Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Listen!

This is something I had done on 25/07/2009. Just noting it here since it is one of those innovative activities which I now think I should have documented well. Today, many a times I find it difficult to explain to newer volunteers what kind of creative ideas we have been implementing apart from regular studies. Anyway, here it comes:

LOTS of new volunteers had come on that day. In those days, volunteers would just come to the little multipurpose community room inside Patil Estate without ANY orientation, which usually created more problems than any help to those conducting the class. Anyway. Had to involve all of them along with kids.

Made 6-7 groups having 2 kids and 1 volunteer each. Explained the activity to all: We are to leave from this room and walk till Boat Club with our mouths shut. We will only keep our eyes and ears and other senses open to reception and note things around us. We will discuss our observations only after we reach our destination.

And thus our mute parade reached Boat Club and settled. Only then we started speaking. Asked kids to be ready with their notebooks and pens. Then came the first discussion topic: "What did you observe? If you were to hypothetically label the observations as 'Good' or 'Bad', how would you do it?" Each of them were asked to speak one by one.

"Didi, I saw 2 boys fighting near lane no. 10. They were hitting each other! It was very bad!" -Irfan. Then we all discussed a bit on fighting and everyone agreed with Irfan (at least in theory) that it was 'bad'. All noted this down in the 'Bad' column in their notebooks. (Tip: Every activity can be so subtly linked with writing that kids never realize they are performing any writing tasks.) Now came the fun part. Since Irfan first observed this and termed this as 'bad', he should never indulge into it and set an example by never fighting! All of them noted this down eagerly so that it gets permanently written down and they can refer to it later and remind Irfan!

This then happened for everyone. Kids remembered each others' points and kept reminding each other for the next couple of months. :')

Here are some of the other observations:
"That bridge we crossed was such a good bridge! I observed it. I will make one, one day!"
"People honk unnecessarily! Bad!"
"How they drove near that signal, didi! Too fast! Bad!"
"Because we didn't talk unnecessarily, we could observe so many things we never observed on our everyday route! Very good!"
"One car was giving out black smoke. Bad."
"They were leaving the taps open, letting water waste... Not good."
"I heard the birds!"
"There was too much noise outside but once we entered the campus, it is much better."
"There's a lot of garbage at the banks of the river."
"He tried to speak while on the way even when we all had decided not to!"
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One of the volunteers asked me after the class: "Is this what you do? What's the whole point of this? I mean, what's the use?!"
Would you like to answer him? If yes, then please leave a comment! :')