Experiencing Open Learning - summer week 3 - 2018

Open learning is not only about children but it's about all of us. It's about life and not only about learning. We don't want in our life someone else to dictate. We like to do what we like to do, it's "me" driven, "me" leader of my life. If we are an essential creature who likes their lives to be in our hands, why not first 25yrs of life in our hands?

The freedom of “I decide” does not come without any responsibility. And it is not easy to be free - this requires choices to be evaluated, decisions to be made, consequences to be lived - while being questioned from every corner. Add to freedom is the responsibility that one has to have not only of oneself and one’s actions but of the various tasks that you have chosen to do, of resolving all possible conflicts, of taking and giving feedback, of raising one’s voice and be heard and finally responsible of making oneself happy. It is our belief that only when we are out of our comfort zone, only when we stretch ourselves, only when we grope in the realm of unknown and unfathomable - we learn.

The process of learning driven by me also gives us the responsibility of wrong or right decision. "I decide” becomes very important. The whole world is available to learn from. One does need to be dependent on one teacher, one place, one time. The world becomes the school and platerha of people become teachers. The whole world is so beautifully ready to teach us.  “I” am accepted as I am. We don't need to compete with others, as each one us are unique. Each one us is so different, then why do we all need to learn the same thing at the same time.  We are different but our needs to be accepted is same. The world offers millions of choices. I can be into calculus, archeology, embroidery or just painting.

It's not easy to learn what I want. Only when I put in efforts, I get enjoyment. Every little problem becomes an opportunity to learn. All of them becomes beautiful moments to learn. Open learning is far more challenging than driven by others. And this is what we experience each week at Aarohi. This week was no different.

Third week of summer at Aarohi began with "what I want to learn, what I want to teach and what I want to do".

The eagerness to do began with just doing. The process of,"design, discuss and then do" brought a twist and pause to think. The energy to just do was diverted to think on own - think design, think of the material one wants, think of its working...thinking brought a new perspective to doing.

I am sad, I am angry, I am bored...do the feeling have limited vocabulary? Or we feel only within these limited reach of feelings? What about the feeling of rejection, respect, joy, peaceful, remorse, hostile, inferior, superior, dejection,  success, overwhelming...To explore the vocabulary of feelings, the game of making a tower with playing cards was enough. A detailed emotion chart brought an opportunity to explore wider vocabulary of emotions. Just a few minutes of a team game of making a tall tower with playing cards brought a lot of emotions, realizing that every moment we go through some feeling. And the emotions keep changing.

Camping was another opportunity to explore learning within the self. The beginning was excitement and then reality..it needed thinking. At Aarohi nothing happens just like that, no opportunities are missed to think.  The dream of camping needed thinking and planning - planning the place, the types of equipment, coordination with kitchen team, understanding of tent, a survey of the place and coordination with the entire team.

Starry night stimulated some of us to admire and watch the night sky. This led to some of us reading more about stars and sky. While some of us simply admired the night sky. No fans in our environment bring an opportunity to sleep under the sky in the month of April. And thus bring an opportunity to admire the sky with its vastness and a show of stars.

Watching a craft show on making a socks puppets looks very easy and exciting. But making it by self, collecting and selecting material was a different experience when it didn't turn out the same as in the show.

Watching movies and videos on rockets, space, astronaut are fascinating but making our own payload to launch our eggstronaut on the moon was challenging. It was not only about the challenge of creating something, but also an opportunity to work in a team. This naturally created an opportunity to listen to each other's idea and work with time, size and budget constraints.

Community sports each day brought different ages together to play different games and sports. Few played sports for the first time while many played in the community with different ages for the first time. This bright and opportunity to play the same sports leaving the competition and "me" behind. While this was difficult for some but an opportunity to do it differently.

Advertisement of feelings in thought club was an experience to present all feelings. Some acted anger, while some hostile and jealous, some acted homesickness. This brought an opportunity to just look at our own assumptions of various feelings - some feeling we label as bad and negative while some we label as good and positive but the truth is all feelings are just feelings.

Every time we set up learning mela, we experience learning beyond boundaries of age and social status. Different topics like about plant cells, gambling, shooting with newly made bow and arrow shooting, learning to solve Rubix cube, introducing Parkour, about Dum Biriyani, - taught and learned by different ages.

The documentation in the form of poem brought another perspective on feelings and writing a poem of our own experiences!

The opportunity to play in a nearby pond inspired many of them to create rafts. Not worried about failures, experimented with the various ideas and materials. The desire to test the raft inspired many of them to make raft ready in three days- design to final model to be tested.  They worked tirelessly to see their design in reality - it was hot but didn't stop some of them working. Nothing stopped them from working hard. 

Imagine Aarohi, a learning community where there is no teaching - because we believe that children can decide how they want to learn - on their own, with each other and from various resources, etc. We are there to guide them, where they need us.

Imagine Aarohi, a life education, where learning happens because children want to learn from their life - for their life.

Imagine Aarohi, a learning community which does not need to make the learning interesting, since children work from their interest.
Imagine Aarohi, a learning community which does not need to make the learning interesting, since children work from their interest.

Imagine Aarohi, a learning community which does not make the learning easy. Children like it challenging.
Imagine Aarohi, a learning community which does not make the learning obvious. We make it confusing. 

Imagine  Aarohi, a learning community, which guarantees one definitive outcome - that learning will be self-discovery.