Our school is based on many strands of research:
- A set of research projects on the city of Banaras, from 1982 to the present, made us aware of the wonderful traditions of the arts, of the philosophies of life, of the ethics of works and pleasure, and of an imagination that can worship trees and rivers. All this needs to be translated into curricula for children, which we do.
- Another set of projects has been on women and gender, and families and communities. The problems of gender inequality, and of communal hostility have been studied by us with qualitative research on actual people, neighbourhoods, communities and issues. In our school, this has led to admissions and teaching policies to reduce the impact of all kinds of inequalities and make our school integrated.
- The longest lasting research has been on all aspects of education: the teaching of specific subjects, the problems of teachers, educational policy and administration, the arts in education, the Indian classroom, and many other topics. We do both primary and secondary research. We visit schools. We use archives; we have a library with education books and articles. We read educational philosophers and case studies from other countries. We test our own hypotheses and do research in our own school, all the time.
- The following are specific examples of questions we continue to examine: (in brackets are the wider application of the same research):
What are the best approaches for teaching English to children of non-English speaking families, who abound in our kind of city and village? (What system of English teaching should we adopt in India?)
How do we teach English at a high level of excellence without involuntarily doing damage to the mother tongue, in our case Hindi, and equally important language of the child? (What should be the best kind of language policy in Indian schools?)
What should be the medium of instruction at different levels for Science, Mathematics and Social Studies? (When is a language not just a language but a tool of power?)
How do we create a scientific temperament of discovery and investigation without luxurious laboratories? (Is a lack of resources a good enough reason why Indian children do not become creative scientists?)
How do we ensure that most children find Maths exciting and do-able? (Must so many children find Maths a problem?)
How can we make History not a boring list of facts and dates, but a wonderful detective story and an analytical challenge? (Why does everyone hate History?)
Should children study first about themselves and their communities, or about fantastical, far-away things? (Is the Dewey approach or the Egan approach the right one for pre-school and primary school?)
There are a dozen other issues and topics on our list of past, present and future research. Alongside, we work on education in the family, the street, the media and the peer group. So we study children’s games, culture, films, city spaces, village folk lore, mothering practices and so on.