Modules of Communication Styles

As part of the Personality Development (PD) Classes, students of Std. VI explored the concept of Communication Styles. While they learned the theoretical framework through visual aids and a classroom quiz, they also experienced the same through different modalities. The students also had an opportunity to share their learning through a small campaign. Here are some student narratives and classroom photos that will give you a peek into our exciting journey!

-          Lamia Bagasrawala, School Psychologist, Shishuvan School

My experience in PD!

“As the new academic year started, the first activity we did in our PD class was the back–to-back drawing activity in which we had to sit back to back with our partner. Then the partner would give some instructions and we had to imagine the picture and draw it on a piece of paper given to us. It was a very interesting and good activity to improve our listening skills.

The second activity that our PD teacher Lamia conducted was the ‘Silent Movies’ activity in which we were given a topic on which we had to perform a skit without speaking and not using any props. Then the audience had to guess the topic. I had a lot of fun guessing and performing the skits.

I participated in a campaign activity too. As part of this activity, we had to go all around the school and explain the four styles of communication – passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive and assertive communication. Our group had gone to explain this to the teachers. The teachers wrote their opinions and feedback on the campaign paper. I had fun going around the school completing the activity.

The last activity was to perform a skit on any of the four styles of communication. Overall I learnt to control myself and make sure not to get angry on anyone. I had a good time attending all the PD classes.”

-          Abha Chitale, VI – Shraddha

“PD Class has always been exciting and wonderful so far. Each class brings new things for us to learn. There must be almost fifteen classes of PD so far and so I have learnt those many new aspects of life. I learnt types and styles of communication – Verbal, non-verbal, passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive and assertive. I also learnt about friendship outside school and friendship in school. We also had classes on healthy friendship and unhealthy friendship.

I enjoyed participating in the skit on communication. It was a wonderful experience. I like group work and skits. All the group members contributed immensely in all the things like script-writing, dividing roles, etc. It has helped me improve my leadership qualities, acting and speaking skills.

Campaigning is an unforgettable experience. I contributed by planning what to say and how to address the person we are talking to. It helped me greatly in improving my communication skills. I sometimes tend to use aggressive communication but from now on after learning the benefits of assertive communication I will surely try to use assertive communication in my day to day life.

Participating in PD classes means access to more knowledge on topics which tell us how to face the outer world. I enjoyed all the PD classes as important topics were taught in a fun way which made things crystal clear in my eyes. PD classes are always awaited by me throughout the week. Things that are really important for our life are taught to us in such a nice way systematically just in forty minutes that for those forty minutes we all become good listeners and absorb all that we can to step on all the obstacles that come in our life and be a successful person in the future.”

-          Harshi Shah, VI – Karma

“In PD I have learned different styles of communication. My experience during the skit was good. My contribution to the group was by coming up with the idea. I was playing the role of passive communicator. It has helped me by improving my speaking skills and understanding the topic. My experience during the campaign was good. I explained it to two teachers and three students. It helped me by getting to know other people’s comments and I learnt how to explain the topic well. I usually use Assertive communication but sometimes I use passive aggressive or aggressive communication when I’m angry. I should work on not using aggressive communication.”

-          Diya G., VI – Dhyaan

“I have learned in PD that the person’s deeds make him good or bad. We should work together as one part of the world. I thoroughly enjoyed the skit preparation as I contributed as a narrator. I loved the campaign as my group was awesome. It helped me develop my leadership skills. I learned that I mostly use all styles of communication. I would change my style of communication to be more assertive.”

-          Aatmi Badani, VI – Dhyaan

“We enjoyed our PD classes conducted by our PD teacher Lamia. We had a lot of fun throughout the term. We learned about the types and styles of communication, through activities such as Silent Movies. We understood that by changing the style of communication that we use often, we can change our attitude.

