Friday 23 March 2018

How do we want to learn about the environment? A students' perspective

Transforming education into environmentally conscious education is undoubtedly the need of the hour.  It is vital that children internalise the learning from an environmental education class and transform their own lives. The focus needs to be self, family, local community and the learning should be translated into action.

To achieve such difficult transformational goals, it was absolutely necessary that we get explicit buy-in from the students. How better to achieve this, than by first getting their ideas and opinions about how they would like to learn about environmental education.  To this end, the students organised a World Cafe style brainstorming session.  The student organisers, Abdullah and Hasna, from Grade 5 saw this session as the starting point for more sessions on raising awareness and changing behaviour as far as environmental impact is concerned.

Abdullah & Hasna invited the 4th-7th grades for the Cafe. Keeping with the format for World cafes, they created 5 discussion tables, provided chart paper, pens, sticky notes and all accoutrements required to facilitate a brainstorming session. They divided up the children into 5 teams.

The first question they had the teams brainstorm was "How would you like to learn about the environment and implement the learning". Teams debated this topic while Hasna & Abdullah went table to table explaining the concept, getting groups back on track and generally facilitating.  After each team recorded their ideas, the 2nd
question was put to the teams - "What difficulties/ obstacles will you face in doing this?" Each team shifted their table to brainstorm the potential difficulties for another table's ideas.  At the end of this session, teams again shifted tables to go brainstorm how they would overcome these difficulties".  At the end, each table had 2 representatives come up and explain the table's answers to the three questions.

This was the students' first attempt at organising and brainstorming in the World Cafe style and despite issues with not understanding the questions fully, it was an incredible experience to witness the process.  Where one would expect, complete bedlam as 35 kids vie for talk time, the discussions were extremely serious and intense.  The children's ideas, sense of the difficulties ahead and solutions were just amazing.  The entire experience was an eye opener for the adults viewing - once again children proved their capacity and capability for "adult' like work. Kudos to the organisers.

June - kids are planning another World Cafe, this time focussed specifically on how to move Al Qamar to becoming a greener school.  They also plan to hold an all school event to spread their message to other institutions.

Thanks Ramnath Chandrashekhar for introducing this concept to Al Qamar.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Au Revoir

  Au Revoir  The crucible moment came for me when, 16 years ago, I pulled my 7 year old son from school. Once again. Thrice in four years. W...