Lewitt Somarajan

Ashoka Fellow
India
Fellow Since 2015

Citation

This profile was prepared when Lewitt Somarajan was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2015.
The New Idea
Lewitt recognizes that despite the promise of Activity Based Learning (ABL), it has not spread to low-income schools in India as there have been no support structures to enable teachers to repurpose their roles as facilitators. Lewitt is bridging this critical gap by designing and codifying these support structures through a two-year long coaching process. Through easy-to-use toolkits, teachers are guided transitioning to their new roles as effective facilitators in low-income schools, nudging students to take charge of their own learning. Through his work, Lewitt is making it possible for any school to effectively apply ABL and improve learning outcomes.

With the assistance of his uniquely designed support mechanisms, children are able to move from being passive recipients of information and become active participators in learning instead. Lewitt is building the critical foundation to improve the quality of learning at scale in India. He influences school management and leadership to buy into the concept of teacher support for hands-on learning. Leveraging this supportive infrastructure he executes an intensive, non-threatening coaching support for teachers, which includes customization to each teacher’s competency levels, comprehensive toolkits that are 100 percent mapped to grade curriculums, a peer support network for sustainability as well as tracking both teacher and student progress.

This 360 degree approach identifies key gaps and enables a classroom to quickly move to a new paradigm of teaching. Lewitt has reached 76 schools across four states in a short timespan of two years. 65 percent of teachers have completely shifted from making conventional lesson plans to planning and facilitating activity based classes while 80 percent of the teachers are convinced and motivated about ABL. Student scores have improved by an average of 43.81 percent on school exams and 68.5 percent on Life Lab assessment tests across the three parameters of knowledge, understanding and application. Lewitt keeps evolving his toolkits to keep them relevant over time and across geographies. The toolkits and his model satisfies the need of the school administrators to cut across grade levels, are mapped to the curriculum and raise test scores!

Having proven impact with his model Lewitt has divided the teachers into three buckets of proficiency and is codifying the support structure in the form of resources, teaching aids and videos for each bucket. In this way, he is building a body of work that is open source, replicable and transferable to other organisations. He intends for this model to be taken forward by incubating a number of social change agents in the education sector who wish to impact the quality of education and will set up their own enterprises with this work as the foundation.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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