The principles are based on India’s 2,000 year old treatise, the Bharata Natya Shastra. And Indian traditional storytelling practices.
Katha sees story as a powerful, non-divisive tool in nation building. The pedagogy for the past five years have showed new ways of looking at teaching and learning, new ways of making learning child-centred.
Katha is a non-profit organization founded by Geeta Dharmarajan started its work in 1988 and registered as a social nonprofit organization in 1989 with the mission to enhance the joys of reading and impact social justice and equity through quality books and education @ Story Pedagogy that has seamlessly connected grassroots work in education, teacher training and publishing for nearly 28 years through by using the power of story.
Katha’s founder president Geeta Dharmarajan started the Katha Lab School in the poverty-ridden slums of Govindpuri in 1990, where most children worked to support their families.
When We Started
The environment when Katha started was not too conducive to education. Almost 30 years ago, the 42nd Sample Survey showed that children dropped out of school not only when they were working to support the family; but also when they found school boring and dull, lessons irrelevant. And the challenges of integrating relevance and fun and excitement (that most of us who knew what a book holds) into an experiment in Delhi, was beyond doubt.
When we look closely at the beginning and the first students katha worked with, we found they were working children – it seems that story as the basis for children who had gone without schooling till they were 7-14 years olds; the children who were going school were struggling to read their school text books, children who spoke the language fluently and traded in it, but could not read or write it; children whose parents were nonliterate and thus learning happened for them and their grandparents through means other than the written word – through story – story seemed a good way to start off.
India in the past had a tradition of “gurukul” Indian Atticus style which believed in. Speech. Debate. Interaction and right Action. Hence the founder president thought that if they could listen to stories and follow along “Indian Atticus-style” familiar stories, written simply, with a finger on each word, child on lap. The result was visible : a story and personal attention was getting a child reading and learning. And this was the beginning of Story Pedagogy.