In PD I have learned that I should behave well, that you can say whatever you want in a cool and calm way. We sometimes are forced to use aggressive communication but most of the times we should try to use Assertive communication. Thee skit helped me understand that we need to adjust with each and every one. We can learn many things by interacting. My contribution in the campaign was that I told everyone about the styles of communication. I understood that some teachers don’t wasn’t to be aggressive in communication but they are forced by us to be aggressive sometimes and they always try to be assertive.

My styles of communication are passive, assertive and aggressive. I learned that I need to talk to the person if he is irritating me and not just tell him by action, I need to talk to him in a calm way and express what I want. We don’t need to yell or ignore that person.

We enjoyed our PD classes conducted by our PD teacher Lamia. We had a lot of fun throughout the term. These sessions helped us change our attitude. ”

-          Shatakshi Shelar, VI – Karma

“In the PD classes I liked the part when we had deep discussions. I have learnt the different ways to communicate. My experiences have been amazing. I loved the chart work and the skit. I have loved the campaign because of the ways in which we did it and learned the styles of communication and its uses. Usually I’m passive in communication and don’t talk to others. But now I have realized the need for assertive communication.”

-          Kabir Shah, VI – Dhyaan

 

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SCHOOL OF COMPUTING WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY

This is the second session of my computer programming class at Shishuvan.

The way we declare variables and functions in Python is called snake case. It means that you join words with an underscore (_), like this, snake_case. We had talked about snake case in the first class, and how Python is a snake, and we how we were talking to the computer in snake language. And everyone knows who can talk with snakes, Harry Potter!

We started the class with quick recap of what we did last time, that is variables, functions and lists. We then decided write a function that used lists.

>>> def add_marks(marks):
       return marks[0] + marks[1] + marks[2]
>>> add_marks([20, 30, 40])
90

The kids understood this alright. They recapped how we use indexes to address elements of a list, and how the first index is always zero and not one. Then I added another element to the list:

>>> add_marks([20, 30, 40, 10])
90

I made them re-write the function for summing a list with four elements. There had to be a better way to do this, and we quietly introduced loops.

>>> def add_marks(marks):
      total_marks = 0
      for mark in marks: 
        total_marks = total_marks + mark 
      return total_marks
>>> add_marks([20, 30, 40, 10])
100

As expected, there was a flurry of questions

Repetition and Induction

This is when it struck me that the kids were understanding what the function is doing, what they were figuring out is the how. They were learning by induction. And isn’t that how we learn anything? By repetition and induction. As humans we are hard-wired to mimic other people and then we bring in our own variations so that we start learning what we are actually doing.

That was what these kids were doing. They had no idea what loops were or what the for statement did, but they kind of, got it.

They had soon typed it out and then asked a whole bunch of questions, like about indentation. Like why the return statement needs to be out-dented and other things.

I challenged everyone to make a function that returns the average of the list. And someone did actually come up with this:

>>> def make_average(marks):
      return add_marks(marks) / len(marks)

This was super cool. They could now write functions that called other functions!

Working with Strings

To reinforce loops, we did another example, this time, we added strings. I first told them that we could add strings like numbers with a few examples and then we made a function.

>>> def say_hello(students):
      student_names = ''
      for student in students:
        student_names = student_names + ' ' + student + ','
      return 'Hello' + student_names[:-1] + '. How are you?'
>>> say_hello(['Harry', 'Hermione', 'Ron'])
Hello Harry, Hermione, Ron. How are you?

As you expect, the were already starting to make their variations, in function names, student names, the output text. Repetition, induction, then variation.

Since the function got longer, many students were getting a bunch of error messages, and this was a good way to learn reading them. They were mostly related to typos and passing strings without the quotes, but this was great too, because they were starting to learn nuances, like, you can’t make spelling mistakes, strings are different from names and commands.

Wizard.py

Finally it was time to teach them Python modules. We copied some of our functions into a text editor and then we called the file “wizard.py”. Then we imported the file and called the functions.

>>> import wizard
>>> wizard.add_marks([20, 30, 40])

This was also real cool, because now they realized that they could “teach” the computer a bunch of tricks and the computer can remember them.

