Pedagogy

AXF’s flagship program involves creation and running of free learning centers for first generation learners, where school going children who reside in the slums of Mumbai interact with educated adults. The intent of the interaction is to help the children develop language and logic skills coupled with a conscious effort to groom and mentor to grow into responsible citizens.

Activities at AXF include identifying ideal public spaces like covered spots in parks, procuring permissions, registering beneficiary children, regular recruitment & training of volunteers, appointing teams for running centers, managing day to day operations, managing finance & accounts, pedagogy including development of curriculum, lesson plans, assessments, M&E, collaborations and visibility.

Over the last 2 years, a lot of work has gone into lesson planning and curriculum development as well as in M&E with centralized assessments, data collation, and reporting being introduced.
AXF’s curriculum is experience-driven and continuously improved based on feedback of volunteers & expert external consultants.

One of our biggest strengths today is having successfully designed our teaching methodology in way where we are able to cater to our students as per their subject ability, irrespective of their grade and age. Along with this we try and maintain a minimum teacher to student ratio ideally 10:1so maximum personal attention can be provided to students.

We started out as classes for English and Math based on school curriculum but our experience has
caused us to reinvent ourselves into a life skills training and mentor ship program.

Over a period of time we have realized that while the school curriculum is good it is limiting. It is a matter based curriculum. Individual thought is not encouraged.

Based on the Pratham curriculum for English, acquired in 2015 we have added substantial material to help children develop their skills for comprehension along with ability to think independently and express effectively.

For Math the committee conferred together at length to decide that dividing kids into groups based on knowledge of concepts and teaching select level-appropriate concepts from Oxford Mental Math books. We have found that the results were satisfactory.

Here too, most of our volunteers agree that the school system does not encourage kids to discover and explore as compared to doing a pure memory/training exercise. The children just do what is told rather than developing logical thinking and problem-solving skills.

A clear deficit in the basics of Math is detected in most of our students. Memorizing as opposed to understanding and integrating on ones thought process is quite volatile and can be forgotten fast. Especially in the higher grades, students are able to do complex and lengthy geometrical demonstrations, but they are not able to apply this knowledge or strategies to solve problems in a real-life situation.

Through AXF we hope to not only stimulate their brains in a way that they develop new and constructive thinking processes but also show them that advance Math can be useful and interesting rather than something they have to memorize to pass exams.

Impact

At AXF Learning centers

An effective curriculum, uniform assessment practices across centers that help with grouping and showcase impact effectively, volunteer orientation and training processes, data compilation and reporting. Presently we are working on creating a system that will help us with data storage and report generation.

Assessments and Reporting

Academic year at AXF begins in June with Baseline assessments. The results help sort kids into groups based on their knowledge quotient & learning abilities. Mid-line and End-line assessments are conducted in October and March to evaluate the learning acquired by the children as well as the effectiveness of teaching methodologies from the curriculum taught through the year. Results are fortified with volunteer feedback on both academic and qualitative improvement before regrouping is done for the next year.

Results of baseline survey vs end line survey

% of Competency

Students Level

English Assessment:

Baseline    Endline

2014-15    2015-16

56%          17%         E0 (Nothing & Alphabet)

20%          25%         E2 (Word)

10%          30%         E3 (Story)

14%          28%         E4 (Comprehension)

Math Assessment:

Baseline   Endline

2014-15   2015-16

66%         28%        M1 (Weak)

34%         72%        M2 (Grade Appropriate)

(Results are as per sample size of about 500 students across 6 batches).

There is significant improvement in the language and logic skills in the weakest of children, the sharper ones progress beyond compare. The importance of education and learning in general is stressed upon at our centers, All 30 students from across AXF centers who appeared for their SSC in 2016 have passed, some of them scoring over 80%.

In addition, there is visible change in overall attitude. Gradually the children become responsible, aware, better groomed, and conduct themselves with poise & dignity. A badly behaved child facing a poor environment at home also becomes mellow, as a sense of belonging to AXF starts to compensate in some ways. Compliments on our kids being well-behaved & confident are common.

Special impact report carried out in baseline exams of 2016 (coming soon)