Sudhir Gohane, the principal of a municipal school in the tribal district of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been using unique teaching methods to capture the imaginations of students in his school for more than a decade now.
He joined the Jawaharlal Nehru Public School 14 years ago with the aim of improving the quality of education imparted to students living in abject poverty. His immense dedication and commitment made it possible for the municipal school to become the first in the district to receive an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification.
Sudhir understands the importance of hands-on teaching and relating basic scientific concepts to real-life scenarios in order to ensure in-depth learning.
Instead of making them memorise mathematical formulas by rote learning, he asked them to build the replica of a fort. They had to mix ‘X’ amount of water with ‘Y’ amount of cement using maths formulas to construct the model.
Most of the students were also afraid of public speaking, and the fear would often stop them from expressing themselves without any inhibitions. Sudhir tried to eradicate this fear by building an Akashwani Kendra — an in-house radio station in the school. “ They go into this special room and start speaking into the microphone, while their voice reaches every classroom through individual speakers. They say prayers, read from textbooks, or recite poems, slowly getting over the fear of public speaking,” he told The Times of India.
This innovative activity has led to the students being excited about the microphone instead of remaining fearful.
Keeping children in school is an uphill task in the Naxalite-infested district of Gadchiroli. The kids live in utter poverty and there isn’t much awareness about the benefits of education. But Sudhir has many tricks up his sleeve to ensure that children have an incentive to study further and remain ambitious. Recently, he launched a campaign called ‘Junior IAS’, wherein the topper of a monthly exam conducted for the students is admired and congratulated. A large banner with a picture of the topper is displayed at the entrance of the school. Sudhir hopes that this will encourage students with the message that excelling in academics can help them gain popularity as well.
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