Compare & Contrast

From the first day I had at Vidyashilp I noticed that schooling in India was very different from schooling in the states.  I am starting to build my philosophy as a future educator.  Vidyashilp has shaped my teaching philosophy in ways I can not describe.  At Shilp they believe in creativity and allowing the student to think themselves.  Even the little things here that you don’t even think of can change a students mindset on their learning.

Yesterday I was talking with a couple of teachers from my EVS department about the color red.  The principal from Vidyashilp, Selvi Ma’am, she believes the color red should not be used in a classroom.  When the teachers of my department asked me why when planning my first lesson plan I used the color red so much.  I replied with it is easier for the kids to see rather than yellow or orange.  They continued to inform me that the EVS department does not use the color red.  I was so confused by this… It was just a color.  In my education my teachers always used red to mark my work or write the score I got on an assignment.  Seema Ma’am, my mentor and the EVS department head asked me what I first thought of when she said the color red.  I replied blood.  She looked at me, then I understood the color red feels like the student is wrong or not doing their best.  This causes the student to lose motivation for learning.  Why would a student want to improve or learn when they have huge red marking all over their work?… They don’t.  As Seema told me it is a psychological color, something they do not believe in using.  In my teaching career from now on red will not be used or will rarely ever be used.

At Shilp from standard 1-5 they do not receive homework or grades.  The teacher will assess how the student is doing in their class and make note of it to themselves.  Each month parents have the chance to come in the school and talk with the teachers to see how their child is doing.  Students not having homework is a good way to keep the child engaged in what they are learning in the classroom and interested.  If the student becomes very interested in the topic the student can then do a extra circular activity, which means going home and doing research then choosing a project they can do on the topic to show the class.  I think students at this age not having mandatory homework or grades allows the child to not feel pressured about learning allowing the child to want learn on their own.

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Student with her ozone project

First through fifth standard, the classroom has a set class that they stay in for their subjects minus activities.  The class has a different teacher for each subject.  I think this keeps the students attentive and allowing to build more relationships with teachers benefiting the child’s social skills.  Teachers have their desk in the staff room, students can come in and see the teacher whenever they would like to.  Since I have been here I have had a collection of students that visit my desk everyday.

Students at Shilp have over 20 activities they can chose from even first through fifth standard they can chose what activity they would like.  Back in the states we have a set day we do a certain activity and our activities are very limited.  We only have PE, art, music, and library at least where I went to elementary school.  Sometimes there are more but rarely in the states we such a variety like VIdyahilp has.  The freedom they allow the students to have with choosing their activity promotes responsibility, independence and expressing themselves.  At Shilp they have table tennis, skating, swimming, cricket, yoga, basketball, soccer, volleyball and many more.

One thing that is really important to me is how Shilp does lunch.  Kids are not allowed to bring their lunch unless they have dietary needs.  Lunch is set up in a buffet form where students go get what they would like then go eat lunch.  They do not pay for their lunch, everyday it is included.  Students are also allowed to go get seconds if they choose to do so.  Lunch in the US atleast in public schools you have to pay for your lunch everyday or bring your lunch.  If you do not have money or not enough money in your account, students will sometimes not receive lunch.  Hungry students are not learning students.  Wellness and Health is important for a child’s development properly and Vidyashilp is doing a great job of including all their students in that factor.

There are so many things that Vidyashilp does that I wish I could immediately change the schools back in the states to how Shilp does it.  However, I will take back what I have learned from Vidyashilp and try to implement that in my future schools I will be teaching at.

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Thank you again to the donors and everyone making this learning oppourtinity possible for me!!

Until next time,

Liz

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