Learning history, geography and environmental studies by singing traditional folk songs from different countries or playing historical characters in class to understand the bygone eras better. Welcome to the newest concept of teaching where performing arts will be an important medium of teaching and learning.
An initiative by the British Council seeks to introduce performing arts into everyday classroom teaching. Starting the next academic year, students in many Mumbai schools will learn various subjects with generous doses of music and dramatics.
The first series of workshops with teachers is currently being held in the city. “British Council India’s Arts in Education programmes introduce school audiences and trainers to using new content and methods of teaching arts from the UK within Indian school curricula,” said Rob Lynes, director, British Council India.
Teachers said such teaching techniques are the need of the hour, especially because the attention spans of students are growing shorter by the day. It ranges between 10 and 25 minutes, say teachers, who have arrived at the figure from recent studies.
“Every child has to be taught in a different way. Some children learn better through visuals, others through music,” said Sangeeta Moudgil, head mistress, Kendriya Vidyalaya 1, Colaba.
Music and drama can also curb absenteeism in schools. “It changes the perception that studies are something to be feared. It makes children interested in learning and they would want to come to school every day,” said Nirmala Ravi, a pre-school teacher, Garodia International School, Ghatkopar.
“We were taught a song that can make children understand the rest and pauses in a song. I am going to use it this week in my class,” said Lisa Mallett, teacher, DSB International School, Breach Candy.