Thursday, 11 April 2013

5 weeks down....1 to go!

The fifth week of Book Bus India is now finished. The 5 weeks we have spent at school have given us a real insight into the education system in rural Rajasthan. This week a long term, 6 month project beginning in October has been confirmed, so we will be using the knowledge and skills learnt to help us prepare an interesting and beneficial program.

During the course of the 5 weeks we have seen a huge increase in the confidence and creativity of the pupils of all ages. What was at the beginning alien to them has now become a highlight of their week. They look forward to the visit of the Book Bus and to the books, activities and crafts that we bring along. We always try to give the children a worksheet that can then act as a kind of revision guide. It is amazing how many pupils bring back the worksheets, week after week, to proudly show us. So we distributed plastic document wallets this week for them to keep their papers in, a big hit.

Each week we have been working with a particular theme, this week opposites for the older classes. We began with flash cards in a big group and then broke down into small groups for the reading and activities. We read goldilocks and then played matching games with the children having to find the opposite paired words, eg hot and cold, fast and slow. It is very rewarding to see how much of the vocabulary from the previous weeks they have been remembering and the big posters we have been making to put up in the classrooms during teaching are still up on the walls. The enthusiasm is growing every week and these children really have a desire to learn.

Going on a Bear Hunt.....
With the younger classes we read “Hello, Goodbye” continuing the opposite theme and then the old favourite “We are going on a bear hunt.” It is just as popular here as everywhere else. We waded through rivers, stumbled over tree roots and tiptoed into caves to find the bear, which interestingly in Hindi is Balu (Jungle Book name inspiration spotted!) And the other cool fact of the day, the Hindi word for forest is jungle!! Headbands made their first appearance of the project and were an instant crowd pleaser.

Bear Headbands - A crowd pleaser! 
The teachers, whom at first seemed almost shy of us are now fully into the swing of the project and actively participate in our reading and activities. They are really interested in looking through the books, making the crafts and observing our teaching. They are keen to see the ways in which we bring the books to life and appreciate the benefits of small group work. Many of the teachers, who are expected to teach English, only have a basic understanding of the language themselves. So they are keen to learn and to practice their conversation skills.

Teachers are really interested in our work and love
helping out their pupils.
This coming week we are distributing books and book shelves to the 5 schools and we will have to say bye to all our new friends. It is hard to believe that we are entering the final week of the project, but it is great to know that in October the Book Bus will be active in India once again.

Kelly 7th April 2013