Reimagining Your Community
Act now to reimagine education!
Kids can bring about change in their communities today! Think about an issue in your community that really bothers you, imagine what your community will be like if you solve that issue, think of ways to actually solve the issue, then go out and act! Don't forget to share your journey with others so that they can try their own project too.
Here’s how you can start! Below you will find stories, learnings and exact steps you can try out to achieve what
these kids and educators did. Click on the resource that you'd like to learn and get started.
Let’s reimagine education together!
Creating Safe Spaces for Voice, virtually
Student Durbar is an effort to provide a platform for students to come together, showcase their talent and experience joy as they share and learn from each other. Teach For India Ahmedabad's Student Leadership Aggregator Committee created this platform for students. It is a city-wide non-competitive platform which provides kids with an opportunity to gain exposure and build their confidence. Due to the pandemic, these spaces have been conducted virtually. During these calls, the student hosts have been super enthusiastic and that has filled these virtual spaces with energy and joy. All the participants have been spreading the love in the chat box during performances and that has provided performers with a lot of encouragement!
This space has been witnessing a turnout of 120+ children from 10 different schools. They also had Teach For India Fellows, parents, school staff and Teach For India staff members and alumni as part of the audience. Students' performances ranged from poetry, singing, dancing, speech to even presentation of a project. Since this platform is owned by everyone who is participating, it is easy to kickstart this in any classroom, school and clusters of schools even!
How can you start such virtual safe spaces for student voice?
Reach out to your educators to kickstart the platform with a student sign-up form.
Use WhatsApp groups and e-mails to spread the word and boost the excitement for the day of hosting the space.
Invite as many stakeholders as possible in order to provide a diverse and large audience for amplifying the student voice to many kids and educators.
Prepare the student hosts to facilitate the Student Durbar by supporting them in finalizing the participant list,
sequencing them in a suitable order, writing a script and rehearsing it with them.
Ensure that the zoom link for the day has been shared and is working.
Have lots of fun engaging with the kids and educators at the Durbar!
After the call, share a gratitude e-mail with pictures and share next Student Durbar's date and sign-up details.
How is your Student Durbar going? Tell us!
Fellows of the Future
Empowering Student Leaders for a better tomorrow
Our work is grounded in the belief that Students can be Changemakers today. Through the Fellows of the Future intervention in 2020, we aimed to build a country-wide movement of student leaders who would drive local movements of change towards Reimagining Education. Our long term vision is that these young leaders develop a muscle towards transforming education at a young age, and over the years, innovate towards amplifying their impact.
Fellows of the Future 2020 was executed virtually due to the constraints of the Pandemic. We selected 25 young Changemakers from different cities and worked with them over the course of 6 weeks. These Students ranged from Grade 8 to Grade 12, with a strong vision for an excellent education being one of the key factors of eligibility. Learners engaged in synchronous learning spaces thrice a week as well as asynchronous learning packets on a weekly basis. Experts from different fields were brought in to drive diverse learning experiences. Every learner had a mentor who guided them to reflect on their personal growth and learnings.
The crux of this program is that students are the key stakeholders in the education system and hence, they play an integral role in changing it at every level. Over the 6 weeks, students were trained to build the knowledge, skills and mindsets they would need to work at the grassroot, community level and drive change from the bottom up, as they set out on their journeys.
How can you run a program that builds leaders of change for tomorrow?
Goal setting: Set clear goals and outcomes that you hope to achieve through this program. A few questions to guide you are:
What knowledge, skills and mindsets do I want students to leave with?
How will exposure develop these students as education leaders?
How am I qualitatively and quantitatively assessing their growth at different points?
Selection Criteria: Based on the goals and outcome metrics, think about what key competencies you are looking for in students. A few of these competencies might be ‘level of readiness’ , ‘strong passion for education’, ‘a high bar of excellence’, ‘time management skills’, etc.
Design and planning: Keeping your outcomes central, think about how you can plan for an intervention to reach them and who the right people would be to deliver this content. Some guiding questions are:
How long would this intervention need to be?
How can I scaffold the rigor and depth week on week?
Who would be the best people to deliver this content?
What are some things that I want to keep sacred through all sessions and spaces?
Mentoring and support: Think about what are some structures and systems that can be put into place to frequently track growth, progress and learning. Some examples of such systems are weekly check ins, group reflection spaces, feedback forms.
Let us know how your program has been running!
Back to School - How to listen to kids?
In India, 76% of the students dropout of school before grade ten and less than 5% of India’s low-income youth are enrolled in college. This resource will help us understand how we build an understanding and a need for our students to stay in school and keep coming to school everyday.
Archana, an 8th grader from Bengaluru, strongly believes in bringing positive change in society. She aims to grow up and serve as an Information Services Officer in the government. She has started working on this goal at a young age, by working with children who were not enrolled in school. Through surveys in her community, she identified five children who were not going to school. She spent months having conversations with the children and their parents about the benefits of receiving an education. After this, all five of these kids enrolled themselves into schools and Archana continued to mentor them so they’d stay in school and aim to perform well in their class. This led to a lot of personal growth in these kids and their families and now some of them are even at the top of their class!
How can you also ensure all kids of your community are attending school everyday?
Conduct a survey to find out how many and which of the kids are attending school and those that are not attending school.
Make a list of the students not attending school. Take permission from them and their family if you can visit their house and talk to them about going to school. Remember that this is a difficult conversation to have and the families may not agree with you in the beginning. Don't let that demotivate you as people take time to open up sometimes.
