Saturday, November 5, 2011

Greetings from Nepal

I’ve just spent an invigorating two days with about 50 passionate educators from India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh, gathered in Kathmandu for the South Asia International Baccalaureate Schools Association conference. The event, hosted at Ullens School in Kathmandu, was my first stop on a month-long journey to work with schools across India.
In my sessions on collaborative learning and 21st century skills, participants offered keen insights about the challenges and opportunities in their schools. SAIBSA represents the progressive end of the educational spectrum here, with schools emphasizing deep learning through inquiry, critical thinking, and service learning.
I was struck by some of the day-to-day challenges: A teacher from India said she sometimes has to encourage parents to cut back on family socializing so that students will have time for studies. A team from Pakistan told me what it’s like to work in a school building that’s guarded by rooftop snipers and where many students have their own bodyguards.
Project-based learning is a relatively new term here, although a few schools are embracing the approach. One administrator from India said PBL may be a new term, but it describes many of the practices already in place at her school. She was excited to continue the conversation and build a common way of talking about this approach to teaching and learning. And that’s exactly what I’ll be doing for the next four weeks.
More impressions to follow as my adventure continues.
Top photo: Peaceful oasis of Ullens School. Bottom photo: Bustling Thamel district of Kathmandu.

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