Mumbai: Desi comic book offers value check to students of Khar school

Jasudben ML School has tied up with Amar Chitra Katha to conduct online sessions for “values education” for children

Children are engaged in activities such as identifying characters from stories, and analysing their behaviour and subsequent outcomes

These sessions move beyond storytelling. Children are engaged in activities such as identifying different characters from stories, analysing their behaviour and subsequent outcomes of their actions and reactions. According to the school, there is no time like now to impart this kind of education. The pandemic may have put a pause on children’s social life, but it cannot prevent them from learning moral values. Not only has the school added the subject to the curriculum of standards I to IV, it also organises one online class every week dedicated to teaching moral values.

Damayanti Bhattacharya, principal of the school, says, “Values education has been integrated into regular activities in school. However, this format can work if children are gathering at school. Unfortunately, because of the lockdown, that is not possible. There is also no clarity on when schools might reopen, given the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the city. Therefore, this year onwards, we decided to start these classes online instead.”

While Amar Chitra Katha books have been in the market for a long time, and many children have already read them, Bhattacharya feels it is important to add the literature on the curriculum to teach good values to kids. “Reading a story and being part of guided activities around that story are two entirely different things—the latter really could make a difference to the reader’s mind. With this process, we feel we are creating a new generation of thinkers,” she informs.

She shares the example of Krishna and Kaliya with mid-day. “While the story of Krishna and Kaliya is amusing for kids, it also teaches us about the constant battle between good and bad. It shows who eventually wins, why and how. Thought-provoking questions on the story are addressed by us. Kids are also encouraged to come up with alternate endings to stories, to help shape their minds better.”

The school now plans to add an additional class every year dedicated to  the publishing house’s values education books. School teachers are also provided training by the publisher so that they can conduct these classes. Preeti Vyas, CEO and President of Amar Chitra Katha, shares, “While teachers are skilled storytellers, we offer them additional knowledge of effective storytelling, including dramatic effects, voice modulation and other theatrics to make these classes more engaging. Values education classes can be boring and so the challenge is upon us to make a difference. ACK has been holding such activities before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that everything has shifted online, Jasudben ML is the first school to have begun this initiative with us. We hope more schools follow suit.”

This article appeared in Mid-Day –

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