When he first brought puppets to class his colleagues and students in Bhopal laughed at him but the creative idea and puppetry skills won him the national award for teachers in 2013.
Besides getting the national award, Dhirendra Singh Tomar’s initiative of teaching middle school students with the help of puppets earned him a berth on an exchange programme for teachers to Japan in 2014.
"We used to get Rs 500 for purchasing teaching material but the amount was not invested properly,” says Tomar, who has been using puppets as a teaching medium since 2000.
“I requested my colleagues in the school to collect the amount and buy chart papers, pencils, colours and other materials to make puppets so that learning could be made interesting for children.
“We prepared different types of puppets and started using them in our classes. There was a drastic change in response of the children towards studies.”
Tomar, who teaches Mathematics and English at the Government Girls Higher Secondary School in Bhopal’s Jehangirabad, says puppets are a wonderful tool for activating student attention and motivation.
“The children became more interested in their studies as they learned new subjects with the help of puppets. The initiative worked and the performance of the school improved drastically.”
Schools across Madhya Pradesh invite Tomar, who was also conferred with the award for excellence in teaching by the state government in 2014.
The inspiration of using puppets for teaching came to him after attending a workshop organised by the Centre of Culture Resource and Training at Delhi, he says.
Many government teachers attend the training programme every year but Tomar is among those rare teachers who took the initiative to introduce the innovative medium of teaching in his classroom.
From teaching tough mathematics to sex education using puppets as a medium, Tomar has made everything more explanatory and easy for the children.