July 2012 update

A love for learning:

Promoting equality with life-changing learning for disadvantaged groups Children of disadvantaged and lowerincome groups are more likely to fail in formal education, and are then more likely to stay on the same bottom rung of society. To reverse this situation, these children require learning experiences that will give them equal opportunities to succeed in life. The balance of equality in society can be changed by preparing children of disadvantaged families with deep learning experiences that are truly transformational, with:
linked to their context and helpful for future employment.

During the school vacation we proposed study-free weekends, instead children arrived in the mornings demanding Maths puzzles and English practice.

Making learning visible:

When children present their learning back to the group their level of understanding is directly visible.

KNOWLEDGE

Inspiring a positive attitude for learning:

ABILITIES

in communication, analysis, exploration and creativity. to positively work for life goals with persistence, intelligence and self-improvement. in equality of human existence with dignity and without subservience.

Shifting to a school with higher standards was a significant challenge: we created a format together with the children to express feelings, so we can deal with them.

ATTITUDE

BELIEF

. Strengthening social skills:

A first visit to a restaurant to understand social experiences and behaviour in various settings.

LIFE-CHANGING LEARNING FOR DISADVANTAGED GROUPS
In low-income families, children often have limited time with adults for developmental interaction. Parents have to work long hours and household tasks require greater time as they do not have facilities like 24-hour water supply, electrical appliances and personal vehicles. Home Learning is additional to school hours for children who live with the least, giving them a regular chance to experience the best learning.

In the mornings four younger children come, 5 times a week.

In the evenings ten older children come, 5 times a week. We provide additional individual support on weekends and late evenings when required.

COOPERATION LEARNING GOALS PASSION FOCUS
DISCUSSION

INCLUSIVE LEARNING HEALTH, HYGIENE
AND NUTRITION

       

A shared expectation that we all will work hard together to learn. Clear guidance and regular specific feedback to guide progress. Freedom to follow individual interests and inquiries. Small groups work with an adult to focus on Maths, Science and other subjects. Group discussion with newspapers, magazines, queries and presentations. One child has serious learning difficulties and behavioural issues, we work to include him in the group and sensitively differentiate his learning. Regular snack of milk and oats with a nutrient supplement. Basic first aid and care for personal health and hygiene.

About the Learners
The children and their families live in ‘staff quarters’ attached to a house or in huts without electricity and water connection. Their parents are mostly illiterate and are employed as cleaners, auto-rickshaw drivers and shopkeepers. There was a problem in enrolling girls and keeping them engaged in learning. In July 2011 we only had 1 girl attending; with the children’s help in recruitment we now have 6 girls attending regularly. We plan to engage up to 5 more pre-school level children (age 3-5 years old) for the morning classes.

Working with Chaitanya School, Gandhinagar
Chaitanya School, managed by Sree Vidya Niketan Trust (a registered charitable Trust) have generously enrolled seven of our children with the Trust covering the school fees, and Sajeevta Foundation funding the non-fee costs of transport, uniform and books for each child and providing home learning support. This is a unique opportunity for our children to learn in a high-quality school that their families otherwise would not be able to afford. Awards Function at Chaitanya School

We work with experts in India and other countries and explore new approaches to create learning experiences that can change lives.

DEVELOPING THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE

Inclusive learning through differentiated teaching
Learning often means small shifts and changes in understanding that happen through the day. However, the typical end of unit and end of year tests measure learning outcomes, and leave the learning process invisible, by which time it is too late to remedy flaws and gaps. If every child can easily see what they are learning and understand how they are learning best, then they will become active in managing their own individualised learning process. Effective learning happens when you push the child outside (but only just outside) their comfort zone, to do this requires really detailed feedback on where each individual child is, allowing appropriate learning activities to be planned. If every child’s learning is visible and regularly reviewed with the child then there will be active reflection to constantly improve the learning experience. This active feedback, involving the child, is the backbone of differentiated teaching, as it helps shape and craft the right inputs for each child’s learning experience.

A Sajeevta Workshop on “Differentiated Teaching for Inclusive Learning” with Teachers at Chaitanya School, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, June 2012.

Understanding Core Concepts
Sometimes there can be greater focus on memorising information without understanding the meaning, with a focus on preparation to pass formal examinations. Our approach is to prepare children with abilities that are essential for their learning in preparation for a full life: ABILITY TO ANALYSE & SOLVE PROBLEMS ABILITY TO EXPLORE & UNDERSTAND Science, Geography, and History ABILITY TO OBSERVE & EXPRESS Art, Craft, and Story-telling

POSITIVE ATTITUDE

ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE English, Hindi, Gujarati, Letters, and Presentations

Principles, Values, and Cooperation

Mathematics, Financial Literacy

These Core Concept Modules are being created in partnership between the ground-level practitioners in Gujarat, national and international subject experts and the feedback from the learners. All partners have volunteered their time in giving high-quality inputs which has meant a significant cost-saving without compromise on the quality of the learning experience.

HOW THE LEARNING INITIATIVE DEVELOPED
FEBRUARY to DECEMBER 2010 JANUARY to DECEMBER 2011 JANUARY to MARCH 2012 APRIL TO JULY 2012
We began with 5 boys reading and drawing with us, which quickly expanded to over 30 children attending irregularly. We realised that by giving little guidance meant that progress in learning was not clear. We then experimented with approaches being used by other alternative and experimental learning centres in India and in other countries. With the support of expert advisors in India and the UK we structured learning sessions to suit the individual needs of the different children. We secured regular attendance of 15 children through creating engaging and meaningful learning experiences and with working with the parents to build positive aspirations. The children developed a strong commitment to progress and enjoyment in learning. We introduced a number of learning tools including mind-maps, planning work in advance, and making story-paths. We began the process to register as a not-for-profit company so as to expand the initiative to support many more children. Children and families are committed and engaged by a sense of real progress in learning that is visible for all. Seven children have shifted to a private school with high standards. This is a community of children, their families, practitioners, experts and funders, all committed to working together for learning to promote equality.

Essentially there has to be a voluntary partnership between those with wealth and expertise and those in poverty, where all are voluntarily committed to a society with equality. To ensure people will make such a commitment a proven model is needed that shows a learning experience that successfully jumps the poor up to a level of equality. The essential components of this model are: 

GROUND-LEVEL
TEAM

Practitioners working directly in the local context with children and families and experts. Commitment is secured by making lifechanging learning constantly visible: the love of learning is the real and constant reward. Linkages to voluntary experts at the local, national and international level provide required professional inputs. Experts will volunteer time and supporters will provide materials and resources. There will be efficient use of resources through linking many centres.

ENGAGING
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

EDUCATION
EXPERTS

HIGH-QUALITY AT LOW-COST

Funding and expenses
Funding has been kindly and generously given by many individuals who have come to know about the initiative. We have been operating on approximately Rs.10,000 per month (£120) which has mainly been used to purchase books, training resources, stationery and the daily breakfast snack for 15 children. The initiative requires funding to support more children:  To establish more home learning centres we will need at least Rs.120,000 per centre, per year. Funding is also needed for building up a team to operate the centres with the approach we are using and developing.  To cover non-fee schooling expenses for three children at Chaitanya School, this includes books, uniforms and transport costs that total about Rs.10,000. To date costs have been kindly covered by our supporters, for four of the seven children that we have enrolled at Chaitanya School.

To know more
If you are interested in knowing more about the initiative or if you want to share your ideas and support we would be very happy to hear from you. Please do email us:

Krutika Patel: krutika.sajeevta@gmail.com Gautam Patel: gautam.sajeevta@gmail.com Online: www.Facebook.com/Sajeevta

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