A month back when I first met this kid, he refused to talk to any of us, in fact, we got to know he hardly interacted with anyone then. The more we tried to approach, the more he tried to shrink himself. He used to stiffen himself every time anyone tried to converse with him. And at times, if someone was persistent he often used to turn aggressive. Charan, who is currently in class-1 is a new student in one of our learning centres. Most students, including the teacher, had decided to let him have his way. But it was not that he didn’t want to engage or involve himself, it was just that everyone asked him wrong questions or all of us used to initiate discussions which he was trying to avoid as we had observed him being very involved and happy when around his mother. Though the environment in our centres is such that we never even discuss with anyone for their slow learning pace, rather they are encouraged to be consistent learners irrespective of what pace others are learning. But he seemed to have noticed that he was lagging behind in the needless race of learning alphabets, words, counting and other basics when compared to his contemporaries, and somehow even unintentionally it was being pointed out every now and then which affected him.
Out of all the activities and games we conduct during our sessions in the learning centre, hoop rolling interested him very much. The guy who used to shy away from interactions now came up to us and asked if he can start the activity. This was a surprising yet learning experience for all of us. Suddenly we found him taking initiative, asking for help, improvising, joyfully presenting what he had learnt and even comfortably accepting what he didn’t know. He already knew a lot of basics which the traditional assessment methods couldn’t confirm. The hoop rolling activity was infused with a lot of language learning. The activity provided Charan with a very comfortable platform to express his learning and limitations. Seeing that kid smiling, with a gleam in his eyes meant a lot for all of us. He has definitely travelled a long way from a day when he avoided discussion with anyone to this day when he is taking initiatives collaborating with others. And for the future, the activity created a good bond between us which will be a stepping stone into our collective learning journey.
– DebarajaPidikaka, Mentor at Klorofeel Learning Centres