Many of us know him as a toymaker guy surrounded by kids from Tarang aired every Sunday on Doordarshan where he used to make toys from household trash and using stationery items. Every toy he made had a science behind it. He taught us the art of learning by experimenting and making Tarang a show filled with the magic of science.
It is pretty much interesting to see this genius combination of science and art where a person breaks old mold of science making it interesting and easy to understand. His innovative method of teaching which also include teaching science through toys from trash has won him numerous awards.
Now, Arvind Gupta is well known around the world for his popular TED Talk: Turning Rubbish into Toys for learning. According to the sources, this talk was among the 10 best TED talks compiled by Sir Ken Robinson and Sugata Mitra’s 5 favorite education talks.
Arvind Gupta came from the background where he didn’t get all the facilities like there were no books to read and at times there were occasions when the electricity or phone connection would be cut off due to non-payment of bills but this all thanks to the efforts of her mother who sold some of her jewellery and managed to send him to the best school in town. According to him she intuitively understood that good education would be the passport to our future.
Mr. Gupta’s exposure to teaching began in the 1970s.While he was still an engineering student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He began his social service by teaching the children of the mess staff who had no opportunities for formal education. After graduation, Arvind joined TELCO (Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company) and worked on Tata Trucks for two years.
He did not like his job and soon realized that this is not something he wanted to do for the rest of his life. Thus, he took a break after two years of working and enrolled himself in the Hoshangabad Science Teaching Programme (HSTP) in Madhya Pradesh in 1978.
While he was there he discovered his true passion for making science toys using easy to available materials as well as items usually thrown as trash. His innovative ideas fascinated children and inspire him in his journey towards his movement of popularising science.
Arvind pays huge emphasis to make learning fun for children. “It is not learning unless it is fun. The emphasis should be on comprehension – understanding comes when children are able to relate their learning to life – to a wider social context. Then learning becomes magical. This also means that there should be the union between the head, heart and the hands. Children must also work with their hands and learn a lot of skills. This will make learning fun. The emphasis on rote learning must go.”
Mr. Gupta found the whole project so fulfilling that he decided to leave his high-paying job and focus his attention on designing educational toys that were not only cheap and easy to build, but also, demonstrated scientific principles so that kids could get hooked on this fun subject. He published several books that became instant hits with parents and children from all walks of life.
Talking about the future, Arvind says he is planning to quit his job at the Children’s Science Center located at IUCAA in the Pune University Campus and looking forward to translating many of his books in Hindi.
According to him “We have only one life. Do your heart’s calling. Life is too short to dedicate to someone else’s stale dream.”
Find out more about his interesting method of teaching and creative ideas on