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Kalikayatna Taking the learning process forward

Programme extension to the entire block of Hunsur The context Government schools in Karnataka have been undergoing changes related to educational administration, improving quality of classroom processes, and community participation for years now. Many critical aspects to developing quality education have been understood and implemented to varying degrees. Some initiatives began as micro-level projects such as Nali Kali that have been scaled up and replicated on a macro level, while other projects are outcomes of schemes and programmes of the District Primary Education Programme and Sarva Shikshana Abhiyan. These efforts meet with many challenges at the classroom level. In these efforts to improve the quality of learning, the overall question of 'how do we want to look at learning' is equally important. Despite widespread agreement over the importance of quality learning, the definitions of the concept of learning and its various dimensions vary widely. Therefore while envisaging improvements in learning levels of children, fundamental questions about the intent and implications of the present understanding of learning need to be revisited questions such as: What does learning mean? How do individuals learn differently from one another? How does the process of learning help us? Do our present assessment systems really value what children have learnt? Kalikayatna has been one such initiative that envisages to address these issues while developing a childsupportive learning approach. Started as a research and evaluation project of Sarva Shikshana Abhiyan and Prajayatna three years ago, in Bilikere cluster in Hunsur taluk, the initiative has evolved and consolidated some of its learning towards critical issues pertaining to the learning of children. The experience has further highlighted the potential of taking it to scale to all the schools in Hunsur block. The following proposal outlines the strategy, the objectives of and outcomes from such an expansion and the activities that would enable the realization of these objectives.

Key learnings during the three years of the initiative: The last three years have been a significant period in the development of Kalikayatna. The learnings in the cluster can be classified into 3 categories: 1. Children: o Children respond and perform better when exposed to different settings: whole group, learner group, practice session. o Children process information better when their learning is contextualised to their experience in their surroundings and environment o Children learn more and seek more information when the teacher child relationship is that of a mentor and learner. o Children learn to share their understanding and resources in learning spaces that are collaborative. o Given a nurturing environment, children are able to think and articulate their thoughts effortlessly and are not scared of making mistakes. o The fearlessness that children imbibe in classroom processes translates into a similar attitude across any environment. 2. Teachers Empowerment: a. When not restricted to their textbooks, the teachers develop the ability to prepare plans suited to the classroom needs and learning contexts and environment. b. While developing the capability to facilitate, teachers learn to be true co-learners in seeking information and other resources and in the process trying to comprehend certain concepts. c. Having the freedom to decide the processes in the class, teachers develop the skill of classroom management- in terms organize whole group, learner group, manage mixed age group and deal with multiple levels. d. Teacher empowerment is dependent on a particular system perspective of learning and assessment. 3. Community level: Community will support a system that impacts their childs learning positively, irrespective of any new method adopted.

Some of the aspects that have been streamlined in the past three years have been:

In terms of Assessment- an approach has been streamlined with specific tools to provide feedback with regard to childrens progress in learning. a. Ongoing Portfolio- continuous assessment file, which goes with the child through all the grades. b. Reflection portfolio- comprises of key documents that reflect the childs progress in a quarter. c. Workbook- has worksheets for different levels of children on the same concept, identification of the skills that the child is exposed to while engaged in the worksheet, provides for extension activities for home work, includes activities to cater to different interests and capabilities of students- provides feedback on an ongoing basis. d. Teachers diary- observation book that the teachers maintain with regard to aspects that cannot be elicited from the ongoing portfolio. This has aspects that the teacher has to document more from observation like- working in a group, ability to complete a task, ability to seek resources for learning, asking questions etc. e. Report card- consolidates the overall progress of the child in a year. f. Weekly file comprises of childs work in a week parents share an understanding of what the child does and provides parents feedback about their childs progress. Identification of observation aspects from port folio and classroom process are differentiated In terms of Classroom process- classroom processes have been streamlined to whole group, learner and individual practice sessions. o Whole group (objectives and activities) o Learner group (organizational aspect, allotment of tasks) o presentation with team support o content based o Peer support/tutoring o Practice session o objectives, how to identify suitable tasks, simplify and make it relevant for individuals o how to use resources (textbooks, nali-kali practice books if required)

In terms of Integrated curriculum

The number of concept that a child will engage in from 1-5 has been streamlined. Teachers are able to integrate concepts across subjects of language, maths, environmental sciences and social sciences. However some aspects of maths for classes 4, 5 is still a challenge- for ex: HCF, LCM etc

