Teachers possess the ability to touch thelives of young minds in a way that no one else can. And that’s how two Delhi-based teachers — Arti Qanungo and Ritika Anand — have been enlisted among the 50 teachers who will receive the National Award for Teachers (today, September 5) from President Droupadi Murmu. But a common pedagogy that makes them a class apart is their ability to keep the spark of a fun alive in the process of teaching, especially when it comes to taking examples from Bollywood/Hollywood.
“When you teach children about menstruation, they might not be able to associate well with the subject. But if you include a movie like Akshay Kumar’s Padman, to give them examples and educate them about how menstrual hygiene is important in the first place, they’d surely be able to associate with the topic and actually remember it,” says Arti Qanungo, an English teacher at Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Laxmi Nagar.
Qanungo is known to educate students at the government school about menstrual health and her lessons that come with a touch of popular cinema surely connect the youngsters with reality. She adds, “Students find it a lot easier to connect with us as teachers, if we speak a language that they understand. Not only does it make us accessible for all their questions but also makes them curious to learn better.”
Similarly, Ritika Anand identified how students were excited about Chandrayaan-3 and used the opportunity to guide them towards knowledge. A teacher in Physics and vice principal of St. Mark’s Senior Secondary Public School in Meera Bagh, Anand says, “The students at my school were had earlier attended a screening of the Mission Mangal movie, which got them interested in Astrophysics. I often conduct offbeat classes and interact with them about what they are watching in terms of movies, and get curious about it especially if the films are based on scientific topics. In fact, that’s how I had three classes dedicated only to discuss the concepts of double-slit experiment in Oppenheimer!”
Their practice is in stark contrast to teachers in yesteryear who would often lament the act of students preferring to watch films over studying. “Pehle movies bhi aisi nahi aati thi that were based on themes that can help educate youngsters,” says Anand, adding, “Now, if we do have movies with a message then why not propagate this medium as a means to help students learn better. After all, our motive is to guide them towards knowledge-seeking. And it’s always good to have examples from popular culture as it helps students come up with queries because it enables them to understand things better.”