Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A New Way of Learning!

The beauty of opening up your heart to new people and their new ideas is that you not only get to experience new adventures, but you begin to build a wealth of knowledge that allows you to connect with many people of varying backgrounds wherever life takes you - In essence, it makes you less ignorant of the world around you and appreciate our differences. By introducing the kids to
new experiences daily while on tour, it is one of Ekatva's goal to expand their understanding of the world outside of Ahmadabad so they continue to grow as individuals with a vast array of knowledge. Nimeshbhai's itinerary was accomplishing just that.

We spent a day at the Shishuvan School in Bombay during the tour. This school has a very different learning environment from that of a traditional school enrolling kids from a generally higher socio-economic status just based on their higher tuition fees. The school does not believe in the use of textbooks to teach children, but rather they have implemented a very hands-on applied learning approach to teaching. The students help develop the curriculum by asking specific topic-based questions each year that the teacher uses to come up with plans that are suited to the children's interest in learn various modules and to the depth they desire. They strongly believe learning is a shared responsibility between the students, teachers, and the parents, and specifically cater their modules for interactive involvement (http://www.shishuvan.com).

It was really a neat experience to walk down the halls and into each of the classrooms watching the kids in action. From the American music teacher reciting Christmas carols, to the arts and crafts room that used all recycled material to come up with new projects, and the history room painted with various pictures of animals to help with learning - It was a sight to see.

The Shishuvan kids greeted us in their Multi Purpose Room where kids at the middle school level had put together a flawless PowerPoint (They do PowerPoint at this age, what happened to typewriters?!) telling us the various activities they do throughout the school year. Their ability to speak in front of large groups was rather impressive as most of them did not seem to hesitate to get up in front of the classroom. The Ekatva kids also shared a bit about themselves and our spokeswoman, Bharti, introduced the team. The kids were soon paired up with the Shishuvan students for our special tour of the school led by the children, for the children. Just as excited, the adults followed them around as well.

We ended the day with a short performance for the kids and staff at the school and we had quite the roaring crowd - Always making our performances that much more fun! Thanks to the Shishuvan school kids and staff for a allowing us the opportunity to experience a new way of learning!

If you ever get out to Bombay, put this on your list of must-see places as these superstars would crumble the Bollywood gang any day...Oh, and don't forget to have some tricycle fun while you are out there, I know we sure did!!




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