When Aamir Khan and a former Chief Justice taught my kids an article by Dawood Vaid
As teachers, we are always aiming to better our teaching and compliment it with activities and classroom discussions. This article is a real case study on "How to Teach Kids about the Constitution of India?"
Using interactive approach, the fifth graders are taught Social Studies in a manner that patriotism as well as good citizenship is imbibed in these students.
With the Independence day fervor around the month's corner, the only colours visible are orange, white and green. With a tinge of blue of course.
So come August, and all schools would be geared up to teach all under the sun, about the great nation of ours. While we may have come a long way from Manoj Kumar and Mother India to Rang De Basanti, our learners still get the same dosage of Independence day speeches and costumes.
So for a change, our class of Grade five had a different theme this year. Few classes leading to the nation's seventy-first independence day, the class learned the true meaning of our Preamble.
The usual class began with a survey on what really does Civics mean. The class loved History with wars minus dates, and they like the terrain of Geography with its oceans and continent, but when it came to Civics, it is more a case of continental drift.
However the survey, where the students were allowed to go in the streets and find out what the people think of Civics, got them on a path of self-discovery and learning. The answers, ranging from politics to PM Modi and parliament to GST, were lapped and then plotted on a survey graph.
The students found the Hindi translation of Civics from the teacher, leaving no stones unturned when they hit the streets. Talk of trans-disciplinary learning. It's 'nagrik shastra' just in case.
The next class was all about who is a Citizen and what is the difference between rights and privileges? The students discussed documents from the passport to the Aadhar card. Civics was now all about them.
The real joy came when students answered Lotus, Peacock, Tiger to the national symbols but were left searching for answers to the National book and national aquatic animal.
That got us to our next class on the Constitution of India, our national book. The word itself appeared a tongue twister initially but got them excited nevertheless. And yes it's the river dolphin if you still interested in the aquatic animal!
The following class led us to the first long sentence of our Constitution, which is the Preamble. Now instead of using a typical text book, we Amazoned, Leila Seth's 'We the People.' This illustrated book makes the preamble friendly and approachable.
With some help from Amir Khan and his Satyameva Jayate episode, the five words were ingrained in the curious minds. Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic never seemed so ideal, nor so learn able.
There were class questions from ‘how is socialist different from social media’ to ‘does secular mean accepting atheism too’, this was a class full of energy.
Yes, the Republic day might be some months away but this was a new freedom we ensured in August. One that takes you away from the closed minds and rote lessons.
“Where the mind is without fear…”
We have miles to go, discuss and decode democracy in our next lessons, but looking at the spirits, this bunch of fifth grades would surely have made our founding fathers proud.
We the Children of India
Hardcover – 15 Apr 2010 by Leila Seth
Satyamev Jayate - The Idea of India - What our founding fathers envisaged
Pictures used are of real classroom shared by the Author.
About the author:
Dawood Vaid is an educationist and trainer. Working with scientists as a Patent & Trademark Analyst, in Moscow and Switzerland, he observed and compared different education pedagogy and created 'fun-learn' approach to learning. A voracious reader and an avid horse fan, Dawood loves to conduct quizzes and enjoys his sessions with teenagers. His book 'The Education Riddle' is a result of decade long school visits and teachers' training workshops.
He holds an Engineering degree and has completed Post graduate diploma in Business Administration from Symbiosis, India. He lives in Mumbai, India spending time telling stories to his three daughters and creating curriculum.
He can be contacted at [email protected]