A school named Mukta Gyan Kutira is opting to renew teaching methods by educating students through activities like storytelling, action songs and rhyme-recitation. Located in Rayagada district of Odisha, surrounded by forested hills and Haldisil river, the Mukta Gyan Kutiro or Centre for Free learning has been revolutionizing education for tribal girls since its inception in 2004. The school's mustard yellow walls are painted with drawings and short stories from the girls and the library is full of colorful books with narratives in local languages.
Their vision is to make education approachable for Odisha's tribal girls. The school focuses on storytelling, action songs and rhyme-recitation to impart education as these methods suit tribal students more.
Kanaka Mani Das, school's headmistress, whom student calls Guruma says that they don't interfere with a child's natural learning process, they first teach students what they already know before progressing onto newer concepts.
First, motor skills of students are refined by drawing lines and joining dots. Then, they proceed to identify pictures which they made by joining dots. When their learning aptitude progresses, the teacher will show them an animal, let's say a tiger, which they have heard of but probably never seen.
The name is initially written in Odia to boost child's associative learning. Once that happens, the child learns how to write. Children learn very quickly with these methods, even though there is no pressure. If they struggle, teachers or other students help them catch up.
Another learning method that the school uses is flashcard method. Teachers have cutouts of alphabet that students use to form their own words. They are then asked to narrate a story out of them. Tribal areas in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh have multi-grade classrooms. It's difficult to implement the pedagogy when there are no good classrooms and students need to get taught on the ground.
All the 128 girls in the school are provided with free learning spaces without any restriction on child's movement. Some of them are also gravitating towards residential schooling. Success of school's pedagogy is best reflected in the fact that their unique textbook is adopted by 18 other government schools. Let's wish that all of them are benefited in the same way Mukta Gyan Kutira has.
By: Neha Maheshwari