The humdrum of morning assembly is made a challenge by the cacophony of a group of vibrant young students, in a remote block of West Singhbhum (Jharkhand). I was pleasantly surprised by witnessing a series of activities, that challenged my base assumption about school assemblies.
It was not just a ritual that I grew up experiencing in my school, in a posh Varanasi locality. What drew my attention was one group of children practising how to orate a newspaper in front of 250+ students, and another group of students leaning against the corridor wall murmuring and talking about what was painted on the wall.
As the assembly unfolded, I realised that a series of activities were lined up in addition to the lyrical melancholy. The moment I enquired as to what was going to happen, I found out that it will be a series of learning-outcome-centric activities. The ground was used as a scrapbook page, children rushing forward to make meaningful words, which were given to them by their house in-charges, (house system is basically a categorisation of students in various houses for co-academic engagements).
I was witness to a scoreboard which was facilitated by one of the teachers. Every time a students’ group finished a meaningful word, a score was given. The gamification not only involved the students in the assembly but also was a hit among parents, who came to the assembly to cheer the student’s group.
While interacting with the students after the game, I realised they were able to associate letters to form words, which were listed down in an assembly diary. The children were able to talk about the meaning of the words, and even form small sentences, which they would then diligently write in their notebooks.
The younger group which was involved around the pillars of the courtyards were assisted by elder students, to recognise letters and identify pictures associated with them. On the successful classification of pictures and letters, the students were given a pat on the back. The students were also asked to identify other things associated with the letters.
The activity might appear frugal, but it was intentionally designed to facilitate higher attendance, create a sense of ownership and catalyse learning outcome. The journaling of the activity and close supervision by teachers was a remarkable way of assessment.
During the interaction, I realised this was not just a well-planned activity for the day, but a lot of similar activities are being facilitated to celebrate the joy of learning. The gamification using a local resource and BaLa wall, was a centre of attraction, for which the children tend to turn up on time. I felt like patting the back of teachers and headmasters for such a frugal innovation.
Feature image is representational.