Our adaptive ed intervention starts well before we get to the classrooms. We get the students to manifest behaviours through various engaging activities and draw lessons by observing themselves rather than us telling them.
For example, we explain the concept of what ‘history’ is by getting a couple of students to stage a fight and asking the remaining students what they saw. Once we have several competing testimonies, we debrief by showcasing that if they can’t agree on what happened in front of them, how can a historian report on precisely what happened.
Once the notion of multiplicity of perspectives has been assimilated, we introduce them to the 5Ws (who, what, where, when & why) and how to ask better questions.
e.g. “Were women treated equally in the 18th century?”
There is no way this question can be answered without being burdened with present day debates and personal biases. We teach students to break the question down.
Are we talking about wealthy women or poor ones? Slaves or the rare ones that engaged in business? How do we define equality? Is it access to education? Economic opportunities? or inheritance? 18th century consists of 100 years. Which year are we talking about? or which decade? And which part of the world?
And so on… till the question becomes a factual inquiry rather than an emotion laden quip.
Each case study precedes an activity that emulates the behaviours embodied in the case studies.
Imagine a team of 27 player strong cricket team playing cricket against a 3 person team. Or a 27 students warring in a rope tug match against 3 students. Or 27 students shouting Shahrukh Khan’s name over the drowned out chants of Salman Khan’s name as the favourite hero of the 3 student team, at a competition of being heard?
Let’s pause and imagine…
This is how we segway into Partition of Bengal (as a case study) from 1905, explaining the competing narratives in Indian and Pakistani textbooks i.e. why the Pakistani textbooks present it in a positive light (as Muslims became a majority in one half of the province) and the Indian textbooks vilify the British (as Hindus were reduced to a minority in Bengal).
The students walk away knowing the world isn’t black and white, and more importantly, how to read / understand history.
All sessions are subjected to empathy experiments as part of a long term 300 school external study to measure the impact of Beyond The Classroom course as a supplementary intervention.
Amongst the sessions conducted thus far, we’ve seen a 5 point increase amongst THP classes’ empathy and tolerance levels as measured on the Social Dominance Orientation scale over the course of our workshops.