Shikshamitra offers teacher trainings for the elementary group, mainly in languages (English and Bengali) and Mathematics. We work across West Bengal with both government and non-government school teachers and also with other organizations working in similar fields. Our work has spread to other Indian states in the east, north east, north, north west and down south.
Our training programmes are for teachers and anyone else interested in teaching. The primary objective of our teacher training is to make it need-based. Prior to the training, an assessment of the children’s learning level is carried out, which helps us place our training in the appropriate level. This makes it easy for teachers to understand the content in context and implement it in class.
Our training progammes help teachers in a variety of ways
- The trainings are thought provoking, teachers enjoy.
- Help in better articulation and in listening, especially in a classroom situation.
- The trainings are thought provoking, teachers enjoy.
- Find oneself in teaching.
- Attain a new sense of creativity.
- Acquire class management techniques and include all children together in a lesson.
- The trainings address basic conceptual areas. These help not only in the languages but also in other subjects.
- Teachers will learn to develop teaching-learning materials and meet the diverse needs of the students.
- Teacher motivation. Motivating self and other teachers around.
What We offer
Language does not stand alone – it is intertwined with everything around us. Therefore, language cannot be taught in isolation, it is intrinsically connected to all of the other learning areas. In particular, art and music especially, become an integral part of the language process. Many teachers shy away from including art and music in their classrooms because they presume they need special training to bring these methods in as teaching tools.
Bengali & English Foundational Programs
- Bangla Accelerated Reading & Writing
These two training program offered Shikshamitra ventures to create confident, independent readers within a short period of approximately 4-5 months.
1. Be able to read any simple text with fluency 2. Read with interest and stronger comprehension 3. Learn to discuss the matter critically 4. Write simple words and sentences on their own 5. Become better spellers.
This reading program is heavily based on the Reading Guarantee Scheme introduced by Prof. Jalaluddin. The process requires a step by step drill, along with the ability to motivate children to talk around a topic (or picture) to kick-start a discussion.
- English Accelerated Reading And Writing (Phase 1 & 2)
The course is divided into Phase 1 & Phase II.
Phase 1 helps teachers master basic communication • phonetic awareness (letters and phonetic words) • vocabulary – and by using these skills, develop their oral and written expression through simple sentences within a short span of time. The course also serves as an orientation to Basic English for teachers too, especially those who are not very comfortable with English themselves. (4-6 months)
Phase 2 covers writing short stories of 3-5 lines, basic grammar, and comprehension.
Different from other programs, both phases offer the inclusion of Art and Music, used as a method in itself for teaching language. English is often taught mechanically with more emphasis on grammar. Added to this, most students are taught meticulously to write down and learn English words and their meanings in the mother language. Instead, we will focus on English as a tool for real communication and expression of one’s own ideas. Participants explore the stories in their mind, simple hand-held instruments, and free-flowing art to find their own voice.
Creative Writing Course (for Bengali and English)
“When I write, I can see my thoughts on paper.
When I put together all that I think in writing you can read me too”,
said 13 year old Gulnaz in a school in Bowbazar.
Indeed writing is a powerful means of expression. Confidence gained in writing spills over in all the work that an individual does. It strengthens communication.
A creative writing programme (for 9 years old & above) enables each child to think critically on her own, write spontaneously and creatively, according to her own abilities. The child expresses her thoughts freely through simple paragraphs, stories, reviews, comments, interviews, categorizations,
drawings, charts, Venn‐grams, messages etc. To write spontaneously & to love the act of writing one must enjoy responding to different stimuli which will get them started. Different modes of stimuli are chosen & crafted to stimulate different learners & this brings excitement & challenge to the taste of writing. Students write in response to Written & listening comprehension exercises / Special worksheets / Theme sheets / Stories / Pictures (their own, storybooks, prints) / Songs / Poetry / Games & discussions.
Acceptance of any form of writing & encouragement are the tools to be used throughout the programme. Even a student struggling with his spellings, handwriting and awkward disposition is to be encouraged & praised for his effort and creativity. The writing programme is often marked by wonderful communication and rapport between the students and facilitators. The roles are often reversed & all learn from each other (new dialect, idiom, phrase, word, pronunciation).
Foundational Maths Training Program
At present there is a large section of children who are first generation school goers and are barely able to cope with the “chalk & talk” method. They understand better when working with real objects and using their hands. Teachers, especially those in government schools, tend to be more familiar with the “pen & paper” method, and very unfamiliar with the vast domain of simple models that can be designed and made with easily available materials. This creates a cultural divide. Our teacher training workshop focuses on foundational math to open the door to bridge this gap.
Appropriately designed activities with low-cost TLMs enable children to learn by exploring, experimenting, and discovering things for themselves. Use of the materials makes the abstract more tangible to learners. The activities help children (and teachers) understand the working behind the formulas and thus reduces rote memorization. Our training can be based on the government syllabus or if the trainees have the freedom, it can be based on a more appropriate one that will be relevant to the particular learners.
When a group of children at Shikshamitra library were asked what, according to them, a library is, they replied, “a place for reading, a place for craft, a place for masti, for play, and a place to observe more deeply.”
Since we believe that a library is a place where the seeker and the sought meet, books are not the only resource here. It is a place where one learns to share and create new knowledge from experiences and activities. A library offers children more opportunities than a regular classroom. It is a place that facilitates the child’s imagination, questions, and thoughts, providing a new dimension to learning.
Our Library Arts training program enables participants to understand the concept of a library as a space where:
- Children feel safe and wanted.
- Books do not remain on shelves. Children are invited to browse, read, and explore the books. With each book offering a new pathway for thought and imagination.
- Activities take place: games, worksheets, puzzles, theatre, storytelling, story making stem from individual books.
- Reading is enhanced through art, craft, theatre and music. A library is a place where reading takes place through creative sessions orchestrated under the guidance of a dedicated and trained adult.
- Innovative ways of organizing books and documents are explored.
Ideas on setting up such a space in diverse worlds such as schools, homes, clubs, clinics, etc. are explored in our training.
Worksheet Development Workshop
A well-developed worksheet can be the perfect alternative supplement to any curriculum.
Worksheets are now the most sought after and essential tool to ensure better learning and understanding of concepts. Available at the drop of a hat, offline or online, they are being used profusely – by teachers in their classrooms, by parents at home, as well as by NGOs or other groups at learning centres. The use of worksheets has become mandatory during the pandemic and for effective on-line transactions. The urge to make worksheets of one’s own is felt by many. As a result, worksheets are often created individually or as group work. Good worksheets are very much in demand and we will show how we develop and create them for various learning levels.
The purpose of this workshop is to make relevant and appropriate worksheets for language learning, theme-based curriculums, and some Maths. Shikshamitra’s Workshop on Worksheets will be helpful for all those who consider it a skill worth trying to improve and are willing to put in some time and practice to achieve content and aesthetic quality. This workshop can be done online.