Participating in workshops is a gift I give myself. Being a teacher and a workshop facilitator, I feel I need to grow and learn all the time. I want to learn innovative techniques of classroom management and content delivery so that I can help my students learn better and enjoy the process.
Therefore, I enrolled myself in TeachLAB: Inspiring Innovation in Teaching, a 3-day immersive workshop for teachers to transform them into education innovators. I liked the idea of how the workshop incorporated the process of innovation with teaching.
The day started with an engaging activity. We were divided into pairs and we asked each other about our favourite fictional character and the reason behind it. Even though it was a simple activity, it got us connected in a short period. I had met Shailendra Sah just on that day but I got to know a lot about him through this activity. I could empathize with him as he talked about his favourite fictional character jerry from Tom and Jerry. We also had to create a physical gift for each other using papers, clay, lego and other materials. It was a fun learning and sharing experience.
We later discussed how listening can help us understand our users in case of teaching our students.
(The) three days was challenging but exciting at the same time
We had Bibhusan Bista, founder of YoungInnovations as the keynote speaker. He comes from data-engineering background. He shared an insightful and thought provoking session on ‘understanding the problem’ before thinking about finding a solution. He gave an example of how we are generally driven by the templates of older solutions to the problems and start seeking for new ideas based on those older templates, and thus fall back on the same old/same old thinking and solutions.
According to him, “Rather than focusing on the solution we need to understand the problem better.”
We also had the opportunity to attend a session with Prof Chip Bruce. I had attending is previous workshops on “Community as curriculum” where he discussed about asking the right question. This session was a mini version of his previous workshops. This session gave me an opportunity to reflect back on the things he had previously shared.
He talked about the concept of ALOHA which stands for:
Ask Listen Observe Help Ask
We were divided into teams and we had different topics to work on. Assessment was the topic for our group. We had to define the problem and form a problem statement.
Then we also had a short session on designing presentations by Raunak Chaudhari. He summarized his session in a word, “CRAP” which stood for:
C : Contrast R: Repetition (Consistent) A: Alignment P: Proximity
Another session was on ‘Generating Solutions’ by Sixit Bhatta, CEO of Tootle. “The end goal of economic development is freedom of expression,” he mentioned. He discussed how enabling students to ask questions made a difference.
On the final day we worked on creating prototypes and testing it. In just three days we practiced the entire model of innovation and saw how we could implement it in teaching.
To sum up a whole course in three days was challenging but exciting at the same time. I think participating in workshops and conferences is like taking a capsule; you get all that you need in a short time but it might have some side effects. We did learn a lot but how much of it gets implemented depends on the participants and their orientation. And we get a broad idea of all the concepts discussed but we don’t understand them in detail due to the limitation of time.
I did use some of the things like the first activity and some other techniques that I learnt during the workshop and it did work.
Some great presentations, brutally honest feedback sessions, and the joy of learning and sharing, overall the session was productive.
I am grateful to the entire team of TeachLab for organizing this workshop and helping teachers transform into education innovators.