Roohi Sultana is a Kashmiri Language teacher at the Boys Middle School, Kashipora, in the Anantnag District of Jammu & Kashmir State. She is well-known in the valley for the unconventional teaching methods she uses in her classroom. Being creative herself and trained in the Art Integrated Learning by the National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sultana is a role model for many educators.
Household scraps that can be found at children’s homes or nearby shops, and can be converted into teaching apparatus are her tools. As she teaches the underprivileged community, she is cautious of not burdening the parents to pay for expensive supplies.
Sultana told The Better India, “I used shells of walnuts and pistachios and fixed them to their original shape. Sponges were used as a brush to paint mango seeds to understand colours. My students love and enjoy learning through this method. I have modified all these items in such a way that they could be used again to teach other classes as well.” Her other techniques involve creating songs to teach proper pronunciation. Being a language teacher, she has seen a lot of improvement among her students due to this fun routine.
She’s also a well-known calligrapher and produces content for DIKSHA, a platform for training teachers, and for the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education. Sultana has been conferred with the National Award by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, on having unconventionally brilliant teaching ways to help children from low-income families get educated.
Though her fight doesn’t stop there. Due to school closure after the COVID-outbreak and the ever-increasing internet issues in the region, Sultana took it upon her to keep teaching her students. Not just her old students from school but children of other underprivileged families, too, are treated equally in her class. She believes that no child should go untaught just because their family cannot own gadgets and their school is shut.
“I follow all the SOPs by wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and keeping a hand sanitiser in my pocket. I teach students lessons and give them assignments for the coming days. Not just my students, it includes children who are studying in other schools be it private or government-owned,” she said.
Mohammad Younis Malik, Director, School Education Department, Kashmir, appreciated her work and teaching style by saying, “Roohi ji has made good use of the ‘Early Childhood and Care Education’ concept and has worked hard over the years. Teaching kindergarten students writing and learning on scrap requires creativity.”
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