This article is based on a chat with Vidya Kodimoole, who is working to spread the power of education to all.
It’s a challenge to engage children with serious content. The challenge becomes a passion, when you have tools like stories and activities. I, as a facilitator and a trainer, give and take a few tricks of the trade from my fellow facilitators. Our learner-centric sessions are filled with powerful experiences.
So it was natural that I could vibe well with Vidya , a fellow educator, with the same passion to engage kids and an interest to learn a lot in the process.
Vidya , a bachelor in EEE, and a Master in Power Electronics has a strong base in teaching children, especially STEM. From teaching at NITK Surathkal to across the globe, the experience spanning 17 years, has led to Chipnut for spreading STEM experiences to children aged 12+ years. The courses and the videos which Chipnut offers, aim at free STEM education for all.
While she still calls herself a learner, she has made immense contribution in making learning fun, learner centric, interactive and comfortable. The teacher in her is as intact as the learner in her.
Now over to Vidya herself!
Vidya ! I have known you for five years now. And I have known you as a very involved mother and a caring facilitator. You are a learner at heart with a penchant for teaching children. Now….
What is your Philosophy?
As a learner, I have this belief that ‘ Learning is the most essential part in teaching. And if you are confident, no one can stop you, except yourself. So you can learn anything.‘
As a teacher, I believe ‘ Children at this age, can adapt to any environment. You only have to guide them and give them an environment, they don’t need hand holding.‘
Like for example, I only had to guide school children in their projects, some of them have won awards in regional and national level science fairs.
Children at the government school , under the TGT ( The Giving Tree – An English Language Learning Workshop, an initiative by Cilre) show ample growth, with little guidance from us. Children need an environment and they pick it up from there.
Also I believe that ‘ Knowledge is the only thing in the world that you can give without losing.’
Great. What’s your Methodology? How do you make the learning process interesting?
I really insist that learning from the environment is extremely vital to growth, even when the digital media is at our beck and call, for valuable resources. So we have a major role in providing a nurturing environment to children.
First, make the environment fun and comfortable. Become one among the group. Do not act like you are the boss or the teacher. That is the only way that children will listen attentively to you and be interested in what you are saying. Make the session interactive. Be a learner too.
Right. What are the challenges in doing this? And how do you use your strengths to manage them?
Children get bored soon. They expect something new in every session. This is really a challenge. I spend a lot of time in designing a course material, keeping in mind how a concept can be effectively delivered in a fun and creative way.
I use my practical knowledge and give real life examples to have effective communication. I also design a course in such a way that it supports children in their formal school curriculum.
What’s your evaluation process?
I ask children to come up with a new thing/idea using the concepts they have learnt. For me, it helps in understanding their strengths and weaknesses. For children, it helps to improve their creative thinking.
I also take feedback from parents, which helps in evaluating and upgrading myself.
And finally, with all your experience, I am sure you are into giving it to the society at large as well…
Yes,I am part of a Sustainable Living activity in my community. This is a teamwork and I am part of that team.
Here we do, right from garbage segregation to conducting zero waste events, conduct awareness sessions on topics like waste management and usage of resources like water. Yes, it’s quite rewarding to contribute to society at large as well, in a small way that I can.
Amazing! Thanks Vidya! Happy learning to you !
Gowri, is a storyteller at heart, with a passion for entertaining and engaging children. She writes stories for children too.