Innovation in Social Change

Innovation in Social Change

Frugal innovation is the central theme around which all of Sampark’s programs are designed. In line with this philosophy Sampark launched a 3 year research project to bring together all innovative, frugal good practices, experiences and knowledge in the primary education domain and developed a unique Sampark Pedagogy Framework (SPF) that will help create maximum impact at lowest cost possible for over 100 million children studying in primary schools in India.

Design - At the core of our design is an assumption that “if we can get a child excited about learning nothing will stop her from getting to where she wants to go irrespective of all the constraints she will face on the way.” We also believe that enthusiasm of a child to learn is contagious and will energize the sleeping system to wake up and jump in that energy pool of enthusiasm for learning. Our research has shown that child can get enthusiastic about learning with intervention on three axes.

 Show me - Visually attractive teaching tools that bring back the excitement of going into a class. The teacher faces the children and plays with colorful kits to teach concepts. A big departure from the teachers back and the dull black Board.
 Play with me - The best way to learning is through games. By converting all concepts into innovative games-learning is fun again and the class suddenly has high energy.
 Tell me a story- We all know children are most influenced by stories and local folk lore are the best if incorporated in the class.

Methodology: The core of our signature SPF Pedagogy is the colorful “Math Kit” and “English Kit”, classroom teaching leaning material (TLM) that transforms the curriculum for each class into a sequence of concrete and manageable learning units. Students move through a continuum of activities, stories and games which consists of 5 processes: learning a concept, applying it in multiple ways, evaluation of what is learned, enrichment, and remedial exercises.

The Math’s Kit -The breakthrough idea came from observing Spastic children with short spans of attention learn math’s using colorful materials. Inspired by that idea for each concept colorful TLM has been designed and introduced through a story and games in the classroom. Eg Bhagat Singh is a folk hero and a freedom fighter who the British Raj police would find difficult to catch. On the number line you see in this photo the teacher will move the police( A toy on the number line) to various points and ask the students to move Bhagat Singh so that he is always are a distance of say 8 steps away. Concepts of counting, more and less, addition and subtraction suddenly become fun to learn and the class will work very hard every day to save Bhagat Singh from being captured. The enthusiasm generated by this methodology to learn has been so contagious that the teacher is also excited and actively takes part in the processes using the innovative TLM. Simultaneously the learning outcomes have shown improvement without changing anything else in the system.


The focus of the Math initiative is to move away from numerical procedures and calculations to the ability to think mathematically to solve problems by building a child’s capacity for logical analysis and handling abstractions. Children should be able to see patterns and make connections between concepts within maths as well as with other subjects and solve unstructured problems from real life using maths. One of the ways to do this is to use activities and concrete materials to introduce and develop math concepts. In the classroom creating opportunities for children learning from each other helps in making learning of math less intimidating.


The pedagogy is split in two levels, Level 1 focuses on concepts covered in class 1 & 2 while Level 2 is aligned with the syllabus of class 3, 4 & 5. In each of these levels, the concepts are grouped in four broad areas: Numbers & Operations; Geometry; Measurements; as well as Patterns, Data Handling and Problem Solving. Each class is provided with a Math kit with multiple teaching aids that cover all the Math concepts in class 1 to 5. A teacher’s manual describes the way a concept can be progressively introduced and mastered using TLM and written practice using square line notebooks. It also includes ideas for games, formative assessments and areas that need focus. An introductory hands-on training for teachers covering all the early grade math concepts introduces teachers to the philosophy, methodology and the use of TLM.


English The English Kit -The English problem in        elementary schools was a bigger challenge as  the 100,000 teachers in the state we started  with; most did not know how to speak English.  We did not have the money or power  availability to use computers. Our search took  us in designing an audio device that could  record and play content. We then recorded the  English Rhymes in the voices of a private  school child of similar age and the teacher  asked students to repeat what they heard.  However the innovation was not the device but the next idea where at the end of the week the teacher would grade the classes if they met, beat or miss the benchmark compared to the private school child. As expected no child wanted to go home unless they got the teacher to say they beat or at least met the recorded child and it became a different challenge for the school. However suddenly the enthusiasm to learn English went up multifold and we started a complex journey with the biggest challenge solved but the battle still to be won.

A programme needs to run for 3 to 5 years for any discernible outcomes to be seen on the ground. On the basis of inputs from teachers, observations of classroom practices, a study of text-books from various States, the guidelines, as well as some of the internationally accepted teaching programmes, a teacher-training package has been designed, with the LSRW progression running through as a common thread. The emphasis in the first year is on encouraging teachers to SPEAK, build their confidence with simple exercises in teams and pairs along with feedback by the facilitator, to complete the learning loop. The second year we focus on material for READING and developing vocabulary and language skills, with exercises based on these passages. The third year emphasises more on WRITING skills and practice for structures and grammar. The module has been designed keeping in mind the capacity of the average teacher in a Government school at the primary level, as also issues of scalability. The training of teachers serves to build confidence in the teachers and gives them numerous opportunities to practice English language skills, in a persuasive, friendly environment.

A Teacher Manual with guidelines to implement this package in the class is also provided, which hand-holds the teacher through sample conversation lessons. Early lessons rely largely on Total Physcial Response (TPR) activities that means in the initial days students may not reply, they only need to follow instructions. Slowly they graduate to one word answer, then use phrases and later move to short sentences. Rhymes and oral word games are also an important part of the handbook. There are stories provided, so also a script for a simple role-play by students. Teachers can add their own ideas during classroom teaching, create their own additional teaching aids besides what is provided.

Indians First: Fellowship
Sampark provides a framework for the best young minds from India and abroad to join hands and gain the experience in Development Programs in India thus providing them an opportunity to empathize with communities, understand their struggles and connect with their aspirations. The aim is to enable such individuals to become catalysts of change and help to create a more equitable society.

Sampark Foundation – Indian First (IF) is a fellowship program initiated, funded and managed by the Sampark Foundation. It provides a framework for the best young minds from India and abroad to join hands and gain the experience in Development Programs in India thus providing them an opportunity to empathize with communities, understand their struggles and connect with their aspirations. The aim is to enable such individuals to become catalysts of change and help to create a more equitable society.

The Fellowship seeks to develop a cadre of high quality professionals committed to the cause of social change with result orientation, through hands-on leadership and capacity development. The program is a 2 year commitment in which the Fellow will be inducted and placed on a project with coaching support from Sampark.



Start a conversation
Post comment