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Black board and chalk are personification of a classroom. Scores of years ago the term was used as a symbol of infrastructure in elementary school (Operation blackboard). Alas it is missing in our classrooms today in the name of progress, development and advancement. This basic time tested, economical, environment friendly facility is being replaced by “white board and marker”. The sob story of this deadly combination is killing the simple pleasures of teachers and children in school and power of teacher educator and weapon of student teacher in a teacher education institute.
Running from pillar to post to get the markers issued in a system, the hard found markers running out of ink soon, frequent borrowing by well-meaning colleagues add to the agony. The first word is clear on the white board but as it goes further colour fades gradually ending with nothing. Those who are seated in the last bench in a classroom of hundred are the sufferers not to say about those with low vision if any.
For those with environmental consciousness throwing the markers with dried up ink is always a dilemma. The happiness of using coloured chalk for diagrams (especially for life science), for highlighting (for technical words, for new vocabulary, for pronunciation), for making meaning of concepts (chemical bond, litmus test for acid base) is no more possible. The personal touch teacher gives to the letter, word and phrase with different coloured chalks is no more a solace. Children using the friendly space with imagination soaring till the teacher enters, the space to put out aggression if any in the form of drawing and writing no more exists. Schools are becoming as mechanical as whiteboard and marker. Black board please come back to my class, I will walk without guilt and doubt towards you with a chalk for we build a bond one-to-one; one-to-many at the same time. BB and C we love you.