Chennai: The Corporation of Chennai, British Council and MacArthur Foundation organised a three day ‘Club Leaders Workshop’ under its Pudumai Palli Project from August 3 - 5, 2016 at Amma Arangam, Shenoy Nagar. Aimed at improving the livelihood prospects of students, particularly girls in Chennai, the workshop witnessed participation from more than 200 students and 100 teachers from 70 corporation high schools and higher secondary schools.
The Pudumai Palli Project: Developing Innovative Schools in Chennai (P3DISC) comes as a grant from the MacArthur Foundation to improve the future prospects of students and girls in particular, from socio-economically marginalized urban communities of Chennai. It works on enhancing key skills such as English, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Enterprise and Leadership that are imperative to get a meaningful employment in the 21st century. Additionally, it aims to build a sustainable system to support in-service teacher education, continuing professional development and the ongoing support for teacher and student learning; this project will also provide a replicable model for urban school systems in India.
Speaking at the valedictory ceremony, Ms. Mei-kwei Barker, Director British Council South India, said, “We are delighted at the interest and enthusiasm, evinced by the learners and look forward to seeing the impact of the 21st century student clubs in their schools. We congratulate the Greater Chennai Corporation, head teachers and teachers for taking this step forward with us and wish these young club leaders all success in their future. The British Council is very pleased to contribute to the empowerment of these young student leaders in partnership with the Greater Chennai Corporation and the MacArthur Foundation”.
The three day workshop commenced with curious participating students trying to understand their role as leaders which was followed by an interactive and fun filled workshop providing information on the 21st century clubs. Workshop sessions were designed enabling them to model some of the behaviours and attributes of leaders. In a role reversal, they led activities while their teachers and peers became the learners.
To introduce the idea of digital literacy, laptop and computers, preloaded with popular British Council LearnEnglish and resources were set up. This elicited a lot of interest and the club leaders took to the computers with gusto to practice some demo lessons in English and communication.
The project is currently a pilot in 70 secondary schools run by the Corporation of Chennai. It aims to impact 70 head teachers, 140 teachers, 560 student leaders and at least 14,000 students over three years.
The impact of this project is based on five fundamental and interlinked strands of activities. This will be done by:
• Enhancing the leadership and change management skills of Head Teachers to help them to create an enabling environment which will support the development of 21st century skills among students, the integration of teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD) into school development plans, as well as teacher clubs and student clubs.
• Building the capacity of a cohort of Teacher Educators to support teachers as they implement the changes in pedagogy, through the development of peer-facilitated teacher clubs – mirroring the establishment of student-led clubs.
• Encouraging teachers to adopt teaching methods that support the development of 21st century skills among students, including through the use of collaborative tasks and by promoting ICT classroom integration as well as independence and responsibility among students.
• Providing girls with opportunities to lead the student-led clubs to build their leadership skills and confidence and develop strong female role models for the benefit of both boys and girls.
• Providing disadvantaged girls and boys in secondary schools with opportunities and resources to develop English, ICT and 21st century skills through improved learning opportunities both in the classroom and in student-led clubs.