A STUDENT DIPLOMA ON PUBLIC PROBLEM SOLVING

When students learn the traits of a social changemaker, they become active citizens taking part in environment conservation. Schools are a good place to begin, because, children are full of zest and sincerity, and respond well to environmental causes. So, I joined hands with HLC International, an Ashoka Changemaker School, to co-develop a 6-month diploma problem on public problem solving. Through stories, human centered design tools, and field experiences, participating children learnt to become, observers, explorers, problem solvers and storytellers.

The diploma program was launched in June 2016 with the support of Ashoka Innovation Fund. The first module, ‘Become an observer’ broadened children’s perspectives by observing problems from a seemingly normal scenario and connecting them to UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  The second module, ‘Become an explorer’ was taught in classrooms and during field trips. Children learnt multiple methods of understanding problems. The third module, ‘Become a problem solver’ used human-centered design thinking approaches to find solutions to the problems students identified, and to implement them.

The fourth module, ‘Become a storyteller,’ used experiential learning methods to enable children to become young authors. Today, 20 students have become published authors who have written storybooks about their experiences in public problem solving.  They were introduced to the art of bookmaking in a workshop conducted by arts educator and author, Srivi Kalyan. Following this, the young authors participated in 3 mentoring sessions each with me to work on their books from concept to completion. A road show was conducted in public spaces and communities spaces in apartments.

Working on Karthavyam with a vibrant team of educators at HLC International allowed me to experience how a program works within the school education system, and what it takes to co-create a successful one in collaboration with people who bring in diverse experiences for public problem solving. This student diploma provided me a smooth transition from being an outreach specialist to an educator and introduced me to teaching and learning, curriculum design and the energy needed to facilitate student learning within and outside of classroom.

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