I walked into the classroom and looked at 20 TWEENS (pre-teens) with different expressions – nervous, excited, stoic and glad to be out of class. What I hope they didn’t see was that I was equally nervous.
I was at Legacy International School, Bangalore to help organise The Expression Society, an 8 day Communication & expression workshop where tweens would be exposed to three styles of expression. The Experts would help the tween express their thought and feelings using Visual, Spoken and written formats. At the end of which each tween will identify their most optimal style of expression.
How does this help?
Well, you’ve ‘’been there and done that.’’
Teen years are the toughest and most crucial years of anyone’s live right? One way of making a teen’s life easy is by empowering them to channel their thoughts and feelings in useful, non-destructive ways.
Back to the workshop:
You know that feeling when you enter a room and instinctively scan your surroundings? I did just that with the kids in the room and started making mental notes about them. In order to be ready with the various challenges that might come my way.
There were typical characters that you see in almost any classroom – The class clown, the silent kind, the over excited kind, the eager to help kind and nervous kind. As I was interacting with them, a few kids caught my eye.
There was a quiet boy who didn’t participate in the session on day 1. He sat in the last bench keeping to himself and seemed indifferent. I made a mental note to make sure to help him be more connected during the workshop.
Then, there was a nervous girl- fidgeting around, avoiding eye contact, hiding in the crowd and hoping to not be called out for any activity. What I found out much later was that she’d stammer when she got nervous and was naturally quite conscious about it.
The days progressed, with each day covering different modes of expression- from Photography to animation, public speaking to stand up comedy etc. And each day a different child would shine through.
I kept my eye out for the 2 kids because I didn’t want them missing out on this experience. Turns out, I didn’t have to. With each session, they connected well with the speakers, and started participating more in the sessions. They loved hearing the struggles of the speakers and in a way helped them understand they are not alone in their struggles. They heard the speakers’ stories of overcoming difficulties and internalised that they too would be victorious one day!!
Who were the speakers I keep mentioning time and again? The speakers were well chosen for an out-of-the-box workshop as this. RJ Sulabha from Radio one and Stand up comedian Rajashekar Mamidanna helped them seize the Spoken Expression domain.
Illustrator Joanna Davala and Travel Photographer Kishore Amruth accelerated their learning by helping them go visual in their expressions.
Blogger Nelson Moses and Teen Author Vishwesh Desai encouraged them to let their thoughts flow. The feelings wheel was the icing on the cake. All of this with personal mentoring from Kavya Gowda facilitated learning in a safe, happy and fun environment.In just a few days, both these kids started coming out of their shell. They moved from the last bench to the front of the room. They started interacting more during sessions, smiled more, had ideas they wanted to share, talked a lot more. And on the last day, they surprised the entire gathering including their parents by presenting 3 minute speeches on a topic of their choice. And how well they presented it!! It was well put together and very expressive. And it was fantastic watching them blossom into confident, expressive and super creative kids.
This experience taught me that along with a nurturing and encouraging environment, a child also needs to be exposed to various experiences to figure out what they could be good at. They need to hear not only the success stories but also the struggles to understand that nothing worth having comes easy.
Archana R Nayak