Dipping into Pune’s Water Classrooms

Water has been at the heart of the development of cities since the dawn of time, bringing with it food, life and culture. The city of Pune, in India, is no exception. Despite its rich connection not only to our histories but almost all facets of life, the way that water is dealt with in India’s school curriculum tends to limit teaching to a narrow set of biological and physical functions. 

However, as Dr Sara Ahmed, Founder of the Living Waters Museum notes, “Water is not just about physical and biological functions, but there are also spiritual, ethical, symbolism, aesthetic values attached to water. As well as questions of equity, access and justice and gender and women’s work.“

The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER Pune) brought together a team from a range of schools and NGOs in Pune, and together they set out to change this. The team knew that in order to properly equip the next generation of the city’s water custodians, a more holistic approach was needed in how they taught about water. The question was how? 

The film, by TESF filmmakers Dr. Chhavi Mathur and Ms. Aakriti Parashar, titled “Water Classrooms” tracks their journey into complexity theory and systems thinking, through conversational and participatory learning around water. Water Classrooms invites multiple participants to reflect on the development and dissemination of a multi-disciplinary pedagogy on water, as well as their own transformations this brought about. 

Reflecting on her film making processes, Dr. Chhavi notes that “I learnt that participating educators were themselves motivated to bring these pedagogical tools from the informal space, where they were developed and tested, into formal learning spaces.” 

Chhavi and Aakriti’s film is a must-watch for those wanting to learn more about teaching systems thinking at a school level. 

This post was written by Luke Meterlerkamp, Digital Weavers