Sunday, April 3, 2016

Learning Dispatch - April 3rd, 2016 - Learning in Mumbai

Films and Learning

I had attended an artist interaction session organized by the community arts initiative Junoon at the MCubed library on April 2nd, 2016. Amole Gupte was the speaker and he spoke about Cinema as a Child's Playground. He wrote the screenplay for Taare Zameen Par and also directed Stanley Ka Dhabba. He has been conducting a Cinema Studies Course for middle school children at a municipal school in Mumbai for the last nine years. He stressed the need for the incorporation of Cinema Studies into the regular school curriculum.

He showed us some of the short films made by his student film makers. What stood out for me in the discussion was a statement he made about Learning through films. He spoke about how children can learn by merely absorbing a lot of great cinema and cinema can really teach them so much about life and themselves. He brought one of his young students along who decided to produce films of her own after watching the several classics that Amole Gupte exposed them to in the cinema studies class. You can watch some of the other Junoon Artist Interaction sessions here. They have archived over 20 of them and they are good fun to watch.
Watching the World T20 World Cup Semi- Final 2016 and Why Sports Matters?

I got tickets for the India vs West Indies World Cup T20 Semi - Final. The energy at the Wankhede during that semi - final match was electrifying. India made 192. West Indies chased down the score in the second innings. As a fan of the Indian cricket team I was disappointed. But as a fan of the game I was overjoyed for I was part of such a great game of cricket that day. I write this post after watching the World Cup T20 Final on the night of April 3rd, 2016. England made 155. West Indies chased down the score again by hitting four sixes of the last over. There were so many great matches at this world cup tournament. Sports is humbling in so many ways. Sport helped me understand why it was so important to respect your body's physical nature and to look after your diet, exercise and rest schedule as it affects your daily functioning. It also taught me how to play with a team and to put your team mates needs before you sometimes. It teaches you why it is so important to practice your professional skills persistently to constantly improve and learn as you progress through your career. But West Indies. And Carlos Braithwaite. You were brilliant in that last over or the world cup cricket t20 final 2016.

Learning How to Paint
There was a Painting Workshop at the Kitab Khana Learning Center by the Bombay Drawing Room that I was fortunate to attend. I made my first landscape canvas painting here in this two hour workshop. I thought about how each color has so many different shades and how each shade of the color can mean something different to the artist or can evoke a different emotional or cognitive response in the consumer of a piece of artwork. I also realized that we all have an artist in us. There is no good or bad artist. It is just diverse forms of expression based on varying levels of comfort, nuance and expertise in a particular medium. All art is beautiful in some way or another. Find out more about a Bombay Drawing Room Workshop here.

Why do we assess learning?
I just finished reading Thomas Guskey's book, 'On Your Mark' where he challenges the conventions of grading and reporting by taking the reader through a world of research on the importance of understanding the real purpose of grading and to align classroom practices with it. The highlight of the book was when he laid out six categories (or reasons) for assigning grades to students (Guskey and Bailey, 2010) which were:-
- To communicate information about student achievement in school to parents and others.
- To provide information to students for self-evaluation
- To select, identify or group students for certain educational paths or programs
- To provide incentives for students to learn- To evaluate the effectiveness of instructional programs
- To provide evidence of students' lack of effort or inappropriate responsibility
Reading this book made me think about my experience with assessment during my time at school and college. I thought about how assessment could be used to provide me with real feedback to help me improve my understanding of subject knowledge and mastery of skills for a particular subject.

Let us Learn Together
Sat - chit - ananda