A key aspect of RDF schools is our commitment to providing activities that focus on educating the students in a non-conventional manner. Beyond producing good exam scores, RDF strives to instill in students, analytical skills, creative thinking, and confidence that will help them become exemplary leaders both within RDF and throughout their life after.
RDF is implementing the “School Based Quality Improvement Program” in a Government Primary & High School at Bahadurpally in Ranga Reddy district. The project is being funded by the Tech Mahindra Foundation and officially supported by the primary education department of Rajiv Vidya Mission. Suitably qualified alumni of RDF are employed as teaching and non- teaching staff while senior staff from RDF schools are extending their support and expertise in making the MPP School, Bahadurpally, a model Government school. Please see our TMF Progress Report.
A ‘Bala Sabha’ – an ‘Assembly of Children’ was conducted for the very first time in RDF Rollakal School! Though RDF schools are student centric and children are empowered in their daily activities to think and speak freely through the creation of a nurturing and invigorating school environment, this event was special because it was planned and executed ENTIRELY by children! The school staff was amazed with the ease with which the event was conducted, which shows the level of responsibility, attention to detail and planning that was put into place by these young children.
In an ode to a democratic system of functioning, the event was performed by the children, for the children and will be now conducted on the last Saturday of each month. The first of this series was a wonderful programme that showcased children’s talent in areas such as literature, music, dance, folk songs, poetry, skits, mimicry and role plays. Even the prizes were carefully selected by the children, which were distributed by the teachers, who came forward in full support!
It was a wonderful learning experience for the children too. Many kids who had stage fear were able to handle it and express their views and feelings to the audience. Because they felt empowered, they were able to overcome their self consciousness and gave everything their very best. They put in tremendous research by reading books, newspapers, articles on the internet and magazines in order to plan their pieces for the programme. The level of enthusiasm with the reigns in their hands was phenomenal!
The success of this programme shows that children, when given the right inputs through a nurturing environment, engaged with as intelligent individuals with a diversity of interests and skills, thrive and then bring forth a sense of responsibility and creativity, such as what we saw in Rollakal School.
MNS test for Math:
We conducted the Minimum Numerical Skills test for students from 6th to 9th class. The materials which for the MNS test and practice was provided by Vandematharam Foundation.
We appointed the students as Little Leader, LittleTeacher, Little Captain and Group Members based on their performance in the MNS test. Little Leaders lead their whole class and teaches two Little Teachers. Little Teachers lead and teaches three Little Captains. Little Captains lead and teach their group members. Each class has a Little Leader, two Little Teachers, six Little Captains and each group has under seven children to make the learning and testing meaningful and simple.
Students practised their numerical skills with the help of practice test papers.
Our school promote traditional games – both indoors and outdoors as we see several benefits to engaging in them –
- They serve as a link to our social and cultural history and allows us to remain connected to our roots
- They improve interpersonal, team and social skills
- Enhance mother tongue
- Strengthen social bonds
- Provide entertainment and relaxation
- Improve concentration
The most remarkable merit to this is physical exercise, gained by by playing outdoor traditional games. Playing outdoors helps increase fitness levels, thus keeping everyone healthy. The indoor games sharpen the intellect and analytical skills. The staff and students thoroughly enjoy their game time and look forward to it.
Students at Matendla School have conceptualized and created a fortnightly newsletter called ‘Pakshapatrika’. This unique ‘Wall Magazine’ carries articles of interest, jokes, stories and art work researched and created by students. It prepares students to develop their thinking skills and communication skills and it is great fun too.
This is a form of open house in which the students present various activities and projects in a carnival-type setting. Students showcase games, sing songs and demonstrate science experiments. It provides an opportunity for the students to share their learning with their families, the village community and visitors to the school. The Balavinodam is not only fun for the students, but also instills in them a sense of pride in their studies and accomplishments.
This is a student run mail system that allows for reading and writing practice in a fun, non-academic fashion. Each class has a postal code by which the mail is sorted and delivered to the recipients by student postmasters.
The Honesty Box functions as a ‘lost and found’ system. On any given day it may contain a pencil, a notebook, or a ten rupee coin. The idea instilled in the students is, that even the little things are worth something to someone and that an honest approach to these small things lays the foundation for honesty in one’s dealings.
The Career Box, is, in essence, a brainstorming box for children to leave questions and ideas about their future career options. A specific teacher is in charge of the career box who provides career counselling services and guidance.
