‘ THE INCLUSION PROJECT’ APL Global School , Chennai Vignesh, Abiramy, Sanjana, Nomita and Yashasvini Mentor Teacher: Ms Lyola Thomas
<ul><li>Our Feel stage was actually all about Feeling. </li></ul><ul><li>Through the many small and big group brainstorming sessions with the students at school, there was this feeling of alienation that kept recurring in various manifestations (students being teased, bullied, ignored, or judged because of their disabilities or appearances; kids who came to school feeling like they did not belong…like they did not have friends.) </li></ul><ul><li>This generally accepted state of affairs did not seem acceptable to us anymore . </li></ul>Step 1: FEEL
<ul><li>In the Imagine stage nothing seemed impossible! </li></ul><ul><li>We hoped we would address this painfully relevant issue though it was, </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>intangible </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>all pervasive and </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>not so easily quantifiable for contest purposes. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>We came up with a multi layered plan – not one but 4 different programmes: </li></ul>Step 2 : IMAGINE <ul><li>Silent Hour </li></ul><ul><li>‘ You are my friend because…’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ You are special because…’ </li></ul><ul><li>The Togetherness Wall </li></ul>
<ul><li>APL being an integrated school, it caters to students with various needs, some of whom suffer from hearing impairments. </li></ul><ul><li>This program was an effort to sensitize the rest of the school that however impossible it may sound, there are some kids who come and spend the same eight hours that we do, without speaking a single word (either because they can’t or because they do not have a friend) </li></ul><ul><li>Conducted over two days, one particular hour was marked off for complete silence when no one would talk, teachers included. Some of us even duct taped our mouths. </li></ul><ul><li>We also used paper, blackboards teachers used ppts and sign language to communicate. </li></ul>Physics notes: Grade 9. Geography class Step 3: DO Silent Hour
In the last few minutes of the Silent Hour, we asked the students how they felt, still keeping the silence. Students of the 7 th grade came up to the black board to express their opinion. Here is what some students felt:
<ul><li>This was a program which was based on the concept of “secret santa” where we put every students’ name into a box (grades 1-10). </li></ul><ul><li>Each student picked out a name from the box. Without their partner’s knowledge, they were to get to know that person. </li></ul><ul><li>For example, that person’s likes and dislikes and also something special about their new friend and then express it on a self made card. </li></ul><ul><li>We orgainsed the seating at the lunch tables for a week so that they got to bond over lunch too. </li></ul>Aryan of grade 2 engrossed in making a card for his new friend. ‘ You are my friend because…’
These are just SOME of the cards students made....
Students of Grades 1 – 10, exchanging cards excitedly. “ The beginning of a new friendship…”
<ul><li>In this programme, the students (grades 1-5) wore their ‘positive characteristics’ on their sleeve, quite literally as badges. </li></ul><ul><li>This way, every student was able to learn something new about their schoolmates. </li></ul><ul><li>They also learnt that some of them had similar interests . </li></ul>‘ I am special because…’
<ul><li>The final touch of our project was to paint two of our school walls, to symbolize our togetherness. </li></ul><ul><li>Every student made their hand prints on the wall , to remind us every day of the change we’ve brought within ourselves. </li></ul><ul><li>This picture is of one of our core team members guiding an Easy Track student (a student with different abilities and with special needs) </li></ul>The Togetherness Wall
<ul><li>In the beginning the five of us did think that this was an impossible problem to tackle. However, half-way through, it progressed from being a contest to a realization of how important it was to bring in this change. </li></ul><ul><li>Its was not just the five of us who participated but all the 212 students at our school. </li></ul><ul><li>Without a doubt, it has transformed the way we think of and look at our schoolmates. </li></ul><ul><li>We know now that if we believe, we can make a change not only for us, but to all of us in APL Global. </li></ul>How we are ‘Changed’
From the Principal/Teachers “ Good initiative. The activities were very thoughtful, there is an impact on the students and they are more tolerant of each other’s differences”-Ms. Madhu Ahuja, Faculty - Special Education. ‘ Design for change’ was a high impact 'exercise' and it has left an indelible impression in the ethos of APL. The ‘event' emphasised the acceptance of individual differences loud and clear. Congrats and well done. -Dr. Vasanthi Vasudev Academic Director For me there were several highs with the DFC programme, but if I were to mention one - it would be the Silent Hour. There were several times when I experienced the frustration of a speech impaired person or... maybe it was the sheer joie de vivre at the Togetherness Wall or was it when the kids were on tenterhooks about their new friend or was it the new conversations being struck at the lunch table or was it the new found intensity of the core team, in fact it was all this and more truly… A design for change! - Aruna Chandrasekhar, Faculty “ Good team work by the core team members. It also helped the students to know and understand students from other classes and make new friends, the seating arrangements at lunch really helped. “ -Ms. Kiran, Head of School Our core team asked teachers and students what they felt about the programme ,it is a pity that we could put in just a few.
From the students /Parents “ Working together, over this project, Design for Change has changed us individually, in the way we think and look at others. In only a matter of a week, we can already see the change we targeted and hoped would make a difference at APL Global and we will continue to make sure this change remains with us, becomes a part of us, even as the slogan in the wall reads “We are the change.” - Core Team “ The DFC project was fun. Everyone made new friends , even the one’s who were lonely before.” - Gautam, Grade 5 “ DFC has made a huge difference in my son’s life, from being an unhappy child who did not like school to a happy, settled child” -Parent of a student “ Design For Change should be there for everyone in the world. It made a difference for me.”- Jithendra, Grade 6 “ I really enjoyed the things we did for DFC, especially the hand prints on the wall. It’s a good way to show that we are all connected” - Priya, Grade 10 (Priya, is a new student who joined only a couple of weeks ago)