Thursday, November 11, 2010

Update from the intern: Delhi

Once the National Pratham meeting was over, Shipra and Chanchal from the Pratham Delhi office were kind enough to take me around to schools and learning centres in two different districts; West and North. I also had a look at a balwadi; it was sweet to see the kids cheerfully gathered in the little space they had between the makeshift houses and clotheslines.

The pupils' reading levels varied considerably between schools. This may not be new, but it's always nice to experience such "cold facts" firsthand. There were a lot of Pratham Delhi materials around, and several classrooms and LCs had a "clothesline" with books, others had books displayed in the back of the classroom. the books were from a number of publishers, including PB, and generally covered different levels and styles. The "library records" showed that the volunteer issued books once or twice a month. Books were generally not read in the classroom, instead they were given to children on a specific occasion. In one school the children would ask the volunteer for books at any time, to the extent that it (almost?) became a nuisance!

There is something awkward about entering and and observing a class like I did. I only stayed for some time in each class, never a full lesson, and since my understanding of Hindi is still limited, I don't really get what's going on. Yet I can't help interpreting, thinking and wondering about things I see. "Why is she doing this?" "What is that all about?" Some things would probably be clearer if I were to spend more extensive time in the classroom. That is one of the things i hope to do next week, when I'm going back to the Delhi schools. Right now I'm in Jaipur, Rajasthan, but more about that in my next blog post!

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