An open-air class in Visva-Bharati. File picture
Santiniketan, March 4: Visva-Bharati authorities are planning to draw Patha Bhavana students out of the confines of the classroom and put the budding minds in the midst of nature, following in Tagore’s footsteps.
Senior varsity officials said the earlier practice of practical learning in subjects such as science and geography would be revived.
“During Tagore’s time, teachers used to take out children to familiarise them with nature. The teachers used to tell the students about the stars, birds, plants and insects,” an official said.
“We really miss teachers like Jagadananda Roy, who used to take out students at night and tell them about the stars. He taught the students the names of stars and explained the solar system,” the official added.
Roy was asked by Tagore in 1901 to teach science and mathematics at Patha Bhavana. “Roy became popular for his style of explaining science through stories and anecdotes,” the official said.
Patha Bhavana was set up by Tagore in 1901 with the aim of imparting education in the midst of nature. He suggested open-air classes.
Between February 21 and 23 this year, nine open-air workshops and a seminar were held at Patha Bhavana. Teachers interacted with students on a host of topics.
“In one of the workshops, Nor’wester or kalbaisakhi was discussed. We went beyond the textbook definition and drew diagrams to explain how the storm builds up. We also told the students about storms in other countries, such as twisters in America,” a Patha Bhavana teacher said.
Another teacher said: “Tagore did not want students to consider education a burden. But Tagore’s way of teaching gradually faded away after the 1950s.”
The principal of Patha Bhavana, Bodhirupa Sinha, said: “We will lay stress on practical learning in the midst of nature. We also plan to ask Visva-Bharati teachers to write books for our students. These books will be written keeping Tagore’s tradition of practical learning in mind.”