Happy Anniversary to us! (K R Puram Chapter)

I remember it like it was yesterday, walking in for our first class – the dark classroom with murals strewn across its walls, 40 expectant faces, a few nervous volunteers and the palpable energy at the prospect of setting in motion an incredible journey. The earth has made a trip around the sun since and here we are – ready to celebrate the year that was and make a fervent wish for many more to come.

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What a year it has been! We saw pupils become teachers, handing down valuable life lessons. We saw shards of brilliance – voices eager to be heard, tiny hands reaching out to be held and sharp minds keen on absorbing every tiny bit of information presented to them.

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Yes, we had challenges too – a declining volunteer pool, undefined syllabus and insufficient face time. Despite the challenges, we found ourselves drawn, week after week, to the beckoning school gate and the dark classrooms illuminated by bright smiles and dreamy eyes!

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Standing today at the threshold of our first anniversary, I realize that Saturday mornings are my favorite time of the week. Not only do I feel younger midst the zealous energy that fills the classroom, I admit I am addicted, engulfed in a bond that is truly enriching!

Come be a part of our journey – join us at our K R Puram chapter on the 17th of Jan, to celebrate this milestone!

Jayalakshmi Selvaraj

Chapter lead, K R Puram

Susitha’s story narrating experience as part of International literacy day

It was a heart warming experience to narrate a story to the school children on International literacy day at the Government school. The spark and interest to learn shines beautifully in their eyes. It felt wonderful to spend time with these innocent and loving children . The time we spend with them will surely help the children and most definitely help us move our love and care from a limited circle of family and friends to a larger circle which embraces these children into our lives.
Thank you and I convey my best wishes to Smitha and the other volunteers at Shlok.
​Susitha​ Reddy

Founder – Samartha
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SHLOK X – Challenges

ShlokX based on Sugata Mitra’s model SOLE (self organized learning environment) was launched at GMPS school in Puttenahalli on 5th September 2014 as part of Guru Utsav celebrations in collaboration with ’the school in the cloud’. After long discussions and debates we finally set the ball rolling in the month of August. First challenge was to get the internet connection at the school. After a couple of visits from the airtel person (our ISP)  we finally settled on getting a WIFI connection in the computer lab. The took for ever but finally everything was set. The next challenge was getting and setting up the laptops to work. We faced many little  problems which we had not anticipated but could solve them quickly and the stage was set.

On the big day we had 4 laptops for the children to work on. After introducing SOLE and posing a question to the children they got to work on the laptops. The question for the day was “which is the biggest animal?” .The children were very excited since for some of them it was the first time  on a computer. The children were able to browse and get pictures of the animals. They told us that the biggest animal is a big fish the name of which they could not find.

SOLE is a big challenge to the facilitator. It involves unlearning what we have learnt so far . We adults are so eager to help and guide the children, we want to give them step by step instructions. The children also are used to asking adults every single problem they encounter. They are not used to thinking and trying to solve the problem themselves. SOLE actually enables that. It empowers children to learn using technology with least interference from adults.

Shlok foundation’s mission is to set up such labs in as many schools as possible. For this we would need volunteers and funds. Anybody willing to contribute in any way please send us an email on joinshlok@gmail.com.

 

SHLOK ‘X’- Breaking new ground in the field of education

10 seconds to count down- 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… and we have lift off of Space shuttle  X

You have seen these images many times and may have wondered as to how this image found its way into a post about education.

SHLOK X

SHLOK X takes off in GMPS Puttenahalli, Bangalore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have lift off of SHLOK ‘X’. SHLOK X is a collaborative effort between SHLOK foundation and Dr Sugata Mitras team. Dr Mitras team has been kind enough to work with us and launch this pioneering effort for some of our government schools. This platform is also called SOLE or School in the cloud.

What is the buzz all about. Well a few years ago Sugata Mitra had done an experiment in India where in he left a computer system connected to the internet and put inside a wall. he left without explaining the system to anyone. When he came back he saw that people had learnt stuff about the internet, languages and this had also started the process of peer to peer learning. Dr Mitra went to win the TED X prize in 2013 for the Hole in the wall experiment.

