The Story of Walnut Learning System
The uniqueness of a Walnut classroom comes through its learning system designed by Arpita Karkarey. This is why students can experience a perfectly systematic way of learning.
Extensive research has been done by Arpita and her team for more than two decades on how students learn different concepts at different ages in the best possible way – the background they need, the examples that make it easy, the explanation that helps the realisation and the amount of time and practice needed too. With all this, Arpita has a plan of how each period can be taught in the best possible way.
Executing it properly is a very important thing. Every teacher who teaches in a Walnut classroom has to teach in the same way that Arpita would have taught. The whole learning system is designed to make this happen. Here’s a quick overview of the philosophy and creation of the learning system The Strength of Detailing
Here’s a quick overview of the philosophy and creation of the learning system
The Strength of Detailing
The smallest unit of classroom teaching time is a period. So we break down what has to be taught over the whole year, add in the revisions and practice tests and exams and then plan what each period has to cover. This plan is the CURRICULUM MAP.
The period is planned in such a way that just one core concept is covered. There is some teaching, some discussion and some exercise to be done in every period. Since the activity keeps changing even within a period, the students don’t get bored. They remain attentive throughout the class. All these things ensure that the concept is solidified. Then, for period 2 it is possible to build on the foundation of period 1.
This is how we progress systematically from period to period. This has been executed very effectively for over 20 years.
Good. Better. Best
There are many more hidden benefits of this learning system. Because of this, the teaching style and speed across all classrooms is uniform. The students do not have to keep adjusting to a new styles of teaching when the teacher changes.
As each child gets the notes in print, the teacher does not have to waste time ‘dictating’ things in the class. As the material is all given to the teacher ahead of time, she saves her energy to focus on whether the students are getting the concepts. She spends that saved energy in checked their work, giving them feedback and keeping them on track.
Because of the presentations, she does not have to write on the board to explain, so she always has eye contact with the students as she teaches and she can make sure they understand.
No fear of Examinations
As you can now gauge, countless hours have been spent in planning, observing and tweaking to make the learning system effective. We even select our teachers after three rounds of tests and then they go through a lot of training to understand the philosophy of Walnut and how to execute the learning system.
The curriculum map is the schedule that the teachers have to follow. There are revision periods planned after an entire lesson is covered. There are practice tests every quarter and prelims as we come close to the end of the term. Regular practice eliminates the fear of examination. They are ready for exams as they solve a variety of questions. Everything becomes so much simpler and beautiful.
Every Classroom Period is Precious
So, how is this one period taught? The teacher refers to the curriculum map to see what has to be taught in that period. Then she checks out the lesson plan for that period which points her to lots of material. She has a presentation which she has to use for about one third of the class time to explain the concept planned for that period.
Since all Walnut classrooms are digital classrooms, this brings consistency in quality in teaching. Also the teacher does not have to turn her back to the students as she does not have to write on the board. As she keeps facing the students and teaching with PPTs that Arpita has designed herself, the teaching becomes really enjoyable and effective! At the end of every presentation there are recaps to quickly revise the concepts taught. Then there are discussion questions that the students have to form answers to.
That makes them apply the learning while it is still fresh in their mind. They have to remember, analyse and formulate their thoughts immediately. This takes up another one third of the period. Now, in the last one third, the teacher distributes the study material. There are quick notes of the concept discussed and exercises related to what was just taught for the students to do. So, they learn, discuss and write about their learnings and finish the period.
The “Purane Zamaane Waala” Teaching vs Walnut
This is so different from the conventional style of teaching. Say, a lesson is taught over 5 periods. The teacher would teach for 3 periods and then all the children would do question answers for 2 periods. So for the whole period they would just be either reading or writing.
On some days most of the teachers would have only teaching – so the students would just be listening to lectures all day and get bored. On some days most of the teachers may have only question answers. So, students could be just writing all day and get fed up. And where is the revision and all planned here? And once you start getting bored you stop paying attention. Then, where is the learning happening? With Arpita’s system, each period has all the variety of activities. So, there is never any monotonous day or period. That keeps the children fresh and alert and then, they are ready to learn!
The Walnut Learning System educational material is provided exclusively by re:Think Educational Systems Pvt. Ltd, a boutique curriculum material creation company, headquartered in Pune.