Aas Pass ki Khoj: Methodologies for Heritage Education – A Workshop

25th– 26th AUGUST 2014, Srinagar

Two day-long workshops titled Aas Pass ki Khoj: Methodologies for Heritage Education were organized as part of the Hum Kadam: Education for Peace Initiative with a view to provide educators space for discussing issues of diversity and difference. These introductory workshops were a first-of-a-kind and aimed to offer an alternative perspective to the school teachers who are engaged in teaching social sciences and literature.

53 participants attended the workshop at the two venues – Government College of Education, Srinagar and Delhi Public School, Srinagar. The participants were encouraged to know the importance and the various methods of heritage conservation so as to inculcate in the younger generation a sense of ownership and respect for their heritage.

The workshops drew on the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005 that has served as a guide for evolving a national system of education to realize the democratic vision enshrined in the Indian Constitution. It sought to bring in an integrated approach to teaching about heritage, which involves weaving heritage education into the curriculum instead of seeing heritage conservation as an extracurricular activity.

Engaged Leadership: Skills and Perspectives – A Workshop

30th October – 3rd November 2014, New Delhi

WISCOMP and FAEA collaborated to bring together students from diverse backgrounds and regions over five days for a workshop on “Engaged Leadership: Skills and Perspectives”. A large majority of the 42 participants who attended this workshop were recipients of FAEA scholarship and came from families with limited economic means; many were the first, in their families, to earn formal degrees and travel outside their communities. About half of the participants came from Srinagar and the other half were from other parts of the country.

The workshop program focused on ways to cultivate positivity, present oneself in public, think critically, and develop one’s full potential. Professional Leadership-Self-Presentation and Interpersonal Skills, Exploring Shared Spaces, Thinking beyond Borders, Non-violent Communication, Conflict and Media and Entrepreneurial Skills, formed the themes of the various sessions of the workshop. In the light of the flash floods that struck Srinagar few weeks before the workshop the program was redesigned to include sessions on leadership in times of crisis. To motivate the youth to take action a session titled Involving Youth in Post-Disaster Reconstruction in Conflict Contexts was added.

In the feedback that was collected by WISCOMP and FAEA at the end of the workshop many of the participants shared that they had been positively impacted by the skills they learnt at the workshop as well as the interaction they had with peers from different parts of the country. The Kashmiri students were specially appreciative of the empathy expressed during the workshop by fellow participants.

From Transmission to Transformative Learning – A Workshop

9th – 10th December 2014, Srinagar

The WISCOMP workshop “From Transmission to Transformative Learning” was organized for pre-service and in-service teachers in Kashmir with the objective of examining how they can improve the learning outcomes as well as environment for their students . The need for such workshops was expressed by stakeholders from Jammu and Kashmir and National Capital Region at a roundtable in January 2013 in New Delhi. The participants had pointed out that the B.Ed. programs and curriculum provide the required subject knowledge and fundamental understanding of child psychology and development, but did not prepare the teacher for the entire gamut of challenges that the teaching-learning process unveils in the classroom.

The workshop used an interactive format and introduced the participants to innovative pedagogies that mobilize art, drama and narrative for therapeutic and educational ends. Several sessions also focussed on self-awareness and identity and cross-curricular teaching.

In their feedback the participants shared that they felt optimistic about applying the learnings from the workshop into their personal and professional lives. Many also expressed that the workshop convinced them about the need to improve relations with their colleagues, work collaboratively and reinforced the importance of creating a safe environment for children in the school.

The Role of Media in Conflict and Peace: Exploring Alternatives

28th –30th DECEMBER 2014, New Delhi

The WISCOMP workshop titled The Role of Media in Conflict and Peace: Exploring Alternatives aimed to offer an alternative perspective to journalistic practice with a focus on sensitive, responsible and reliable reporting. 34 participants were drawn from the Journalism and Mass Communication departments of universities and colleges in Delhi and Srinagar that are partnering with WISCOMP in its Hum Kadam initiative. Through the workshop the aspiring journalists were motivated to communicate issues, problems and stories set within a conflict context in such a manner that it opened up spaces for conflict resolution and transformation.

The program entailed the exploration of specific themes that were connected to media ecology and ethical issues that professional journalists encounter in the field. the workshop sessions included – Digital Story-telling, Peace Journalism, New Media, Oral Histories, and Corporatization of Media, among others.

The participants acknowledged that in their professional training at the universities they had not been exposed to the ideas they learnt at the workshop. When asked to give their feedback on the most useful learning from the workshop there was a collective view that itwas essential to foster peace though journalism and learn how to report about a conflict by exploring and acknowledging different perspectives and respecting alternate truths.