MI Monday | Student Letterbox

Welcome to MI-Monday week # 3. Hope you enjoyed the last two micro-innovations we shared with you on engaging children to learn maths using low cost materials, and teaching poetry to children through Bollywood songs!

This week we share a very interesting and popular micro-innovation ‘Student Letterbox’. This teacher-led micro-innovation makes use of a letterbox in the classroom to solve two common issues in the Indian classrooms. Firstly, it addresses the lack of opportunities for student and teachers to establish positive relationships due to packed classes and an emphasis on the completion of the curriculum. Due to extensive curriculum pressure, teachers are reluctant to use their class teaching time to bond with children by talking to them about their interests, personal experiences, and concerns. A strong student- teacher relationship is significant for first generation learners, and children from low-income families who look up to teachers for support in academic/non-academic issues. Secondly, the micro-innovation targets children’s aversion to writing compounded by the lack of creative writing opportunities in the curriculum. This contributes to low literacy levels and poor grades.

A teacher named Jasbeer in a NGO based school in Delhi implemented this micro-innovation with her grade 3 students few years back. Currently, she is using this micro-innovation with her secondary schools students. She encourages her older students to post her the letter through actual post office, to help them understand the process of sending/receiving letters. Through letters, she also keeps in touch with her students during the holidays.

Read more about this micro-innovation below.

Problem statement

Students used to start talking to Jasbeer about many different topics when she entered the classroom. She ending up wasting a lot of class time on these discussions but did not want to close down conversations about topics in which students were interested without providing an outlet for their curiosity.

Micro-innovation description

To enable students to ask questions about topics of interest or to tell her about any concerns they have, Jasbeer created a letterbox for students. She asks students to write letters to her in Hindi which tell her about issues they are facing. She also uses the opportunity to monitor language and writing ability and to encourage students to write about lots of topics.

Why interesting

As well as providing Jasbeer with a chance to regularly review students’ written work, this micro-innovation allows Jasbeer to show her students that she does value their interests and helps to build strong relationships with them as a result. It also provides a safe mechanism for students to share any concerns or worries.

Potential implementation challenges

The micro-innovation will require teachers who are motivated enough to read and respond to students writing with enthusiasm and, where appropriate, support them to deal with any challenges students they raise in their letters.

Impact so far (according to teacher)

Jasbeer says that her students have started writing more because they see that their writing will be read and valued and that they like to write about their own interests.

Download the implementation guide for Student Letterbox. For more information, please leave a comment below, or write to us at info@stireducation.org.

Do try this wonderful and simple micro-innovation in your classroom, and share your experience with us.

STIR Education

STIR Education

STIR is a UK based charity working in developing countries ( India and Africa) to improve quality of school education by working with teachers in the poorest schools in the region.

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2 Responses

  1. s12sheetal says:

    Interesting concept that all the schools can implement in-order to address the queries of students in a timely manner and value their thoughts on the concepts been taught.

  1. September 24, 2013

    […] micro-innovation article shared this week by STIR Education – MI Monday | Student Letterbox, features Jasbeer, a grade 3 teacher who implemented a letterbox in her class, to give her students […]

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