At The Heritage School, Rohini, work on interpersonal skills and character development happens in a number of ways: through time set aside for this important focus, extensive training for teachers in how to work with students around life issues and personal development, and workshops conducted by our counselling staff as well as outside facilitators:
Our core values start with Attentiveness, which means the cultivation of the inner reflective voice by starting and ending the day with Silence Time and by beginning each assembly with community prayers and ending with the National Anthem. Other principles include Freedom to be, learn and grow, Authenticity, Excellence, Inclusion and Respect.
We work extensively with students to nurture personal qualities such as empathy, authenticity and accountability. Students from kindergarten through senior programme meet regularly to discuss a range of interpersonal and social issues, from bullying to test anxiety to social pressure and life balance. Teachers are trained to conduct these less formal sessions where academics are not the primary focus, to ensure that strong relationships are established among students in class groups and also between students and their class teachers.
In the high school, we work with the organisation Family Vision as well as our counselling team and class teachers to create a professionally facilitated session on Life Skills, Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Development. Life Skills are the skills that one needs to build a happy and successful life and provide young adolescents with a set of tools, skills and winning attitudes, which can help them to become all that they are capable of becoming. Samvaad, as the name implies, is a two-day camp centred around a dialogue and a conversation which begins within the self and then moves outwards to the other members of the class. The dialogue is both ‘intrapersonal’ as well as ‘interpersonal’. The idea behind the Samvaad is to get the students away from their daily routines and patterns for two days of reflection and retreat. A change of place and pace go a long way in helping to bring about a change of perspective.
From Grade 4 through 12, students spend around a week outside of school visiting a location which provides both a full immersion in the natural world and an opportunity for further study of a topic related to one of their disciplines or a compelling social issue, such as child rights. Students go to wilderness camps, villages, organic farms, forests and jungles for a wide range of purposes which are pre-taught and imbedded in the curriculum and which are assessed holistically.
They test their courage by trying new things, and learn to collect primary source information by interviewing villagers, observing natural phenomena, and journaling about their own feelings and experiences. In senior programme, teachers use these experiences as the basis for Formative Assessments and CCE.
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