by Umes Shrestha (Right Brain – Empowerment Academy)
& Udgum Khadka (Backbone – Empowerment Academy)
The first edition of TeachLAB was a pilot version back in February of 2019. We had plenty of reflections and learning moments then and had observed minor to major steps, process details and activities to re-test and change. Integrating those learning and realisations, we revisited the process thoroughly this time. We had a round of brainstorming and interaction with coaches and LABmasters who had gone through this process multiple times. Based on the comments and feedback, we adopted some changes.
A total of 48 participants took part in the program. Not only teachers from different subjects and levels, but also school management and students were part of the team. We intentionally formed the teams having a mixture of teachers teaching different subjects at different levels and a student in each team. Altogether, there were 8 teams consisting of 6 members in a team.
The 3-day program was facilitated by Mr. Umes Shrestha and Mr. Udgum Khadka. They were supported a group of coaches and mentors – Mr. Raunak Chaudhary (Creative Heart, EA), Mr. Prateek Neupane (LABMaster, King’s College), Mr. Samip Dhungel (Research Officer, King’s College), Mr. Sonam Tamang (Beecreative Teacher, Karkhana), Ms. Pujan Sibakoti (BBA student, King’s College), and Ms. Sabina Baniya (Assistant Professor, KUSOM).
In between the sessions, to shed more light on the steps of the LABs model we also had keynote speakers. Mr. Narottam Aryal (President, King’s College) shared his knowledge of understanding the problem before jumping into a solution. Likewise, Mr. Abhishek Maskey (LABmaster, King’s College) spread his ideas of crafting stories while pitching the ideas. Mr. Samip Dhungel (Research Officer, King’s College) shared his experience of building a prototype and vitality of it.
With all these supports, the teams were challenged to solve four major challenges prevailing in Nepal’s education system. The four broader challenges they invested their three days on were
- Changing Teachers’ Mindset towards Progressive Education
- Redesigning education to elevate student engagement
- Changing students’ Mindset towards Learning
- Making School Subjects More Relevant
The teams majorly followed a process framework called LABs model designed at OAMK Labs, Oulu, Finland. We had also integrated elements of Impact Week’s design thinking process. (Impact Week is a week-long design thinking program designed and delivered by design thinking coaches of Lufthansa Group, Germany.) Thus, a robust framework of discovering the real problem from the users, defining and sticking to a major problem, exploring multiple solutions and testing for the best fit solution and finally presenting the solution powerfully was followed in TeachLAB.
The primary objective of TeachLAB is to equip teachers with problem-solving skills and frameworks to tackle and solve any challenge – which is highly likely in the teaching profession – within and beyond the classroom. TeachLAB is about igniting the entrepreneurial mindset – making educators innovators who think beyond a particular subject.