In addition to supporting students through individualised instruction, we create student-centred classrooms by putting the impetus on the students to formulate questions and find the answers themselves. Paradoxically, this requires more work and careful preparation on the part of teachers, who must design experiences and identify authentic texts that provide enough depth and rigour to fully engage students in guided discovery.
No understanding can be got into the child from without. We, at The Heritage School, consciously seek to identify and create teaching-learning experiences that facilitate transformation of children’s initial ideas into newer, advanced ideas. Children are engaged in active, constructive processes of making sense of the world through experiential themes of Inquiry. In Inquiry-based learning, there are no subject barriers but a process of developing a deeper understanding of organisms, events, phenomena and life through observation and questioning. The weather observations done with attentiveness and mindfulness on a day-to-day basis not only develop the skills of observation and aesthetic sense in children, but also a sense of time (the cyclical aspect of time, for instance). Celebration of all Festivals as a class community fosters in children a sense of communion with core human values, apart from developing scientific perspectives related to certain festivals.
Children engage in a range of authentic learning experiences and investigations. From growing vegetables in their own kitchen garden to harvesting them; from rearing caterpillars into butterflies, to taking care of animals, and creating bird feeders; from wondering how shadows are formed, to creating wondrous games with light, mirrors, magnets, and electric circuits; from exploring the path of the sun in the sky across seasons, to creating route maps to scale, which leads to the skill of mapping and studying cultures across the Indian States. Children develop and also use mathematical tools, insights and concepts across these topics of inquiry apart from the skills of language in an integrated manner. Further, children also learn Languages and Mathematics for the sheer joy of learning these subjects during Skill-time.
In the Middle Program, children learn to give meaning to their experiences. They begin to make a journey from the world of life to the world of symbols and concepts. Hands-on learning becomes more intensively coupled with individual and group research-work, content studying, and regular productive practise of contents. A variety of integrated field visits across the year provide children with an authentic taste of the diverse community they are a part of. A range of teaching-learning modalities are employed when developing the culminating assignments, presentations or project work for children, keeping in mind their visual, auditory, or kinaesthetic learning styles. From book study projects to experiments and research work, teachers encourage a lot of group work to facilitate development of skills of problem solving, collaboration, interdependence, decision-making and coordination.
Apart from developing deep knowledge, understanding and skills across curricular areas, the science of teaching in the Senior program is garnered towards directing the students’ abilities to useful ends. A range of authentic contemporary projects such as on Partition, Religion, Public Facilities, Disaster Management and many more across subject streams engage children in joint activity of planning, researching, community involvement, decision making, and collaboration with governance agencies and non-governmental agencies. The focus is to make learning not only beneficial for the future they aspire for, but also to do it in a way as to make it significant for today, progressively realizing the possibilities of their current world, thus enabling the realization of their own human potential. From field trips to lab and research work, solving mathematical problems with practical references to open book assignments, using theatre as a means to explore perspectives to exploring writing across genres; teaching-learning processes seek to develop excellence, rigour and relevance. With the focus not just on achievement in exams, but on equipping children with the tools, skills and insights that get translated into results in assessments, a positive disposition towards learning for life is further nurtured and cultivated.
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