Manthan is a new age institution that focuses on a skills-based, student-centred, inquiry-oriented, personalized model of learning as opposed to the traditional content-based, teacher-centred, examination-oriented one-size-fits-all model of teaching.
The key concepts to note here are:
Skills based as opposed to Content based - Traditional Indian teaching puts too much focus on what is taught with the assumption that there is a mass of information that is available either with the teacher or in text book that some how need to be programmed into the child’s mind, as if it is a memory chip onto which this information need to be copied, which then the child can copy into exam sheets and do well in exams. The text books accordingly are designed to provide answers to questions rather than make the child think and ask questions. Manthan focuses more on making children raise questions and then find answers, the teacher guides the class and helps them build skills where by learning has long term impact and not just for exams. Accordingly a math teacher introduces to children multiplication or addition in four different ways and lets them choose the method that is comfortable to them rather than memorize steps or tables to arrive at an answer. A science teacher at Manthan focuses on teaching skills of observation, tabulation, enquiry, rather than give facts and figures. An english teacher focuses on developing language and communication rather than getting children to learn answers from the lessons as they are.
Student centred as opposed to Teacher Centred - the image that you have of a traditional school is teacher in control of the class with a chalk and text book standing near the black board. A teacher at Manthan typically is sitting along with the children as one of them and letting them lead the knowledge discovery process by doing a journal or a project or a worksheet. A Manthan teacher is able to confidently say "I don't know the answer too but let’s figure it out" or guide the class by helping them raise the relevant questions covering the entire dimensionality of the topic or theme in discussion.
Inquiry oriented as opposed to Exam oriented - The entire teaching in a traditional school is focused on exams, what questions will be asked in exams and how a child should memorize up the answer that matches the examiners expectations or to the key given to the examiner. Along the way somewhere it is forgotten what this knowledge is for and how well the child has understood it or be able to apply it. At Manthan the focus is on developing the inquiring mind in the child and even exams test the application of concepts.
Personalised model of learning as opposed to One-size-fits-all model of teaching- A traditional school thrives on teaching same thing same way to every child where as at Manthan it is clearly understood that there are several learning styles and one need to personalise the learning to suit the style of the child. Manthan truly believes and implements Howard Gardner's concept of Multiple Intelligences. Manthan is also of firm view that there are different learning levels in a given class and that the work given should be challenging to children in each of these levels, otherwise if the work is challenging only to the common denominator it soon looses the interest of a bright child. And finally Manthan believes that one can't teach any thing to any child one could only provide the circumstances where by a child would want to learn.