I had the privilege to be a participant in the three-day workshop from Dec 21st to 23rd at TISS Mumbai to get introduced to Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx), a bold innovative initiative in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tata Trusts. Being a student of Education, I have always awaited an opportunity to work on the ground to understand education and this (CLIx DASTAAN Fellow) opportunity gave me the right platform! The bottom up approach adopted by this project for curriculum development aligns with my ideas and views on how an ideal curriculum should be envisaged and developed. I am glad to be a part of this truly ambitious project with a vision to make a difference in Education in India on a large scale serving the under-served communities.
The objective of the orientation program was to familiarize the fellows with the vision of CLIx and to acquaint them with the work a DASTAAN fellow is expected to do in the unique CLIx way. Yeah, I believe that CLIx has its own way of perceiving the social world around us and emphasizes on how the rich community knowledge can be tapped to make its way into the curriculum making learning meaningful.The fellowship duration is for 3 months, aiming to conduct research in government schools in four different states (Telangana, Mizoram, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan) in under-served communities. The objective is to understand how culture of these communities impinges on the English language learning in adolescents in both rural and urban contexts and to embed it into the innovative curriculum which is in the making.
As I reflect on the three days spent with the CLIx English team, working together to understand the vision and the implementation, I see myself more learned in terms of its objectives and the methods to conduct this research. The pedagogy used for the training delivery was commendable equipping us with necessary applications like Instagram, CLIx blog and the use of strategies like K-W-L and Think-Pair-Share which really helped me to reflect on my engagement in the given tasks and collaborate effectively with my peers.
The training classroom environment was lively with the charts put up depicting our work and the use of activity based approach was discerning familiarizing the fellows on how we can break the ice and build rapport when on the field. The discussions during the sessions on photo-essays, audio stories, research methodology, and focus group discussions have acquainted with the process of conducting research and the expected deliverable. The training required the fellows to challenge their inhibitions, if any, while simulating the field work on TISS campus, interacting with strangers, capturing pictures, and participating in activities. The activities also challenged the creative faculties of the team and the feedback provided was insightful in understanding the requirements and the expected outcomes.
The more I learnt about how CLIx envisages the learning process to be social and meaningful, the more I saw myself connected to it. Here are some of the pictures from the orientation program depicting our ideas!
It was indeed a great learning opportunity to work with the team members from diverse socio-cultural-education backgrounds and the discussions have enriched my knowledge and understanding of the field needs and research. The hash tag #CLIxDASTAAN2015 is a symbol which embodies our work and commitment to the cause keeping us connected via the virtual networks, distance is never a hindrance to contribute for a cause! Here is our team!
Stories are powerful! CLIx aims to uncover the experiences of the communities through their stories. On Day 2, listening to the experiences of Ms Karuna, an enthusiast media expert, who through her documentary work gave us insights into the field journey experiences which helped us prepare for the actual show. Day 3 was yet another day loaded with excited learning about the research methodology. The discussions on the methodology with Ms Ruchi helped me to understand the objective of the project and how it can be manifested in the research questions and the tools that we develop. The pedagogy adopted for this session aided in developing an understanding of how to construct tools and the potential issues during the engagement in the project. The experiences shared by Ms Anusha, Ms Jennifer, Ms Surbhi and Mr Manoj have complimented our understanding and the importance of stories emphasized during these sessions facilitated our learning about the larger picture on the methods to tap the gold mine of knowledge embodied in under-served communities.
The training ended with explicating the work protocol as all the fellows would be positioned at different distant work stations. We all now have a platform to communicate and collaboratively take this project to success.
As a CLIx DASTAAN fellow for Telangana State, I see myself all excited for the enriching experiences in the field visits and acquisition of rich local knowledge during this fellowship. I thank the entire CLIx team for the commendable job in organizing the well structured and well delivered orientation. With all the knowledge gained during this training, I look forward to apply the same while on the field and bring to the table interesting stories adding value to the cause!
A beautiful story in the making……!