“Culture shapes the mind. It provides us with a tool kit with which we construct not only our worlds but the very conceptions of ourselves and our knowledge.”
India is a country that is filled with unique, and varied cultures. Every aspect of Indian culture is distinctive and has layers and folklore attached to it.
Teaching our children about the different cultures in India is important as it helps them understand differing perspectives, respect and accept differences, and teaches inclusion.
The traditional classroom pedagogy of schools in Gurgaon deprives children of opportunities to learn in a collaborative, reflective manner. This has raised one major concern: the declining awareness among young children about their and their peer’s cultural backgrounds. The “chalk and talk” approach does not give space to children to work in groups, to explore and learn together about their cultural surroundings. If children are encouraged to work in group activities, group projects at pre-nursery schools, gender, and cultural biases will never get embedded in their minds. On the other hand, opportunities for imbibing the ability to accept the viewpoints of others, leadership qualities, etc. will routinely become part of the day to day school life.
Our Learning Leaders in Vega Schools, One of the top 5 Unique Schools in Gurgaon, support and motivate learners to reflect on and investigate how one’s own and other’s cultural beliefs, attitudes, and norms are shaped. We believe that issues of culture, language, cognition, community, and socialization are central to learning. The primary socialization of young children is accomplished through joint, meaningful activity with guidance by the learning leaders.
Thus we conducted inquiries aligned with Problem-Based learning to motivate learners to ask “Why do we need to learn our culture” in their unit “MY WORLD. The focus was to target a few main topics:
- Family and Community
- Directions, globe, and map;
- Season, weather, and climate;
- Clothing and shelter.
All these are the elements of Culture.
How did we carry out the Inquiry?
- We chose the concept of Colours and how our young learners are fascinated with all the colors they see in different objects around them.
- We then related Colours and the significance it holds in their lives and how our own country “India” is so diverse and colorful.
- We discussed how India is one country that has many religions, beliefs, languages, festivals, art forms, and foods.
- Since learners have had an understanding of festivals and national holidays in their previous grade hence it helped them to make connections with how different regions have different people living in it.
- Learners worked together and inquired about Indian culture over an extended period and were engaged in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question-What makes me an Indian?
- And they demonstrated their knowledge and skills through:-
- Artifacts with paper Mache, Madhubani arts, Warli art, Gond art.
- Descriptive writing on given topics such as “Describe your favorite family photograph related to any celebration or “Describe the cultural details of any state of India (with the help of prompts given) Music and visual arts, wherein learners prepared a unity song and created different traditional artifacts from a few states of India.
As a result, students develop deeper “culture-sensitive “knowledge as well as critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills in the context of doing an authentic, meaningful project. Most importantly, learners enjoyed talking about their own lives, their families, what they personally like, and dislike. They became more empathetic towards their fellow students and learned the importance of respecting other cultures.
This process-based and experiential inquiry helped in integrating local culture into the curriculum. Learners’ learned local art forms, practices, places, institutions, festivals, rituals, literature, even local riddles, and humor.
We at Vega Schools, One of the best schools on Sohna Road Gurgaon, do not thrust upon the students the values, beliefs, and behaviors of the dominant cultures only as it make the learning process culturally sterile: consciously or unconsciously promoting one particular culture. Our learning leaders act as friends and facilitators encouraging different cultural patterns and processes.
The Goals achieved through these inquiries are:
- To look in the “what”, “why”, “how “ of inculcating cultural values through the school curriculum
- To enhance the quality of local and regional cultural awareness among learners’
- To suggest ways of introducing both in curricular and extracurricular ways the learning of our traditional, folk, classical and contemporary art forms
- To suggest ways of helping students to appreciate the world of arts, music, and literature
- To suggest ways of introducing art appreciation as an elective subject in their higher education.
We would like to conclude that Language vocabularies and routines acquired by learners through these processes are the elements that account for the community, linguistic and cultural continuity and are the primary cognitive tools for individual and group solving and adaptations. Our curriculum includes social, emotional, and ethical competencies as well as academic priorities and has the flexibility to accommodate the hopes, aspirations, needs, and culture of the local community.
Please visit our website www.vega.edu.in to know more about our Problem-Based Learning pedagogy and also for admissions at Vega Schools, One of the Top International Schools in Gurgaon.
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