Exposure Clubs at Khoj

“खोज में ‘एक्सपोज़र क्लब’” – इस ब्लॉग को हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिए यहाँ क्लिक करें

“’एक्सपोजर क्लब’”’ ख़ोज मधे” – हा ब्लॉग मराठी मध्ये वाचण्यासाठी, येथे क्लिक करा

Those folks who get the opportunity to experience school clubs in their school/college life, often speak fondly of their experiences in them. It is within these traditional student interest clubs, that many students may discover who they are and the many talents they possess and would like to nurture further.

Schools today try to provide a holistic education that balances all aspects of students’ development which includes cognitive, social, emotional and mental aspects. It is one of the reasons behind the growing popularity of school-based clubs. They become an avenue for students of various age groups to spend time with each other, learning and honing their talents.

School-based clubs, when designed meaningfully, provide a relatively safe environment for students to take part in social and physical activities that are enjoyable too. It directly contributes towards students’ social and emotional wellbeing. We may thus want to remember the value of school clubs and provide as many opportunities as possible for students to learn and grow together.

At Khoj, we started the ‘Exposure Club’ after the pandemic once schools had fully reopened. We hold these clubs every Saturday with mixed-grade groups. The intention of our exposure club is multi-fold with the crucial one being to build the interest of students in areas beyond academics and give them exposure to various forms of art and other skills that enables holistic development. Experiences of playful engagements, of collaborating in a group during theatre, of learning musical elements like pitch, of moving in new ways like in Capoeira, help build thinking and feeling in ways that aid their academic learning as these spaces provide a space of well-being through self-expression. We asked our team members at Khoj to share some of their intentions and motivations behind setting up the exposure club. Some collective intentions are mentioned below with mapping the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies that align with them. 

To:

  •  Learn the value of participation (Self Management, Relationship Skills)
  • Gain fresh perspectives about various ideas and skills. (Self-awareness, Social awareness)
  • Learn to respect another person’s viewpoint. (Social awareness, Responsible Decision Making)
  •  Develop and improve social skills. (Relationship Skills) 
  • Collaborate with students from various social backgrounds. (Social awareness, Responsible decision-making) 
  • Step out of their comfort zone and learn new skills, (Self-awareness, Self-regulation) 
  • Form meaningful, close friendships across all age groups. (Relationship skills) 
  •  Bond over shared goals and interests. (Self-awareness, Relationship skills)
  •  Be more resilient. (Self-regulation)
  • Learn to take important decisions. (Responsible decision-making)

Shared below are the club sessions we have held since the beginning of this year, with the help of different volunteers, team members and many other supporters.

                                                                       

MusicCapoeiraArt
StorytellingSportsTheatre

                                                             

The list includes Capoeira, Dance, Music, Storytelling, Theatre, Arts and craft, Football, Cricket, Movie time, Gymnastics, and Zumba. We hope to extend this list as the year progresses and better it as a structure for our students. Exposure clubs have allowed students to explore a wide range of skills and fields that may capture their varied interests. All the grades get divided which has allowed students to interact. constructively with each other across different age groups. We try to offer indoor as well as outdoor experiences.

When facilitating these experiences, a group of student from each class (grade level) are assigned to the different clubs. The team tries to rotate these groups across experiences so that all students get an opportunity to participate in different clubs being facilitated.

The decision to make the clubs ‘teacher-assigned’ versus ‘student-chosen’ was based on the rationale that the clubs are ‘not interest based’ as much as they are ‘exposure based’. The school’s intention is to have students explore new forms of art to broaden their awareness and thus broaden their range of interests. Khoj ongoingly values student agency and uses their voices in decision-making, particularly about the choice of activities, this decision came into effect after quite some deliberation within the team and the students. While at this point, the clubs are designed to be exposure-based, it is still often a point of conversation with our students at school. Especially when some students find themselves in clubs that they have made strong opinions about, it opens up space for dialogue with them.

The design of clubs is informed by the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies namely; Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Responsible Decision Making, Social Awareness, and Relationship Skills. They are able to create compassionate and caring spaces for their teammates. We see them taking the initiative to talk to new students in their groups and make new friends. Students get a chance to interact with different age groups and understand their pace of learning things. They also interact with new facilitators on Saturdays which helps them be associated with new people apart from their grade and subject teachers at school. The Saturday exposure clubs are structured to ensure maximum efficiency towards access to varied skill sets. The excitement and joy students bring in on Saturdays with suggestions for new activities they’d like to explore, is a testament to the benefit the exposure clubs have brought into the school; this is over and above the benefit of a strong attendance now even on Saturdays which was earlier a challenge the school faced. Here are some of the responses of Khojis (students at Khoj) and their experiences:

Didi mujhe cricket khelne bohat pasand hai lekin meri ammi mujhe jane nahi deti hai,lekin exposur clubs mai football ,dance aur crickett bhi khel sakti hu aur mujhe bohat maja ata hai saturdays ko school aane. (Didi, I really love to play Cricket. However, my mother doesn’t let me go out and play. At the Exposure Club, I can play football and critical and Dance as well. I love coming to school on Saturdays!)”

Bhaiya, Math ko lekar kuch exposure clubs ho sakta hai kya jitna maja dance art karne mai ata hai uthna he math karne mai aiga? Teacher- Ho tho sakta hai ham milkar souchte hai. (A student asked, “Bhaiya, can we have an exposure club for Math? Then we will enjoy that too as much as we enjoy Dance and Art.” The teacher responded, “sure, we can think about that together.”)

Didi mujhe gaana pasand nahi tha lekin abh dhire dhire accha laagne laga hai. (Didi, I didn’t enjoy singing earlier. But now, slowly-slowly, I am enjoying it.)”

Exposure club se Maine origami sikha Pehle tho Mai Sirf plane bana pata lekin Abhi tho bohat Kuch Bana leto hu. (Didi paper se kitna kuch ban sakta hai na! (I learned Origami in the Exposure Club. Earlier I could only make planes, but Didi, we can make so many things with the paper!)”

Bhaiya, next exposure club mai na ham cooking shikte hai tho mai gharpe khud khana bana paouga.teacher – jaroor idea tho bohat acha hai. (‘Bhaiya, let’s learn cooking in the next Exposure Club. Then I can cook by myself at home.’ teacher responded, ‘sure, sounds like a great idea!’)”

These teacher-student conversations almost always end with ideating and planning together about “agle exposure club main kya ho raha hai (what’s happening in the next Exposure Club)!”

During the process from planning to executing the exposure clubs, there were many challenges which came our way from logistics to adjusting to different classroom cultures to creating mixed grade groups to communicating with the students and bringing in eager volunteers every month to do a new and different art form or skill with the students. The consistency and structure we as a team created helped us since the beginning of the year and continue to do so, enabling us to execute exposure clubs every week.

About the Authors

Vanisha Shetty is a Grade 2 Teacher at Khoj, Apni Shala’s SEL-integrated school initiative. She holds an ECCED degree and a bachelor’s in Sociology. She works with amazing young people to develop and nurture their wholesome development. She believes that each child is unique, therefore they learn and thrive at their own pace. Apart from teaching, Vanisha loves to dance, travel, and do what makes her happy.

Safeer Idrisi is an Art Teacher at Khoj, Apni Shala’s SEL-integrated school initiative. He holds an art teacher diploma and has experience teaching young children art and crafts. He has a passion for art and loves to share it with his students. He is eager to help his students have positive and successful experiences in the art room. Besides that, Safeer loves food and travelling.

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