I asked if they were feeling like wizards already, and a few hands shot up!

Conclusion

This session went of pretty well too. We have already started to see a lot of variation in the kids. Some kids were just zooming ahead, they understood the repetition-induction-variation system. Many were afraid to try, and this system works really well only if you feel its okay to fail. For most of us, the cost of failure is very high (exams!) and that means that we end up becoming dumb followers and not-trying. Some of the challenges would be to get these kids to try out different stuff and fail.

Since we are already in Harry Potter mode, in the next class we have decided that we are going to make a sorting hat and divide everyone in groups! Lets see how that goes.

TEACHING PYTHON TO SCHOOL KIDS

rushabh meha python workshop

(Rushabh leads a software product company that publishes a free and open source web based ERP for small and medium businesses – ERPNext. They have built the product from scratch and the product is being used actively by many businesses across the world.)

 

 

 

“Call of Duty”, “GTA Vice City”, “Minecraft”, “Candy Crush” the kids were shouting when I asked them what were their favorite computer games. What else did they do with their computers? I asked, “Download movies on torrents” someone shouted.

This was a group of 30 kids of age 12–14 that were attending a session introduction to computer programming I was a part of, at my daughter’s school, Shishuvan. The school had decided to start a computer club and a bunch of volunteers including me, had happily agreed to teach some Python programming to kids. Having learned programming at the age of 11, I knew they should be able to grasp the basic concepts.

After the warm up, we quickly fired up the Python shell.

Let’s Talk

“I am going to teach you how to speak to a computer. We talk to each other in English, but we will talk to the computer in a language called Python. Don’t worry, it is like English and its going to be real easy”. Having done this kind of session before, I knew that not using computer jargon and throwing the kids directly into code works really well.

“Lets find out how smart the computer is. Lets find out if it knows how to calculate”, I asked. We started with basic arithmetic, addition, multiplication and division.

>>> 2+2
4
>>> 5 * 20
100
>>> 10 / 3
3

“That is wrong”, the kids immediately shouted.

Then I said, lets try this:

>>> 10.0 / 3
3.33333333335

That’s how we got introduced to Decimals.

Python is like English

Some kids were already trying things on their own. Since I had told them that Python was like English they were already typing things like

>>> who is sachin tendulkar
>>> what is my name

“The computer is not so smart yet, we will have to teach it”.

It was amazing to see how quickly the kids were trying to gauge the smartnessof the computer!

Then quickly we got down to calculating a percentage and I quietly introduced variables

>>> my_marks / total_marks * 100

They were tagging along quite well.

Teaching the Computer

Then I became too ambitious. “Watch this”, I said

>>> def what_is_my_percent(my_marks, total_marks):
      return my_marks / total_marks * 100
>>> what_is_my_percent(273.0, 300)
91.0

“Since the computer is not so smart, we will have to teach the computer a few definitions. The way to define something to a computer in Python is by usingdef”, I told them.

Immediately there was a commotion. “What is this colon?”, “What is def?” they were shouting. I felt that I had tripped. Water was drying from my mouth. In a moment of horror, I realized that, with that one example, I had introduced too many things

The kids were all up in arms, all of us volunteers were walking from table to table, explaining the eager queries everyone was having.

Thankfully after ten minutes or so we recovered, and the kids were beginning to understand. They had discovered they could teach the computer to calculate formulas. Someone even used the word “function”. Soon, they were experimenting with new functions to calculate areas, adding numbers and more. We also did a bit of lists before we decided to call it a day.

At the end of the session we could see that the kids where excited learn about programming and some of them were ready to do a lot more. The way they were modifying the instructions we taught them, and changing the context of the examples, showed that they had already grasped a lot of concepts. They were ready to dive into classes and objects next.

