Teaching English – Arohi

The IB DP course is a university preparatory course that is beneficial for higher studies and life in general. There are certain necessities that the DP course requires such as Theory of Knowledge (TOK), the Extended Essay and CAS. Creativity Action Service (CAS) is an extra-curricular aspect to school life that helps to shape you as a person. It enables us to reflect on activities that extend beyond the academic environment. Giving us these life skills is an aim that CAS accomplishes to fulfil throughout 18 months of the DP, ending finally with a project that demonstrates our learning. For most people, their project becomes something of a small passion in school. For ours, it was teaching the staff of MBIS English. We hoped to enable a use of the language to be able to enhance employment opportunities and broaden our and their horizons. Our own experience with the “students” was quite unique. Firstly, each student was attending Arohi (the official name of this activity) by choice. This made them all uniquely self-motivated in their own rights, with each student having a visibly different drive and ambition to further their skills. Thus, teaching was something to be done on a personalized, one-on-one basis, rather than a classroom style group-taught environment.

Our own journey lasted 5 months, in which we got to know our students on a personal basis. In doing so, and in teaching students with whom we had formed a mentor/pupil relationship, we were able to learn about our own strengths and weaknesses. When the two of us (Karn and Vikram) decided that we wanted to make this particular activity our project, we made sure to do it with a particular objective in mind. For us, what we taught our students had a lot to do with their personal needs. For example, one of our students hoped to be moving on to an administrative job next year. As such, our project revolved around teaching him formal English. More than colloquial English, our aim was to impart how to give speeches and interviews, and the language used in different contexts. In doing so, we maintained our objectivity and made sure that Arohi had a tangible outcome for our student. We were stuck and didn’t realize the impact on our project as it was based solely around collaboration. But in doing so, we also learnt how to work with an objective in mind. Rather than aimlessly wandering around, we were able to investigate and come up with a tangible solution, a target that was simple to define in terms. Our project had its highs and lows. For example, one of our students left her job prematurely and we made a readjustment to another student which included starting the project all over again. It taught us the importance of having a plan B, as well as the importance of flexibility and adaptability. Nothing is more tiresome than having to start all over again. But more than motivation, (a vague term, in my opinion), what really enabled us to start again was our placement of energy. What we call motivation, we learned, is simply the ability to channel your energy to a specific aim with force of action. The clearer and better defined your objective is, the easier it is to motivate yourself, simply because you know where to drive that force and energy. In doing so we got one more learning: if you know why you are doing something, then it’s easier to stay motivated.

Though our journey in the IB has now ended, we are progressing forward with our approach towards higher studies. Arohi in general has been a learning experience for us as well as a testing ground to use what we have learnt in it, and we will be carrying this knowledge further into our adult lives.

Demonstration of a DP CAS Project: A creative engagement of students in the IB Diploma Programme is the experiential Creativity, Activity, and/or Service learning project. This authentic project-based-learning experience is one that best shows the stages of investigation, collaboration, preparation, action and demonstration.

By DP2 Students: Vikram Joshi and Karn Pandharipande