ISP Hyderabad Bureau
Pilli Govindarajulu from the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh is doing what every education scientist dreams of making education more interesting for children. He and his wife Sreedevi, both government school teachers, have mastered the art of puppetry and are using their skills to make the curriculum for children more lively and fun to approach.
“Using puppetry in the classroom was an idea which I got from my teacher’s training. We knew that our region has a tradition of puppet making which is dying down. I tried using puppets innovatively to recharge children during my classes. Now they wait for the session because they know it is going to be fun,” says Govindarajulu to ISP.
We aim to make education for every child a joyful experience. They should not be burdened to learn new concepts in any subject, adds Sreedevi, who accompanies Govindarajulu in every session he takes to train teachers and parents in the region.
Puppetry, an old form of art, is finding acceptance with the education department and parents now due to the efforts of this couple. The art form is a traditional skill of the Kakinada region of East Godavari district. The place has a history of more than 300 hundred years of legacy of Puppetry making and using it for festivals and religious discourses. While there was a time when puppet from the region was exported, today, the artisans in the field are struggling to make ends meet due to the lowered demand.
A surge in the use of puppets for education purposes is slated to increase demands for puppets across the country, says Govindrajulu.
While there is still no organised effort to make puppets for education, Govindrajulu and his wife Sreedevi use their personal savings to make puppets as per the school syllabus in their home after school. To keep it affordable and nature-friendly, they use strings, hand gloves and materials such as paper pulp, paper, rags and wood chips available at home to make beautiful puppets for the children.
They have now made a wide range of puppets from body parts to animals to use according to chapters taught in the school. They have also installed a YouTube channel to post their videos of puppetry classes and make it reach far and wide. Apart from puppets, the duo is also popular in the region for using props in the class for teaching.
“You cannot teach the child about Thomas Alva Edison and his inventions without showing the actual bulb in the class. That is the principle I follow. More than teaching, it is important to catch up with the imagination of the child,” says Govindrajulu to ISP.
The innovative teaching method of Govindrajulu and Sreedevi has also caught the imagination of the education department. They are now asked to train the teachers in the district in puppet making. Skills in cutting, colouring and making household items out of plastic bottles are being passed on to the students and their parents through these mentorship sessions by the couple.