Namaskāra! Join Cornell students from the ILR School and the Global Health Program taking part in a global service learning (GSL) program at the NGO Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM) in Mysore, Karnataka State, India. The students take courses in culture, labor, gender and public health and also engage in service projects related to their studies. This opportunity is managed by International Programs in the ILR School.
For past years, see archives.
Monday, September 19, 2016
Whitney C. ILR '18, Documenting VTTRC Success Stories at Hosahalli
Whitney shopping at an open market.
SVYM maintains two schools in
Hosahalli: Viveka Tribal Centre for Learning (VTCL), which is the primary and
high school for tribal children between the ages of five and fifteen, and the
Vivekananda Teacher Training Resource Centre (VTTRC), which is a two year
college program for future elementary school teachers. The two schools
are very connected, with VTTRC students conducting research at VTCL as well as
acting as house parents in the hostels. I feel privileged that my project
has given me the opportunity to interact with both campuses as well as the
wider community. My project this month has been to record success stories
of VTCL and VTTRC alumni from the year 2011 to 2016 by analyzing the meaning of
success in the context of institutional goals as visualized by select teachers,
leaders, and students of VTCL and VTTRC and to develop a list of success
criterion in which to identify successful individuals.
There is an emphasis at VTCL on
teaching students when they are ready to learn and preparing the classroom
environment with the necessary learning tools, materials, and resources for the
active involvement of the learner. This inquiry-based learning that
encourages divergent thinking and leads to more questions and inquiry based
habits of mind helps create lifelong learners and inquisitive minds. The
atrium at school features many quotes that allude to these values, including
one by Margaret Mead that says, “Children must be taught how to think, not what
Everyone that we have met through our
work has been so welcoming and excited to help us in any way that they
can. The students that we have befriended never cease to amaze me.
One VTTRC student eloquently explained why she wants to be a teacher; she said
that education introduces you to the world and as an educator, you are an
ambassador for children who want to learn about the world. Thus, she
wants to learn as much as she possibly can so that she can be the most
effective ambassador for her local tribal community to a world that they shy
As our time in Hosahalli winds down, I know that I will
miss my new friends and I know I will think about them long after I have left
India. The students are so talented in all areas and intensely interested
in everything. We had so much learning traditional Kannada songs and
dances from them and teaching them some American ones as well. They are
such fast learners and pick up anything that we teach them immediately.
Whitney (left) and Elise (right) pose with Hosahalli students.