2021 Pilot Workshop
Over the course of 4 weeks, we held 8 workshop sessions. the sessions began in the classrooms of Vidyasagar Nursery and ended at Turiyo Foundation, where a permanent creative workspace was established. Our project-driven syllabus provided for high-intensity, interactive lessons. Lasting over 3 hours, each class covered topics ranging from technology to ecology- prevalent issues that we felt aided the mission of peace education.
The hyper-local experiences, influences, and context were essential to the development of our syllabus. Issues such as flooding, rapid urbanization, lack of health resources, and job opportunities were rampant in the community. This is why, along with global prevalence, we were drawn towards the integration of these topics.
A synthesis of syllabus, team observations, primary data, and student feedback.
Session 0 (Introduction Session)
As our first meeting, this class served as an ice-breaker with the students. It was a critical first impression as it would determine the attendance of many students. Additionally, we wanted to give them a rounded idea of the topics, methods of teaching, and resources we would be engaging with throughout the workshop.
With a newly acquainted team and a pilot framework, task allocation and role management emerged as a necessity.
Despite it being our first time meeting, more than 6 students, which was almost half of the student batch, were already actively participating, socializing, and reflecting in the class. We were able to finalize a group of 14 students who attended the introduction session and signed up for the fala workshop.
Session 1 (Internet and Search)
For our first official workshop class, we introduced the world of digital connectivity through collaboration with Canadian students. This 'digital pen-pal' activity was to understand the internet as a resource and tool. The hands-on activities were guided by knowledge-seeking prompts that excited the students to learn.
With a small core team, and 14 students, moderation of the devices and their usage was quite a challenge at first. For us, it became quite clear how important mentorship and supervised exposure to this technology was, open-access to the tools without guidance meant for the students to fall susceptible to the traps of content algorithms. With task delegation in development, we reflected on the class going over time and how to deliver the content.
Session 2 (Renewable Energy)
As a segway to showcase the power of technology and environmental awareness, we introduced concepts of the energy crisis and viable alternatives. With India being one of the leading countries in solar power, we inspired the students to be resilient and learn more about how to use the resources available to them.
The students resonated with feeling a larger purpose to the learning content- feeling the climate crisis urgency, they were keen to understand why they faced issues like flooding. The self-directed group activity to assemble the solar kit was a tremendous success as students excitedly engaged with communicating, trial & error, and hands-on problem-solving. Additionally, we had a new participant who joined fala.
Session 3 (Visual Communication)
Technology and creative thinking came together as we prompted students to reflect on the history of visual communication, illusions, online media, creating their own content, and how to responsibly do so. Being our first primarily interactive-experiential learning class, we synthesized these complex ideas through hands-on, group learning.
The focus for this class was not to build technical skills. The final media captured by the groups proved to show that students had already begun understanding the notion of communication/storytelling via images, video, and more. In the times of smartphones and Whatsapp threads, students were intrigued and inquired about fake online media. The class ended with a photoshoot - students excitedly took photos of each other and the Fala team members.
Session 4 (Eco-Art)
With the introduction of thinking creatively, we showed the students how to be resourceful and responsible consumers in the creative process. In our eco-art lesson, we were able to test-drive our first class in the permanent Fala workspace at Turiyo. Students made their own brushes, dyes, pigments, paper, and found inspiration in nature.
Students were excited with the change of space- especially the access to large outdoor areas. Resourceful techniques of art-making from natural materials were a huge success with students as many returned with self-driven projects they made using those techniques at home. Students were also enthralled with being able to play, explore, experiment, and have fun in the 'classroom setting.' With a mostly hands-on-based class, they responded positively to learning by doing.
Session 5 (Physical Wellness)
As we entered our final category (wellness), our team volunteer Shimul lead this class. As students shared personal experiences with junk food, lack of physical activity, and body shaming, we introduced new ways of seeing the body through things such as heart rate, balance, speed, strength, flexibility, and more.
Notions of weight and size correlating with health were debunked as our activities changed students' perceptions of their classmates. While being a nuanced topic, we realized larger biological systems and terms were harder to grasp. Instead, activities and games encouraged students with the excitement involved in the journey of being healthy and active. More than halfway through the workshop, students showed a huge increase in comfort and communication within Fala.
Session 6 (Mental Wellness)
With the introduction of the mind-body connection, we welcomed the students to ponder on the effects of nurturing your mental health. We used tools such as the 'muse meditation headband' which gives live readings of heart rate and brain waves while meditating. Students got an opportunity to taste mindful living.
Students were very excited by the visual readings and metering of their state of mind. With a distant relationship with notions of mental health, the tool helped students in being able to understand their internal states in a more tangible way. The classroom always loves being outdoors. For this session, students who have had difficulty in engaging with sociability and high energy thrived. We could observe a high influx of excitement from quieter, more reserved students.
Session 7 (My Story)
As a conclusion to our holistic workshop, we wanted to give students the agency to voice their own dreams, aspirations, and desires. We used a combination of technology, art, storytelling, and more, to help the students make storyboard posters about the things they wanted to share about themselves to their community.
Through assisted guidance, students worked on planning and developing their own personal storyboards. Worksheet planners were accompanied by group and one on one critiques. Additionally, students prepared invitation cards for their parents as we planned for the end of our Fala workshop.
Session 8 (My Story Part 2)
As students wrapped up their storyboard projects and hung them up in the classroom and outdoors, the Fala team prepared to welcome parents, family members, and friends to our workspace for a closing event. With food, drinks, and festivities we showcased the work to the community and thanked all those involved.