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Aug 12, 2019

Cultivating a Scientific Mind

Examining the soil
Examining the soil

Khoj School not only helps children see and understand the links among various concepts within a subject and between the subjects but facilitates analysis of how and why of the various phenomena. We believe in developing thinking and questioning minds.

Teaching at Khoj School is not only conceptual but also action led. Dealing with the subject of how the soil is formed on our earth, an oral explanation is not enough. They must go through the process to have a real understanding. Several probing questions were asked, and several situations were presented to provoke visualizing how the soil was formed. They refused to believe that erosion of rocks and degradation of dead plants, animals and other forms of life made the formation of soil possible.

They were given crushed stones, sand, fallen leaves and twigs and asked to pound them with hammers. After some time, they started seeing the change in the texture. Children were very excited, and every child wanted to take part in the experiment which they did.

The "soil" thus made was kept in a pot to carry out another experiment after Eid holidays. They will bring some soil from a crop field and fill another pot. Then one seedling each will be planted in the plants to compare the performance of both types of soil.

To detect life in the soil, another experiment will be conducted where children will see the microorganisms through a microscope. This activity will help them understand the importance of microbes in the fertility management of the soil. They will also realize the destruction of this life if chemical pesticides are applied in the fields or gardens.

This understanding will lead to how nutrients are prepared to make the soil healthy and fertile. And the list of topics on how to grow plants goes on!

This hands-on, exploratory and integrative education leads children to the path of developing a scientific attitude. 

This education is possible only because you are supporting us generously.  

Ingredients of soil
Ingredients of soil
Pounding the ingredients
Pounding the ingredients
Converting the ingredients into soil
Converting the ingredients into soil
May 14, 2019

A New Encouraging Experiment

Khoj School for Community Education keeps experimenting the relevance of the contents of the textbooks of the formal schools. The concepts of ratio and proportion are taught at the grade six level. Our hypothesis was that the contents of the topic were presented in a way that had no relevance to real life situations and the learners were required to parrot the chapter material without understanding the concepts. If the linkages are developed with real-life experiences of the learners, the children could learn the concepts much earlier than grade six.

An activity plan was chalked out. The first activity was to guide children grades two and three to make necklaces and bracelets using different ratios of coloured beads. The girls and boys found absolutely no difficulty in using different colours in a given ratio. As different children used different ratios, they were able to appreciate those different ratios resulted in different patterns. They could also make aesthetic judgements which ratios looked more beautiful to their eyes.

The boys showed equal interest in making necklaces and bracelets which was a result of Khoj School policy of promoting gender equality and encouraging unconventional gender roles.

In the end, the children could easily solve the mathematical problems related to the concepts of ratio and proportion.

Children were given the fruit of their labour - the beautiful bracelets and necklaces - to take home and enjoy wearing them. 

Feb 12, 2019

Fast Track Education at Khoj School

Khoj School for Community Education is a school with a difference.

The students are not only immersed in relevant actions before explaining the concepts behind but also various related concepts are woven together as one whole.

While teaching plant biology, for instance, instead of bifurcating the topic into several independent chapters spread over several years, an integrated plan is chalked out under the title of How to Grow Safe Food. In a plant cycle of three months, children learn the basic scientific concepts about soils; seed structure; how a seed germinates; how plants make their food; how they consume their food; what is the cellular structure of plants and how they reproduce.

In the official curriculum, these topics are spread over a period of three years with no interconnections and no activity of involving children in learning by doing. They are required just to memorise the contents of the textbooks and the ultimate aim is to pass to the next grade without learning anything. As a result, the graduates of these classes fail to successfully grow a single plant. Applying the scientific concepts to grow plants better is nowhere on the horizon.

 But at Khoj School, children are restricted not only to the curricular topics. They learn much more in the process of growing plants starting from soil preparation to seed saving. They encounter pest and disease problems, nutrient deficiency, overwatering or underwatering and then seek solutions. They learn to make a variety of fertilizers and pesticides. They also start appreciating the importance of biodiversity, protection of habitats, garden ecology and environment. 

The action doesn’t stop there. They enjoy the harvest of their effort as well and prepare several snacks. From there they are initiated into another theme of learning that is nutrition and energy.

Some of the grade seven Khoj school students who moved from the village to the nearby towns were enrolled in grade nine. This is the testimony to the usefulness and effectiveness of the integrative and relevant method pioneered by the founder of Khoj – Society for People’s Education.

The extraordinary education at Khoj School is possible only because of your generous donations. Without you, we are not able to operate. We urge you to keep supporting us.

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