Concluding Thoughts

I had a lot of fun teaching Python and the energy was great. At the end of a couple of hours of shouting, I was refreshed! A diverse group of volunteers came together to make this happen, including alumni, teachers, parents and administrators. This is only the first step of what we hope is a long journey. Over the next few sessions, we are hoping to teach the kids web programming, databases and the ability to build whole applications that will help run the school.

It is very heartening to know that the school was willing to let kids learn computers in a non traditional way. The can-do spirit of Shishuvan was amazing. Standardized and structured education has been the foundation of the modern society but as technology is breaking down barriers, education is changing too. It was thrilling to be a part of this change.

This was made possible due to the openness and vision of the Shishuvan community, specially Lincoln, Neha, Premjibhai and Sarita. Alumni Darshan and Raj have been very diligent and the ideal bridge. There was great support from fellow parents Parul and Uma. Special thanks to Anand for volunteering to help me conduct the session. We have just gotten started, watch out for further updates

Mirror Mirror on the wall….

 

-          Lamia Bagasrawala, School Psychologist, Shishuvan School

As part of their Personality Development (P.D) Curriculum, students of Std. IX actively participated in exploring the concept of Beauty. Students began the session by discussing and sharing the ideas that are most commonly heard or showcased around us. They were then introduced to one of the less common views on the given topic. They watched the TED talk by Cameron Russell, a model who shares her insecurities despite being at the receiving end of socially defined “Beauty”. This was followed by a brief discussion and watching the Dove Real Beauty Sketches video. This astonishing and overwhelming video reveals how individuals tend to undermine their own beauty and how each one is beautiful in their own way. Students watched this video in silence and seemed surprised and touched at the end of it. Some of them could relate to the TED talk, while some connected to the experiences in the second video. Some were already beginning to question some of their existing socially constructed beliefs. As the students processed this information, they were asked to form groups, share their thoughts and each group was asked to present their perceptions about ‘Beauty’ in one of the following ways: A Beauty Product, A Visual Presentation, A TED talk format or a Song. Students presented their ideas through different modes. One group showed an existing TED Talk titled ‘Darwinian Theory of Beauty’ followed by a discussion around the same while another group showed a Cartoon image to begin a discussion and share their ideas. Another group created their own TED talk, couple of other groups wrote their own lyrics for a song and one group presented a famous saying that formed the basis of their presentation. One of the groups presented a Mirror as a Beauty Product to demonstrate that each one is Beautiful in their own way and that your beauty lies in the way you see yourself. All the presentations were heart-warming, informative and reflected the students’ thought processes. Students began the process of exploring their personal beliefs, the factors influencing these beliefs and identifying the impact of these on their own life. It was indeed a reflective and thought-provoking session for me and the students. The session was concluded with each student writing a message related to the topic of ‘Beauty’ that they would want to share with others. These messages, written on post-it notes were displayed on a chart outside their classrooms. Here are some glimpses of our exciting, stimulating and ‘beautiful’ session! Also find a student’s views on Beauty which he presented during the session.

Beauty

pic of student

Shiv Udipi, Std. IX Dhyaan

 

Beauty is a trait present in someone. You can call someone beautiful not only by his or her physical appearance but the actions performed by that person or the behaviour of that person. Beauty may be expressed in music, dance or art, etc. Beauty of a person is a good act performed by someone that makes others happy. Beauty is something that lies within and it is shown in some or the other way. Our life is full of beauty but we waste our time neglecting it. We have a full world full of beautiful things but it is we who do not recognize it and do not cherish it. Beauty is the uniqueness of a thing. We must not make ourselves feel inferior if we lack physical beauty because beauty lies deep within our heart and in our deeds.

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Online Self

Our students of Std. IX completed a detailed module on Cyber Safety over three months of Personality Development (PD) classes. This module was kick-started by an introductory workshop by a Guest Speaker, Ms. Bharti Dekate. The classes comprised of real life case studies, research findings, videos, educational clips and thought-provoking discussions. Some of the topics included in the module were- Digital Footprint, Cyber Bullying, Online Identity, Plagiarism and Online Credit, Online and Offline Ethics, Effective Online Searching and Gender Codes and stereotypes. The module was concluded through a reflective activity wherein students wrote a letter to their “online self”. Students were given the liberty of choosing their writing style, language and content. Here are a few outstanding pieces selected from a collection of brilliant submissions!