Listen to the kids and their parents. They might have a lot of questions before they take the decision to come back to school. Be there to answer their doubts and not to preach the idea of education to them.
Take permission from your principal and bring the kids to school on a trial basis where they can attend a few classes as per their age and grade. Be there to support them and answer their doubts after each day.
There is a chance that the kids might not be in classes that would be engaging for them. Try to find ways to fill that gap maybe through extra classes after school.
Be patient as it will be a slow process, but believe in yourself and in the idea of providing an excellent education to all kids.
Today, Archana has been able to enrol 4 out of those 5 kids that she had been working with over a span of 5 months.
Today, Archana has been able to enrol 4 out of those 5 kids that she had been working with over a span of 5 months. Let us know about your experience!
Mini Learning Centers
Kids can spread an excellent education
There are many kids that are unable to access an excellent education. Rehan and Basit have found a way to share the education experience they have been getting by running learning centers for the kids of their community. This resource aims to guide you through starting your own mini learning centers.
What did Rehan and Basit do with the learning centers?
Rehan and Basit are two 7th graders from a Teach For India classroom in Ahmedabad. They started an organization called Pencilbricks with their Fellows that works towards providing a quality education to the children of their community. They run 10 mini learning centers through which Teach For India students teach the younger children in the community. Rehan and Basit play the role of ‘observers’ where they provide feedback and support to the student teachers. Their aim is to open 100 such mini learning centers and provide a quality education to all the students in their community.
How was the experience of the facilitators at their learning center?
How can you start your own mini learning center?
Start with finding a location for your learning center in your community. It could be a common space, or a room in a house. Be sure to choose a convenient location for the kids to be able to come after school.
Speak to kids from your school and recruit them to fill the following positions -
Manager (1 position) - a person who would be in-charge of planning and taking care of the program. He/She will also be in-charge of running the committees.
Committee Members (3-5 members per committee) -
Planning: The members will be looking after strategizing and planning the expansion of the learning centers into other parts of the community.In partnership with the educators of your school, they will learn the skills of creating a vision document, a long-term plan, and a unit plan. Give them some time to first create the above documents.
Teacher Training: The members will be responsible for taking sessions with facilitators and helping them with becoming better facilitators.In partnership with the educators of your school, they will learn the skills of creating a unit plan, a weekly plan and a lesson plan. Give them some time to first create the above documents in partnership with the facilitators.
Documentation: The members will work on recording the impact of the program by assessing the growth of the students and the facilitators while also creating a library of photos and videos that can be used for documentation and communications.
Here is our best understanding of an excellent education and monitoring our student growth in the form of a rubric -
To build the facilitators into stronger educators of the future, the facilitators’ growth can be tracked using their reflections on the ‘Fellow Commitment Scale’ at different points in the year.
Arts and Crafts: This committee will be responsible for arranging and planning for different arts and crafts activities and skills that can be taught to kids.
Sports: The committee members will plan for different sports that can be taught to kids to strengthen their physical health in the available space of the learning center or in an alternative space.
Facilitators (1 position per learning center) - the facilitator will execute the lesson plans at the learning center in alignment with the plan and the time-table.
Observers (2 positions per learning center) - they will be observing the lessons and sessions that will occur at the learning center and provide the facilitators with appropriate feedback consisting of the positives and negatives, along with evidence and explaining the purpose behind the same. The observers will also be responsible for periodically documenting the impact of the program on the students and the progress of the facilitators as educators.
Photographers (1 position per learning center) - they will be responsible for documenting the work at the learning centers in the form of photos and videos for communications purposes.
Before you begin the program, speak to the parents and teachers of the kids and ensure that they are on board with the idea. Parents and teachers are important people in the life of a kid and they can be crucial factors in ensuring that kids are feeling safe and engaged in the learning center.
Let us know how your new learning center program is running!
Gurukul - Building a support for arts in your community
Your community has so many people with unique skills and talents but many of them are unaware of these.
Through this resource, we hope to guide you through creating a space for people to find their voice and a place for
people to learn more about what they love to do.
Let’s hear from Jyoti Chauhan on how she created such a space for her community!
Jyoti, an 11th grader from Delhi, started this project called ‘Gurukul’, which aims to identify people’s hidden talents. She invites students who are proficient at certain skills, to conduct workshops for other students of her community. Jyoti loves, and deeply believes in the importance of the arts, and hopes to build respect for art and the artist in the society through this project.
Why did Jyoti start her project?
How can you start your own ‘Gurukul’?
Start with finding a location or venue for your ‘Gurukul’ in your community. Be sure to choose a convenient location for the kids and adults to be able to come.
Ask your community members the different kinds of art forms that they would like to learn.
Take your time to think about what you want to achieve and in partnership with the educators of your school, learn the following skills of creating
A vision document
A long-term plan
A unit plan
A weekly plan
Take some time to create the above documents.
In partnership with the kids, adults and educators of the community, form teams that will help you in planning, getting feedback and executing the project. The following can be the possible teams -
Managers - They will be responsible to conduct and provide feedback on the plans and sessions.
Facilitators - They are the artists who will be conducting the sessions for the respective art forms.
Logistics - They need to maintain the space, find and coordinate with the facilitators and participants of the project.
Make sure you are starting the project with an orientation session for the entire team. Design and execute an opening ceremony around the theme of voice through arts to kick off the program and bring in different stakeholders of the community.
Let us know how your Gurukul is running!