Maria Merlin, who worked with Avanti in Chennai during her training as part of her Master of Social Work course speaks about her experience in Chennai After-School Program.
Hi, as a trainee I did my block placements at Avanti Fellows for 35 days; Avanti’s pedagogy is totally different from what i had expected. It really gave me a good professional exposure where I had to work in a co-ed school for first two weeks of my internship. Especially while doing my case studies with boys, I was expected to play the role as a motivator, and also to practice all the social work principles. In both professional and personal way Avanti had given me vast exposures to learn and understand the student’s family related problems and helped me to understand and practice various interventions could be made to help the students to concentrate on their studies.
The life skill activities , really made me to utilize my talents and also gave me a precious time to send the content clearly to the students. The students also took active participation in various activities that were conducted. Most of the students took special interest for the spoken English classes that were conducted. Most of them do like to speak in English, but they were afraid of the negative comments, they might get from their classmates. so, the Saturday ”SPOKEN ENGLISH” activities was a big platform to make every students to take their initiative and talk in English. I was really happy when some of the students met me personally and said that they really enjoyed this type of life skills and spoken English sessions. It made them feel refreshed. Some students even suggested us to conduct life skills one hour every day. At Avanti for the first three weeks we were working with students, the other two weeks we were working on documentation and preparing life skills module for the post summer session. During training at Avanti we were being trained to be Professional at work.
Trainees Kezia, Maria Merlin and Suganthi (from left to right) at work in one of the Chennai Corporation Schools
The video lectures classes really made the students to learn new English words and to have good relationship with students from other stream and medium. Regular tests were really helpful to make the students to score better marks in their tests and exams. Especially the conceptual questions sessions were interesting for the students. The personal sessions with the students were meaningful and helped to know psychological problems of the students.
Avanti made me to think sometimes ”why dint i have all these in my school times’’?”..Especially every day tests, conceptual questions, follow-ups with drop outs and etc. It gave us a chance to recollect our school days once again. It made us to differentiate the changes we see in our self personally and professionally…!