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Semesters to help reduce rote learning

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Daily News & Analysis, 06 August 2012

While every one cribs about the flawed nature of India’s education system, which has traditionally adopted the usual method of learning by rote to test children’s learning, there appears now an end in sight to it. With the introduction of a semester system from class 6 to 8, the good news for students is that after every chapter it will become mandatory for them to undertake a project or activity pertaining to it.

The new system will have weightage of 40 marks in semester exam. A student who is not good in academics can score by performing well in these activities,” said Saroj Khubchandani, principal of HB Kapadia School.

As a result, students have some spare time in the classroom when they are asked to stand in order of their height to learn about ascending or descending order. The teacher immediately finds out if a student has not understood the concept. More interesting is Just a Minute (JAM), where English is tested when students are asked to speak on a topic for a minute.

Through making mats, students are learning curves, squares, rectangles, circle and pyramids. “By making models such as these, students learn the concepts fast and in a fun-filled way,” said Khubchandani.

Further, simple interest and compound interest are learnt by personally visiting banks nearby. Field trips constitute most of these activities. History, as students say, is a boring subject and field trips work wonders in helping them remember dates and days of events. “Ahmedabad darshan is being planned for students where historical places are shown to these students,” she added.

The overall focus is on personality development in activity-based learning. “This will encourage students to think beyond academics. When students participate in such activities, they get to know what they are good at and can choose a career which would suit their personality,” said Fr Fernand Durai sj, principal of St Xavier’s School.

“Mind mapping, flowcharts, watching movies and college work are the most popular projects among students. They now look forward to coming to schools because of these activities as in between these sessions small competitions are also held,” said Rajendra Patel, principal of Vijaynagar School.

This system tests psychological, social and physical personality of students. Activity based learning has become a huge hit among students, looking at the enthusiasm they display during all such activities and projects.

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