When I entered the classroom as a Teach For India Fellow, I was faced with the daunting task of bringing up the academic proficiency of 55 3rd graders who were at kindergarten comprehension and math levels, I decided to toss away the existing pedagogy and start with a clean slate.
I decided to ask the students, their parents and the school what they really wanted out of the time we spend together. Several conversations, home-visits, secondary research and post-its later, we had arrived at a vision.
We would stage a Broadway-style musical that was scripted, produced and enacted by the children.
In the process of reading the book, critiquing the movie, preparing the screenplay, designing the sets, fixing the venue, raising funds and securing an audience – the children not only mastered their subject objectives easily (achieving 2 years of growth in 9 months), but also set out on a transformative path to leadership across fields.
28 of these children went on to attain government scholarships. 15 of them got admitted to advance preparatory schools.
All of them experienced what it is like to find your light.