Published: 01st June 2017
Students said problem? Don't worry, Ranjeeta Sahoo has the right solutions! Thanks to Design Thinking pedagogy
Ranjeeta Sahoo isn’t your typical teacher. The pioneer of the Design Thinking pedagogy at her school talks about the need for a problem-solving approach in learning which actively engages students
The digital age is upon us and what that entails is technical skill and confidence to manoeuvre across disciplines. While most teachers are wondering how to prep their students for the digital age, this class V teacher has found a novel way to facilitate her students to ask and answer questions that cannot be researched on Google.
“I didn’t want to teach my students what Google could teach them better,” says Ranjeeta Sahoo, who has been a teacher for a decade now. Ranjeeta, the formulator of the Design Thinking pedagogy that approaches teaching from a problem-solving angle, believes that the rote-learning methodology that has been blindly followed by several schools hinders the inherent creativity of a child. “This is when I realised that Design Thinking could revolutionise teaching and learning,” expresses the 35-year-old teacher, who was the pioneer of the learning approach at the Indus International School, Shankarpalli.
Whether the solution is feasible or not is secondary, what’s important is that students brainstorm over real-world issues, like natural disasters
Ranjeeta Sahoo Teacher, Indus International School
Ranjeeta, who has been teaching class V for seven years now, introduced the Design Thinking methodology into her classroom last year. She applied it to two units in the curriculum — natural disasters and equity in expressing oneself and found that the students responded better when they were actively involved in the learning process. “Unlike traditional teaching, the Design Thinking pedagogy elevates the role of a teacher to that of a facilitator and gives the students a platform to identify complex problem and find solutions for them,” she explains.
According to Ranjeeta, what also makes this out-of-the-box thinking the desired tool for learning, is the fact that it helps students correlate concepts to the real world and then look for solutions to mitigate them. “Whether the solution is feasible or not is secondary, what’s important is that students brainstorm over real-world issues, like natural disasters for instance. This develops a feeling of empathy in them. Next, they try to understand the problem in their own unique way and then come up with appropriate solutions. They then make a prototype, and get feedback from parents and teachers,” explains Ranjeeta, adding that, unlike traditional teaching, here the students are given the freedom to explore and as a result, they often exhibit an inter-disciplinary approach to problem-solving. “I wanted to give them a different experience, and Design Thinking has done just that,” she says, proudly.
Ranjeeta, who has been teaching class V for seven years now, introduced the Design Thinking methodology into her classroom last year. She applied it to two units in the curriculum — natural disasters and equity in expressing oneself and found that the students responded better when they were actively involved in the learning process.
Having studied in CBSE schools and beginning her teaching career in schools like EuroKids, Meridian School, Sreenidhi International School (all in Hyderabad), followed by a stint at the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), Bhubaneswar, Ranjeeta switched to the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) when she joined Indus International School. “The most difficult aspect of moving to IB was when I had to integrate the Design Thinking tool with planning my academic year,” she says.
The result lies in the fact that the pedagogy has only reinforced ‘international mindfulness’ among the students, notes Ranjeeta, who completed most of her higher studies after her marriage. Besides a BEd degree from the Regional College Ajmer, she also has an MBA in Human Resource and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Education from IGNOU.