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Tribal Education Methodology (TEM): Sustainable Education through Heritage and Performance


Tribal Education Methodology (TEM): Sustainable Education through Heritage and Performance was a Phase 2 Large Grant project in India

The project aimed to develop a sustainable curriculum for young people (10-16 years of age) from the indigenous tribes (Adivasis) of Wayanad District, Kerala, India. The project will develop the TEM Toolkit by using tribal heritage, oral and performance traditions through participatory approaches and digital means. The tribal youth are out-of-school, and a proper integration of tribal language and culture into the State syllabus of Kerala has a long way to go. This results the Adivasi education a complex phenomenon in the State causing lack of education, unemployment and poverty among the tribal youth. This is in addition to the ongoing political issue of tribal landownership. The ratification of Indian constitution in 1950s make the State the custodian of tribal homelands making them homeless and landless. To address these issues of the tribal communities in Wayanad and their post-conflict identities, the project will undertake a youth-led Participatory Action Research (PAR) to design a tribal art-based curriculum for empowering transformative learning for advancing education as a way of reducing poverty.

The key activities of the project include:

  • Digital documentation of the tribal oral traditions to create a tribal museum and digital archive in Wayanad
  • Developing TEM Toolkit for inclusive curriculum, enabling the tribal youth to achieve secondary education
  • Setting-up a youth-led, sustainable drama club (Bamboo theatre) to inform the participatory ‘scheme of work’ of the project

Learning in tribal communities is active and embodied. Physical and sensory components such as touch, smell, seeing and hearing inform the pedagogic practice of forest-centred tribal life and hence, learning is understood not only in terms of reading and writing. As a result, education in the tribal context involves “gustatory” terms of bodily learning. A massive body of rituals and oral traditions as well as participatory art practices such as, dance, music and performance dominate not only the tribal way of life but also shape their world-view, historical and cultural memories and formation of their collective self through ‘sensuous scholarship’.

Only a careful integration of art and education will create a sustainable model of tribal education. TEM Toolkit is a solution for the problem and develops new strategies for conflict resolution through cultural means. The use of cultural memory and embodied knowledge will serve as the locus of teaching and learning. Community engagement and participatory processes will inform a new decolonised model of education embedded in indigenous epistemologies.

The impact of TEM includes the partnership with the State Education Board to integrate a sustainable model of education for the tribal youth in Kerala. TEM Museum, and Bamboo Theatre will also equip the young people in the tribal communities to develop new strategies for conflict resolution through cultural means. Beneficiaries include young people in the community; schools in the region and informal education structures like cultural groups and religious affiliations to strengthen a grassroots and bottom-up approach to the development of the curriculum.

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Ontu-Nilluva (One Community) is a documentary film consolidating the learning outcomes of the Phase 2 Large Grant project, the Tribal Education Methodology (TEM) located in Wayanad, Kerala, India. Wayanad has the large tribal population in Kerala and the film shows how an art-based participatory action research project like TEM helped shaping and rebuilding the confidence and leadership of the tribal youth learners in Wayanad and reintegrate them into education and community life. Working with the Government of Kerala and led by Dr Sreenath Nair, the TEM project involves a large number of CSOs, NGOs, educators, cultural activists and tribal youth learners to create sustainable impact for the target community.

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Photo credit: Sibi Pulppally

Photo Credit: Sibi Pulppally

Photo Credit: Sibi Pulppally

Photo Credit: Shukoor Kalpetta

Photo Credit: Sibi Pulppally

Photo Credit: Uravu

Photo Credit: Sibi Pulpally

Project location

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Project location

Phase 2 Large Grant 'Tribal Education Methodology (TEM): Sustainable Education through Heritage and Performance.'

Resource Archive

Search or browse the resource archive for films, reports, toolkits and other resources produced by the Changing the Story and its commissioned projects. Items relating to India are listed below:

