CHENNAI: It was learning by mutual exchange for both the teachers and students of Grade 5 at the Chettinad Hari Shree Vidyalayam, as teachers of Holywell Primary School, Loughborough, UK, visited their school.
The week-long visit by the UK teachers was sponsored by the British Council as part of the Global School Project Reciprocal Visit Grant. The grant facilitates primary teachers from each school to visit their partner schools. As part of this project, they worked with Grade 5 students, interacting and observing the curricular and co-curricular activities of the school, with whom the corresponding class in Holywell is engaged in this global collaborative project. The students from both the sides have their pen pals and they exchange letter and gifts through their teachers, which help them understand each other and their cultures better.
Heather Allison, one of the visiting teachers, said, “It was amazing we could share ideas and methodologies. The children are curious and interactive.” Ian Marjoram, the other visiting teacher, said, “Sharing work between two schools has been very enjoyable. The students were very excited to be part of it.”
Chitra Mohan Kumar, a teacher from Chettinad Hari Shree Vidyalayam, who had visited the Holywell Primary School earlier, shared her experience. She said, “I felt students in the Holywell were much more disciplined than our students here. I guess it is kind of grilled in their system to listen to rules and act accordingly and not act fussy and disorderly.”
An interesting outcome, perhaps, is that the management of Chettinad Hari Shree Vidyalayam has started talking to parents to ensure that the children were not too pampered at home, which ended up reflecting in their behaviour at school.
As a part of this collaborative project, children in both the schools worked to gain understanding on the topic ‘Who am I’ and exploring this topic in each other’s milieu. The visiting teachers also introduced the students for the first time in their lives to the concept of ‘Water Charity’ where they were taught about the importance of clean drinking water and how not many people had access to it.
Said Chitra, “For the students in the UK, they have no idea that there could be people who do not have access to clean drinking water. I believe introducing them to such concepts at an early age will help them grow up to be socially conscious adults.”