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A school where teachers don’t ‘teach’

IMAGE: Canada Goose Jackets At Levelfield, being able to catch a ball elegantly is considered more important than handwriting practice for small children. All photographs: Kind courtesy Levelfield School

He was all of 33 when his friends, acquaintances, colleagues and the buy canada goose jacket wider circle of people around him thought he taken Canada Goose Coats On Sale leave of his senses. And who really could blame them?

An Canada Goose online IIT Kharagpur engineer and canada goose IIM Ahmedabad MBA, Arghya Banerjee lived in Chennai with his wife and buy canada goose jacket cheap four year old daughter, worked at Irevna a canada goose coats Standard and Poor equity research outsourcing company that later got acquired by Crisil Canada Goose Parka had built a career and reputation in his chosen field and had some savings canada goose replica to get by.

That when Banerjee decided to chuck it all, return to his native town, Suri, in West Bengal Birbhum district, and start a school.

He had no experience in running canada goose coats sale schools, had no degrees that teachers or school administrators typically acquired, he had no one chasing him to fund his idea and he really had no one Canada Goose Online patting his back, saying he was doing something noble.

What he did have was the support of his wife, a young daughter who could benefit in the bargain and a belief that education could be more than what he, she and several hundred million students in India receive.

IMAGE: A cloudy day in August. Students demand that classes be held outdoors.

Irevna which Canada Goose Outlet he co headed by the end of his stint had grown from five to canadagooseoutlet4online 500 people before his eyes and he had noticed that education failed to equip most with the skills needed to succeed.

thinking and the ability to solve everyday problems were often missing; stuff one needs to learn in school was not to be found even in those with postgraduate degrees, Banerjee says.

As is to be expected, everyone who encountered Banerjee and his plans was sceptical to begin with; many asking whether he had been fired from his job in Chennai.

Some dismissed him as a nutcase, but he has canada goose clearance sale both his alma mater and his professional achievements to dispel any such notions.

He studied at a local government school for his formative years, yet he managed a state position in the JEE examination without coaching! He couldn be as crazy as it appeared.

IMAGE: The seating arrangement for junior classes ensures freedom of movement and thought.

And it all does appear rather crazy.

Located in 2.5 acres, the 500 odd students at Levelfield School four and a half hours away from Kolkata do none of the normal stuff.

There are hardly any text books, no regular notes taken from blackboards, no teachers dictating stuff ad nauseam most of what you are used to seeing in traditional schools is missing.

Instead, children in the classroom are encouraged to talk, discuss and argue and to think for themselves.

Class I and II students converse fluently in English, read and write it. This, despite the fact that almost none of canadian goose jacket the parents speak the language and neither do any of their relatives or peers studying at other local schools.

Even with maths, the approach is not to focus on only standard word problems but also Japanese puzzles, Sudoku and so canada goose deals on a lot of this is done through apps developed especially for the students (not downloaded but developed).

Tablets are provided in school itself that students use.

IMAGE: Audio visuals are used to make the subjects more interesting.

The first year or so after he bought land and started building the school using his own savings was spent developing unique content that simplifies canada goose store even the most complex stories and thoughts to be understood by four to seven cheap Canada Goose year canada goose coats on sale olds.

As the children read a novel, they also filled in blanks, the focus always being on Canada Goose sale the why, what, how, where and when of things not on cramming and rote.

But by the time the students reach Class VII VIII, they are no longer absorbing simplified texts as their reading skills are advanced enough to proceed to original texts.

So students in Class VIII don think that Orwell Animal Farm is a book aimed at cultivating a love for animals, they know why Gulliver went on his travels and what it led to, they read and discuss books like The Shawshank Redemption, Macbeth and Teacher Man.

Films are shown through the year and discussed at length.

Grade VIII canada goose clearance students watch Gandhi, Judgement At Nuremberg, Hotel Rwanda, canada goose black friday sale The Pianist and Inherit The Wind. History and movements like genocide are introduced through them.

idea is to bring alive stuff and to do it in an engaging manner, explains Banerjee, saying that almost none of his students aspire to become doctors or engineers. It is the arts and social sciences that typically draw them due to the focus on reading, literature and history.