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Teachers' day out at the zoo

Outside the classroom, teachers have as much to learn as the kids they are in charge of. No wonder they seem to be having such a good time at the Byculla Zoo these days.


Role reversal: Teachers take copious notes on the various plant and animal species in the zoo premises

The zoo authorities have been inviting teachers from BMC schools for day-trips to the zoo, where they are given lessons on the animal species that are kept there. 


Good students: The teachers listened with rapt attention as Anil Paranjpe took them to the different enclosures and explained distinguishing characteristics of each animal.Pics/Datta Kumbhar

Fourteen teachers representing BMC schools from A to H (east) wards convened at Jijamata Bhonsle Udyan in Byculla for the awareness programme yesterday.

347: Types of birds at the zoo

The obedient students lined up for the lesson at 10.30 am. Education and public relations officer Anil Paranjpe welcomed them and delivered an introductory lecture, briefing them about the purpose of the programme, which is to equip teachers with know-how of the vast variety of birds and animals at the zoo, so they can in turn impart the information to their school students when they bring them to the zoo for field trips in future.

140: Types of mammals at the zoo

The teachers were shown birds like the painted stork and rosy pelican. The characteristic behaviour of each species was also explained, as teachers took copious notes. The teachers enjoyed the role reversal as they learnt about the budgerigar or the lovebird, the hornbill, the Indian peafowl, military macaw and African grey parrots, to name just a few. The two-and-a-half-hour-long stroll around the zoo was rounded off with lessons on animals like antelopes, pythons, crocodiles and monkeys.

22: Types of reptiles at the zoo

Master plan
No lesson can be complete without a question-answer session. At the end of the walk, Paranjpe answered queries thrown at him from the teachers. He talked about the new master plan for the zoo’s refurbishment, which will be completed in 2015.

The teachers went back home with certificates, congratulating them for participating in the programme.

The zoo authorities started the awareness programme for teachers of BMC schools last year in August. Schools are asked to send a minimum of two teachers for each programme. The programme is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10.30 am to 1.30 pm.

Anil Paranjpe, education and public relations officer for the zoo, said, “The teachers are being invited to this zoo awareness programme so that they can guide their students when they bring them to the zoo. We want them to impart the knowledge they are getting here to their students in school. It is important to give students knowledge about the birds and animals kept in the zoo. If students are enthused, they will also start watching channels like Discovery and Animal Planet to know more about the birds and animals.”

Anil Anjankar, director of zoo, said, “Once we finish instructing the BMC school teachers, we will approach teachers of aided schools as well. This programme may be helpful for a larger audience. When the teachers come to the zoo with their students, they will be so well-equipped with the information that they can guide their children about every detail, whether the child is asking about a particular animal or a tree.”

Did you know?
The zoo authorities started the awareness programme for teachers of BMC schools last year in August. Schools are asked to send a minimum of two teachers for each programme. The programme is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10.30 am to 1.30 pm.

Students of the day
I attended the programme a few weeks back. I came again to attend it today. The programme was very informative and
we were given details and characteristic behaviour of
animals in the zoo. We are planning to bring our students to the zoo now.
-- Abhishek Sawant, teacher of a BMC school in Dadar

I had come to the zoo 15 years ago with my children. Mostly, people come here for entertainment. But today we learnt a lot about the different birds and mammals present here. The programme is very well- organised and it will help us teachers to guide our students when we bring them here.
-- A teacher from a BMC school in the H-east ward

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