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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Critical Pedagogy

Ratheesh Kaliyadan

While teaching the methods of reporting in Govt. Girls Higher Secondary School, Thalassery, Kerala I assigned my learners to find out a story from their own surroundings. We made certain criteria for their stories. All of them are girls. So provide preference to women. They can introduce anybody whom previously exposed by media. The client should have something special. Bearing the traditional news values in mind, they tried their best to break the traditional values like celebrity.

A lot of innovative stories flew to our class room. Budding scribes became active and enthusiastic with their works. Majority of the stories prepared by my children are virgin. They were followed by mainstream journalists later.

One among the virgin stories got immediate attention. It was prepared by fathimathul Misriya. She approached Khadeesathumma, a poor old lady hailing from the suburban part of Thalasseri. She lived alone in a hut made of sacks and other petty materials. The age old lady was survived by her goats. Loneliness is broken in the company of her pets. She ‘owns’ more than ten goats.

Misriya approached her, made an interview and exposed the pathetic condition. Added a professionally poor photograph captured by using her point shoot camera. The story became a hit among the classmates.

The collected reports put in a wall paper and exhibited in school notice board. Total strength in the class is divided I ten groups. Each group made a wall newspaper in a week. Review of first new paper made the activity in a competitive mood.

Part of Parent Teachers Association general body meeting, all newspapers exhibited for the public. Media persons also invited to report the exhibition of the wall newspapers. Scribes followed several stories prepared by our little children journalists. Two leading newspapers namely Madhyamam and Deshabhimany made an attentive coverage to Khadeesumma story highlighting her state of life.

The living status of this poor old lady became a public issue. Different old age home managers and Non-Governmental Organizations expressed their interest to protect the lady. But she refused to leave her goats. At last the Additional District magistrate, one of the topmost revenue bureaucrat in the region approached her and handed over a ration card with a facility to collect ration rice without payment. From a wall newspaper prepared by a little girl as part of her studies a lady became ‘fortunate’ to get a new ration card and a governmental support. From the four walls of a class room a social activism is boomed! This is a humble reply to critics of Critical Pedagogy and to those who ask what can you do in a class room. The hesitating teachers are those who keep their intelligentsia and imagination in cold storages. Believe we teachers have a lot to do.

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