Viswa Bharati Vidyodaya Trust has been conducting an intensive residential Two-year teacher training programme for batches of around 15 youth from the adivasi community since 2009. This purpose is to equip at least one or two persons in each village who will help children in their studies upto Class 8 (Elementary)level and thereby enabling
- to conduct evening classes in the village
- to take week-end classes at the area level
- to teach full time in schools
- Teach in Centres for drop-out children and help them join the mainstream schools.
- To make parents aware of educational needs, their child’s learning levels, and advice them about the best options for their child
In the current batch there were 14 candidates from three tribes – Paniyas, Kattunayakans and Bettakurumbas initially but 3 of them left during the second year for various personal reasons. The batch had already completed the first year of training in 2013 and the Poristes funding helped the second year of training. A new batch of candidates is being taken in the year 2015.
The students are taught all the subjects essential for them like Tamil, English, Mathematics, Science, Social studies, Art & Craft, Health Education, Library, Teaching – Learning method, Child Psychology, Adivasis of the world – history and their knowledge, Adivasi Munnetra Sangam, Philosophy of Education, Challenges in Education, and Institutional management. During the second year they also began an intensive teaching programme in the Vidyodaya school where they are supervised and mentored. Only after this is completed are they given their certificates.
A baseline study was conducted at the beginning of the session. The students were tested in all subjects. They are continually tested during the course of the programme to ensure that they maintain their standards. They mentioned that they found English and Maths particularly challenging.
The process of their end of term Assessment:
After revisiting the method used for the first batch of Trainees, the Trainers felt that an exam mode of Assessment really didn’t give us a good picture of their progress and development. After a prolonged session it was decided that a a two pronged method of Evaluation be done.
The first- Each subject teacher would give the Trainees a kind of a challenge, like a project, or preparing a question paper for a Class five student in a subject like Math or Science, or study a by observing a child and making a case study of the challenges it faced as a learner – for a subject like child psychology .. and so on for different subjects.
The second – Each Trainee would be asked to choose a Trainer from the Trainer group and sit with them on an individual basis ans try explain their own progress in many areas, to the Trainer of their selection. Two or three days time was allotted to make the Trainee feel happy and confident to talk about themselves, in an unhindered manner. This got us many insights into the problems faced and resolved, the self doubt they went through, the determination to resolve difficulties in the manner they had tried out during the Training course and lastly the importance of working together in a group irrespective of the individual differences among them.
Students were also taken to various exposure visits to courts, police station, government offices etc to build up their confidence and to give them exposure of the world around them and what they have to deal with. Students were also taken to Calicut city, as no one of them had been to a city where they got to see the airport, shipbuilding yard, planetarium and above all what surprised them most was the sea and that its water was actually salty!
About the course from a Trainee
‘When I came here I wanted to learn about teaching, but it seems that I am learning more about myself and my community. Doing a Teacher training course has equipped me with leadership skills and now in the village, the same people who earlier saw me only as a child now recognize me as a leader and come to me for any of their problems.”