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Yuvabe youth reimagine teaching and facilitation

At Yuvabe, we kicked off 2022 with a purposeful intention: Becoming better teachers for the schools in our community. As part of our service work, many of our team members are engaged in imparting STEM and arts education in the Auroville and bio-region schools, for students of grades three to eight, and it is our constant endeavor to give the students our very best.


YUvabe's Quilt.Ai team learning to make classes more engaging and fun for their students

With this goal in mind, a ‘Reimagining Teaching’ workshop was held on 3rd -4th January 2022 for the teachers in our team. The workshop was led by Annora Saraf, a young, independent designer living in Auroville, with experience in developing educational programs and tools for kids in underserved communities. She also conducts many creative expression and visual thinking workshops for students and teachers across India. By introducing different styles of creative facilitation, understanding skills and qualities of the ideal tutor and looking at the future of education for learners and teachers, the workshop aimed at helping us teachers find multiple unconventional solutions for our day-to-day classroom challenges and become better educators. Here are some learnings from the workshop: 1. Keep the students engaged and attentive using fun games We started off the workshop by sharing the common problems that all of us as teachers and facilitators experience in the classroom. These were mainly: how to hold the students’ attention? How to handle the classroom when students get fractious? How to keep the students enthusiastic and engaged in class? How to draw a line between being a friend and a teacher? How to soothe children when there is havoc in the classroom without getting directly involved with kids’ issues? Annora introduced us to fun games like Walk and Stop, Zip-Zap-Zop, some clapping games, and a few others, that we can use to keep the students attentive, or to bring back the oblivious child into the lesson unpunished. As participants, we can say they worked like a charm and kept us duly engaged and enthusiastic! Many of the games can also be effective in team building, boosting creativity or increasing focus.



2. Learn from our own schooling experiences, the good and the bad Using our own experience from our schooling days, we also spent time brainstorming about the possible needs and wants of the children we teach today and the kind of teacher we can be. What were the qualities of our favourite teacher that we can inculcate in ourselves? What we wished we had in our own childhood classrooms? What we felt lacked in our education system? Being a teacher is now an opportunity for us to bring to life the things we wanted our education system to have.


3. Switch between regional language and English to develop bilingualism A prominent challenge we teachers face in the bio-region/village schools is balancing the use of regional language and global language, i.e Tamil and English, respectively. Tutoring in English often results in the students not clearly understanding the subject matter. On the other hand, teaching in Tamil discourages students from practicing and improving their command on English, which limits their future career prospects. After a discussion, the agreed upon solution that we have started implementing in our classrooms, is to slip in English phrases, while teaching the main concepts in Tamil. This will build a gradual acceptance and understanding of the language amongst the students. Once there is a comfort around the language, they would hopefully be encouraged to use English as a regular medium of communication. Read more about the other approaches we’ve employed to teach English in the bioregion schools.

4. Prepare for the future of education The field of education is going through a massive overhaul. More and more people are pursuing self – education. Conventional public schools have realized the power of ‘learning by doing’ and practical classes are being adopted more and more into the system. At the same time, since the start of the pandemic, the mode of instruction has become more virtual, making online classes the new norm. Other trends in education we teachers are expecting are choice based learning, where the student is allowed to decide what she wants to study based on her natural curiosity. There could be changes in the systems of evaluation, making them less competitive. Inculcating environmental sensitivity in the students is also something that is likely to become more important. Thinking about and being prepared for these new changes gives us more confidence to play an active role in designing the future of education.


Yuvabe's Quilt.ai team learning to be better teachers during the two day workshop

5. Reflect on our strengths and weaknesses as teachers To conclude the workshop, we each wrote down our self-perceived strengths and weaknesses as teachers. Post that, we each gave a brief five minute presentation on the topic of our choice, based on which the other members evaluated us on what they perceive are our strengths and weaknesses. This helped us get a better idea of ourselves as teachers, that we now keep in mind as we go into our classrooms every week. During the workshop, we realized how even as young teachers, we sometimes confine ourselves to the old, conventional systems. This refresher workshop reminded us to continue to cultivate a constant unlearning, relearning approach to be better tutors.

6. Would AI replace teachers one day? While Artificial Intelligence has been able to replace a lot of tasks and make professions redundant, we feel that the role of a teacher cannot be easily replaced. A classroom is a place to learn collaboration, empathy, build emotional connections, and the teacher is an important support system and mentor for the kids as they navigate their foundational years.


As youths of team Yuvabe, we feel proud While Artificial Intelligence has been able to replace a lot of tasks and make professions redundant, we feel that the role of at teacher cannot be easily replaced. pA classroom is a place to learn collaboration, empathy, build emotional connections, and the teacher is an important support system and mentor for the kids as they navigate their foundational years.

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