Dec 21, 2020

Program Updates Q2

Evolve through Art
Evolve through Art


We would like to begin by sharing with you what makes us so proud of our community - Suraj, our student from 2009, recently got into IIT Kharagpur. We truly appreciate all the “didis and bhaiyas” who taught him over the years.We also completed our first round of selection for our 2021-23 Fellow cohort and we are so excited to have Sakshi, one of our first few Student Alums, join the Fellowship. She was part of an Akanksha school, and was also on ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ team last year. We really hope these stories brighten up your day!


  • Progress on Blended Learning:


Close to three months ago, we shifted our focus to blended learning, in order to ensure that our students are able to access learning as schools continue to remain shut. This came with a lot of challenges - the two biggest ones being access to technology and measuring progress towards learning in classrooms. We have made significant progress on both these aspects and continue to prioritize them across the organization. 

Access - We have secured 2800 devices so far and are raising funds to meet our goal of 10,000 devices. Fellows whose classrooms have received devices have reported their attendance going up to 80% due to the devices for students

Attendance and engagement -  We started the year with 10% attendance in our classrooms. Through weekly data collection, identifying trends and insights and device distribution, 50% of our students are attending at least one synchronous (online, in-person) class per week today. Similarly, 48% are engaging with at least one asynchronous (at-home, self-study) packet each week. As mentioned above, access to devices has been a major challenge in increasing attendance and engagement in classrooms. This is further amplified by factors such as migration, economic forces pushing Students into work and investment from parents towards education.

Mastery - We conducted assessments for 11,000 Students in September, and observed that students who complete asynchronous packets independently at home, have grown in their reading comprehension levels across all grades. In Math, most elementary Students are passing or scoring above 60%.


  • Child safety and protection


Since May, we have lost 10 Students and Student Alumni across Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, and Hyderabad. We have been hearing instances of students facing unfathomable incidents like sexual abuse and child marriage. We're refining our approach to child safety as we're deeply concerned about the frequency of these cases.

To ensure that all our students continue to remain safe and healthy, we put together a committee that is looking into the kids mental health issues and partnered with several organizations specialising in mental health across our seven cities. Our collaboration with these organizations focus on resilience - proactively working on awareness to give our kids tools to be able to deal with the pandemic. We are also working closely with partners like Arpan NGO on child protection cases and with other experts on anxiety and depression for our kids to be able to effectively deal with the challenges they are facing. To ensure that students have easy access to mental health experts and medical support, we have also been considering setting up an emergency fund for them. 



  • Evolve through Art


Year 2 Fellow, Geetha designed an art curriculum called ‘Evolve through Art’ that aims at sparking creativity, mindfulness, self-confidence and foster overall skill and value development. The program consists of 14 activities with lesson plans and a self-evaluation rubric, meant for both elementary & secondary classrooms. 


  • BoY Summit


Highlights from the BoY summit this quarter include a thorough discussion on National Education Policy by student panel, keynote speech by Anurag Kundu who spoke about his intent on choosing as one of the key puzzle pieces to mitigating education inequity and Manasa Paramasivam’s inspiring personal story coming from a rural background and how that led to her work in rural development and education. challenges of the work, fostering community leadership in a rural context


  • Hallabol Briefing at Institute


To familiarize the 2020 Cohort with the vision, mission and idea of ‘Halla Bol’ - an inter-school debate competition aimed to amplify Student voice for Teach For India schools in Hyderabad, Amrita and Uday conducted a session for 20ers in the Institute. They took 20ers through the impact of the initiative and outlined the various roles team members had taken up which had changed the course of the way this event is organised in the city.

BoY Summit
BoY Summit
Hallabol Briefing at Institute
Hallabol Briefing at Institute


Oct 16, 2020

InpirED 2020: Conference to reimagine education

The Education Sector in India has been hit by two waves in the last few months -
- The COVID-19 pandemic that disrupted schools, and
- New Education Policy 2020 that lays the guidelines for a reimagined education after 30 years.  

We believe, teachers and educators should be at the forefront of these conversations and hence we wanted to provide a platform to bring together educators and other stakeholders to understand the implications of The New Education Policy 2020, celebrate teachers, build communities of practice towards blended learning, connect with world-class teaching practices and experts, and advocate for collective action towards the National Education Policy 2020.

With all of us pivoting to a virtual world, we’ve been inundated by online education conferences and ways to learn virtually. A lot of us have also spent time asking important questions. How will our children learn this year? How do we balance well-being with learning outcomes? How do we upskill our teams with new skills? We've also been thinking about the New Education Policy 2020 and its many promises and hopes. With all this in mind, in the first week of October, we launched a national conference - inspirED 2020 - a space to dive into these discussions and together reimagine education.

