Kabir Vajpeyi is an architect who introduced the Building as learning Aid concept along with other unconventional ideas in which parts of the school building play a major role in engaging children in subjects like Mathematics and Science. He stated that the objective is to come up with unique designs using school spaces and architecture in a way conducive to child development. Vajpayi conceptualized specially designed window security grills that can help preschoolers develop gross motor skills and make older students understand fractions. Angles are marked on the door or the classroom floor and can be used to decode basic geometry along with painted ceiling fans with coloured wheels can make children enjoy colour formations and understand rotational symmetry.
He had an inclination towards applied science since childhood and states, “I am using a common element in all rural schools — physical infrastructure — to improve quality of education”. Building as Learning Aid (BaLA) translates abstract theories of child development into an actionable pool of simple design innovations which can be implemented by principals, teachers and engineers in new and existing schools to enhance student-friendly education.
Dream a Dream, which is a non-profit organization that empowers underprivileged youngsters by teaching them creative life skills, some government schools have adopted Kabir’s model to impart knowledge. Rudramani AS, teacher and block resource person of Bhadravati School in Shivamogga district that has recently switched to the methodology states, “The BaLA method maximizes the educational value of the school space by using parts of the building as teaching instruments. This makes the learning process more interactive. Abstract concepts are explained through concrete structures of different dimensions, textures and shapes, making the teachers’ job easier and boosting students’ enthusiasm. After we implemented the project, children’s involvement in the learning process has gone up by leaps and bounds.” These new innovative learning techniques are sure to go a long way.
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