PET A PROJECT - Day 1 (15.11.17)
Today was our first PET A PROJECT session in 6th standard of Chembur Naka BMC school (English medium). I started with introducing myself and my story. The kids shared their story and their dreams. It was a conversational session; we all were explorers, figuring out things as we proceeded in our conversations. It was a short session which lasted for 17 mins only. And below is a brief of what all we created today.
Amazed at how time is not at all a factor in creating possibilities, only language is. We all exist in language and language only.
Spaces created in today's session:
1. Freedom and respect.
- Kids had the freedom to call me didi or teacher.
- Kids could stand up and speak or sit down and speak, as long as they speak one at a time and are loud and clear so that each of their friends in the class can hear and learn from their sharing.
2. English language practice. We don't need to be right, but we do need to keep exploring!
- I asked the kids at the start of the class what language they would prefer to communicate in, majority shouted 'English!'. As I went on with the session, I realized 20% of the students did not utter a single word in English and 60% were not comfortable with the language. And honestly, that doesn't matter. When a child get's her/his self expression, language is not at all a barrier.
- I made a point to speak everything in English. And as much as I could, I repeated a few sentences/words in Hindi. I was constantly present about my language, my tone, my pace, my accent.
- Whenever I felt I have used a new word, I would either immediately tell out the synonym or I would also try and elicit the meaning of the word from the class. Example: I used a word 'brainstorm'. Now, I wasn't sure if they understood it. So I asked the class if anyone knew what 'brainstorm' meant. No one raised their hand. It is very important to pay attention to the tone and body language when introducing new things, as you don't want to intimidate the kids, you want to include each and everyone. Then I asked them to try out! It's a new word, let's try to figure what it could mean-as everyone knows 'brain' and 'storm'. A kid raised his hand and gave it a try, at this point, it's very important to empower and appreciate the effort inspite of an incorrect answer so that others feel encouraged to raise their hand even if they don't know the answer. Because hey, it's not about who is the smartest, we are in the game of playing, discovering, and venturing into new territories. We are in the game of exploration and that means making a lot of mistakes, experimenting, learning, sharing with each other and supporting each other to fall and rise and have fun in the process. It's about playing! About being alive!
3. English grammar revision.
- Revising nouns and verbs. I was eliciting from the class the various options for what they wanted to be and I was writing it down on the board like a mind map. Goodness, just get present to the bubbling magic present in this class, the present and future of our country and this planet - they shouted engineer, poet, teacher, chef, police officer, film director, dancing - yeah 'dancing'. And I asked them if we were writing 'nouns' on the board or 'verbs'. And they corrected themselves by realising that all words were nouns so the kid immediately said 'dancer'. :)
4. Do all that you dream of doing and do it NOW.
- You can do anything and everything you want to do. And you can do it NOW. You don't have to wait for some 'one fine day', you don't have to wait to 'grow up', you don't have to 'get out of 10th std or college' to do what you want to do and what your self expression is. You are free to express your self NOW.
- I shared with the kids how I myself as a kid always thought that we all have to choose only one thing that we want to be once we grow up. Whenever someone asked me 'Beta, what do you want to be when you grow up?', I would always think to myself
- 'I want to be an artist or a teacher'. I thought 'or', because I didn't know I could be anything and everything I want to be at anytime. I took the phrase 'Jack of all trades but master of none' too seriously. I now think no body can ever be a master of anything, there is always soooo much scope to improve and explore and learn and build and play. There is just no point in running behind the seductive mistress called 'perfection'. One, it doesn't exist; two, it'll kill you alive.
- I think we should just eliminate asking this questions to kids 'What do you want to be when you grow up?'. I mean why after growing up? Why are we talking about some 'one fine day' and promoting procrastination from a very young age. Lets rather ask our children - 'What do you want to be and do now?' And let's support them into doing it NOW. If someone wants to be a teacher, she/he doesn't have to wait till she/he gets B.Ed degree to start teaching. We should stop listening to what our children are saying, and start listening for the commitment behind why they are saying what they are saying. When someone really wants to be a teacher, they want to share whatever they know and spread it to every single soul around them so that others learn and grow. And why wait for that? We can invite these children to start teaching right away! Maybe they can mentor one child younger to them, or maybe they could teach one class once a week. This would give them real first hand experience of what it means to be a teacher NOW. Being or doing something is not about the title, it's about expressing the self and contributing to someone else's life.
5. Context was created for all classroom practises. Why we do what we do.
- Why speak one at a time: Not because the teacher says so, but because what you say will get cut out by the noise and others won't benefit from the value you would have otherwise provided.
- Why speak loud and clear: Not because the teacher says so, but because your friends sitting all across the class can learn from what you are sharing. What you are saying is important and valued.
- Why occupy front seats: Not because the teacher says so, but because we are all here to make mistakes together, learn together, help each other and have fun while doing so together. For being a team, we need to sit like a team and not seclude ourselves or others.
- Why answer even if not sure of the answers: Because there are zero marks for smartness, but full marks for trying. We are not in the game of smartness, we are in the game of exploration and discovery!
6. Recycle and Reuse.
- I asked the kids if they knew how to make a journal themselves. Most of them knew how to. I asked a few of them to stand up and share the method they knew with their friends. Some used stapler for binding, some glue, some stitched it. In this sharing, a lot of new options for making a journal opened up for everyone including me. I gave them a homework assignment to make a 100 page journal however they like, the only rule being not spending any money or buying anything.
I did not share any ideas with them. I only elicited and facilitated. The kids started sharing ideas for where they can arrange papers from-using remaining pages from old notebooks, using plain pages or relatively less printed newspaper sheets, envelopes, backside of printed papers etc. I'm excited to meet their journals on Friday! Eeep! As of now they have no idea what to do with the journals. It's all a process of discovery, remember?
7. Eliciting leadership and responsibility.
- The journal making activity was to be done between today and next class two days later. The kids were excited! And the ones who knew how to make a journals were excited to take leadership and share their knowledge with their peers. None of this was instructed to them; everything was elicited, and that makes a world of a difference.
(To be completed by next session after two days.)
1) Make a 100 page journal with recycled papers.
2) Think what all you want to be and do.
Secret to this glow and shine
being an educator and eating healthy food. x