Here is the presentation used in the session. Detailed notes below the presentation:
Interacting & Facilitating … as a means to empower children to do what they want to do, learn what they want to learn and become who they want to become.
A clarification – facilitate actually means “to make easy” – which is far from what our interactions are trying to do – the interactions are more working as a catalyst. Hence, need to clarify three presuppositions that we are working with:
- A child’s learning is not dependent on our interactions and facilitation. The child learns anyhow - all the child needs is freedom to explore, experiment and express. Hence, facilitation is not compulsory but supplementary.
- Learning happens not merely when child does or experiences, but when the child THINKs about what he or she is doing or what is happening. [John Dewey]. The thinking mind goes through processes like understanding, analyzing, using, creating, evaluating, enjoying, etc [Blooms Taxonomy]. Hence, interactions are primarily aimed to start, stimulate and extend various processes in the child’s mind.
- Child is doing and learning for his or her own reasons (or goals). Pushing our objectives, under the guise of facilitation, would tantamount to being controlling, or dictatorial rather than acting democratically. Hence, interactions are effective when we align them to the child’s goals (and wants). Also implicit is the trust we have on the child, her abilities, and her intentions.
So, by interacting we are neither trying to “give gyan” nor "solving their problems". We are rather intending to enlarge the process of learning itself so that:
We Empower the child [eg: Child figuring out how to open own water bottle]
We Expand the situation or circumstances or experience. [eg: Child examining in which direction most things open – taps, jars, doors etc]
We multiply the learning opportunities available to the child (without an attempt to direct any specific learning) [eg: Child designing own bottle cap, creating a dance step based on opening of bottles etc]
Since the objective is to facilitate thinking process, we primarily use questions (and encouragement specially through non verbals and FISH)
We recommend the following guidelines
- Be a wonderer and wanderer yourself. Then the questions come automatically.
- Ask questions, not answer them. If a child asks a question – chances are that the child is thinking. Ask questions that listen to and further extends that thinking.
- Ensure that questions are open. Questions that elicit fixed ‘known’ answers or that get a yes/no or one word or a definition as a response are closed questions and do not contribute much to learning (except for verification). Questions that may have multiple answers, no set answers are the open ended ones.
- Many open ended questions start with How & What – so try to start with these two words. Also, keep the question plural – like “What could be the reasons…. (instead of saying reason)
- Don’t look for answers or even wait for the answer. A question is like a seed thrown in the mind of the child – our objective is to “let it grow” – not see some fruits immediately. When a child perceives that the answer is not only not important – it is not even expected, the child is free to contemplate on the question whenever, how much ever and in whatever way.
- An attendant strategy to the #5 above is to ask question to nobody in particular. A kind of wondering aloud – throwing the question up in the air. Then children know that there is no expectation of an answer.
- Also when with a group of children, sometimes few children may want to respond immediately to your question. Request these children to wait and let others also think. This gives all children time to think it through more deeply and widely. It obviously also gives time and space for others to think – otherwise they would have left their thinking and instead focused on the immediate child’s answer.
- Further consider this framework
Child interacting with himself or herself
Ask feeling questions like “how are you feeling”?
Request child to express his thinking – if he/she wants to!
Empower to self evaluate
Encourage non verbally
Child interacting with activity, resources and material
Ask experiencing questions … like .. “How are you…..?”
Ask exploratory questions like “What else …?” or “How else….?”
Ask expanding questions like “What if ….?
Empower to self learn, to draw own conclusions, etc.
Child interacting with peers
· Encourage: Ask and learn, tell and teach
Peer doing, peer discussions, peer mentoring, peer assessemnt etc
· Ask children to observe others
· Ask children to collate, summarize and present on behalf of the group
· Agree to disagree;
Child interacting with you
· Ask the child to show or teach you!
· If required praise the effort put in, acknowledge and affirm the specific strength and ability used.
recommended strongly - do work along children (not to demonstrate but to learn with them) - this way you do not go about teaching, and children get automatic demonstration of so many skills, abilities, etc.
