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You are here: Home Our Work Articles and publications Reciprocal learning in the Indian sunshine Helen Martin Primary Geography Summer 2015.

Reciprocal learning in the Indian sunshine Helen Martin Primary Geography Summer 2015.

Reciprocal learning in the Indian sunshine Helen Martin  Primary Geography Summer 2015.Helen Martin

Primary Geography Summer 2015.

During a study  tour of India, teachers from different cultural backgrounds spent time  together on shared geographical enquiry. Here Helen  describes how, as well helping to deepen relationships, genuinely wanting to learn from each other  is a vital part of global learning.

Starting  out

On the outskirts of Bangalore a group of teachers  from the UK waited  in the cool morning  sunshine  for their Indian contemporaries to arrive. The teachers from England had travelled to Sangam Study Centre  in rural Silvepura, to work with teachers  from the other  side of Bangalore. As the taxis pulled up, disgorging six teachers  from Tumkur and Hosur, everyone’s nervousness  quickly gave way to enthusiastic  and excited greetings of ‘Namaste’.

Learning from each  other

The teachers  from the innovative ‘TVS Academies’ and my study tour group  met with one objective: to share and have fun learning about  enquiry-based geography. TVS prides itself on running  schools that focus on hands-on experiential learning for 3 to 17-year-olds  who will grow up with an understanding of sustainability, recycling and independent learning. Together  with Imogen Sahi (who co-manages Sangam  Study Centre) we ran a geographical enquiry for the teachers. The enquiry provided opportunities for the teachers  to get to know each other  by sharing cultures and talking to each other. It was fantastic  to watch  as the group, having agreed  on a series of questions, walked off together to ask villagers about  water  in the village and the local environment. Our day was full of learning from each other:  sharing skills of enquiry learning, knowledge about  agriculture and development and their increasing impacts on water;  and of water  ‘sharing’ across the states  of Karnataka  and Tamil Nadu.

The group  visited the dry reservoir at Hessarghatta where  we created  images on the ground  to show the issues in the local area and their wider effects. Sounds of laughter  drifted across the sandy lake bed as this group  of geographers bonded and enjoyed each other’s company.

Sharing  experiences

A week later, the study group  visited the TVS Academy at Hosur. .... (please see Primary Geographer Summer 2015 edition for the full article.)

Equal learning

The power  of these  shared  moments came to the fore in the form of professional friendship and collaboration.  The time to listen fully to each other,  time to give the concept  of global learning a new shift in emphasis  (i.e. one that  enables  teachers to learn from each other,  as equals) and time to expand  our knowledge of each other.  These two groups  of teachers had breached 6000km  and very diverse settings  to support  each other  and create fun geographical memories  together. If only all in-service training days could be this good…

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