TitleSummaryAuthorCategoriesTagsdoc_categories_hfilterdoc_tags_hfilter
Participatory Arts for Health Case studyThe research project is a collaboration between the University of Leeds and The Kohima Institute and aims to build the research capacity among indigenous young people in the region of …, , , , , india phase2 locationlanguage-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-17-partnerships sdg-3-health-and-well-being sdg-8-work
Learning to shoot – videography masterclass for the Changing the Story Team, KohimaBlog (2019/10/14) Learning to shoot – videography masterclass for the Changing the Story Team, Kohima, , , , india phase2 changemakers locationblog language-english subject-reflections
Chief District Administrator (Wayanad District)Tribal Education Methodology (TEM) is designed to have a meaningful intervention into tribal education and state curriculum of Kerala. Unlike earlier initiatives that promoted alternative educational models that ran parallel …, , , , , , , india phase2 locationfilm language-english sdg-1-poverty sdg-10-inequalities sdg-17-partnerships sdg-4-education sdg-5-gender
Historical Research as an Advocacy Tool in IndiaThis is an Accepted Manuscript version of chapter 9 of the book 'Participatory Arts in International Development' published by Routledge/CRC Press on 29 August 2019. The final version of each …Dakxin Bajrange, William Gould, india locationarticle language-english
'Diary of a recovering drug addict' introRaginie Duara introduces the documentary short 'Diary of a Recovering Drug Addict'.Raginie Duara, , , , event india locationfilm language-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-3-health-and-well-being
#CTStakeover : Participatory Arts for Health Improvement in IndiaBlog (2020/01/03) #CTStakeover : Participatory Arts for Health Improvement in India, , , , event india phase2 changemakers locationblog language-english
Case Study: A State of Mental Wellbeing Through ArtBlog (2020/08/11) Case Study: A State of Mental Wellbeing Through Art, , , , india phase2 changemakers locationblog language-english subject-wellbeing
Tribal Education Methodology Co-Researchers and CollaboratorsTribal Education Methodology (TEM) is designed to have a meaningful intervention into tribal education and state curriculum of Kerala. Unlike earlier initiatives that promoted alternative educational models that ran parallel …, , , , , , , , india phase2 locationfilm language-english sdg-1-poverty sdg-10-inequalities sdg-17-partnerships sdg-4-education sdg-5-gender youth
Case Study ‘The Happiness project: Reflecting on my journey’Blog (2020/08/11) Case Study ‘The Happiness project: Reflecting on my journey’, , , , india phase2 changemakers locationblog language-english subject-reflections
#CTSFilmScreening: Participatory Arts for Health ImprovementBlog (2020/01/23) #CTSFilmScreening: Participatory Arts for Health Improvement, , , , event india phase2 changemakers locationblog language-english
First Steps in Film-MakingBlog (2019/07/07) First Steps in Film-Making, , , , event india phase2 locationblog language-english subject-reflections
Tribal Education Methodology Theatre Workshop (extract)Tribal Education Methodology (TEM) is designed to have a meaningful intervention into tribal education and state curriculum of Kerala. Unlike earlier initiatives that promoted alternative educational models that ran parallel …, , , , , , , , , event india phase2 locationfilm language-english sdg-1-poverty sdg-10-inequalities sdg-17-partnerships sdg-4-education sdg-5-gender youth
Deborah SuttonDr Deborah Sutton was invited to Praxis first Nexus event in Lebanon ' Heritage for Global Challenges' because of their role as Principal Investigator on the AHRC-GCRF project 'Urban Heritage …Dr Deborah Sutton, PRAXIS, , event india locationfilm language-english
'Striving for Survival (Final)' introStriving for Survival is directed by Keduokuolie Pienyii and is being screened as part of the Changing the Story Online Film Festival.Keduokuolie Pienyii, , event india locationfilm language-english
Project Update: Tribal Education Methodology (TEM)Blog (2020/07/04) Project Update: Tribal Education Methodology (TEM)Dr Sreenath Nair, , , india phase2 locationblog language-english subject-covid19
Consolidation, Learning and Evaluation in AsiaProject Principal Investigator, Sreenath Nair The South East Asia Consolidated Learning project will work across a selection of the existing CTS portfolio of projects to draw out key lessons learnt, …Dr Sreenath Nair, , , , , cambodia india malaysia nepal phase2 locationfilm subject-reflections
WPS1 FINAL Post Participatory Arts for the Post Development EraThis first working paper "Post-Participatory' Arts for the 'Post-Development' Era" is co-authored by Professor Paul Cooke and by Inés Soria-Turner. It represents some initial work undertaken during an international seminar …Inés Soria-Donlan, Prof Paul Cooke, , , , , brazil india locationlanguage-english sdg-10-inequalities sdg-16-institutions sdg-17-partnerships sdg-4-education
Heritage, Mental Health and WellbeingReport from PRAXIS & the UK National Commission for UNESCO on Heritage, Mental Health and Wellbeing. The report features key insights, recommendations, and case studies from Dr Karina Croucher, Dr …Dr Francesca Giliberto, PRAXIS, , , , , , heritage-strand india praxis locationreport sdg-10-inequalities sdg-17-partnerships sdg-3-health-and-well-being sdg-4-education subject-wellbeing
PUBLICATION LAUNCH! Changing the Story: Our Third YearBlog (2021/05/21) PUBLICATION LAUNCH! Changing the Story: Our Third YearAisha Kayani, , , , , , , , , , cambodia colombia india kosovo phase2 south-africa changemakers locationblog language-english subject-covid19 subject-participatory-arts youth
Onru NillavaTribal Education Methodology (TEM): Sustainable Education through Heritage and Performance is a Phase 2 Large Grant project in India. Watch the final project film, 'Onru Nillava.', , , , , , , india phase2 locationfilm language-english sdg-1-poverty sdg-10-inequalities sdg-17-partnerships sdg-4-education sdg-5-gender
Filmmakers from The Kohima Institute: Our Changing the Story journeyBlog (2019/12/19) Filmmakers from The Kohima Institute: Our Changing the Story journey, , , india changemakers locationblog language-english subject-reflections
The Big PictureBlog (2019/04/25) The Big PictureChloe Brooks, , india locationblog language-english subject-policy
Dr Smriti HaricharanDr Smriti Haricharan was invited to Praxis first Nexus event in Lebanon ' Heritage for Global Challenges' because of their role as Postdoctoral Researcher on the AHRC-GCRF project 'The politics …Dr Smriti Haricharan, PRAXIS, , , event india lebanon locationfilm language-english
Sharing India’s Hidden HistoryBlog (2018/02/13) Sharing India’s Hidden HistoryAbhishek Indrekar, , india changemakers locationblog language-english
Mobility Fund Report, 2020In 2019, Changing the Story (CTS) launched a Mobility Fund, offering financial support of up to £1000 designed to enhance the mobility and professional development of CTS grantees based in …, , , , , , , , bosnia-and-herzegovina colombia india nepal south-africa venezuela locationreport language-english subject-policy youth