· That’s all
Non verbal is most effective in giving child mental space and time, for giving encouragement, and for small subtle nudges in various direction. Non-verbals through are subtle yet carry bigger punch – hence they are a preferred mode specially when the child is seeking a response – a solution, an evaluation or an intervention. In fact we encourage facilitators to develop a set of familiar symbols which the child can come to quickly recognize and understand. Common non-verbal like thumbs up, pat on the back, smile, fingers in ears etc are excellent and may a times sufficient interactions.
When to facilitate, to interact
Well whenever we are with the child, whether we are doing something or not, we are interacting and facilitating. So going out of the room or sitting quietly in a corner is also an interaction. Facilitation is everything that an instructor does, thus it includes intentional, unintentional, subtle and not so obvious behaviors.
Four types of facilitative behaviors can be identified, as follows:
1. Intentional - Overt
These are things an instructor does intentionally and these are noticed by students. Examples:
· A facilitator shows students he opens his water bottle.
· A facilitator asks open ended questions like – how did you open the tap today?
· An instructor counsels or gives verbal or written feedback.
2. Intentional - Covert
These are things an instructor does intentionally but they are not noticed by students. Examples:
· The facilitator sits down to be at eye level with the child trying to open the bottle
· The facilitator embeds encouragement in his talk – “The way you are twisting, so smartly, you will soon be able to be open it”
· Picks up his pen and imitates opening action.
3. Unintentional - Overt
These are things an instructor does without intending and they are noticed by the students.
· An instructor is naturally warm-hearted (without realizing) and this makes students feel accepted and excited about trying.
· An instructor unintentionally uses gendered or put down language which upsets several participants.
4. Unintentional - Covert
These are things an instructor does without intending and they go unnoticed by the students. But it does affect individual's experiences and has subtle socio-psychological impacts. Examples
· As the child is trying, the facilitator unintentionally picks up some other task and diverts his attention away from the child trying. The child may not consciously notice but it affects the child.
· An instructor uses put down language and this goes unnoticed by the child but it contributes to underlying gender issues and tensions within a group.
Given this framework - here is what we recommend:
For all the Intentional inputs
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
* First prepare how will I do the activities / lesson plan (in detail)
** Two prepare the kind of process questions I will ask (write down the questions)
*** Three Prepare my thoughts about each child - what does this child need - how to give - through overt or covert means? etc
**** Four prepare myself to observe (build observation-breaks into my activities - ensure that my activities are so designed that they give me time and mental space to actually observe the children and the process in general.
For all the Unintentional inputs
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
* First Prepare to be conscious of the subtle feedback children give (one way is to ask each child and then take it with open mind)
** Prepare my state of mind - because that will colour a lot of my unintentional behavior and inputs - specifically ensure that my state of mind is not effective by outside classroom events like issues/ events at home, or school or any other issues with self. Similarly reset any bias you have for any child or set of children.
*** Prepare my mind to be conscious of my beliefs and perceptions - specially about the subject/ topic/ activity and about each children or children in general. Again a lot of my unintentional behavior is determined by my beliefs and being conscious of these beliefs helps in changing the ones that may be ineffective
**** Finally and very beautifully, prepare my children to GIVE ME FEEDBACK - to tell me when they are not feeling alright about something. One simple way is to keep asking - "How are you feeling" (this often puts thing which were covert into overt - once child is aware of a feeling - child can trace to what is causing this feeling and then if child can articulate that - the facilitator can take that feedback.
Overall enjoy facilitation and the session. Remember to share with others by talking or blog or any way - what all you enjoyed during the session. After all thats what we are here for - to have fun :-)
Aditi - Ratnesh
In his book, How Good Do We Have to Be, Rabbi Harold Kushner tells a story he read in a book which he calls a fairy tale for adults. It is called "The Missing Piece," and it goes like this:
"Once there was a circle that was missing a piece. A large triangular wedge had been cut out of it. The circle wanted to be whole, with nothing missing, so it went around looking for its missing piece. But because it was incomplete, it could only roll very slowly as it rolled through the world.
"And as it rolled slowly, it admired the flowers along the way. It chatted with butterflies and enjoyed the sunshine. It found lots of pieces, but none of them fit, so it left them all by the side of the road and kept on searching.