Consolidating the principles underlying the initiative:

The experience has also supported in reconfirming some of the key principles that forms the basis of the initiative. Different children learn differently Holistic learning is not linear Learning and assessment are not to be seen as separate entities You cannot teach a child to learn, you can only facilitate her/his learning Learning is not to create homogenized products but to enhance innate capabilities Learning can happen anytime, anywhere..school can only support it All learning happens through experience and reflection Teachers can support a childs learning only if they are true facilitators. Learning cannot be looked at as disjunct components( in terms of subjects, domains) Building from teachers and childrens prior experiences enhances the relevance in learning.

Overall the 3 years have facilitated in

Redefining the meaning of learning & assessment Redefining the criteria for teacher development Changing the training methodology of teachers Understanding the need to redefine the role of CRCs and BRCs Strengthening the concept of cluster level teachers collective meeting Understanding the problem of learning in a systemic perspective

Strategy The strategy is three pronged: 1. Redefining assessment practices Prajayatna intends to achieve the proposed objectives by redefining and consolidating assessment practices in classroom processes. Assessment should serve as an important basis for the way learning is understood the way learning is valued (evaluated) to see how and what learning is taking place. The basis on which learning is evaluated will depend on what we want to refer as learning. If a learning experience is understood as developing the ability to learn, then our approach towards perceiving the roles of a learner and teacher (facilitator) also changes. As children are constantly learning, teachers should be continuously observing, reflecting on, and engaging with children in their learning experiences. What we evaluate is what we learn, therefore the more the evaluation is on the ability to recall, the classroom transactions will focus on the same. In this context redefining assessment practices becomes a critical factor in redefining learning. This initiative emphasizes on building the capabilities of children to develop the 'ability to learn'. Assessment practices will be synchronized to support this ability in children. 2. Empowerment of teachers Empowerment of teachers is another significant element of the initiative. While there is an articulated purpose for teacher training programmes, no clear strategy exists that integrates these programmes to a larger goal of teacher empowerment. Notwithstanding the large-scale consistent effort that has gone into strengthening teachers with inputs, it still needs to work towards a deeper understanding of factors affecting teacher motivation, their wanting to come to school and teach, their stake in seeing children learn and most importantly to understand what will sustain their interest in the profession. Low teacher motivation and related issues of low accountability are often perceived as issues that have a direct impact on childrens learning. Though this assumption may hold true, what is also important is to analyse the issue in its entirety, in a larger systemic framework where low teacher motivation is closely linked to infrastructure, access to schools, the institutional support that is in place, and especially the intrinsic motivation of the teacher that needs to be supported and renewed by the system. It is recognised that if efforts are made to strengthen their already existing capabilities, provide a certain framework to improve teacher involvement in the learning process,

areas where they need institutional support either through the department or the local community, it directly impacts their enthusiasm and therefore the engagement with children. The Kalikayatna initiative envisages nurturing an atmosphere of trust and building the confidence of the teaching fraternity in contributing not only to childrens learning but their own empowerment process. 3. Creating a conducive environment for change Being a new approach, a key strategy that needs to be adopted would be to enable a certain level of preparedness in the context and among the stakeholders where the initiative will be implemented. This needs to be done for 2 reasons: a. The local community is the primary stakeholder and their ownership of the process is critical for a meaningful impact on learning among children. Here it is also important to recognize that that its been only a couple of years since the communities have gradually started participating in school related activities, at least in infrastructure development. Therefore it becomes all the more critical to facilitate an environment that involves the community in meaningful ways and ensure a condition where they not only participate but partner in the evolution and development of the approach. b. Simultaneously it is important to ensure that from the very beginning the functionaries in the department and the teachers are co-creators of the entire approach from planning to implementation. This perspective reflects the underlying principle of the learning initiative which signifies empowerment, collaboration and responsibility. It is realized that introducing a new paradigm of learning and assessment within the existing systemic framework requires a very sensitive and open attitude to listen and absorb the various concerns, anxieties and diffidence within the system. Preparedness of a context has been a very crucial element that has always informed Prajayatna's processes. The more prepared a stakeholder group and their environment is, the more is their ownership and quality of engagement with a people's process such as this.

