Monday, December 22, 2014

Conversation with Educators in India – Part 3 - Schools and Stories

A School called Life

I was at the Ed Leadership Conference in Lucknow in 2013. During Lunch on the second day, I got to interact with a principal of a school that was called ‘Zindagi’ (life) and two young entrepreneurs in the education field based out of Mumbai. We spoke about spirituality, our experiences in the education and also discussed alternate models of education. At the end of the day, I approach some of the speakers and thank them for their talks. I also get to meet other educators. 

Professor from the Kashmir Valley

Just outside the dining hall that night, I met a principal of a school in Kashmir. In Kashmir, the conflict has affected the mindset of young people growing up there. He asked his students a question which was, ‘If you had the chance would you kill a policeman, terrorist or common person.’ 70% of the students said they would kill a policeman and 20% said they would kill a terrorist. Not one said they would not kill. Killing was normal for them.

He then shared with me his solution to the problem. A peace class that encouraged understanding of human and moral values. He also shockingly described how once he saw a student shot on the road and had to pick him up himself.

Principal from Khategaon

I then met the principal of a school from Khategaon, India. He was a history major and delivered a talk on self –realization in the education system at the conference. We had a discussion about his talk. We also discussed history, sustenance of civilizations, duality of myths across different cultures and why education must be designed for all.

Story - Teller, Mr Bob and a Principal from Yavatmal District

During Dinner that night, I had a very interesting conversation with a professional story-teller who was going to deliver a presentation the next day. We shared our life stories and discussed  parents, education, children and the power of stories that night. I also got to speak to a world renowned math curriculum designer from the US, Mr Bob that night.

Mr Bob Barrata at the Ed Leadership Conference, Lucknow

I ended the night with a conversation with a principal from a school in Yavatmal in the Vidarbha District of Maharashtra. He came from Kolkata and was working to encourage his students to be motivated and to get motivated to work further towards completing their personal goals. He mentioned how some students would just waste their time and lose interest in their subjects. But he also mentioned various stories, of motivated young people in the school. One boy Ranveer Singh, liked the sport of shooting and worked hard in it and did well in various local competitions too. He would also encourage his friends to follow their interests.

Let us Learn Together
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