Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Deepa S. ILR'18, Viveka Tribal Centre for Learning, Hosahalli



Namaskaraa! For the past four weeks, I have been discovering the magic that takes place at the Viveka Tribal Centre for Learning, in Hosahalli. This school caters to children, from 1st Standard to 10th Standard, who come from a tribal background in its philosophy and its practice. From the open classrooms and flexible curriculums to the prevalence of song and dance throughout the bamboo and gooseberry trees, the administrators and teachers at Hosahalli are doing their best to encourage young people to learn. 

My purpose at VTCL was to bridge one of the gaps of knowledge between teachers and students. I was tasked to discover and document the games commonly played by primary school children so that teachers could use the games to involve and encourage students in academic subjects. My challenge was to lend my outsider’s perspective as a non-tribal non-Kannada person to the insider role of a child. As a 19 year old playing with 6 year olds, I was looking to understand the creativity and imagination of the children at VTCL. I wanted to become part of their interactions so that I could learn about the sparks of inspiration that allow them to think of a seed as a marble, a stone as a destination, or their campus as a home. While learning about and participating in a different cultural setting, I also sought to develop learning materials to document the local games played by the children at Hosahalli.

Deepa with Elise ILR'18, Whitney ILR'18, and VTCL students.
In attempting to complete this project, I first and foremost found myself making dozens of new friends. Both the students and the teachers welcomed me into the primary school classrooms, asking me to teach them songs and games that I grew up with. After sharing my personal favorites, the Hokey Pokey and Wah, I did my best to learn from my new friends. I got to run around the campus with the 1st and 3rd standard students, playing Kannada’s verison of Tag: Ju-ta-ta, and Haalu/Mosaru, or Milk and Curds, which is a chasing game around two poles. I would watch the boys throw stones and seeds and sticks playing games like Lagori, or Goli (Marbles) trying to dissect the rules and understand what excited them. In the classrooms, I learned their handshakes and dances, all the while thinking about how to make these elements of their days relevant to the traditional subjects that teachers teach. I would sit across from them at lunchtime, smiling and waving to the kids who I played with while speaking to the teachers and my fellow ILRies, rushing back to the playground so that I could play one more round of Ju-ta-ta before classes started again. Each student and child greeted me with a smile, or a handshake, or a shout, “Deepa-akka” (big sister) from across the field.

 While my time at Hosahalli is over, for now, I will always remember the smiling faces that called to be “Banni, Banni” (Come, come), inviting me to learn about the mind of a child at VTCL. For now, it’s back to Cornell, but don’t worry, Hogi Barutenne!
ILR  2016 Hosahalli Team with VTCL Mentors

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