"Then, one day, it found a piece that fit perfectly. It was so happy. Now it could be whole, with nothing missing. It incorporated the missing piece into itself and began to roll.
"Now it was a perfect circle, and it could roll very fast--too fast to notice the flowers, too fast to talk to the butterflies.
"When it realized how different the world seemed when it rolled through it so quickly, it stopped, left its missing piece by the side of the road, and rolled slowly away, looking for its missing piece."
In some strange sense, we are more whole when we're incomplete--when we're missing something.
By Ashish Rajpal
Do not limit your child to your own education, for he was born in another
A Jewish proverb
I wish that hands-on exploration be part of our classroom curriculum. What
if children were treated as little scientists who conducted experiments with
their own hands, made observations, asked questions and came to their own
conclusions while guided by the teacher?
For me personally, a defining experience was a class I attended with Eleanor
Duckworth. She was our professor at Harvard University who would run classes
in a very hands-on and experiential way. She would make us do permutations
and combination exercises with clips, make us do area and volume exercises
with chocolate bars, keep us up late at night and make us watch the moon to
see what its shape was and the direction of the “rabbit”. It was an
astonishing experience in hands-on learning.
My second wish is to inculcate a reflective mindset and openness to feedback
as part of the programmes to educate our teachers. Theoretical knowledge of
psychology and subject matter understanding is certainly necessary but not
sufficient to create good teaching practice, which is often limited to
repeated transmission of textbook content. What if teachers observed each
other inside the classroom, reflected honestly on how they performed, gave
each other feedback and continuously improved on their practices?
After training over 10,000 teachers in this manner, I have seen the visible
difference a reflective teacher can make on her students. Instead of running
after marks and ranks, children in these classrooms think on their own,
thirst for objective feedback on their performance, are not afraid to fail
in new tasks and try repeatedly until they succeed.
My final wish is to get school leaders to be role-model teachers and
learners. When I visited Kiran Sethi’s acclaimed Riverside School in
Ahmedabad, Mary Roy’s painstakingly created Pallikodam in Kottayam, and the
vibrant Harishree Vidyalyam in Chennai, I found one thing in common. The
leaders of these schools spent their time and energy in the classroom;
immersed in learning, modelling good teaching and coaching their colleagues.
For my wishes to come true, the theoretical world of academics and policy
must meet the real world of teachers and students. Today they lie estranged
in different galaxies. Good education management means bringing them
Once this happens, we can then look forward to a generation of curious,
creative and fearless learners who can solve the most pressing challenges of
our country. No problem will be too big for them. They will say: “Let’s
figure it out”, and not, “It’s out of syllabus”! That is when we will
deliver a truly liberal education.
Ashish Rajpal is the co-founder & managing director of iDiscoveri Education.
Child Centered Education-Needs- All of us are independent souls and have our own destinies. We need to strive to connect with the supreme soul or at least recognize that we are souls. If not then be a good human being and even if this is not possible then educate ourselves and our children! Education as we know is one which liberates. Also in basic terms it is developing KSA (Knowledge, Skill and Attitude). How we can make the activities giving enough space to our children. Project based learning and Concept mapping as examples. We also know about learning styles viz. auditory, visual and kinesthetics. Further we have multiple intelligence of gardener like logical, musical and so on. Children will have their own needs which have to be identified by experts and facilitation process initiated. In fact today we find many organization coming up with their own curriculum despite National Curriculum Framework (NCF) and National Curriculum Framework for Teachers Education (NCFTE) etc. There is a chaos!!
Then I may also add that there are certain Core Competencies like concentration, power of expression etc which will actually help children later to acquire employable skills rather than most of the subjects being taught today. So this is another aspect. In competitions today you have reasoning, english, CA and general Studies, quantitative aptitude etc rather than pure subjects.
Children's Interest- How Best in Their Interest.- Well as I said each one is a separate soul and has own consciousness and therefore own needs. The challenge for the teacher is to identify and align the goal/ need and then create environment where motivation thrives. Career Counseling and Guidance etc will come in handy. Need to promote the strength of a child and so called deficiencies will vanish automatically. All the stakeholders will have to hold the hand of the child even if the child feels she or he wishes to be whatever. It may take time for our society. But we need to inculcate some employability skills like numeracy, literacy, team work, problem solving, life skills etc.