-          Lamia Bagasrawala, School Psychologist, Shishuvan School

Advik Agrawal, IX- KarmaAdvik Agarwal Onlineself

Dear Myself,

We live in a world where every place is connected and dependent on each other. The major contributor to this phenomenon is the “Internet”; more specifically the “social media”. Bit in this advancing and growing environemnt, there is one question that you must ask yourself, – “Am I safe enough?”.

One must be vigilant and aware while surfing the Internet. There are many misleading websites, agencies, advertisements, but most importantly – “misleading persons”. The Internet allows persons to have “virtual identitites”. A mere twelve year old boy could be thirty on the Internet and vice versa!This allows persons to mislead and misguide you. There arises the question of “cyber-safety”.

You mist stay away frm harmful websites and only open age-appropriate sites. You should also keep in mind that whatever you post on social media or even your online activity can be recorded and judged or used against you. You should also be aware of viruses and malware.

Lastly comes cyberbullying. Never should you be quiet about such things. Immediately voice out if you feel you are in any way involved in any cyberbullying case. The later it is addressed, the more consequences it will have.

I hope you know what to do now.

Yours,

Yourself

Bhakti Vaid, IX-Dhyaan

Bhakti Vaid Onlineself

Dear Online me,

I have seen all your posts on Instagram, snaps on Snapchat and answers on Ask,fm. They are wonderful! All your posts are quite decent and appropriate. You look very beautiful *_* and you’ve got a very good friend circle. But unfortunately there are some answers on Ask.fm that don’t give a very good Digital Footprint about you. You fight a lot on Ask.fm and if you really get a lot of hate and offensive questions, block them!

I have also seen that there is this particular guy who is asking cheap questions and you are still replying. This is really not safe. You shouldn’t answer to people you don’t know and should report it if it gets very offensive. You have even lied a little which is not right. You shouldn’t be fake, be real. Even on Instagram there are many girls whose 90% beauty could be removed with a tissue paper because that much is the amount of editing, filters and make-p. When people comment on your photo on Instagram, first know who the person is and then accordingly reply. Again, DON’T BE FAKE!

You aren’t on Facebook and WhatsApp, that’s great, but other than Ask.fm, Instagram and Snapchat, try different things on the Internet as well. I know you watch YouTube videos on Dance and that’s very creative. But Google can do so much more! J You can doodle, time yourself, play games and find any kind of information you want.

When you are socializing on the Internet, make sure you know what you’re watching and doing because that gets recorded in your Digital Footprint. And it’s great to see how well you’re maintaining your relations with everyone online and not indulging in any kind of cyber bullying.

Goodbye, enjoy posting!

Yours,

Offline Me.

Anoushka Furia, IX- Shraddha

Anoushka Furia Onlineself

Dear Anoushka,

I know you are a very active person online. You’re almost part of every social media site except a few (because those exceptions are just boring). It is very important to know what you do online, how you do it, how aware are you about where all your personal information goes. Social media is a brilliant platform to put forth your opinions, share ideas, pictures, make friends, etc. But with all of that you need to know whether you are safe. There are a million people who are as innocent as you are, as polite and smarty too, but in contrast, there are a bazillion people who are creeps and chape people who do cheap stuff.

I would love if you know how to protect yourself obnline. Do you know that there is something like Digital Footprint that can track you and everything that you put on the internet? It is very important to know the kind of language oyu use, pictures and other stuff; which ones to share and which ones should remain personal. Also you need to know which sites to trust with all your personal information. What you’ve put up till now, on social media sites is pretty clean and good. Keep up with that! NEVER, and I mean never ever have a conversation with random strangers. BLOCK or REPORT their accounts.

