Activity-based learning or ABL describes a range of pedagogical approaches to teaching. Its core premises include the requirement that learning should be based on doing some hands-on experiments and activities. The idea of activity-based learning is rooted in the common notion that children are active learners rather than passive recipients of information. If child is provided the opportunity to explore by their own and provided an optimum learning environment then the learning becomes joyful and long-lasting.
Activity-based learning started sometime in 1944 around World War II when a British man David Horsburgh came to India and finally decided to settle down there. He was an innovative thinker and charismatic leader.Rishi Valley School. He joined the British CouncilChennai and Bangalore for many years. After his voluntary retirement, he located a 7-acre (28,000 m2) site in Kolar District and opened his school, Neel Bagh. Neel Bagh was based on an innovative idea of Horsburgh and known for its creative methods in teaching well-planned learning materials. With his wife Doreen and his son Nicholas, Horsburgh developed a diverse curriculum, which included music, carpentry, sewing, masonry, gardening, as well as the usual school subjects, English, mathematics, Sanskrit, and Telugu. These pedagogic materials were systematically planned, with sketches and drawings and an occasional touch of humour. Later Horsburgh created a magnificent library in Neel Baugh that was accessible to teachers and students. This initiative of Horsburgh was later proved to be one of the pioneer and milestones in ABL. In modern time ABL is the method of education followed in the Corporation schools of Chennai, from 2003 and in the government primary schools in Pondicherry from 2009 as an effort to provide special schools for children who had been freed from bonded labour. He started teaching in and worked in
Implementation of ABL approach
Implementation of this approach was divided into four phases viz. I) Preparation Capacity Building Phase II) Experimental Phase III) Extension Phase and IV) Evaluation Phase.
- Ø During capacity building phase a core team consisting programme coordinators and selected practicing teachers were trained by Tamil nadu ABL people repeatedly during 2009 and 2010. The co-ordinators with I to IV and experience in the background along with the teachers developed the module.
- Ø The ABL approach was experimented for one year in schools in 5 zones during (2009) the experimental phase.
- Ø During this stage, only classes I & II were integrated. The ultimate idea is to integrate upto class IV.
- Ø As the results were encouraging, this approach was extended to all schools.
- Ø During this phase, learning cards for classes I & II (4 subjects) and teachers manual were prepared, printed and distributed.
- Ø In the year 2010, class III was integrated with class I & II.
- Ø Workbooks for classes I & II for four subjects were prepared, printed and distributed during 2009-2010.
Training of classroom teachers and other Staff
- Ø Experimental school teachers handling class I & II were trained initially and recurrently with reasonable time in ABL methodology.
- Ø Appraisal and review meetings were conducted periodically for smooth conduct of the programme.
- Ø To enhance resource support a team in each zone were trained sufficiently in the ABL methodology (Teacher instruction) who in turn trained all the classroom teachers handling classes I to IV .
- Ø For effective monitoring and supervising of the ABL, all DISs, CEOs , JD, SSA Director, Supervisors were trained by core team members in various cycles.
- Ø Teachers and Headmasters are also trained and oriented by visiting model schools and other schools of appreciable performance and interaction with successful teachers.
- Ø Apart from these, teachers were provided on the spot support by expert team periodically and regularly.
- Ø A resource centre was functioning to offer all time support to teachers at the SSA wing in Education Department.
The Process of ABL approach
- Ø Competencies are split into different parts/units and converted into different activities.
- Ø Each part/unit is called a milestone.
- Ø In each subject, the relevant milestones are clustered and linked as chain and this chain of milestones is called LADDER.
- Ø Each milestone has different steps of learning process and each step of learning process is represented by logo.
- Ø Milestones are arranged in a logical sequence from simple to complex and also activities in each milestone.
- Ø To enable the children to organize in groups group cards are used.
- Ø Evaluation is inbuilt in the system. Separate cards / activities are used for this purpose.
- Ø Each child is provided with workbook/worksheet for further reinforcement activities.
- Ø Children's progress are recorded through annual assessment chart.
- Ø Each milestone has different type of activities such as introduction, reinforcement, practice, evaluation, remedial and enrichment activites represented by different logos.
Benefits of ABL approach
- Ø Children learn on their our pace.
- Ø Provision of more time for self-directed learning and teacher directed learning is reduced considerably.
- Ø Group learning, mutual learning and self learning are promoted.
- Ø Teachers teaching time is judiciously distributed among children. Only needy children are addressed by teachers.
- Ø Children's participation in every step is ensured in the process of learning.
- Ø Evaluation is inbuilt in the system it is done without the child knowing it.
- Ø Rote learning is discouraged and almost no scope for rote learning.
- Ø Periodical absence of child from school is properly addressed.
- Ø Classroom transaction is based on child's needs and interests.
- Ø Freedom to child in learning as he chooses his activity.
- Ø Multigrade and multilevel in learning is effectively addressed.
- Ø No child can move to the next higher step of learning unless attains the previous one.
- Ø Sense of achievement boosts child's confidence and morale.
- Ø Attractive cards and activity create interest among children.
- Ø Scope for child's development in creative and communicative skills.
- Ø Children will have a feel of security as they sit in rounds in the groups.
- Ø Children are allowed to move in the classroom as they choose their activity.
- Ø Moreover the distance between the teacher and the child is largely reduced and the teacher acts as a facilitator rather than teacher.
- The ABL cards which can match the pace of learning have been placed permanently. Yet another silent revolution in Innovative Education.
I Hear; I forget,
I see; I remember,
I do; I understand.
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