Students are allowed to write down any question that comes to mind and drop it into the Question Box. Students are free to ask questions on any topic and they use the opportunity to think creatively and analytically about the world around them. Teachers then take charge of researching the answers and report back to the students in the morning assembly.
Each week, a new Sudoku puzzle is written on a chalkboard that is displayed in the school. Students copy down the puzzle and try their hand at solving it. By the end of the week it has been filled in and they can check their success. The Sudoku puzzles are a great chance for students to voluntarily involve themselves in a fun and educational activity.
A teacher will provide step-by-step instructions for drawing a new figure every day. These figures usually start by using a Telugu letter or another known symbol. In three to four steps, lines and shapes are added to the initial symbol until the drawing clearly represents a figure such as a bumblebee or a dog. The Drawing Tutorial Board provides an unintimidating way for every student to be artistic.
In an effort to increase the opportunities for student leaders to improve their skills and to encourage their involvement in the school, Student Committees have been formed. These committees are responsible for various aspects of school life. It is a training ground for all the future leaders emerging out of our schools.
RDF Matendla School has started a unique concept of the Word Wall. Every week new words are put up along with synonyms on the wall in the high school corridor. Students and teachers have to create sentences using all the words on the Word Wall. This is a new and interesting way to improve their vocabulary and writing skills. During the daily General English class, the sentences are discussed between students and teachers and they are even discussed during assembly time once a week. This concept has been in practice in the primary schools. Its tremendous success made the teachers try it out in higher classes as well.
RDF has strong Student Committees set up to support various areas of school administration and operations. In order to build self-reliance in students, schools formed Grievance Committees. There is one student representative elected from each class. Any areas of concern with individual students, teachers, in the school or larger community are brought to their attention. A meeting is held once a month with the teacher in charge and solutions are discussed and implemented by consensus.
Junior Teachers in RDF schools actually teach! These are students selected by the teachers based on their subject of interest. If teachers are absent or in training, it’s the junior teachers who are at the helm of affairs. It’s a great way to develop leadership qualities in students.
Khan Academy has taken the world by storm and it’s taken a hold in RDF schools too. With the encouragement and funding from Value Labs CEO, Mr. Arjun Rao, a proper lab was established in Kalleda in January 2013. The technical infrastructure was sponsored by Value Labs, a projector by Mr. Ram Mohan Rao and computers by Nasscom Foundation. Students of classes 3 – 9 spend 2 periods a week to do the online tutorials and improve their reading skills and Math conceptual skills.
Every RDF school has a Village Committee, comprised of parents from each school. The committee is an integral part of the school system and inputs are taken from committee members on crucial developmental matters in the school. All key decisions are made only after reaching a consensus with the village committee and then directed to the Head Office and the Board. The committee helps in all areas ranging from fee structure, academics, and student diet and also collecting donations. It’s one of the ways in which RDF aims to maintain a strong association with the communities.
RDF schools are fully aware of the fact that they have a responsibility towards the society. With this awareness, the staff and the students conduct various programs educating people on issues of public interest like dowry system, liquor consumption, gambling, and gender equality and so on. In all programs, the parents not only participate but extend a helping hand in organizing them.
Updates – September 2018
RDF organizes a multitude of engaging ways to develop children’s innate talent and skills in their areas of interest.
Playing traditional games, both indoor and outdoor ensures that they are in touch with traditions and local history, allowing them to have fun and stimulation and providing healthy alternatives to technology usage.
Balasabha is a specific programme conducted in RDF schools on Saturdays. It is organised by children, for children, with inputs and support from teachers in order for children to express themselves in creative ways. Some of the approaches are through music, dance, theatre, skits, elocution, poetry and story telling. The kids really look forward to this and several have overcome stage fear and lack of confidence, to lead the way with aplomb!
High School children had activities encompassing Telugu, English and Maths. In Telugu and English, students were assigned the task of creating questions based on short stories in an allocated time of 1 hour after which they had great fun posing their questions to one another. It was interesting that many students created questions that needed higher order thinking skills, rather than answers which could be easily found in the story. In Maths, they were posed an MNS (Minimum Numerical Skills) test which was introduced by the Vandemataram Foundation. It was nice to see the students curious and solving problems eagerly!
Well done to all the teachers for inspiring the students to show their best and putting together a fun day of learning and play!