Accelerating Student Achievement with Hands-on Learning

Dr. Bijay Kumar Sahu

Principal, Leeds International School, Patna, Bihar

I firmly believe that students should actively examine their surroundings and the universe through trial and error, or through physically testing theoretical hypotheses. While learning, students pick up and manipulate whatever they observe. Learning takes place very naturally and normally if a suitable ecosystem for it is developed. Since time immemorial, learning by doing has been the best practice in gaining knowledge. This enhances both physical and mental skills.

Students should not just be prepared for school or the board examinations, but they should be educated and trained in a manner in which they learn how to solve their day-to-day problems, how to live life to the fullest and how to add purpose to their lives.

In our school, I devote four periods a week wherein like-minded students of different age groups sit together and discuss how they can improve or work on what they are interested in. All groups are assigned some experts and teachers who supervise and facilitate them to put their thoughts into realities. Every Saturday, they practice what they have discussed. Be it through projects, brainstorming sessions, role-play activities, group discussions, debates, among others.

This has shown many impressive results. To quote a few of them: Students have developed ‘Li-fi’ in which the data is transferred using light, very safely and at high speed. A group of students have been allotted a part of the land where they have started organic farming. Students have developed many robots for performing different functions; in fact, few are highly complex. Students are taught how to repair vehicles and home appliances. Some students have won accolades in sports and arts (dance & drama) at the national level.

Students actively participate in festival celebrations with the underprivileged ones by going out of the campus. They also volunteer with diverse social groups to contribute towards causes such as smooth maintenance of traffic and environmental protection. This type of teaching keeps the students and teachers engaged. Students enjoy what they learn and do as per their interest.

Most resources needed for implementation are available in the school. However, in some cases, experts are hired. The experts, under my guidance, develop assessment tools and techniques which usually vary for different activities. We should not impose our thoughts; instead, we should help students develop their own. In many such brainstorming sessions, students come up with amazing ideas. This breaks the monotony of the education system. Moreover, to solve the present days' problem, the unique skills of students must be developed through the following means:

  • Entrepreneurial skills development
  • Learning through STEAM skills
  • Open innovation ecosystem developed domestically and internationally
  • Humanities and diversity of inclusive learning
  • Grooming of lifeskills

To sum up, I would state that with the changes in various fields, even education needs to be modified to be suitable for 21st-century students. Our education system and ways should be child-centric. Students should be encouraged to think out of the box, and such thoughts must be appreciated. The role of teachers and parents is crucial to bring life into such words.

‘Let’s build effective foundations for a better tomorrow’

Dr Bijay Kumar Sahu

Principal, Leeds International School, Patna, Bihar