The key result areas would be with regard to the following: Capability based learning outcomes Integrated curriculum Concept facilitation Collaborative and cooperative learner groups Non-graded assessment through portfolios Teacher collectives

Objectives

1. To develop an effective model of assessment that provides feedback on the learning level of the individual learner. 2. To establish a 'learner centred' schooling process in which every learner is self directed in developing his/her innate capabilities. 3. To promote a new approach to teacher empowerment that promotes a higher level of motivation among teachers to facilitate learning in children and encourages collaborative learning among the facilitators/teachers. 4. To develop an institutional mechanism at the cluster level of 'networking' that enables access and coordination of resources for learners and facilitators. 5. To facilitate the redefinition of the functions (roles/responsibilities) of existing structures in the education department towards realising the objectives for learning. 6. To facilitate the stakeholder representatives at the village, Gram Panchayat, cluster and block level to take greater ownership in the process of improving learning among children.

Activities

The activities below generally describe how the learning initiative will be implemented in the entire block. The sequence and content of these activities could be modified from time to time as necessary to meet the needs of the teachers, resource persons, administrators, and other stakeholder representatives.

A. Pre- process Building an environment for change:

1. Preparation of a conducive environment It is important that for such an approach to be initiated, all groups of people concerned with what children learn (stakeholders) must be enrolled into the programme. This would mean that among the primary stakeholders children, teachers, parents and elected processes would be facilitated to move towards a concerted and integrated realization of the objectives. It is recognized that the interdependence of the roles/strengths of each stakeholder is key to understanding what is relevant to a society at a given period of time. This is a critical strength of the programme as stakeholder ownership is central to defining a collective vision of education. a. Preparation of relevant materials: Prior to implementation of the initiative, relevant materials for various stakeholders involved in the initiative has to be developed for ex: teachers resource manual, parents role in the Learning Initiative, SDMCs and Kalikayatna. This will clarify various dimensions of b. Processes with the department: State level: A preliminary process will be held with the State Project Director and key representatives of the department. In this meeting, the approach of the initiative will be broadly discussed and aspects related to the implementation will be outlined. A broad plan will be evolved and a review team comprising of key members from the department, academicians and Prajayatna will be identified. District level: A preliminary orientation workshop will be conducted for key representatives from education department (at the district level) to share the approach of the initiative. This will be a follow-up of the state level meeting. This session will include, aspects about the initiative, areas of concern, and evolving a tentative implementation plan. The participants will include- Block Education Officer, all the BRCs and DIET representatives. The next level will include-an orientation workshop with all the CRCs in the block, where the final implementation plan will be evolved. As this initiative is focussed, on learning, the entire process will be developed in close collaboration with the DIET team in the identified block/district. The following aspects will be jointly done:

1. The implementation plan i.e., the structure and process of the proposed plan 2. Developing an integrated curriculum (across standards 1 5) based on broad learning outcomes to be streamlined and further developed along with the teachers. 3. Standardizing the assessment/feedback tools. 4. Streamlining a broad framework for facilitation modules for teachers. c. Engagement with the community: Network meetings of all the school committees in all the Gram Panchayats will be conducted. As the block comprises of 30 Gram Panchayats, there will be 30 meetings across the block at the Gram Panchayat level involving the cluster resource coordinators, Gram Panchayat President & Secretary, SDMC representatives of each of the school in the Gram panchayat. These meetings would: enable all the stakeholders to understand the value and implications of such an approach. outline the ways in which the community can interact with such a process. create a database of resources available in a particular village, gram panchayat, and cluster

d. Conducting a baseline assessment A baseline assessment is envisaged to be conducted across all the schools. For the baseline, data would be collected from a sample size of 25% of the children from each school across the block to study the changes in children achievement and 25% teachers will be selected to study aspects of teacher empowerment. There will be aspects that will indicate change in community involvement vis -a vis learning. (a detailed note will be provided on this).While this will happen in the same block, few clusters will be identified in neighbouring block .This will be done to examine the impact of the learning approach in the block where the learning initiative will be implemented. This baseline will: Provide a basis to compare the status of learning levels among children over the project period of 3 years Provide a basis to compare the learning levels of children in selected clusters in this block to identified clusters in another block. Provide a comparative basis for teachers in this block in the initiating year and after a period of 3 years.

