While we may all keep complaining about the poor state of education and teaching in schools, we need to also understand that one of the reasons behind it is also that the teacher’s training programmes and ‘capacity building’ as such are limited. Many of us keep saying that the education at school levels is rather theoretical and students are not spending enough time on being able to “experiment”. One limitation could potentially be that lab equipment, and “experimentation resources” are limited and schools in India rarely get the sort of monetary aid that is common in schools in the west, or in developed countries.
MIEF was involved in a fantastic project (first set in 2009/2010) in March 2012. We were able to hold capacity building workshops with teachers from various schools based on a ‘low-cost teaching aid for microbiology’ designed by the Assam state science and technology centre with the support of Rashtriya Vigyan Evam Prodyogiki Sanchar Parishad (RVPSP), Department of science & technology, Government of India.
The March 2012 workshop was held at Mount Abu school and had the participation of 48 teachers from various schools. It was a 3 day workshop conducted by Ms. Neeru Narula (Professor, Department of Microbiology, Haryana Agricultural Univeristy, Hisar, Master resource person) with the help of two other local resource persons. The objective of the workshop was to organize a series of “District level teacher orientation workshops” on the module “Microorganisms: Let us observe and learn“. These teachers typically taught biology, science (general) and biotechnology in their respective schools. Earlier such workshops were held in schools in NOIDA, Delhi with the support of NCSTC, Government of India. The low cost microbiology kit was later given to each school for performing similar experiments at schools for their students and colleagues and promote the ‘experiment- based’ approach to teaching scientific concepts better.
The common feedback we received at the end of the workshop was: that the kit is very useful, handy and can provide more information related to microbes in less time while also being a low cost method. Most teachers felt that the microbiology kit was very teacher and student friendly and it will be very useful as teaching aid.
Our recommendation was to use the microbiology kit more often to build excitement in the learners and popularize basic science education by making it more experiment based and interactive especially for middle and high school students. We also recommended that there is a strong need for such workshops for capacity building in the teaching community to allow them to share their experiences and also learn about new techniques and such interesting teaching aids.
What are your thoughts from your school experiences?