. D., Bhide, S., Sonawane, V. C., Chunawala, S., & Ramadas, J. (2018). Experiences and learning from Participatory Action Research with a local school. In S. Ladage and S. Narvekar (Eds.), Proceedings of epiSTEME7: Seventh international conference to review research on Science, TEchnology and Mathematics Education, HBCSE (pp. 204-213). India: CinnamonTeal.
For more information on the SSRD programme, visit http://www.hbcse.tifr.res.in/research-development/school-science-r-d-tpd.pdf