On the 5th of Sep 2014 we launched SHLOK X in SHLOK’s birthplace (GMPS Puttenahalli, Bangalore), the simple idea is that SHLOK X can facilitate self learning or the spirit of enquiry among the students and bring a sense of wonder to the classes they attend to in government schools.

The methodology is simple. A teacher simply poses a question to a group of 4 to 5 kids asking “Why is the sky blue?” or something from thier subject areas and asks them to research the topics using thier laptops and internet connections. After a session of about 30 minutes each group comes forward and makes a presentation.

It amazed me to see that the kids picked up on internet browsing within minutes of being given the system. the level of excitement and energy felt in the room was high.

SHLOK X will give an opportunity to the students studying in government schools. it seems so simple in thought and execution and yet will bring in the changes that we seek from the primary school education system in government schools where SHLOK X is deployed.

While i was leaving the class the students seemed happy at the end of our session and wished me “happy teachers day” with the enthusiasm that only school kids could muster.

There are approximately a 1000 government schools in Bangalore, and you can start something like SHLOK X or join us in our efforts.

Come join SHLOK and simply “Imagine|Impart|Inspire|”

SHLOK X

SHLOK X- the first session

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nivedita and Niranjani’s short stint at GMPS

Niveditha and Niranjani were  in India for a short while visiting relatives and chose to volunteer at GMPS inspite of their tight schedule. This is what they have to say about their experience.

Our first day volunteering at GMPS as part of SHLOK Foundation, we were greeted by a sea of smiles and a chorus of ‘Good morning, Miss!’. Our apprehension at teaching English to a classroom of 30 was forgotten in the face of the sheer enthusiasm and engagement we felt from the children.

Over the week, we assisted in teaching the fundamentals of the language, such as the alphabet and the phonics, while simultaneously working through short stories and poems from the curriculum. The pupils were incredibly patient as we tried to communicate with our limited Kannada, and it was wonderful to see them help each other understand the meanings of the various texts we looked at, recite the poems they’d learnt, and proudly share their work with us.

By the end of the week, we felt entirely invested in the children, hoping to help the very best students showcase their abilities, to build up the confidence of those who were still unsure of the basics. Thanks to Smitha for guiding us through it; we can’t wait to come back next year, and see how SHLOK Foundation’s incredible work continues to develop the students’ interests and allow these talented children to fulfill their potential.

– Nivedita & Niranjani

 

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Shashi’s volunteering experience

Volunteering to give something back to the society is something that always lingered in my mind for the last couple of years. But just didn’t know how to do it. Then I stumbled upon this noble organization “SHLOK” through Smitha who has been working with the organization, for a while now. I had heard the saying “There is no bad student”, but was not quite sure if it was true. On day one at Puttenahalli government school I was forced to believe the saying. The overwhelming response from the students and their interest to learn English was unbelievable. I was taken by surprise when the children didn’t want the class to end and were looking forward to the English class when I went the next time.

It is very satisfying to have started with something that shapes the future of our children.  The children in grade 1 and 2 whom I taught were good in terms of what they had learnt. I would like to thank Shlok for providing a platform to realise the joy of “GIVING”.

Shashi

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Read about Tarun’s experience here.

Nithya’s first day at GMPS

What I felt on the first day of volunteering.
What is social work? How can I do something that brings lasting value to the community around me? Those are some questions that I have always grappled with, and recently I think I may have found that elusive answer.
I volunteered at the Puttenahalli Government school close to where I live. This is a school that teaches children from mostly poor families. While the school does teach English, it is not the medium of instruction for Math and science. (Parents who can afford to, send their children to private schools, that are English medium).
Not studying in an English medium puts these children at a significant disadvantage. Disadvantages that probably they carry throughout their lives because they are never able to exert command over English. Most also carry a sense of inadequacy because of their accents.
I say all this because it motivated me to choose to instruct the kids in phonics. I believe this will set them on a path that could provide them the opportunities they deserve and so badly need. It’s great to see the kids, do full of enthusiasm, soak up very bit of instruction they are provided. I’m sure that the kids will be up to speed during the course. I look forward to seeing them succeed in this and others courses that I may be fortunate to help them with.
Nithya

If you want to transform lives of young children, come find your moment of happiness.

Here is a small video clip about Shlok.