Make classrooms more secure, less fearsome, teachers advised

New Delhi, April 22 (Inditop) Classrooms should be places where children are not ridiculed despite making mistakes. That was the underlying message of a conference of teachers here, days after the tragic death of 11-year-old Shano Khan allegedly due to corporal punishment at school.

Twenty-eight government and private school teachers took part in the 12-day event that underscored it was essential to create a classroom that was secure for students and where there was no fear.

“Classrooms need to be a community where children can make mistakes and not be ridiculed,” said Sonya Philip, the organiser of the event and an educator herself.

She is the founder of Learning Matters Foundation, a non-profit organisation that helps students with learning difficulties, which in collaboration with the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) and two teachers from the Rato Bangla school in Nepal conducted the conference.

Called “Creating Primary Effective Classrooms,” the event concluded Tuesday.

Philip’s mantra has always been “quality education”.

“The goal of this teacher training was for both government and private school teachers to come together and learn strategies on how to reach out to all types of learners,” she said.

The focus was on four areas – maths, science, social studies and language.

Teachers attending the training became students and learned by actually doing what they would ask students to do. For instance, in order to help students develop their writing skills, the teachers were asked to write a story from their own lives.

Vicki Rai, one such participant, stated that “every moment of these 12 days has been well spent”.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, a board member of the RGF, wrote in a letter addressed to the participants: “It is no longer adequate to cover the curriculum”.

Philip’s foundation runs a pre-school in the mornings and later in the day works with students from various schools in the capital to help them with their studies.

Several years ago, she was astounded when the school where her son was studying asked her to pull him out due to his mild learning disability. Unable to find any educational facilities to match her son’s needs, she moved to the US.

Upon her return to India in 2006, she established Learning Matters.

Last week, Shano Khan, the student of a municipal school in Delhi, died after allegedly being beaten and made to stand in the sun by her teacher for not being able to recite letters of the English alphabets.