Successful completion of the Workshop entitled ‘The role of School building and outdoor environment on children’s learning’

We were supposed to hold this workshop in the beginning of February. Due to some unavoidable reasons we had to postpone it but we are really happy to inform you all that the workshop was held last saturday, 14 March 2015 at Raipura PTI, Narsingdi. Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology was a partner in this effort. The purpose was to disseminate the knowledge we have gathered through the process of our research on children’s environment. We talked about the school environment as a whole with an emphasis on the outdoor environment of primary schools. I have worked with Tulatoli Government Primary School very closely for the last few months. During this period I have shared my views and opinions with the teachers and also come to know about many things in close interaction with the teachers for hours.

While I was in Edinburgh me and Dr Simon Bell thought about organizing a workshop so that we can include the design ideas from diverse group of teachers for the development of the school ground. During my visit to the USA to attend the prestigious EDRA conference where I met Dr Mohammed Zakiul Islam and found out that Zaki sir is also thinking about such a workshop. We discussed about arranging this workshop over email and skype several times after going back to Edinburgh. Zaki sir has been working on arranging this since he was back from USA to Bangladesh.

After coming back to Bangladesh for field survey we again met and talked about this. Due to the shortage of time mainly I could not arrange it before the development work started in Tulatoli Primary School. But later on we have thought of arranging a workshop where the teachers will be engaged in more rigorous session about how they can use the school ground for teaching. The principal purpose was to build the confidence in the teachers about teaching in the school ground. The workshop would have been difficult to arrange without the unconditional support from Dr M Zakiul Islam. Professor Robin Moore, a pioneer researcher in this field  has kindly given his consent to contribute in the workshop by sending a video and presentations. Dr Eva Silveirinha de Oliveira and Dr Sarah McGeown from the University of Edinburgh have also contributed in the workshop with great enthusiasm. Ahammad-al-muhaymin, lecturer, Department of Architecture and Muntazar Monsur, Post Doctoral Research Fellow from North Carolina State University graced the workshop with their wonderful talks respectively on the use of local materials in school architecture and the role of indoor-outdoor interface in children’s learning. Kashfia Alam Khan, working voluntarily as a research assistant and Abdullah Al Shafi Khan, a volunteer research support staff for the project made sure of the logistics support for the workshop.

At long last when the workshop is finally arranged it focused on letting the participants know about the importance of school’s physical environment, how local materials can be used for the development of the school environment and how the school ground can be designed and developed to teach different curriculum content to children. The participants were also led to the newly developed Tulatoli Government Primary School for a practical experience of a designed school ground for learning. The participant teachers really enjoyed this part of the workshop about which most of them opined as the most interesting part of the workshop. They also liked other sessions. They enjoyed the practical session where they made the layout of a school in groups of five members where anyone of the group members teaches and did brainstorm about how the school ground can be developed relating to different curriculum contents. They evaluated the workshop in a four point likert scale. They also evaluated the design of the school ground with respect to teaching and learning and also filled up the questionnaire about children’s motivation and attitude towards learning in the indoors and outdoors.

Due to time and funding constraints only one school has been developed this time. But the workshop tried to guide the teachers how they can easily develop the school ground with minimal changes at lower costs using locally available materials. They have also been given directions how they can organize their classes for a workout in the outdoors.

Here are some pictures of the workshop-

Dr Mohammed Zakiul Islam delivering his talk

First session on importance of school outdoor on children’s learning

Ahammad-al-muhaymin delivering his talk

During the field trip at Tulatoli Primary School (Photo Credit: unknown)

Explaining different behaviour settings of the school ground (Photo credit: Kashfia Alam Khan)

Practical session

Practical session: making layout plans

Working closely on one school ground in groups

Presentation of the school layout by the participants

Presentation of the school layout by the participants

Certificate Giving Ceremony

Group Photo at the end

All the photos except the mentioned ones in the brackets are credited to Abdullah Al Shafi Khan.

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