In my personal opinion, if you’re ever taking revenge or handling a fight, never do it online, because obviously anguage is going to be badly used and you wouldn’t want people accepting your college applications to read that and not accept you anymore. I’m not even exagerration, nor am I kidding; it happens. And if you’re ok taking the risk, then good luck to your future self (Trust me!).

I’ve heard of cases which have led to kidnapping, raping, molestation, suicide cases, etc. People fake their age and try and get into online relationships with girls way beyond their league and age. Please be careful as I’m very worried.  I do not want your future to get ruined because of some ridiculous social media case. Take care of what you do, always.

Yours faithfully,

Anoushka

Shiv Udipi, IX- Dhyaan

Shiv Udipi onlineself

My Dear Online Self,

I am writing this letter to make you aware that a lot of things that you do online are risky for my real personality. Your behaviour can be tracked and all your secrets, chats, pictures can be viewed by all the people from around the world.

I would love to tell you that the pictures you post of me, make me look extraordinary. The distance between myself and my friends, family, etc. has become just a click because of you. But sometimes you act as if you can hypnotise, make me addicted to an online game or chat for hours which is affecting my real life. You erase the true essence of friendship – we can talk whatever on Ask.fm, comment however on FB and brag about people on WhatsApp. You become a body that sits into my head and makes me think totally different from my nature. The words I speak when you are controlling my mind are all collected in some place where people preside over the internet. You can get me into trouble because of online tracking. How many ever times you delete history, chats, etc. it will never be erased.

I would warn you to stay away from most social networking sites and instead explore the internet, expand your knowledge and my knowledge will go hand-in-hand. There’s a whole word to know about. You can make me explore my talents, you can make me an aware citizen and you can help me know the craziest and excellent facts. Please stay away from addictive sites, social networking sites that royally help in wasting time. Instead, guide me towards success and exploration online.

My loving online self, so not harm anyone else’s life online and never use your power in the wrong way. Always be honest and spend limited time for you give me the power of eternal knowledge in just 0.35 seconds! Thank you for beholding my side since 2008…

 

Manan Savla, IX- Shraddha

Manan Savla Onlineself

My Dear Online-Self,

 

Your real self will be influenced by your online self, so BE AWARE of what you do and what others do. This will influence your future life. Online world is different from the real world. Be aware, protective and careful!

onlineself

Yours faithfully,

Manan

What I have learnt from Shishuvan

(Aarthi Chandrashekhar, Shishuvan Counsellor is moving on to NGO CEHAT where she will be leading the project on responding to sexual violence.
She’s written a letter to Shishuvan about how her time at the school has helped her grow personally and professionally. )
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Here are some of the things I have learnt at Shishuvan that have helped me grow.
There are many things I have learnt over the two years. I was at a workshop by CEHAT this weekend and there was an exercise to develop a plan aimed at policy makers. I was able to lead the team and draw up this plan together because of the practice of writing lesson plans here. Writing objectives provided clarity.
I have enjoyed facilitating leadership training with the representatives. It has encouraged me to read a lot about leadership and experience problem solving and critical thinking with the students during brainstorming sessions.
Developing PD lesson plans and modules has encouraged me to keep reading and get my creative juices flowing. Sometimes I was surprised at the outcome. It involved a lot of reflection as well.
I have had the opportunity to conduct sessions with different groups be it students, parents or bus staff, each with different needs and learning styles. It has taught me to face different situations and sharpen my facilitation skills to a large extent and boosted my self-confidence.
Working with children itself has enriched my learning process. They have been my best feedback givers, telling me to my face whether they thoroughly enjoyed the session or found it boring. That feedback has motivated me to stretch myself and give back more.
There will be many moments when I will be doing something and realise that this is something I learnt at Shishuvan as happened over the weekend. I appreciate the pro-active role played by the counsellor here, which goes beyond individual sessions and involves creativity and reflection.
Warm regards,
Aarthi

 All the best Aarthi! We hope you stay in touch with Shishuvan and come back to visit soon!