Facilitation vs Teaching- To facilitate may be to create an environment for self- learning. Teaching on the other hand is inculcating certain skills through different pedagogy. You all would know these better I assume! Facilitation is more to give greater space to children. By the way Oscar Wilde says- people who are incapable of learning take to teaching!!! Are we?
Grade-wise Curricula Freedom of Pace of Learning- This is a problem with our exam system. May have been ameliorated to some extent by CCE. Need to have innovativeness. Open book system--many years ago our father in Patna Xavier's gave us physics books along with the question paper like "3 Idiots" I think.
Completion of Curricula.- This is another bane of the system. I like the foreign tourists in this regards- they do not always head for destination; if they like a place enroute they pitch up their tents!! Well there are enough pds for completion. Creativity at various levels will be able to address the issue. Balance will be taken care of by our rampant tution environment!!
Colonel Prem Prakash
Rashtriya Indian Military College
As such our greatest joy comes when we can employ both our brains and our hands simultaneously in ways which are creative, useful, and productive." As a potter, father, grandfather, teacher, artist, and art educator, I have a longstanding interest in how much children love to work with clay. http://www.goshen.edu/art/ed/
The 2010 Graduating Class of Coxsackie-Athens High School.
Comment: The following speech was delivered by top of the class student Erica Goldson during the graduation ceremony at Coxsackie-Athens High School on June 25, 2010
Here I stand
There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, "If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years . ." The student then said, "But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast -- How long then?" Replied the Master, "Well, twenty years." "But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?" asked the student. "Thirty years," replied the Master. "But, I do not understand," said the disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?" Replied the Master, "When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path."
This is the dilemma I've faced within the American education system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.
Some of you may be thinking, "Well, if you pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn't you learn something? Well, yes, you learned something, but not all that you could have. Perhaps, you only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. School is not all that it can be. Right now, it is a place for most people to determine that their goal is to get out as soon as possible.
I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contest that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer - not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition - a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I'm scared.
John Taylor Gatto, a retired school teacher and activist critical of compulsory schooling, asserts, "We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness - curiosity, adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids into truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. But we don't do that." Between these cinderblock walls, we are all expected to be the same. We are trained to ace every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, and therefore viewed with contempt.
H. L. Mencken wrote in The American Mercury for April 1924 that the aim of public education is not "to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. ... Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim ... is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States."
Comment: The full passage reads: "The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever pretensions of politicians, pedagogues other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else."
To illustrate this idea, doesn't it perturb you to learn about the idea of "critical thinking." Is there really such a thing as "uncritically thinking?" To think is to process information in order to form an opinion. But if we are not critical when processing this information, are we really thinking? Or are we mindlessly accepting other opinions as truth?
This was happening to me, and if it wasn't for the rare occurrence of an avant-garde tenth grade English teacher, Donna Bryan, who allowed me to open my mind and ask questions before accepting textbook doctrine, I would have been doomed. I am now enlightened, but my mind still feels disabled. I must retrain myself and constantly remember how insane this ostensibly sane place really is.
And now here I am in a world guided by fear, a world suppressing the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, a world where we can either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and materialism or insist on change. We are not enlivened by an educational system that clandestinely sets us up for jobs that could be automated, for work that need not be done, for enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement. We have no choices in life when money is our motivational force. Our motivational force ought to be passion, but this is lost from the moment we step into a system that trains us, rather than inspires us.
We are more than robotic bookshelves, conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. We are all very special, every human on this planet is so special, so aren't we all deserving of something better, of using our minds for innovation, rather than memorization, for creativity, rather than futile activity, for rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a degree, to then get a job, so we can consume industry-approved placation after placation. There is more, and more still.
