Mulyavardhan and Teja’s Teaching Style
Mulyavardhan and Teja’s Teaching Style
St. Francis Xavier High School, Siolim, Goa
“I lend my ears to them and that’s why my students come to talk to me.”
Teja was a part of Mulyavardhan’s pilot program in the ABE and DSE schools in Goa, and she has nearly three years of experience in implementation. She believes that her teaching style has changed significantly from a teacher-centric style to a student-centric one in these three years, as she was able to see the positive impact that the program’s strategies have had on the students as young as 1st standard.
Teja has true dedication to her work, as she becomes emotional and ardent when she discusses her hopes for her students. She enthusiastically credits Mulyavardhan to have played a part in her journey as a teacher, primarily in her teaching methods and in her relationship with her students.
When I first heard of Mulyavardhan, I thought it would be some basic course on duty training. And then the training itself was so lively and so enthusiastic…That was the start. That only gave me the spark and Mulyavardhan is something different from the other trainings. Then we were told to start the activities. I also discussed with my teachers. And then they were also trained. We started implementing MV…In the [beginning], I was doubtful. Would the children understand? We are never allowed to take our children out. [We] only [take them out] for assemblies. Mulyavardhan is something out of the book for children, so they keep waiting for MV. We had written “MV” on the schedule, and they thought it was “Movie”! But they thought this was the period that something exciting was going to happen. In MV, they were able to come out of their benches. They could express, at least to their partners, if not in group. They could raise their points of view. Their individuality was recognized…[t]he activities are such that they’re involved in [them].
Mulyavardhan has challenged her notion of what it means to be an academic teacher. In the beginning, she used to “just finish the [class].” But Teja has observed that Mulyavardhan strategies, primarily cooperative learning structures, are applicable in all classes.
In the play-way method, they learn a lot of things. This gave me a very good scope for the other subjects as well. I could use similar methods, like in language subjects. Children from other states come and Konkani becomes very difficult for them. So I introduced some of the basic game way methods for them, like picking up chits, [and]…pair work…, so that they could learn… Now I’m more activity-based. In Konkani, I find poems. We talk more, so that students can pick up the language faster.
The Mulyavardhan curriculum is not only for the students to enjoy while they’re learning, but it’s also a way to ease the burden of teaching in the teachers; it is not only about joyful learning, but joyful teaching as well! The traditional teaching style puts all the pressure on the teacher, who lectures through the day, while the child is expected to sit silently and listen. This often leads to teacher burnout, characterized by severe exhaustion and stress, and teaching becomes boring and monotonous. Teja has found the program’s activities and pedagogy to be revitalizing.
We all know that teaching is very hectic. Somewhere we are just exhausted and if somewhere we just pick up some game or some activity, it really boosts our energy. It is kind of stress-relieving. Sometimes you don’t know what to do! But Mulyavardhan is there for you! There are extra activities in it, like free time activities which we can do with the children.
Allowing children to express and enjoying the process of doing so has allowed Teja to better understand her students. This is one of the ultimate aims of the program. Child-centric teaching strengthens the relationship between teacher and student; the child comes to school, therefore, eager to spend time in the classroom.
First, I didn’t have a connection with the [children]. I was a subject teacher. Then I became a class teacher and soon I began MV. There I got a chance to go into the depths of each child, good and bad, [and understand] whatever the child is facing. Each child is different. This is the change I saw in me, to go to each student and teach… [A]t interval, you’ll never see me alone. I finish my tiffin either before or after the recess because in recess, I am occupied with the children. Everyone wants to come to talk! And the other teachers ask “Why are they coming to you?” Children have so many issues in life that they cannot tell to everybody. And not many people have time to listen. I lend my ears to them and that’s why my students come to talk to me!
A child with special needs now prefers spending time in her class instead of alone in the resource room.
There is a child who is really special, I feel that he is autistic. We have shifted him to the resource room. Initially he was not willing to come to school. But later…I gave him a chance to sing a poem…[N]ow he can remember the whole poem. Now that he knows that teacher will give him a chance to stand at the front of the room, he wants to come to school, and only to my class. He doesn’t want to go to the resource room anymore. I am influenced by Mulyavardhan, so my approach has changed, so I could cater to the child differently.
The impact of the program pedagogy on Teja’s teaching has made her feel that the students are learning better than before. The third stage of Mulyavardhan, after the classroom activities and the “Whole School Approach” with the stakeholders in school management, is the integration of the program into academic subjects. Teja has already begun to do so, by reflecting and experimenting on her methods to ensure that students gain the most that they can in their time in the classroom.