 

Standard VIII goes back in time

Thanks to High School History teacher Vahbiz Dhalla for sharing this with the school blog. 

Standard VIII students have been looking at the  impact of British Rule on Indian Architecture. Students were asked to form groups and each group picked up a chit which had different Architectural Styles written on them. The students then researched  their chosen style: Rajput, Islamic, French, British and Portuguese.

This research culminated in a chart which they then presented to their peers before displaying them outside their class.

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Students also went on a Mumbai Heritage walk to see the different styles of Architecture and the impact left behind by the British on Architecture. The walk started at the majestic steps of the Asiatic Library. During the walk they were able to identify many features that they had researched in the earlier activity. Some of them even created maps enroute -showing the path of the Heritage Walk.

After returning to school they shared their learning and were shown some old pictures of Bombay.

When was the last time you took a walk through Mumbai’s historic Fort Area and admired the buildings?

 

My Non-reader turns a reader!

mala-anu

 

- by Mala Balamurugan 

Mala Balamurugan is a former Corporate Banker and currently a mother of two  and a homemaker. Mala realized that the field of education is where she wanted to be and so she recently completed her B.ed and M.com. She is a Parent Representative and active  member of  the Discipline Committee. Her daughter Anaghaa Balamurugan is currently studying in class 3 Karma. She joined Shishuvan last year and thoroughly enjoys coming to school, even when she is unwell. 

 

Once upon a time a little girl loved to hear stories. Like any other little girl she used to say, “Amma read to me”. But as days passed..TV took over..and the little girl got busy with classes, school and routine. Reading stories became a once in a week event, then once in two weeks…and then it started dwindling. The little girl’s school too was transforming her into a rote learning machine. From a fun loving, inquisitive, curious child she transformed into a timid, lost one. She dreaded reading, writing and thinking. Mummy and Daddy realised she needed a desperate change…

The twist in the tale came through Shishuvan!!

The little girl – Anaghaa moved into a loving, positive environment and her life began to unfold again. The same spirited child was being reborn with a renewed energy.

As a parent and someone from a strong academic background, I always knew the merits of reading, but somewhere in the mad race of today’s world, I had just let time slip by.  The damage was already done and the challenge of undoing it was huge.

I kept telling my husband…we have to start taking baby-steps again.

In Shishuvan, the wonderful teachers had already instilled the seeds of reading in her, then came LRSIA!!

Her first reaction when I told her that she should take part in the reading competition was, “ I don’t like reading, How will I read these big books?, I have classes, I don’t have the time, what if I don’t win?”.

I just smiled and told her, “ You don’t have to win. You will see how you enjoy these books. We will read together. I promise you that”. So I took her to the bookstore, and while we were sitting there I casually gave her one book from the list recommended by LRSIA. And while I browsed through other books she sat down to read…she read…and yippee!! She finished the book!! I was amazed. Then she asked me, “ Amma which are the other books I have to read?, let’s buy them”. (The books are so amazing and child-friendly).

anaghaa-with book

This was the first time she had finished reading a book..that too by herself. I was so excited by this small victory.

We still have challenges we face, but we are taking baby steps along with our child and the amazing difference we have seen in her after joining Shishuvan cannot be expressed in words.

Today, Anaghaa wants to read, she does not hesitate to write on her own, make her own stories… She even reads out to her little brother…and that too so very proudly.

LRSIA, is just an opportunity for her to make new friends – after all, books are our best friends too. And I as a parent know that this baby step will help her in the long run.

These baby steps will turn into confident strides one day!!

Thank You Shishuvan!!

 

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About Us :

 

 

What lies beneath a High School student’s mask?

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Shishuvan counsellor Veena Hari recently worked with High School students on the construct of self-awareness and reflecting on the different aspects of self in personal vs. social situations.

