Youth Leadership Program

The youth leaders program started 5 years ago. What germinated as an effort to find an answer to the burning question, ‘What is the purpose of education?’ soon branched into forming communities of facilitators who enabled the learning of youth. If the purpose of education was to enable the learning of youth and prepare them for their life ahead, in a world that is constantly changing, then the role of the educational institutions and the teachers had to change dramatically. The youth are confused and unsure and are now questioning the value they are deriving from the education they are having or had just acquired. The youth leaders program brings the focus back to the learner, and demands the learner to take responsibility for their own learning.

The Program aims at building leadership through conscious, continuous learning in young adults through a process of facilitation in a group learning format. Through this journey of sessions over 6 months, the youth connect with themselves and with other self-aware and driven individuals like them and explore the depths of leadership. They take responsibility for themselves and their surroundings while committing to deepening their understanding of themselves and strengthening their own practice.

Each group has a facilitator of learning, who (as against being a sage on the stage in the traditional model of teaching) is a guide by side who enables the learning through a series of meta questions which the learner then reflects, contextualizes and practises, and then synthesises for themselves. What the learner then gains is a practise that helps them to explore and expand their own knowledge and a means to continuously learn. This will keep the learner in good stead for whatever the uncertainty the future may throw at them.

The three meta principles on which our program is built are

  • The answers lie within us- Questions enable explorations
  • Learning happens in safe spaces of vulnerability in small groups and
  • Learning is the cycle of action, reflection and silence.

Today, the program is geometrically progressing through the development learning community.
Facilitators enable the learning of youth in colleges, who post their own completion of the program, go on to become facilitators themselves, to enable the learning of school children. This year, within school systems and self driven communities we will reach 750 school children and 150 youth. They will be expressing their leadership in these programs.

YLP overview 2020

  • 2020 saw the Young Leaders Program take a fresh step forward collaborating with youth from two organisations – Vidhya Gyan and Prayas. Both organisations supported youth from communities that were socially or economically disadvantaged.
  • 8 facilitators enabled the learning of 40 youth (30 college students, 10 school students)
  • The program started Physically but then came lockdown and the program had to be paused for a very brief time.
  • The program was restarted and went completely online.
  • The pandemic bought in new challenges and the program went beyond merely facilitating the learning of the youth.
  • The youth had to go back to their villages and were dealing with challenges of balancing their studies and the new reality that they were presented to. Their college classes had moved online but internet connectivity and electricity were were not available to them when needed
  • They were also suddenly present to how lack of information and misinformation were posing a serious threat to health of the people in their villages
  • The youth in the program took this as an opportunity to step up their leadership and facilitated the learning of Covid appropriate behaviour among their communities.
  • Facilitators on the other hand extended support beyond the structure of the program itself.
    • Based on the needs of the youth, rations and financial support were provided for participant families who had to migrate out of Delhi.
    • Where the internet connectivity was a challenge, facilitators enabled the program to shift mediums – used conference calls to facilitate the program.
    • Some of the youth couldn’t continue their studies as they did not have smart phones. Facilitators pooled in resources to help them buy smartphones.
    • Facilitators connected medical resources to youth and their families in need.
  • 10 young leaders from this program are now volunteering to facilitate school children and enable their learning.

Teacher Leadership Program

Educators as self aware leaders of learning

Formal education systems tend to emphasize the acquisition of knowledge to the detriment of other types of learning. The role of every educator is changing – from content delivery to enable the construction of knowledge that is within the learner. This future requires us to catalyze a movement – of practice – where teaching and learning – is experienced as an integral part of life and living.
A teacher is a leader of learning – through what and how they influence. It is when a teacher integrates the why what and how – that the curriculums will be integrated, learning will get integrated.

Teacher Leader Program

is a framework through which teachers can enable the learning of future leaders. It enables growth in awareness and builds competencies that are required for the educator of the 21st century. We believe that we are a part of transforming how education is imparted. Read more about our philosophy here – Education- Its True Purpose
The program works with two groups of people: the teachers and the facilitators. Facilitators in this program are educators who volunteer their time to work with an identified group of teachers along with their learning journey. The program asks for the leadership of self-driven educators and envisions creating self-driven educator learning communities.
1). Induction as a facilitator: The facilitators go through a 5-day facilitator development program to initiate their journey of facilitation.We create a safe space by connecting to each other, and we get to see the overall structure of the program. We also get introduced to the 5 core competencies of a facilitator and deepen the learning principles.
2). Beginning of Facilitation with Community Teachers: The facilitators learn the 15 session teacher leadership framework while working in parallel with a group of community teachers. Facilitators learn with the core group and take their learning ahead with community teachers in the subsequent week. There is learning loop involved for the facilitators with action, reflection and silence being practiced throughout the program.
3). Continuous learning : Facilitators can continue to work with their existing community of teachers or work with a new group of teachers. In our experience, from the teachers who are facilitated, some definitely get interested to become facilitators themselves and are then formed into cohorts for facilitating other teacher communities.