This will also support in understanding and streamlining the role of the other stakeholders, especially parents and SDMC in improving learning in schools.

e. Interacting with identified teacher training institutions: A collaboration will be worked out with identified teacher training institutes to understand the existing teaching learning practices and to identify areas that need strengthening. This is envisaged to enable a redefinition of some of the key aspects of teacher training and to examine possibilities of enhancing the effectiveness of the domain of teacher training.

Strengthening of the ongoing process:

a. Establishing and strengthening of co-ordination team : A co-ordination team comprising of a state co-ordinator representing the department and a co-ordinator representing Kalikayatna would jointly steer the programme. Other members would include selected DIET faculty for the programmes, two persons from the department and two persons from Kalikayatna. The co-ordination team would meet every week to asses the situation during the initiation process, identify factors that would enable and also factors that may inhibit the growth of the programme. support the entire initiation and implementation of the initiative producing relevant materials periodically and reflect on the processes on an ongoing basis. develop monitoring and feedback mechanism to strengthen the implementation of the initiative at all levels Develop an integrated curriculum for learning phase 1 (standards 1 3) and learning phase 2 (standards 4 5) b. Strengthening of co-ordination centers: There will be 4 pilot co-ordination centres set up in the initial phase of the project that will provide access to training, ongoing support, and a variety of need-driven services. The co-ordination centre will also be equipped with - books for reference, computer facility with internet and photocopying facilities. Other kinds of teaching learning material will be made available based on the need/suggestions

expressed by teachers, other functionaries in the programme and stakeholders directly involved in the programme. c. Strengthening teacher capability: The teacher collectives are groups of teachers organized in clusters who deliberate about learning. This collective functions as a learning group in which teachers collaborate to evolve and understand newer meanings of learning, curricular objectives, outcomes, and content. These collective meetings would be held on a monthly basis. In Kalikayatna there is no teacher training, only teacher empowerment through the Cluster level Teachers collective meetings. Teachers are directly engaged in the planning of and reflection on curricular learning experiences of their students. Teacher support is different in the learning initiative in that teachers develop and engage in forums to share individual improvements and challenges. In these meetings the teachers collaboratively engage in a process towards understanding how their students learn. Based on their own experiences, teachers develop ways to draw from the strengths of their facilitation skills, address the challenges they face in their specific learning environments, review and adapt learning plans, and generate feedback. By conducting demonstration classes in the afternoon session of collective meetings and the other teachers reflect on the various aspects of the class, also provides feedback to the respective teacher. This also helps the other teachers to consolidate and expand their learning Agenda of collective meetings Sharing of the months work by all teachers Planning for the next month- selection of theme and related concepts, preparation of worksheets Concept facilitation -process discussion - understanding impediments to facilitation during the learning experiences Planning, and organizing Whole group activities Planning and organizing learner group activities Planning and organizing individual practice time Setting objectives and selecting of suitable learning experiences for the students Integrating subjects- periodically reviewing curriculum and developing a higher degree of linkage across curricular inputs

Selection of concepts Observation of students How to assess [not evaluate] and report the childs work. Intensively studying learning assessment processes i.e., more effective ways of looking at assessment as learning, improving learner profiles Reflecting on How learning happens Working out strategies to face the challenges within and outside the classrooms. The identification, potential and sharing of learning resources in a cluster, Resource person interaction Exposure programme d. Providing learning support for children

Provision of learning materials:

As this approach requires a multi-dimensional perspective to learning processes, children will be provided with materials that will directly support them in engaging in their classroom processes. This will include materials like, ongoing portfolio, reflection portfolio, weekly feedback files, ruled sheets, colouring material, chart papers etc. Exposure visits for children:

These visits are envisaged to correlate with the curricular content in a manner that strengthens the childrens engagement with concepts that are being discussed in the classroom. These visits can be planned by teachers at the cluster level collective meetings or depending on their level of initiative in planning such visits independently. Setting up of libraries and reading spaces in the school

As a support to children in making meaning of the world around them and also to enable them in their classroom learning processes, all schools in the cluster will be facilitated to encourage the habit of reading- story books, any other relevant material- among children. This can be done by enabling teachers to help children build a relationship with existing books in the schools and gradually equip the schools with more relevant material from community sources. Project work

