09 April 2011

Stories in school textbooks

Good stories have always been an effective teaching resource in classrooms.  Our textbooks need to contain as many good stories as possible.

Though I have used stories in my own teaching, it was not until I began working in `Chandamama' (a children's magazine from Chennai) for a few months, that I ever thought of writing one.  One of my career responsibilities at Chandamama was to write short stories in English, which would then be translated by someone else, for publication in the children's section of `Dainik Bhaskar', a Hindi language periodical published in Northern part of India.

One of my short stories is as follows:   

Biju’s back pain

It’s Sunday evening. Biju spent the whole day out with his friends and forgot all about Monday’s English test at school. He returns home after play and takes a fresh bath. It’s 8 o’ clock. His mother says, “Biju, dinner is ready. Don’t waste your time. You have to prepare for tomorrow’s English test.’ This worries him.

Well, what does Biju like to do at school? Sometimes, he finds it so interesting to watch what’s happening outside the window that he completely misses the teacher’s lessons and all those important points that she writes on the board.

It is 8.15. Biju sits at the dining table. His plate contains vegetable soup, yoghurt and a few fruits. He usually relishes them. But now, they look like monsters saying, “Hey, tomorrow morning Ms Sen will be in your class with her question paper. How are you going to handle it?” This terrifies him. He has to act swiftly before it is too late. Within a few minutes of no nonsense planning, he gets the idea!

As he eats his dinner, he groans frequently. His parents get anxious and ask as to what is wrong with him. He groaningly replies, “Oh, my hands and back are paining so much that I cannot even lift the water bottle”! His dad says, “Biju, that’s what happens when you play the whole day. Any way, it doesn’t matter. You can stay away from school tomorrow and take rest”. This is exactly what Biju expected, after all! He is happy that the ordeal has ended.

He spends the next day without watching much TV. He is both sorry and happy. In the evening he phones Nelson, his classmate, to find out about the test. Nelson says, “There was an unexpected change in the class time table this morning. There was a magic show. Hence Ms Sen said that today’s test is postponed for tomorrow and will contain more questions to answer”. Biju almost `faints'.

Moral: Don’t cheat.

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.