“Campus as a Learning Activity” or CALA as we endearingly like to call it, is DLRC’s primary goal. What does this mean you might ask? In the simplest of terms, it means utilising each and every aspect of our campus to facilitate learning across all subjects, lessons and grades.
This concept has been derived from BALA - Building As a Learning Activity. BALA, however, focuses solely on elementary education in built infrastructure, whereas, DLRC’s CALA is tailored for transition all the way to grade 12. In fact, CALA, goes one step forward to ask “what is being taught (curriculum)” and “how is it being taught (pedagogy)" using the campus as a tool, to further improve the qualitative educational aspect for all. Thus CALA includes the unbuilt too!
When we think of DLRC, we instantly associate it with its USP - its beautifully built, natural campus. The cross-air ventilation in the classrooms definitely adds to the charm. And in this way, we use our campus to hone learning. But this is only a small glimpse into how we use our campus. We follow the Cambridge curriculum from Grade Transition - Grade 12, which covers all the basic subjects - Math, English, Science, SST, EVS, Hindi, and a few others. High-school onwards, a larger variety of subjects are offered (which go beyond these rudimentary subjects) - Business Studies, Psychology, Sociology, Law, Geography, History and so on. While all of these subjects have designated textbooks and curriculums, not a single subject is facilitated purely from its textbook; experiments, hands-on learning, outdoor excursions, peer learning, discussions and debates are truly the form and mode of education at DLRC. To implement this mode, we use various aspects of our campus.
Our Design lab, previously known as the “tinkering lab”, contains material used in wood-work to toys from trash to sophisticated scientific models. Each class (till 11th) has a period carved out for this in their timetables so that they can build and apply what they have learnt in their lessons- several scientific concepts have been taught via this (an example: a model of the trachea, alveoli and the lungs was constructed using balloons so that the children would understand and visualise the process of inhalation). Even in high-school, all 3 sciences have integrated lessons with the Design Lab so that the students try implementing what they have learned, to their real life. And in this way, the method of teaching fundamental concepts is made livelier and more exciting :)
Other wonders, such as the Biogas, the Vermicompost, the Cold Pressed Oil machine and the Aquaponics, all show different applications of basic science which indicate how machines can be made cost effectively and how the end products can be marketed and sold. Such things bring together multiple subjects and teach the students the importance of integrated learning as well! For example, the Biogas takes in excess food (teaching students the importance of not throwing away food but rather how to reuse it), turns it into gas for cooking and lab experiments (thus saving cost on a cylinder of gas) and excretes a liquid byproduct which is used as manure for the garden beds and a catalyst for the Vermicomposting pit (the compost which was then prepared to be sold and marketed via the Social Enterprise Projects).
The classrooms themselves are symbols of strength, determination and creativity - qualities every student requires for excellence in some or the other field of life. The toughened glass which supports our weight symbolises how we, too, should stay strong and hardy by persevering through any difficulties we may face. The rigid wooden structures and roof signify determination and dignity as they maintain their focus on their task which is to keep us safe - similarly, we should be determined to stick to our goals and ambitions to secure a bright and invigorating future. And lastly, the trees bowing down into the classrooms and the Burma bridge connecting two vibrant, open spaces, propel creativity and liberation of the mind from any constraints; if our environment is open, why shouldn’t our thought processes be too?
Albeit CALA being pronounced (KAA-LAA), we at DLRC like to pronounce it as Kala (KUH-LA). In Hindi, Kala means Art. Art is the most inclusive way to bring together creativity, logic and shapes, and lessons of any sort. And this is exactly what DLRC is and strives to continue being...