At Alohomora, we are inspired by the Design Thinking Framework, and thought we would use it to illustrate how we came into being.
With a common passion for teaching, and being Teach for India* (TFI) fellows, we have always reflected and debated on the purpose of education, and state of current education system. These made us evaluate our ideas:
"I felt lost in school. I didn’t understand why I was studying all the subjects. I got bad marks and left school. I left to earn money and support my family." - Shabina, a cook in DLF Phase 4, Gurgaon
I want to be a dancer but my father scolds me and gets very angry if I tell him about my interest. I do not know how to develop myself. -Prachi, Grade 7, DoE school, Sangam Vihar (student in a TFI classroom)
I got an AIR 278 in my IIT JEE in 2000. After graduation, I studied in IIM Lucknow. All the enriching experiences in 2 jobs and the Teach for India fellowship led me to a path of exploring my potential. Such opportunities are available to very few children.- Divakar Sankhla, Co-Founder Alohomora
Children lack the clarity, confidence and support system to move towards the path of realizing their potential. Unless we make learning relevant to the real world, they will not possess the skills, tools and mindsets needed to be impactful individuals in the 21st century. We call this gap the Story of Unrealized Potential.
To realize their potential, children need to be:
- Confident: Children who are empowered to express their views and emotions, and pursue their interests with passion.
- Aware: Children who reflect on their beliefs and actions, and are aware of both themselves and the social issues around them.
- Motivated: Children who will take charge of their own lives, continuously seek opportunities to learn and grow, and have the skills and mindsets to turn problems into opportunities.
The question was, how can we empower children to realize their potential? We decided to create opportunities for students to develop:
- Skills: Critical Thinking, Teamwork, Communication, Problem Solving, Goal Setting
- Mindsets: Ownership, Socio- Cultural Awareness
- Tools: Internet Literacy for self-learning, Reflective Practices
Vision statement was developed. We set out to research exciting value-based education practices, the science of happiness and the design thinking framework developed by IDEO.
Our curriculum for the different projects is built on the following three beliefs:
- Project based learning is the best way to bring relevance to a student's educational experience and motivate them to be life-long learners.
- Building the habit of reflection enables children, and for that matter everyone, to continuously learn from their daily experiences, and start identifying their strengths, areas of development and their interests.
- Children can transform their life path if they have a strong support structure of people encouraging them to explore their thoughts and ideas.
Being TFI alums, trained as per the TAL*** model, we believe in regular reflections, continually improving our effectiveness, and working relentlessly to evolve ourselves to fit the needs and demands of the market.
Our experiments with ANALP has led to the inclusion of a phase in the program called 'Learning to Learn' where we focus on building Internet Literacy and the sense of possibility in students that they can be the owner of their learning.
We're also planning to make Children for Change an annual, inclusive conference for children from all types of schools.
We are reaching out to people and organizations working in the social sector who we can collaborate with, to bring an enriching experience for our students. Please reach out to us if you would like to explore collaborating opportunities or to give us feedback!
*Teach for India is a nationwide movement of outstanding college graduates and professionals working towards eliminating educational inequity in India.
** NER at Upper Primary school at 58.3%, GER in colleges at 20%. Ministery of Statistics and Program Implementation '12, MHRD. Employability of Engineering Graduates at 19%, rest streams at 6%. Research by Aspiring Minds, an employability assessment organization.
***Teaching as Leadership explores distinguishing strategies of highly effective teachers.