The session we had with the students today marked the end of the first week of the Summer Camp programme we’re having for the students in the local community. Our Saturday sessions serve two purposes – to round off the week with a longer session that can include some activities as well as to include some peer facilitation work with the Indus students (from the International school). Both succeeded to an extent and I’d say I’m cautiously optimistic about how this would go and hope that the enthusiasm that was shown on both sides would continue.
One might say that I was a little foolhardy or over-ambitious with the lesson prepared for today but wanted to do it anyway. Tried to implement a little self-directed learning with a tinge of problem-based learning (PBL) into the activities today and though it did represent an uphill task for students and peer-facilitators, was quite relieved to see that all the students could at least approach the problem fairly well and understood the requirements, thanks to the peer-facilitators.
What, some might ask, possessed me to try out a PBL activity on students whose language ability is not quite so good yet? I felt that self-directedness is an important component of learning in any situation and it’s not as closely linked to language as one might think. The important thing is to inculcate the spirit of inquiry that would drive the students to learn further. What we did today was, in a sense, throwing them off the deep end to get them to understand that they can learn well even without a teacher telling them stuff. After all, it’s the willingness to inquire that’s at the heart of the activity and that’s not so dependent on language either.
Montage of the Summer Camp activities. (Clockwise from top-right: group in discussion, wildly gesticulating instructions, peer-coaching, mentoring)