Over the 5 days of the conference, we engaged with diverse stakeholders to dive into the priorities of the National Education Policy 2020, attended live masterclasses with some of our Fellow classrooms who are experimenting successfully with blended learning to zooming out and hearing from world-renowned experts like Bill Drayton, Jacqueline Novogratz, Shashi Tharoor and many more. We were amongst students, educators, policymakers, parents, and funders. We listened to each other. We held diverse perspectives. We tried to find a synergy to act collectively towards an excellent education for all our 260 million school children. The inspirED2020 conference hosted more than 100 speakers from various backgrounds.

The session revolved around the following themes over the 5 days - 

Listen and Learn - Listen to and learn from educators and diverse stakeholders on issues of great relevance in the education sector today. 

Dream Together - We will hold spaces to unleash our creativity and imagination on what education can look like in the future and dream together to create a new vision of education for India. 

Act together - We will together build a collective commitment through a series of white papers on our learning and recommendations to implement our vision.

These sessions ranged from a student teaching a magnificent masterclass on visual story-telling using hand-drawn anime to leaders sharing deep insights on what and how they've learned. With a focus on taking the NEP to action, 13 partners released 12 white papers, documents that intend to provide tangible guidance on how to take concrete topics like teacher development program, parent investment and school leadership, and propel them into action. Teach For India also published three papers- 

Blended Learning: A Digital Equalizer

Child protection and safety in schools 

Building 21st Century Skills and Leadership in Students

A specially designed website for the conference, lists the schedule for these 5 days, the speakers that we hosted, our partner organizations and gives access to the white papers published.

We also released the first version of India & I, our open-source curriculum, which was attended and co-led by students, demonstrating that as the stakeholder with the greatest stake, they must be at the table of reimagining education. 

Sep 11, 2020

Virtual Classroom(s) and the learnings

It has been more than four months now since schools closed across 190 countries, affecting more than 90% of the world’s student population. 32,000 Teach For India children have been out of school since then. While these prolonged school closures are threatening to exacerbate the existing inequalities, they have also presented us with a new idea – that children could learn beyond school

Our organization and Fellows are embarking on this journey of discovery to develop innovative teachers and robust infrastructure to enable our children to learn beyond school. Our teams have spent months researching, using new pedagogies, creating inclusive learning models, running virtual teaching pilots and gathering important lessons on the use of technology to move to a new normal. All of this has only strengthened our belief in the power and opportunity that blended learning brings for our children. We now have the potential to bridge the digital divide that has long contrasted income groups. With technology, we’re presented with limitless chances to differentiate, provide personalized instruction, and envision an educational system that transcends the boundaries of school. Perhaps for the first time ever, this new type of learning could be a true equalizer for all children.

To put this into effect, our Fellows are following a comprehensive teaching method - Blended Learning (a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning). One of our Fellows, Porvika Bala, narrates how she went about the entire process since the last 3 months -

"My students’ community reported their first COVID case very early on, by mid march. Since then I’ve distributed grocery and hygiene supplies for my students twice, through Teach for India. Mental wellbeing of the students also took a hit, and many of them reported feeling very lonely and missing their friends. To help with this, I allotted time for Socio-emotional learning during our Zoom classes, and I create space for them to play, chat and share with their friends every single day.

One of the earliest classes I took for my students was about the COVID 19 situation - statistics, precautions and how we can do our part. We brainstormed ways in which we could spread awareness to our family and community. They produced several ideas without my assistance and implemented them with the help of their parents and siblings. Some of these include drawing creative rangolis at their doorsteps, creating funny videos to share with people they know and sticking posters around their house.

Due to the delayed reopening of schools and the potential of online learning, my biggest priorities are parent investment and personalized learning. To that end, I have been in regular touch with my students’ parents, Headmistress, conducting Parent-Teacher Meetings and receiving feedback.

Some of the biggest challenges are - getting children to engage, gauging how much they understand, and attendance. Several children keep videos off/leave the call in between and it's not always possible to figure out why. Also, completion of homework is a challenge, coupled with parents and siblings helping out - ultimately data isn't very reliable on how much they understood. Attendance is also difficult, due to network, only one device, interest levels, etc.

One of the things going really well in the virtual classroom is differentiating learning for kids and individual attention, since I'm able to split them into groups. I'm able to talk to each of them without much interruptions. Another thing that has been working out is literacy (since kids have to type and read a bit), for a fraction of the kids English has improved. "

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