For almost 10 years, K-8 learning company XSEED has been working at transforming primary school education in India through step-by-step lesson plans for teachers and students.
The teacher’s voice rings out across the classroom. “Settle down,” she says, and promptly the Class 6 students scuttle to their wooden desks. The middle-aged Farida Mun, or “Farida ma’am”, dressed in a printed pink rida, turns to her table where a large bowl of water stands. One at a time she takes three stones—large, medium and small—and drops them into the water. “Observe what happens,” she instructs the class. Eleven-year-old Hasan, who has been sitting towards the rear end, swinging his legs back and forth, jumps out of his seat to look at what Mun is doing.
“So what did y’all see?” Mun asks after completing the experiment. The class erupts. Almost everyone’s hands go up, desperately flagging them in the air to attract the teacher’s attention. “The big stone made the biggest splash,” shouts Hasan when Mun points towards him. “Yes, the small pebble only made a tiny splash,” observes another student. “That’s because the weight of the big stone is more,” says a third. Tactfully Mun directs the discussion, getting the children to conclude that more the weight—or the “mass”—of the stone, greater is the “force” exerted, leading to a bigger splash.
It’s easy to mistake Hasanat High School for an upmarket institute following the international baccalaureate system. But, in reality, it’s a middle-income community school in Mumbai’s suburb of Andheri, which follows the regular ICSE curriculum. Yet, far from the traditional “chalk and talk” manner of teaching, which is common in Central and state board schools, Hasanat holds out a different promise. Here critical thinking trumps rote learning, creativity is encouraged not curbed, and teachers are unafraid. Unafraid to experiment, let students lead discussions and, importantly, ask questions. Their confidence—like that seen in Mun—is in large part courtesy XSEED.
Read the full story: A Class Apart