Life after 4pm

During my pilgrimage earlier this month, I happened to visit a village called Thingaloor, in the Thiruvayaru district in Tamilnadu (too small to be recognized by Google maps). It is a village of about 50-60 huts and houses the famous Moon temple. I had to walk for about 4Km from the highway to reach the village temple.

Road to Thingaloor

It was a beautiful Friday evening and the children were playing on the streets. As I was walking towards the temple, a group of kids stopped me and wanted me to take a picture of them. I took their picture and we sat down by the fields and the following was our conversation (translated from Tamil, the local language):

Myself: Do you all go to school?

Kids: Yes. We all study at the village school of Thiruvayaru. We are students of class 3 and 4.

Myself: That’s wonderful. So what did you learn at school today?

Kids: We learned to sing some songs, learned the Tamil alphabet and about seasons.

Myself: Very good. What do you do after school?

Kids: We walk back to our village and play in the fields.

Myself: Does your teacher give you any homework?

Kids: What’s that?

Myself (a little shocked): Don’t you have to do some studying after school to revise your lessons?

Kids: Why should we? We learn at school and play at home. Our teacher insists that we should concentrate on our lessons in our class and play after school.  He has never asked us to study. We don’t have our own books to study either.

Myself: So, are you able to remember what your teacher taught you?

Kids: Yes we do. We see what we learn around us. Our teacher taught us about the climate of our district today. Our parents are farmers and we can see and feel it around us. Why do we need a book for that?

Myself: Have you seen or used a computer?

Kids: We’ve seen them in movies. Computers are used by rich people who go to office and are busy. How can small children like us in villages use them? We don’t need computers.

I then showed them a video on seasons on YouTube in my phone. They did like it but felt that it was no big deal as they were in physical contact with what they learn.

Any thoughts?

The group of kids that got me thinking :)

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. [...] Town Bus Ride After my meeting with the kids at Thingaloor village (click here) and my visit to the Moon temple, I boarded the town bus to return to Kumbakonam town. I shared my [...]

  2. they are right!

    why would they need to study at home. if they can relate and study with real life sample.

    the patterns like Montessory all about the same.

    but your narrate is very good. Hope i can touch base with you soon!

  3. Wonderful! I hate homework and I’m an adult. Kids sit in school all day and if the teacher is effective and has the students engaged they will want to learn and they will remember and relate what they learn to everything around them. Too bad that in the States administrators are more concerned with test scores then with allowing teachers to do what they love.

  4. Agreed. Students learn best when their learning is linked to their environment. For my class of 7 year olds it means linking in to what they experience around them everyday. Multimedia, connected devices, instant always on communication (global), txt messages, digital photos, YouTube, Facebook, cellphones and touch enabled personal devices. It’s the links to students’ environments and experiences that makes learning purposeful, authentic and applicable.

    Horses for courses, as my dad would say.


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