TRAVEL TO GROW : BHOPAL PART I
I am part of the current cohort of - Library Educator Course (LEC) - run by Parag Trust. It’s a professional course for up-skilling in the field of Libraries. I have been engaged with children through stories over last 2 years. I am part of the project to set up a Model Library Development program in public schools in Uttarakhand.
So, my reasons to be part of the course were - 1. Share the knowledge that we have built 2. Build a network with fellow practitioners 3. Learn new experiments and attempts to further my work. I was excited to catch up with people as part of our efforts to also further the cause of multi lingual education in India through libraries as well.
After meeting people from various across the country, knowing what they have been upto, I was overwhelmed. The initial sessions underlined the problem of non-existence of libraries in the schools through a piece of speech by Krishna Kumar. The problem intensifies when the need of libraries in the school is not felt necessary in its functioning. I could reflect from the on ground conversation that took place with school administration while I was trying to build a mandate of having library period in daily time table of children.
One major reason is that we often misunderstand “what reading is". To understand how we perceive reading and process that takes place when a child learns to read. Generally we mistake it with decoding and limit it to simply reading alphabets whereas numerous policy documents have explicitly said that it is for a child to understand what he/she is reading, relate it with his/her experience, and comprehend the meaning in his/her own context (NCF guideline, 2005 & NCERT Teacher guidelines).
We keep children at the centre of our planning, process development, etc yet make the mistake of underestimating capabilities. We know that children experience a lot of social challenges such as discrimination, violence, hate, etc. in their daily lives.
‘Bacchon ki Awdharna’ was one such session that helped me to broaden my understanding of how text can be used to engage children in conversations upon social issues. It is better if the child is part of these conversations since they feel all the emotions, these need to come out. Or else it takes a toll on mental health.
The learnings from this contact period is further strengthening my work and to exercise my learnings. As per me the understanding the process of language learning is needed for a child to become a reader.
We at Samanta Foundation are building a curriculum, mapping and tools/processes around Libraries.
Guneet Sekhon (Lead, Library Development, Project QUEST)