Published: 09th June 2021
Do it the Dhwani way: How one man's vision has led to 10k teachers getting cutting-edge training across Karnataka
For twenty years, the Dhwani Trust has been giving Kannada medium Govt School teachers across Karnataka find their way to great teaching. Now, the game has changed and so have they
When Shivanand Hombal started the Dhwani Trust in 2001 with other like-minded educationists and professors, their only motto was to make education creative, strong and efficient in Kannada medium government schools across Karnataka.
Two decades on, they're living the dream, despite an unrelenting pandemic. And most of their success comes from the simple fact that they don't use lecturing as a vehicle to get through to kids. He explains, "We needed to train our teachers so that they teach children well in turn. But we understood that training cannot happen through the lecture method. Therefore, Dhwani started with the creation of resource materials and trained teachers to use stories and activities to set the tone."
History workshop for teachers led by Shivanand
Though Dhwani started functioning in 2001, it took them nearly three years to hone their system of working with schools and teachers. When they were ready, Shivanand approached schools in the Bengaluru Urban and Rural areas. "Our target was to train teachers who taught Kannada, History and Geography. The first batch of teachers included only 24. We had visited around 50 to 60 schools because we always believe in training teachers who are interested and have the learning ability to enhance their skills. Just making it mandatory for all the teachers to attend our training programmes doesn't achieve much." And so, they had 10 criteria to select these teachers.
The result has been terrific. So far they have trained over 9000-10,000 teachers and this in turn has benefitted lakhs of students.
So what exactly are these resource materials for teachers? To this, Shivanand explains, "For instance, if the teachers are teaching a poem to students written by a famous author like G P Rajarathnam, then they must have studied his poems, short stories and other literary works. They must understand the value of his poetry. Therefore, we are working towards providing his literary works through our resource materials. Once, these materials are given to teachers, we must tell them how to understand it."
Replicas of old coins
Their resources include a lot of experiential teaching and learning. Unlike most groups who merely source their resource material, members of the Dhwani Trust themselves visited historical places like Hampi, where they tried to explore and photograph the history on offer, document it and provide it in the form of booklets to teacher and children. "We tried to teach them how History doesn't exist only in places like Hampi, but also in our homes and even in our nearest surroundings. We used the explorative method and took teachers to these places to help them study History and Geography. We even made replicas of coins used in the Vijayanagara kingdom, Indus Valley Civilisation, used 3D models, maps and the like," explains Shivanand who has worked for more than ten years with primary school and college students
And then Corona happened. With schools shut due to the pandemic, the Dhwani team has been reaching out to the teachers through online mode. "We created two to three WhatsApp groups consisting of teachers who are interested in learnin. Earlier, we would send hard copies to the teachers' addresses but later, we digitised them and we have started sending them on WhatsApp. Then, we started a YouTube Channel where we posted videos of short stories and other content. Then the Government of Karnataka started the Vatara Shaale model where teachers would make a group of at least 10 kids in the nearby areas and teach them necessary lessons. These digitised materials were helpful for teachers when they involved teaching kids in the Vatara Shaale."
For more on them, visit dhwanitrust.org