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Linkages Between Pedagogy and Practice

V. Lakshmi Narayanan

By Poonam Batra
Sage Publications, Delhi, 2010, pp. 320 + xiii, Rs.425.00

VOLUME XXXIV NUMBER 11 November 2010

Social Science Learning in Schools explores the central role of the teacher, importance of textbooks, and methods of social science enquiry in teaching-learning processes of school education in India. The collection of articles in this book presents an analysis of Eklavya’s social science texts which have been in use for 15 years in government schools in Madhya Pradesh. Each of the articles re-establish the significance of familiarizing children with a basic understanding about societies and social change, helping them develop critical skills essential for social analysis, understanding diversities of perception and assessing sources of identities to build a just and egalitarian social order (p. xi) Exploring the space around the agency of the child and the teacher in the teaching and learning of social sciences, the book portrays a journey that links the teaching of social science with pedagogical theory by addressing ideological concerns embedded in the selection and presentation of social science materials in consonance with the developmental context of learners. It demonstrates how the social world of the learner can be projected as an object of study and a process by constantly encouraging learners to reflect. The Eklavya experiment in education is a unique developmental model. The social science learning in schools in this perspective has been brilliantly analysed where the arguments become compulsory reading for educationists in India. The problematization of various concepts to accommodate the diverse opinions on the same analytical categories for instance is a unique effort of the Eklavya experiment. The curricular reform of this kind at the school education level, will definitely create the Gramscian ‘organic intellectual’ formations for higher education. However, the state’s opposition to Eklavya over the years nullifies these formations. In India, the textbook, ‘constitutes the most important tool and yet the most criticized and controversial aspect of our education system’ (p. 29). The textbooks over the years have been produced mainly from the perspective of the structure where students’ agential notions often get overlooked. Eklavya however reversed this process. In this context, the central purpose of this book is to highlight the alternative curricular perspective by the Eklavya experiment. In the curricular processes, the Eklavya experiment has attempted to inclusively accommodate all the aspects by identifying the issues. By listing the objectives of teaching any subject in the social sciences, the Eklavya experiment is successfully documenting the curricular as well as pedagogic issues. The alternative paradigm proposed out of ...

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