“Instead of meeting and talking about it, let us do something”, said Keertana Rao, one of the students. Paul, another student suggested that he was already helping out a few students in Olcott Memorial High School in Besant Nagar. This is what happened in the Social Causes Club we started at KCTech.
About ten of us (nine students + me) arrived at the school just before 10am on Sat 4th of Aug. One of the co-founders of Deepam, Mr Ram Viswanathan, was there to meet us and give us an orientation. He explained what they normally do, but gave us complete freedom to create our own program. Deepam went out of their scheduled plan for the day. We are thankful for that.
We started at 10 and spent about 3 hours interacting with about 40+ students from seventh grade. Some of the participants will blog about the event and I will include the links in comments, when they are available. This blog is about a few (pleasant) surprises.
- We showed the kids, an English video on some one trying to invent a banana peeler. The video shows various attempts – of failing two times and succeeding in the third attempt. The kids did not get the actual words (heavily accented), so two KCTech students paused the video and translated it in Tamil. When we asked them to describe what they learned from the video, the kids used words like “discovery”, “invention”, “try harder”.
- We took a few iPads and a Samsung Tablet to the school. They really liked drawing pictures and typing their names. Some even got the concept of Undo/Redo while drawing pictures.
- One kid pointed to the Microphone symbol in my Samsung device and wanted to use it. We showed him how. After seeing that, another girl took the phone from me and started recording an interview of me!
- We conducted a sketching competition. For an hour, every one there, was an artist. The sketches included a dragon, a pile of cars (that were marked BMW), a remake of a painting on a wall, a sketch of national symbols and many more. The girls typically had uniform borders around their sketches. The girls also sat around in groups and shared the sketch pens. One of the KCTech students remarked how much these sketches reflected their likes and gave us a peek into their interests.
- Towards the end we were winding down and a little girl asked me “Neengo ellaam Eppo varengo” (when will you be back). I said I was not sure. “May be next month”, I said. “Nothing doing” was her answer. She took me by surprise by demanding my phone number and threatened to call me, if we don’t show up soon. It made my day.
I was amazed by how free and interactive they all were, with total strangers, how quickly they made friends, how affectionate they were in inviting us back and thanking us. But most of all, I was surprised to see how spontaneous they were.
We walked away wondering how we were going to keep them interested and engaged in future sessions. As for my KCTech friends, I have nothing but praise. I never did anything like this when I was their age.
We ended the day having lunch together and jotting down ideas for future sessions. I consider it a morning well spent. I will do it again and again.