2020 saw more than a lot of destruction. It saw how resilient the education community can be and to what lengths a teacher would go to teach their students. Balaji Jadhav, a Zilla Parishad teacher in Vijay Nagar, Maharashtra, who had 40 children in his small classroom, found an innovative way to teach. Jadhav’s students come from lower-income families and could not afford smartphones and gadgets to keep learning like the rest of the world. But he didn’t let a small thing like money come in between him and his teaching and hence, decided to keep the learning going on via conference calls.
Jadhav started calling 10 children at a time and would teach them on calls, and he would use storytelling as the way of teaching.
In the beginning, he would call his students in the evening as well and ask them to narrate the previously told stories, the older students would get writing the story as assignments. Jadhav is now making up story learning material for educational topics and also recording them for children of neighbouring Zillas. This teacher does not only want to help his own students but is offering the stories to other teachers and students who may benefit from his and his students’ recorded stories.
For his efforts, he was recognised internationally when he won the international HBN Creativity & Inclusive Awards announced on 24 December 2020. About 2500 entries from 87 nations were sent for the award that appreciates ideas for creativity and innovation or traditional knowledge practices. Only 11 participants could win the award and Balaji Jadhav, a teacher from a small Zilla in Maharashtra, India, won hearts with his practices! We’re thrilled and proud!