Lalon Lalon and Gayatri Menon
There is a growing recognition of the need for skill-based education for school children. This is especially true in light of the recent National Education Policy 2020 introduced in India with its focus on skill learning, practice-based approach and focus on traditions. Heritage crafts and indigenous folk practices, deeply rooted in our traditions and culture, offer a valuable avenue for skill-based education. This paper explores the significance of traditional craft practices in imparting skill and knowledge to children considering the intrinsic connection between these folk practices and skill development.
The paper examines the cultural and contextual disconnect experienced in education and ways of developing educational modules which could bridge this gap. It also brings forth the need to connect traditional practices with contemporary design approaches & new media and ways of doing it. An experimental approach was taken to gain a better understanding of how these modules could be developed. Since the focus was on skill-based education, the basic design pedagogical model for acquiring material-process knowledge at Bauhaus was used in conjunction with indigenous practices to develop interesting assignments for students. In order to increase exposure to a range of Indigenous practices, digital audio-visual media was used to give instructions in an engaging manner, often with stories.
Workshops were conducted with two groups of children in rural India, and their findings were recorded. Qualitative methods like observation, interviews, and focus group discussions helped in gaining better insights. The paper also addresses the challenges and opportunities in integrating traditional craft practices into formal education systems. In conclusion, traditional craft practices offer a unique approach to skill-based education for children. It emphasises the creative exploration and use of local, natural and renewable materials; the inherent sense of function/purpose embedded in the practice and community learning practices through observation, peer group learning and across-age learning.