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THREE - DIMENSIONAL AIDS
Direct, purposeful experiences are not always available and if available, are not always usable or applicable in making the teaching very effective. To teach a concept of wild life and its preservation, it may not be possible to visit all the wild life resorts and show all those animals to the students. Some experiences belong to remote past or future and so it is not possible to experience them in reality. A real human eye or any other human organ may be available but for a detailed study, they may prove to be useless as their handling may be awkward. Thus, sometimes, the real things are too large or too small for easy handling.
In these circumstances contrived experiences help to simplify
teaching by editing the realities. Some complicated or distracting details are omitted, and some new ones are added and the sizes are changed for the sole purpose of better understanding of the original things. Such contrived experiences are provided through objects, specimens, models, mock-ups, mobiles and puppets.
Puppets have been used for thousands of years all over the world to stimulate and entertain people. Now their use in promoting social action has also been experimented successfully. Puppets can be of many kinds. Hand or Glove, Rod, String or Marionette or Shadow.
Puppets can be used for educational purposes because:
1. being funny, with exaggerated features and characteristics, help to motivate learners, specially children, villagers and illiterates.
2. can communicate ideas related to desirable social action such as community improvement, prohibition, family planning, nutrition, social evils, superstitions, ill treatment of women in society etc.
3. can present sensitive topics through the effective use of satire and humour, which may otherwise hurt the feelings of the audience.
4. can be easily prepared and used, except string puppets for which special skills are required.
5. are relatively inexpensive and require little by way of costumes, scenery and stage equipment as compared to a real drama when used for classroom or extension education purposes.
6. can involve the entire group/class in preparation and presentation of the puppets (puppet making, costumes, scenery, music, lighting and manipulation).
7. can be reused after proper storage and a change of costumes.
8. All types of puppets used for educational purposes, must possess some characteristics:
9. they should have prominent, pleasant or crude features that are visible from far.
10. they need to be colourful and of an appropriate size for a group of 30 to 40 persons.
they should have costumes suitable for their roles, example - rural characters should be dressed like village folks, an old couple should look old through white hair, spectacles etc.
they should be made of durable, light-weight materials (paper pulp).
Since marionettes and shadow puppets are difficult to manipulate and require special puppet stages/screens, their use in actual classroom situations is limited. So here, the preparation of only glove and rod puppets is discussed, which are handmade with stuffed cotton.
A Glove puppet consists of a head and a loose glove-type body which fits over the puppeteer's hand and helps to hide the hand. The index finger fits into the puppet's head, and the thumb and second finger slide into the slits or sleeves with stuffed hands to form movable arms. The head can be made of a brown paper bag stuffed with paper cloth stuffed with cotton or two layers of cloth figures stitched papermache with the help of a clay mould rubber ball.
Add the features and distinguishing marks like a bindi or a moustache. Then, make the neck of the glove puppet by rolling a chart paper to form a tube-like-structure and push it inside the head through the hole at the bottom of the head.
Stitch the glove with two layers of cloth, wide enough to hold the hand and long enough to come up to the elbow. Dress the glove puppet appropriately, example - sari and ornaments or cap and shirt. A rod puppet usually has a jointed body made of stiff paper attached with stiff wire, umbrella ribs or thin wooden sticks to it's arms and the body or a head and a wooden stick. Rods can also be used to push animal cut-outs, stage furniture or scenery on or off the stage or to move while on the stage.
Puppets cannot change their facial expressions. Throughout a play it has to have the same face, happy, sad or neutral. Puppets cannot change their dress during the play. This creates a problem when showing a puppet doing a variety of activities in different places; examples - to show a puppet getting married and then attending a funeral. Except string puppets, other types of puppets cannot show a variety of actions, specially leg movements as they have no legs.
or a sari to form a hiding place for the puppeteers juggling glove or rod puppets. Extra lighting on the puppet stage, appropriate accessories and scenery with pinned-up cut-outs are a must for drawing and holding the attention of the audience.
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