May 20, 2006

Lively laboratories

How did Kutchery Road get its name?
Why were the tanks of two temples linked to each other?
If ThiruMayilai is a busy station on the MRTS railway line, how did Luz come to be the hub of the trams of an earlier time?
Interesting questions can provide insightful answers and provoke interesting debates.
And this is what a small group hopes will happen when a new project gets underway in July for the schools in the Mylapore neighbourhood.
The project is an initiative of the 'Namma Mylapore' group, which has been addressing heritage, civic and community issues at the core of this well known neighbourhood.
It intends to enlighten senior school students in this area on the history of the area and its relevance in life today.
So, this summer a few volunteers worked on the idea and came up with a two-part project.
One - to build a kit of slides, pictures and a map that would showcase Mylapore in the classroom.
And two, to enlist the services of teachers and retired people who would carry the kit to schools during the weekdays and make a colourful presentation and lead a lively discussion.
And if the classroom talk and discussion enthuses the young ones, then the group will offer to take the class of students on a walk through the interesting nooks of Mylapore.
The intention, as is evident, is to encourage our young people to be aware of the area where they reside and study.
A similar project can be undertaken in all our neighbourhoods by the schools here.
A start could be made by getting senior school students to go out and map the area.
Besides mapping the interesting and historical landmarks, they could also collect data on the forms of activity, composition of people and businesses, locate public and private utilities and conduct short interviews on subjects like housing and open spaces and water supply.
With the help of senior teachers, the data and the information could be tabulated and schools could then come out with booklets on the neighbourhoods.
In doing this, our young people would have got a closer look at their neighbourhood. And they would be proud of a worthy study, which can be handed down to their juniors and updated year after year.
Perhaps it is time our schools woke up to the fact that students must not stop with mixing acids and dissecting frogs in the labs.
They should also be encouraged to explore their neighbourhood. These are lively laboratories.


Maiji said...

A worthy and worthwhile project, which I hope schools will seriously consider taking up.

geetha said...

I would like to lead a team which is prepared to map Abhiramapuram First street.They can phone me at 24991813.
Geetha Balakrishnan