BANGALOARE: Sri Vani Education Centre, Rajajinagar, known for its focus on imparting Indian culture, values, and performing arts that is an integral part of its education curriculum, has incorporated a novel way of improving the writing skills of students starting from the middle school. The online programme known as Zap Zany enables children to express themselves in written language without fear of censure or ridicule, with the freedom to make mistakes. Sharada Prasad R.H, Principal, Sri Vani Public School speaks to Vyas Sivanand about the program and the need to incorporate innovative ways of learning.
What is Zap Zany and how does it work?
Zap Zany is an online program started as a pilot project two years back, inducing children to participate and express themselves in the written language. Zap Zany was started four years back by two Indian origin mothers based in the US to address children displaying incompetence in the written language along with lack of self-confidence. Given the significant response received in the US, the same was offered to schools in India as a pilot project. Children participating in the program are given topics on which they write. Their writing is not physically monitored by teachers, giving them freedom to express without inhibitions. Since each child can have a completely different perception of the same topic .
What Prompted Sri Vani to adopt this project?
Children are shy of expressing themselves in written language when they are physically monitored in a classroom atmosphere. In an online programme, there is no fear of making mistakes, allowing them to freely give their perception of a topic. Interestingly, they learn from their mistakes and improvise on their writing skills. With the incentive to write well and have the same published, children are induced to read more to improve both their perception, knowledge as well writing skills. Enabling them to express freely with the knowledge that their stories could go into print, has a tremendous influence on boosting their self-confidence besides improving their power of expression and perception. Participation in the project also improves their time management skills while encouraging them to get involved in more intellectual and creative pursuits. Interestingly, the grades of participants have shown a positive movement too because of their extended reading.
What is the reaction from the students?
Extremely positive. There is tremendous enthusiasm to see the work in print. Though participation is voluntary, the percentage of participants in each class is high with the earlier non-participants too displaying eagerness to be part of the program. The last academic year saw the launch of the first book that ran to 150 pages, titled ‘Reflections’. It was exhibited in Seattle Guild and has served as a remarkable achievement.
What are the other unique offering ?
We look at novel ways to help children to rediscover themselves. Emphasis is laid on Indian values, culture and holistic learning, multi-tasking and opportunity to explore new avenues is an integral part of the school’s approach to education. As part of the curriculum, in addition to educational leadership camp at NASA, innovative activities like Leap Start, developed by US based SPARK organisation are adopted to enable fitness program for kids enabling them to burn calories indoors which are as vigorous as playing outdoors.