Four teachers from Hartlepool, the UK, paid a visit to the Panchayat Union Middle School in Guduvancherry near Kancheepuram on Friday, to set the stage for a vibrant cross-cultural meet to exchange ideas on teaching methodologies and culture.
As part of Connecting Classrooms, a global programme designed by the British Council that aids schools in the UK to collaborate with schools in other parts of the world, four teachers — Lesley Welsh of Manor College of Technology, Anne Barberi of Orange Primary School, Rosie Merifield of Greatham C of E Primary School and Amy Mcgee of St Bega’s Primary School — visited the partner school in Guduvancherry.
The enthusiastic students extended a warm welcome to the teachers and treated them to an imaginative bommalattam (shadow puppetry) performance and thought-provoking skits on social issues that bowled over their guests.
“Our experience has been overwhelming. It has really touched our hearts,” exclaimed Lesley who was all praise for the colourful rangoli and traditional dance performances that entertained them.
Insights into the ABL (Activity-Based Learning) methodology and ALM (Active Learning Methodology) followed in the school curriculum through a host of activities showcased by the children of the school, exposed them to the unique style of teaching.
“We never conduct classes outdoors. This was a first to us. And students here have tremendous creativity, they take great pride in what they do,” added Amy.
According to Subashini, English teacher at the school, the postal exchanges between students in the UK and Guduvancherry in the past one-and-a-half years enabled a stimulating learning environment.
“They have been writing to each other about the local festivals and other events. Every time we get a letter from them, we are filled with joy,” she exclaims.
The foreign educationalists visited seven schools in the Kattankalathur Block between February 7 and 10.