Child-centred pedagogy is still a rarity in schools. A major reason for this is the poor level of university education at most universities, as well as the lack of education of the teachers themselves. In
Varanasi, many teachers are not even able to speak English fluently, even when they teach in English-medium schools. However, they
are mostly untrained, not only in terms of subject content, but also pedagogically. Unfortunately, punishments, threats, physical and psychological violence
are still a daily occurrence at schools. Most teachers do not know how they can manage to keep an eye on the individual child and do
them justice - if they even think that this is their job. Instead, they feel overwhelmed by the demands of a exam-focused education system and, as a result, turn to shaming and blaming students
for their lack of performance. The teachers themselves grew up with violence in their families and/or schools and need a lot of time
and loving attention to change and accept their own trauma.
Thanks to our low-threshold offers, teachers in Varanasi can expand their technical, didactic and pedagogical knowledge. We offer free workshops in Hindi on the following topics (this is only a selection):
We are currently working on setting up an online platform for advanced training for teachers. This is going to take a while, but you can check out or progress here.
Over the past decade, we have been successful in conducting teacher training programs to address these pressing issues. Our low-threshold workshops, delivered in Hindi, have offered valuable opportunities for Varanasi's teachers to expand their technical, didactic, and pedagogical knowledge. With some school, we have had collaborations for many years now and revisit them regularly. Despite the progress sometimes being rather slow (owed to the complexity of the problems teachers face in the classroom) we have witnessed significant changes taking place within the teaching community. Teachers are now better equipped with the necessary skills to create inclusive and child-centered learning environments, moving away from punitive approaches. As a result, our collective efforts have not only empowered teachers but also fostered a nurturing and supportive educational atmosphere, benefiting students and propelling educational advancement throughout Varanasi - especially among the poorest of them, the street children. We are now training the first two students, one of them a former street girl herself, to become educators of the next generation.