Teaching science to local children in Pune

For the past two years, every Tuesday after school, Jay, Trisha and I, became teachers for an hour, attempting to share our scientific knowledge to the best of our abilities.

From the first lesson, it was evident that the children had the desire to learn beyond what they do in their usual class. When joining the group, I did not have any particular experience teaching and did not know what I was getting myself into. The senior class guided us in formulating and adapting lesson plans to the group of children. As time went by the DP2’s slowly started leaving the CCA and leaving us alone teaching a class of ten students. We had to take responsibilities and initiatives. Every two weeks, our group came together to plan the upcoming lessons. This is a time where we reflect on how our lesson went, what worked well and what needs improving before next class.

A typical day of teaching begins by verifying all equipment required for the lesson, while my partners welcome the class. We most often begin the class by revising the previous class, having class discussions or writing problems on the board. This is one of the occasions we are able to assess the level of understanding from the previous class. If the topic needs to be covered once again we will redo the topic while trying to alter our way of teaching. When students are confident we only then move on to the lesson we had planned in advance.

The most challenging part of this CCA for me was the language barrier between the student and me, as I do not speak Marathi. I try my best to prepare all demonstrations, this is when I use my best asset which is gestures, it is a much slower process but it is the only way for me to communicate with them. I also try and give all the assistance possible required to the Marathi speakers of the group, so that our lesson flows smoothly.

In the past two years, we had the opportunity to work with 2 different organizations, Vasant Dada Patil, and Equality for Hope. The students were of different age groups and of different characters. We had to adapt to each one so that the students had the best opportunity to learn. Our first group was reserved and were afraid to ask questions. To resolve this we spent more time on doing smaller group activities where each of the group would have one of the group members work with them on a 1 to 2 ratio. This is one of the things we are trying to break through our lesson, we don’t want a barrier between student and teachers as it is something that often happens in local school and limits any questions a student may have. Another important aspect of our classes is to provide them with demonstrations that their school may not be able to afford. From our lessons we hope our students gain the ability to enhance their current knowledge that they will require in the near future, clear any doubt and hopefully share the passion we have in the Science.

This was an opportunity that was given through school and I advise anyone with a similar opportunity to give it a try as it is an invaluable experience.

IBDP 2 student