Sunday, 8 March 2015

The Butterfly Fields ‘hands-on-learning’ model

Retired Primary School Adviser, Wendy Gilmour, knows the importance of learning by doing and encouraging lateral thinking. As a teacher herself, she had often had to find ways to help children to understand the underlying concepts or principles of maths and science, while keeping the learning enjoyable. When she heard that Project Mala Schools were struggling to find the funds to pay for an exciting new programme of hands on maths and science kits for the primary children, she knew she wanted to help. Last year, Project Mala organised a teacher training course for our maths and science teachers, run by Butterfly Fields (http://www.fundoscience.com/index.php/about-us.

 The Butterfly Fields ‘hands-on-learning’ model was born when two IIT-IIM Alumni students asked themselves how they could get away from the rigid rote learning model of education that was hampering teaching and learning of science and maths in Indian schools. The company now produces maths and science kits for homes and schools, organises teacher training and runs summer schools.

Project Mala teachers found the training course thoroughly enjoyable and were fired with enthusiasm to bring the concepts into the classroom. However, the kits are not cheap and initially Project Mala could only afford enough for one of our primary schools. After 6 months, however, it was clear that the teaching model was giving the children in that school such an advantage that we felt we had to do everything we could to introduce the course throughout our schools, and this is where Wendy stepped in.

Wendy's generous donation has allowed us to buy enough maths kits to support group work across the six Project Mala primary schools. This means that the teachers who were trained last year can now implement the new methods in their classrooms, and that all our children are benefitting from learning important concepts by applying them in real contexts. And they are having fun while they learn!