As the Kalikayatna approach works on the premise that children should construct their own knowledge, teachers will be enabled to understand the relevance of project work in strengthening this perspective. Project work is envisaged to be an organic integration/extension of childrens engagement with the

concepts. The teachers should exercise caution in recognizing the need of project work only as a support tool to expand the childs worldview and not convert it as a compulsory, ritual that becomes a subject. The teachers can, in discussion with children, develop relevant project work themes that can be further used as learning material as and when required. A project work approach will be adopted across al the schools to support the children in learning. e. Interaction with the DIETs and engagement with teacher training colleges and DIET to redefine some of the aspects with respect to learning The experience of Kalikayatna in one cluster has enabled in drawing certain key principles and observations that can support in reflecting about certain approaches being adopted in the DIET and teacher training colleges- especially with regard to curricular processes, assessment and teacher empowerment. Extending the Kalikayatna initiative to the entire block of Hunsur is envisaged to examine the following:

The current syllabus for teacher training in identified colleges that will collaborate with this initiative and the DIET. Redefining the role of teacher in the classroom. Redefine the approach to assessment in training colleges Relook at existing teacher training methodology.

This will be done through ongoing quarterly interaction, discussion and project work with the institutions. These meetings would involve concerned functionaries involved in the programme, diet functionaries, other invited academicians/educationists etc. f. Engagement with the community i. Interaction with parents

The Kalikayatna approach believes in the perspective that learning is an all stakeholder agenda. It propounds that parents and other stakeholders in the community are integral to developing and strengthening the vision of schooling in the state. Apart from the preliminary processes with the community mentioned earlier, the initiative will engage with parents in the following manner:
a.

Providing the parents with a weekly feedback report- this is files that will capture whatever the child has done during the week.

b.

Oral project work: It will encourage children to involve their parents in some kind of question/answer exercise that the children can later document (10 question theme). This can be a fortnightly exercise/monthly depending on the teacher support. Parent teacher meeting this can happen over a period (a week for each class) when parents can meet the teachers to find out individually about their children. The exercise can be quarterly. Each school can develop its own parent- teacher interaction approach/framework. Given the existing contexts in the community, parents should be gradually helped to understand the importance of such an interaction as there is a concern about such exercises being a ritual where parents participation is very tokenistic.

c.

ii.

Support programme for mothers

The initiative will also introduce a programme for interested mothers in the lines of adult literacy. In addition to strengthening the literacy base of women (mothers), it is envisaged to work as a supportive mechanism for children when mothers are literate. These literacy activities will be conducted by volunteers on a voluntary/paid basis depending on the resource available in communities. iii. Gram Panchayati Kalika kammata- outlining the function of learning

This activity is aimed to broadbase the stakeholder participation in the developing and strengthening the learning agenda. This involves two aspects: Outlining community needs- envisioning learning This is an exercise in which the community will outline what they expect from the school in terms of what they think children need to learn in their immediate context and what they think is will prepare the children to meet future concerns and challenges. This will also support the community to enhance their involvement in their childrens learning and in actuality relate to what is happening in the classrooms. This can be done at a network meeting of SDMCs at the Gram panchayat level that can be reviewed on a quarterly basis. The scope of these interactions can be further expanded to include cluster/GP level learning events where the children share the project work and the community members support the schools with resources(time/human, material) and provide the children with more avenues to broadening their skill/understanding. In some situations, some of the interested community members can also collaborate with the school/children to implement such small projects.

g.

Overall strengthening of the initiative

a. Regular review and feedback sessions among core-working team: This should happen on a monthly basis for some time and then on a quarterly basis to review the ongoing processes in the block. b. Periodic review by a state level committee This committee comprising of the Secretary, the State Project Director and the DIET Principal and the DDPI, External resource persons and the Kalikayatna core-team would meet once in an year to take stock, reflect on the strengths and areas of concern in the programme. Other terms of reference would include - childrens achievement, teacher involvement, functioning and co-ordination among the working team members and the department etc. c. Assessment to be done on an yearly basis of the new batch In the beginning of every academic year, a baseline assessment will be done of the new batch of children who join class 1.This will be done keeping in view the impact assessment that will be operational in the block. d. Sharing the approach with other stakeholders With a view to sharing the developments in the ongoing initiative and access feedback, meetings will be organized with concerned individuals, academicians, institutions etc as and when required. This will also enable the broadbasing of the discussion of learning in the present context and the need for making it more empowering.