These three parallel tracks ensure a continuous loop and growing network of the learning communities which will shape the future of education.

Vision

Create Self-driven volunteer-led educator communities that :

● Nurture life-long learning and awakening of teachers and learners
● Shape the future of teaching and the experience of learning
● Inspires and proliferates more self-driven volunteer-led educator communities

By the end of 2021, this year, within school systems and self-driven communities, we will reach 100 community teachers and influence the learning of the children they work with. They will be expressing their leadership in these programs. In 5 years this program envisions creating a movement of self-led educator communities where leadership is practiced to integrate learning with life.

Transformational Shift In Teacher

Who They Can Be And What They Can Do And Influence
  • Aware: The first purpose is an inner awakening of the educator as the primary call of service as well as society and nation-building. Teachers learn to become
    observant of the self & the learners (growth in self-group and system awareness) creating a space to enable learning and growth in the awareness of learners.
  • Self-Driven: To enable teachers to be open to learning and hence take responsibility for their own learning. To enable them to have a sense of agency (narrative of
    hope, ability, conscious choice, and confidence).
  • Future Competent Develop facilitation skills and teaching-learning competencies:
    – Connecting with children,
    – Defining objectives of learning connected to the purpose of education for life,
    – Choosing the relevant method,
    – Assessing learning,
    – Learning to learn
  • Enabler of Learning Communities Enable teachers to develop self-sustaining learning groups by shifting mindsets to see problems as opportunities, influence
    good practices & find multiple solutions, learn & support each other through problem-solving strategies, and class observation.

Our Work so far

In 2019-2020, we learnt as a community of 5 teacher facilitators led by Jasmeet Walia as our facilitator developer. Sakshi and Manzil were the partner NGO’s whose community teachers were involved in the program. While working with the teachers created a field of practice as facilitators, we were also continuously learning along with the core group every alternate week. A constant practice of action, reflection and silence was enabled for both the community teachers and teacher facilitators. Covid 19 created a hiatus in physical learning. However, it also created an opportunity for us to move from physical to digital sessions, innovate with new formats of teaching and learning and enable our teachers to become competent to navigate the new challenges of online learning and how to adapt and innovate for continuous learning for children.

In 2020-21, our work has extended to a community of 10 educator facilitators and more than 60 community teachers. This teacher group is diverse and has teachers coming from different demographics and contexts across India – cohorts include teachers from rural Udaipur, Delhi: teachers from Kotlai working with early age children and parents, DIET teachers, B.ed students, and community teachers from Madhya Pradesh. Adapting to the context of COVID, we are leveraging technology to enable learning for all our educator learners.

Teacher Testimonials

Suganya

We had questions and everyone had their own answers. In each learning space, each teacher and each child is different. Our program created a space where each view becomes equally important. The space to express helped to provide hope and a sense of agency.

Kavita

No child fears me now. I understood and connected to the finer nuances of each of my students, their needs, backgrounds, emotions. I no longer feel irritated if a child does not understand but instead uses different teaching methods and games which are connected to a child’s nature.

Vikas

Very motivating journey. FEP helped me to increase curiosity in the minds of my students, increase possibilities of perspectives for questions and answers which exist.

Shama

My facilitator helped me to meet myself. In our daily life, we are trying to manage different spaces- work, family, different roles- we forget who we are, do not create time to meet ourselves. A very big learning for me was – how to shift my perspective of looking at problems. It was very important learning and motivating in times of covid. if I hadn’t done FEP i wouldn’t have been able to regulate myself and manage my and learning of my class better.

Mainak

We asked some very strong questions from myself and from others. From where I am, I feel if we stay with the questions and constantly engage with them, the idea of awakening as a teacher is possible.

Watch the recording of the learning for the last cohort