Braving the summer heat, shop 44 teachers gathered together over 4 days, from the 21st to the 24th April to attend Class Act, an action-packed training program, organized by Sethu Centre for Child Development & Family Guidance, Sucorro. The typical primary school classroom of today is a crowded place, with young children from diverse home backgrounds and languages trying to learn matter, which is often meaningless and irrelevant to their daily lives. Teachers too are hard pressed for time, as they struggle to complete the syllabus and ensure that their students get good grades. There is a gap between what is known from research about how children learn best and what is actually practiced in the classroom. For the last 9 years, Sethu has been trying to bridge this gap, through the Class Act program, which seeks to inform teachers about how they can reach out to every child in their class, using methods based on sound pedagogy. This workshop has always received a good response from teachers. The topics addressed this year were behavior management in the busy classroom, childhood sexuality, stress management for teachers, inclusive education, methods to promote reading including phonics and whole language approaches and building English competency through learning by doing and meaning making. The emphasis on an interactive process, including group discussions and hands on exercises, ensured that the participants were continually challenged to think, ask questions and strengthen their knowledge through skills practice. The feedback from the teachers was enthusiastic and positive. In the words of one of the participants at Class Act 2015 – “After this session, my opinion and views towards many things changed. I learned to respect the views and opinions of the child more carefully.” Another teacher opined, “The workshop has been very helpful to me. I’ve learned lots of different styles of teaching like multisensory teaching. It has given me ideas how to save my classes from boredom!” Class Act has offered teachers a welcome boost in their knowledge and skills, to prepare them for the start of the new academic year in June 2015.
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