A hands-on learning aid

Madhulika Sagaram

Becoming even more courageous is an attractive workbook full of engaging imagery and illustrations and quite suitable for the primary years. The strength of the book is in its simplistic yet meaningful activities across all subjects and disciplines. The author very skilfully weaves multiple intelligences into a gamut of activities to be able to involve and engage all types of learners.

Language development is the fundamental aspect of learning and the book does a great job of including reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. An added bonus is the two activities on media literacy which is a must in this age of technology and media invasion. Mathematics involves data handling, measurement, probability, geometry, patterns and algebra along with an understanding of numbers. The art segment includes visual arts, music, dance and movement, drama, and media arts which also includes photography. Science is brought in to include biology and physics, this is a segment that could have been more robust, however the readers and users should remember that this book has its focus on courage and is not intended towards subjects as such.

I am particularly impressed with the health and wellbeing section, the focus on identity and relationships is fantastic! It provides young audiences, especially children in primary years, a framework to understand their life through their own sense of self and the relationships that mould their life. The importance of an active lifestyle and healthy nutrition is emphasized through activities that will be meaningful to young minds and hearts. Activities on intercultural awareness are a wonderful surprise and in the context of group work, provide the facilitator an anchor to include children from various backgrounds.

The social studies section is such a breath of fresh air! It looks at various aspects of the child’s lived experience to include social structure, culture, the idea of time and how it changes along with culture. While, history and geography are interwoven into civilizations and environment, economics and the working of the world keeps the tone quite pragmatic and practical. There is a whole section on technology and it involves activities that help the child understand the nuts and bolts of hardware and appliances, software and applications, internet and responsible digital citizenship. All the learning is finally brought together using multiple intelligences and reflections. The focus on multiple intelligence theory enables children with varied abilities to engage and learn according to their natural disposition.

What is striking is the very attractive visual imagery throughout the book! The book is quite engaging and will be suitable for a classroom, to engage a child during vacations and possibly trips too! The learning approach flows lightly throughout the book and connects critical thinking with empathy and practical life skills. Communication skills involving body language, various aspects of vocabulary, self-esteem and confidence building initiatives are spread throughout the book. Overall, the book will be a delight for children and a helpful facilitation and teaching aid for teachers and parents. Teachers, parents, facilitators, after school programs will be richer in their collection by adding this hands-on experiential learning aid to their programs.

The reviewer is the founder and president for Adhya Educational Society, a non-profit engaged in improving the quality of education in underserved government and private schools. She is also the founder of Ajahn Books, Ajahn Education Foundation and Ajahn Center for Pedagogy. She works with a vision to develop research and development engaging with theory, practice and outreach of pedagogical perspectives in education across socio-cultural diversity in India and the world. She can be reached at madhusagaram@gmail.com.

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