Best Practice : 1

1.Title of the Practice : Green learning environment-“Teach with Nature”

2.Objectivesof the Practice: Inspire environmental and conservation stewardship by engaging students and the community in outdoor activities that connect them with naturalsurroundings.Encourage responsible natural resource use and a lifelong love of the outdoors. Build an environmentally conscious and literate citizenry. We have been exploring and exploiting our natural resources to the maximum extent possible. Now a tine has set in indicating the disastrous consequences of overexploitation in a mad rush to fulfill our unquenchable desires and greed. This planet earth is the only known habitation for human beings. We advanced in various aspects of science and technology at an alarming speed. Now we are at crossroads and have to ponder for a while about the future. If we continue our exploitation of natural resources without a rule and rhyme, we have to face the disastrous consequences and nature will boomerang at a certain point in the future.  To avoid this calamity we have to change our attitudes and adopt a nature-friendly attitude. We have to change our mindsets and habits. As habits die hard we have to struggle much to induce the principle of ‘live with nature’ in young minds. This can only be done in educational institutes. Nowadays technical education is playing an important role and it would be better to train these students on sounds lines of green learning. 

3.The context:Teaching in Nature is a structured approach to professional development in Outdoor Learning.It supports groups of educatorsto work together to use a nearby place that is special for nature to plan, implement and evaluate challenging and fun outdoor learning experiences for their pupils. It combines collaborative, practical and online approaches to support teachers through the next stage in their outdoor learning journey. It matches the experts on the curriculum (e.g. teachers) with the experts on the natural heritage. In the changed context of eco-consciousness, we have switched over to new approaches and methods. Here the principle of  ‘Green Learning Environment-“Teach with Nature” plays a major role.

4. The Practice: The environment plays a significant role in the process of teaching and learning. In India, we had a rich tradition of the Gurukula System of education for many years where students used to learn things from their teachers squatting before them in the Ashramas made of thatched huts. The huts meant for classrooms were naturally ventilated. In summer it will very cool inside those thatched classrooms. There was no need for artificial lighting or artificial air systems like fans or A.Cs etc. The huts are very cost-effective, and they can be built by raw materials readily available in the surrounding nature. These huts don’t have acoustic problems. We can maintain them at a low cost. As they are eco-friendly there will be no problems relating to health. They provide a natural atmosphere for learning and teaching.

        Our College is situated in lush coconut fields full of greenery. It consists of vast land where we can follow this type of education.We can have many thatched classrooms in the gardens where we can carry out teaching. At times the teaching in these classrooms in the changed atmosphere which is entirely different from routine classrooms situationis inspiring and interesting, The students enjoy learning things with great interest. A change from confining in a classroom makes the students feel happy. As the hut classrooms were situated at different places one far from the other there will be no much disturbance in the teaching and learning process. The teachers need not waste much of their energy to check the noise or disturbances from other classes. In the absence of unnecessary diversions, students can concentrate much on the subject and the teacher can feel at home in such a classroom atmosphere.There was no need to spend money on artificial lighting or artificial air systems like fans or A Cs etc. The huts are very cost-effective, and they can be built by raw materials readily available in the surrounding nature. These huts don’t have acoustic problems. We can maintain them at a low cost. As they are eco-friendly there will be no problems relating to health. They provide a natural atmosphere for learning and teaching.

     During summer the frequent current cuts cause great irritation to sit in closed rooms. In that case, hut classrooms provide much relief to the students. We need not spend money on the aeration facilities, and we can save electricity. The fresh cool breeze from the gardens is refreshing. Every year we can reconstruct the thatched huts and debris can easily be disposed of as it decomposes, and such types of structures are eco-friendly.It is very easy to construct or to repair these huts within a short time.

5.Evidence of success:It is evident from the above thatthe environment plays a beneficial and significant role in the teaching and learningprocess. In our Indian tradition, this system of education where students learn things from their teachers in the Ashramas made of thatched huts is in vogue. The huts meant for classrooms were naturally ventilated.As the huts are surrounded by green plants, they pump sufficient oxygen for the students to inhale. As the huts are made of thatched material, they will be no radiation and the atmosphere inside the class will be pollution-free. The huts which are in pyramid shape are better for carrying out meditation and education. That is why our temples and prayer halls will be built in a pyramid shape. Students studying in pyramid shape thatched houses will have much concentration. This concept was of carrying instruction under trees and in huts was followed by Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan with much success. Many took inspiration from it and started such types of educational institutions.

     Our College is situated in lush coconut fields full of greenery and it consists of vast land where we can follow the Shantiniketan type of education.We can have many thatched classrooms in the gardens where we carry out teaching at times for a change. This may not be possible for some institutions are located in cities and congested areas. As our institution is situated far from the madding crowds, the teaching in these classrooms in a serene atomospherewill be inspiring and interesting, which is entirely different from the teaching in the maddening atmosphere.

6.Problems encountered and resources required: Financial resources and changing the mindset of students are two major problems in implementing ‘Green Learning Environment-“Teach with Nature.”and we have to overcome these problems.We motivated our students as our college is situated in lush coconut fields full of greenery. It consists of vast land where we can follow the Shantiniketan type of education.We can have many thatched classrooms in the gardens where we carry out teaching. A changed atmosphere will be inspiring and interesting, which is entirely different from routine classrooms situation. The students are being trained to enjoy learning things with great interest in the hut students and concentrate much on the subject. Our college management is ready to spend the needed amount for the uplift of the college and better service to the student community at large. They have been doing much in the field of technical education and they are ready to take up new ventures like this.

7.Notes(optional):Our college campus is spread over nearly 25 acres of coconut garden and full greenery. We want to utilize this unique opportunity of having a vast tract of land full of greenery at our hands.  Keeping all the above things in mind and to feel close to nature and outdoor environment and to create a ‘Green learning environment’ and to ‘Teach with Nature’ we have developed 07 thatched huts for congenial teaching and learning environment. Students can sit there ,do their project works,interact with the faculty members and also discuss themselves. The purpose of “Teach with Nature” is to create a traditional learning system and “out of box thinking” among the students and also to give live examples. Learning in the lap of nature gives the students an all ameliorating experience and enriches one’s capabilities to learn things properly and profitably.

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