The session began with students viewing a short film titled “Identity

 Identity is an award-winning short film by KJ Adams. The short film criticizes the dominant cultural norms of identity and the self, and beautifully stylized, suggests we be ourselves instead of try to conform to those norms.

Using masks, the film portrays the different selfs we all present to different people. In one of the scenes, a girl approaches a group and takes off a mask to reveal another – this is a great observation of the fact that people have multiple “selves”, and show different parts of their selves depending on who or which group of people they are with.

The main character, the girl, already wears a special, Venetian styled, mask, and eventually takes it off because it breaks, causing quite a stir.

 After viewing the film, a short discussion was held and the following questions/points were raised. 

  • What was the film about?

  • Do we all wear different masks depending on our situation?

  • What are the various comments made on society in this film?

  • Do you often find yourself also wearing a mask? Give an example

After the discussion, the class did an “Inside/Outside Mask Activity”

We often do not realize that they put on masks when interacting with others. There are thousands of masks we wear, sometimes all within one day. This activity is designed to help us begin to become aware of these masks so that we can choose what masks to wear.’

The students were given a sheet of paper and they had to draw a mask on both the sides of the paper, one for “Inside” and the other for “Outside”. They used drawings or words to depict who they are and how they feel from the inside i.e. to the general public, their social self and on the other side they depicted who they are from the inside i.e. at home or when they are by themselves and no one is watching.

 The two selfs/masks can be similar or can be completely different depending on their view of themselves.

Before the session began, the students were asked about how their mid-term break was and most responded by saying that they were not as enjoyable as they were stressed out about the impending Terminal exams. In Shraddha class, the students were upbeat about the break and the majority reported that they thoroughly enjoyed it. The general mood in the classes was a sombre due to the upcoming exams. The activities were carried out in all the three divisions as planned. The students watched the film with complete attention.

In the discussion that followed the film, the students showed good understanding of the film and the references made in the film. They interpreted that some people wear masks so that they are accepted by others. There were a few good comments made in the discussion. One student in Karma class shared that people who wear masks are ‘fake’ people. Some others in the class disagreed and she elaborated with an example that some friends pretend to be the partying type just so that others see them as cool whereas in real life they were not the partying types. In Dhyaan class, as soon as the movie was over, one student shared the message of the film and appreciated the movie as well. In Shraddha class, Harshvardhan was excited to share what he thought of the movie whereas there were some who were not sure about what they saw before the discussion. Some expressed that one cannot be true to oneself at all times as sometimes we need to pretend to like something so as to not hurt other’s feelings. This was especially so in the case of relatives.

In the second activity, most students were engaged while one or two in each class were hesitant and unsure. One student asked if he could leave his make blank on both sides as he is confused about himself and his own behaviour. He was encouraged to reflect. Another girl in Dhyaan class was unsure till the end about what she could do in the activity. Apart from this some interesting responses and art work emerged from the activity.

Outside me: I talk a lot and a fun person.

Inside me: I care about everything bust would show an “I Don’t Care attitude’

Krupa from Karma lass added a rule of her life on the mask: “Be who you are. Life goes easier.” She also mention that she is “Normal” on the outside whereas she is “soft as cotton and gets hurt easily” on the inside.

Another student reflected that on the outside I love talking and like having company all the time whereas on the inside I like being left alone at times and talk to myself

Ansh Lapasiya fromKarma class drew expressing that he s funny in the outside world and serious in the inside world.

One student wrote that he is “quiet with relatives and keeps all secrets to myself in the house whereas very talkative with friends and shares everything with best friend.”

Another depicted through drawing that on the outside, the mouth is highlighted with shading and on the inside the brain is highlighted indicating that he talks a lot outside but thinks a lot inside.

One child wrote “MY OUTSIDE IS CONTRADICTORY TO THE INSIDE.

Conclusion: Outside ≠ Inside”

Whereas another just wrote *The same as I am Outside* and *The same as I am Inside.*

Another depicted outside “bad at singing” and inside “Good at singing” and ended with a question: “People judge. When do they plan to love?”

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