On the occasion of Teachers’ Day, the ENLIGHT project in Chennai felicitated the kutty teachers for their efforts in teaching their peers and juniors. They were honored with Kutty teacher button badges quoted as “KARPOM KARPIPOM- Learn and Teach”.
The idea of ‘Kutti Teacher’ has its roots in the observation that children learn faster with the support of peer member/s. Children with low competency levels are usually demotivated, shy and resistant to learning. Their fear of failure and rebuke turns barrier to the learning process. They also develop a sense of inferiority complex which resists from seeking help/support. With peer members, they somehow feel assured, comfortable and turn co-operative. They accept them as mentors whom they can trust and dependable at any time. They find Kutti Teacher as someone with whom they can share their fears, doubts, inhibitions, and aspirations without hesitation or feeling inferior.
Children who score ‘A’ in the competency assessment exercise are encouraged to become mentors for those with low competencies. But before undertaking the responsibility of being a ‘mentor’, they first undergo training on basic teaching techniques, use of simple Teaching Learning Materials and the use of apt rhymes/ folk songs.
The ‘kutty teacher’ concept was first experimented in ENLIGHT Trichy Project and as the results turned to be positive and encouraging, it was replicated in Chennai, Salem and Bengaluru. Each Kutty Teacher supported two/three children. Today there are 65 Kutty Teachers in action. The Kutty Teachers not only assist in faster learning amongst children but also build a sense of solidarity and support for the weak amongst the children! They are embodiments of courage, hope, and positivity for those with fear & inferior complexity. They are accepted well also because they belong from the same socio-economic and geographical platform and are well aware of the dynamics and challenges that children face. The Kutty Teachers also play a key role in managing the centres in the absence of the centre co-ordinator.