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Monday, 25 May 2015

Learn, Out of the Box (Uttar Pradesh) RPA Workshop, May 2015

-Shubhendu Chakraborty
(Shubhendu manages the Learn, Out of the Box programme in Uttar Pradesh)

Four new Regional Programme Associates (RPAs) joined our Uttar Pradesh team in three districts recently. With a relatively new team, the workshop was planned to induct the new RPAs into the team, enhance their pedagogical skills and strategise the engagement with stakeholders.

This workshop was also intended to initiate a sustained process for Capacity Development through the academic year which shall provide the RPAs an opportunity to self-educate while they are on the field.

Here is a glimpse of the broad agenda:

Diverse Teaching Methods:
IDTMs and TLMs were introduced to the participants as enabling tools for the teaching-learning process. A session was exclusively planned to bring conceptual clarity about both the concepts and their complementary nature. The RPAs in teams of two also presented a topic which could be taken up in the classroom though a diverse teaching method and using a TLM. The following session provided an overview of IDTMs and their execution in the classroom. The session also discussed four different types of IDTMs: Collaborative Learning, Jigsaw Method, Project Based Learning and Case Study Method.

Engaging the Stakeholders:
In an interactive session our engagement with stakeholders and approach towards the schools was discussed. Key stakeholders and their needs in the context of o
ur programme were identified. The RPAs had an animated discussion on the topic and it was concluded that though the larger objectives of the programme are aligned to the overall benefit of the stakeholders, it is equally essential to present more tangible advantages. A few such initiatives to be taken in the coming months were identified. The session also discussed the management of time and qualitative preparation by the RPAs while visiting the School. A model school visit was presented which initiated further deliberations among the team.

Communication and Public Speaking:
The workshop also aimed to address the communication and public speaking skills of the RPAs as it's an important element in their daily roles. Real case studies were given for role-plays between a RPA, Teacher and Manager. All RPAs were asked to plan their communication and strategise their delivery to ensure effective communication. Engaging conversations took place during this session and provided an insight on real situations. Elements of Communication like conviction, structure, clarity and focus were discussed.

Through the workshop, the RPAs also gave presentations on general interest topics like Pollution, Child Labour, Inventions, Earthquakes and Diarrhea.

Shooting an Experiment:
It was an idea still in working when it was introduced in the workshop. The idea was to shoot an instructional video from the ‘Do’ section of the WebBox which shall provide the teachers a video resource to better understand the activities and at the same time can be used by the students to view the experiments being performed in case they cannot be organized in the classroom. No specific guideline was given to the RPAs apart from the expected product as we wanted to observe their organization and pedagogical skills in creating this video. The session saw energetic participation of all RPAs and within a few hours videos of an ideal playground to show percentages and an anemometer were created. The RPAs at their first attempt and without any specific brief created these videos. We intend to pilot more such videos in near future.

The workshop concluded with a session discussing the way forward and identifying certain common tangible takeaways.