Archive for August, 2010

Our Fellows manage a class of 40 – 60 students and need your help in Classroom management, Small-group remediation,Grading papers/entering marks, Creating teaching aids, Helping with field trips or special projects, Teaching special subjects (music, art, etc.) and anything else you can help with!

We need a commitment of minimum 3 months for at least 2 hrs a week. Mail mumbaivolunteer@teachforindia.org if in Mumbai and punevolunteer@teachforindia.org if in Pune. Fill out the application form and register!


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We have an amazing opportunity for you to talk to a Teach For India Fellow and get to know more about the Fellowship – understand the challenges, share the successes, and hear stories that inspire and awe.

Ritika Chawla (a Research Analyst with 2 years work experience) is in Delhi during the Sep11th weekend and she will be sharing her experiences with you at the Amphi Theatre, Ansal Plaza, August Kranti Marg, New Delhi from 11am to 1 pm.

Please RSVP ishkirat.nanda@teachforindia.org.

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When was the last time you were really inspired in a classroom? On Friday, August 27, Teach for India, The American School of Bombay, The Asia Society and Akanksha invite you to attend “Back to School”, an evening in India’s most innovative classroom. We hope you can join us as we re-imagine the future of education in India with some of the brightest minds from every sector.

Joining you at the event will be 200 innovative teachers from around India, Chief Guest Indu Shahani, Sherrif of Mumbai, and Keynote Speaker Ashish Kumar Singh, Additional Municipal Commissioner, MCGM, and other prominent stakeholders in education.

Event will be from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM at Xavier’s College.
Refreshments will be served directly following the event. Please RSVP by August 20, using the form below, or by emailing asiasociety@asiasociety.org.in.

“Back to School” kicks off the two-day InspirED Conference (www.inspiredindia.in) which will take place August 28-29 at the American School of Bombay.
If you have trouble viewing or submitting this form, you can fill it out online:
www.inspiredindia.in/rsvp.php or email asiasociety@asiasociety.in

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If you have read Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography, you would know that he chose 13 virtues that he wanted to perfect and kept a little black book with columns for each day of the week, in which he marked with black spots his offenses against each virtue. Quick analysis of this data revealed interesting patterns. For example, he noticed that  Order was the hardest for him to keep. He took necessary steps towards perfecting that virtue.

I love the fact that objective data tracking can help even in the most abstract of pursuits. I can’t help it – I love love data and what it can reveal.

And btw, if you have not read Franklin’s autobiography I strongly recommend it. You will seriously be astounded by what one man can accomplish given discipline and perseverance.

But, I digress.

I thought to myself, why not a similar framework in the classroom, too? Will it work? Well, there was only way to find out.

The Bodhi Tree

The Bodhi Tree was thus born, to teach the class how to be good. It sits serenely in one corner of the classroom. It has one “Value” to-do per week for the class. The children need to be mindful of that one thing the whole week. For example, it could be “Say Thank You.” Another could be “Hands are for helping, not for hitting.”

Monday morning, first thing, we discuss the Value To-do of the week and why we need to follow it. When the children enter the classroom every morning after assembly, they make a 10 second stop near the tree to remind themselves of the week’s value to-do. At the end of each day, we discuss our success and failure in practising the Bodhi Tree’s Value To-do – sort of a 5 minute end-of-day meeting. There are also home work assignments like “Say thank you to your mother after dinner today.”

Total time allocated everyday to Value reinforcement: 7-10 minutes, sometimes lesser.

Another reason to love the Bodhi Tree: It also introduces the class to BIG words of the week, related to the request. Example: Gratitude, grateful, thankful etc.

I don’t know if this is the best way to teach values to 7 year olds. At least it gives me a framework to introduce and discuss values and also gives them time to practise the same. It is my hope that over time, they would imbibe these values and the Bodhi tree would become redundant.

Another plan is to actively involve the Bodhi Tree in teaching english (through speaking & listening, writing projects and vocabulary related to Value theme of the week). Lets see how it goes.

But, here is an example of why I truly love the five hours I spend in the classroom everyday:

While narrating the story of the Bodhi Tree & Prince Siddartha who after sitting under the Bodhi tree and “listening” to it, became Buddha or a great man, I tell them that Prince Siddartha saw  an old man and asked to himself “Why do people grow old?”

Shaizan raises his hand and answers (in a curious mixture of hindi and english that I just cannot reproduce here), “Miss, people grow tall, get married, become old, then they go to the sky.”

And to the next question of Siddartha, “Why do people fall sick?”

Sanjana says (in hindi, this time), “People don’t wash their hands before eating. They don’t wear masks. So they get swine flu and fall sick.”

At the end of the story, Pushkar declares (after raising his hand!), “I am going to become Buddha by listening to the Bodhi Tree everyday.”

Lao Tze (& Buddha!) would have loved my class, I tell you. They seem to instinctively know the secret to happiness. Eat when you are hungry, sleep when you are tired, that sort of thing.

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Watch Teach For India’s CEO, Shaheen Mistri on NDTV’s “We The People” at 8pm on Sunday night as part of an Independence Day special.

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Kolkata: It’s time to show that you care for the underprivileged who don’t have access to quality education. And that you are ready to go that extra mile to help those who need your support. Teach for India (TFI) is back and this time it is ready to select more outstanding college graduates and young professionals as Fellows and reach out to more low-income schools. So, get ready to make a difference.

TFI is a nationwide movement that aims to narrow the educational gap in India by placing the country’s most outstanding college graduates and young professionals, of all academic majors and careers, in low-income schools to teach for two years. Currently, in its second year of operations, TFI has placed their first and second batch of over 200 Fellows in under-resourced English-medium, primary schools across Mumbai and Pune. Taking the ambitious movement forward, TFI will be moving to the nation’s capital, New Delhi in its third year of expansion for the 2011 Fellowship. By its fifth year, TFI aims to place hundreds of Fellows in the country’s top metropolitan cities and their surrounding rural areas.

It hit the state with a roadshow at IIT Kharagpur on Thursday. The TFI team will visit several colleges including St Xavier’s, Bethune, Jadavpur University, Indian Institute of Management (IIM C), IIT Kharagpur, Lady Brabourne, Loreto College, and Presidency College to seek Fellowship applicants from August 5-15. Students in their final-year and young professionals can apply for the two-year, full-time, paid TFI Fellowship. In the long run, the Fellows can become advocates of educational equity.

Shweta Gupta, who joined the movement as a Fellow last year, is excited about her assignment. “It let me fulfil a long-cherished dream to do something for underprivileged children, “said the IIM Calcutta student.

Those who join will be trained in innovative teaching methods and leadership skills in order to help bridge the student achievement gap. After two years, the Fellows will be supported by Teach For India in their search for corporate and social sector jobs, to work in the government, or to join higher educational institutions. The model is to support them as they continue to work as advocates for educational equity.

Application form is online at http://www.teachforindia.org. The application deadlines are: October 10, (first deadline), November 28 (second deadline) and January 9 (third deadline).

Contact: apply@teachforindia.org, +91 22 2518 5821, 2518 5823, 6453 0040

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A 3rd std. child shares views about her favorite teacher- Ritesh Bhaiya, A Teach For India Fellow and why she wants him to teach her through all her school years.

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