The saddest part is that the majority of students don't have the opportunity to reflect as I did. The majority of students are put through the same brainwashing techniques in order to create a complacent labor force working in the interests of large corporations and secretive government, and worst of all, they are completely unaware of it. I will never be able to turn back these 18 years. I can't run away to another country with an education system meant to enlighten rather than condition. This part of my life is over, and I want to make sure that no other child will have his or her potential suppressed by powers meant to exploit and control. We are human beings. We are thinkers, dreamers, explorers, artists, writers, engineers. We are anything we want to be - but only if we have an educational system that supports us rather than holds us down. A tree can grow, but only if its roots are given a healthy foundation.
For those of you out there that must continue to sit in desks and yield to the authoritarian ideologies of instructors, do not be disheartened. You still have the opportunity to stand up, ask questions, be critical, and create your own perspective. Demand a setting that will provide you with intellectual capabilities that allow you to expand your mind instead of directing it. Demand that you be interested in class. Demand that the excuse, "You have to learn this for the test" is not good enough for you. Education is an excellent tool, if used properly, but focus more on learning rather than getting good grades.
For those of you that work within the system that I am condemning, I do not mean to insult; I intend to motivate. You have the power to change the incompetencies of this system. I know that you did not become a teacher or administrator to see your students bored. You cannot accept the authority of the governing bodies that tell you what to teach, how to teach it, and that you will be punished if you do not comply. Our potential is at stake.
For those of you that are now leaving this establishment, I say, do not forget what went on in these classrooms. Do not abandon those that come after you. We are the new future and we are not going to let tradition stand. We will break down the walls of corruption to let a garden of knowledge grow throughout America. Once educated properly, we will have the power to do anything, and best of all, we will only use that power for good, for we will be cultivated and wise. We will not accept anything at face value. We will ask questions, and we will demand truth.
So, here I stand. I am not standing here as valedictorian by myself. I was molded by my environment, by all of my peers who are sitting here watching me. I couldn't have accomplished this without all of you. It was all of you who truly made me the person I am today. It was all of you who were my competition, yet my backbone. In that way, we are all valedictorians.
I am now supposed to say farewell to this institution, those who maintain it, and those who stand with me and behind me, but I hope this farewell is more of a "see you later" when we are all working together to rear a pedagogic movement. But first, let's go get those pieces of paper that tell us that we're smart enough to do so!
Above story taken from his hyperlink
A presentation for parents
A presentation for children (GURUS)
- When child corrects another child - normally as faculty we have no issue (Check the BELIEF ?)
- When we correct the child inside the class - we have no issue (Check the BELIEF ?)
- When a faculty corrects another faculty inside the class - Do you have any issue ? (Check the BELIEF ?)
- Me correcting my child at home - no issue "one needs to guide the child" - (Check the BELIEF ?)
- My spouse correcting me in front of my child - "you have no respect for me" (Check the BELIEF ?)
Many a times when the feedback is given in front of the children - children also learns that their faculty/ parent is not 100% perfect or no-one is perfect. So taking and giving feedback is one way of learning.
We need to BREAK our belief that we need to paint "perfect faculty/ parent" picture in front of the children. When you have any issue inside the class - take help of others and "tell the children - I am not able to mange this situation, I need help (yours, other faculty). Last year Aarohi children expressed "So you learn in Sunshine (TTT) how to work with children ?" They know "we also learn before we come inside the class".
- When in session anyone corrects you - one way is to tell children and express "oh this is not the way, let us do the way other person is saying" in a way you are telling the children " I am not RIGHT always, I am not the authority of the class". OR you can take is "why did you correct me infront of the children - what will they think about me"? - CHECK THE BELIEFS ?
- Your self-esteem is not in what other say to you but what you are.
- Your feelings are hurt - WHY? Is it because of the feedback, or feedback in front of the children? (check your self image and your belief too) - How does it make any difference?
- We are constanlty giving feedback to children - then why not take feedback infront of them form others? - check your beliefs.
Give and Take FEEDBACK: It has been geniekids tradition that we give and take feedback openly. So anytime if you agree or specially disagree with anything - let us discus openly (thru mail or in meetings). To keep discussion open and transparent we involve the whole concern team. Many times feedback would be on one particular action of a particular faculty - but if if we feel that we all can learn from that then the feedback is given openly. Sometimes the feedback is given INSIDE the session - to have a LIVE experience. Feedback is given child to child, child to faculty, faculty to child and faculty to faculty.