Thursday, October 27, 2011
my bali trip
going to bali
....was like walking through an antic gallery or may be through history when we drove past the serene roads of Bali. To see Garuda, Yudhistar or Lord Shiva standing majestically at different cross sections of roads was a reminder of the legacy of Hinduism left behind by cholas.
Needless to say that God is the perception of the devotee, Indonesians perceived shiva and ganesh and Vishnu with their own ‘’eyes’- they looked different from Indian Shiva or Ganesh.
Whether houses or malls, temples or business houses-all of them looked like temples with stone carved gates and structures. There was a temple in every hotel , house or a mall.
Art galleries make up most of the city-with wood, stone and bone carvings . From artefacts to furniture, people from all over the world ship these marvels to their villas.
It was a perfect harmony between history, culture, tradition and modernity. There cannot be a better example than this.
Hotel Sanur Plaza hosted us warmly. 3 minute walk to the beach was a luxury we enjoyed throughout our stay there.
Bali international School which celebrated its 25 years of imparting education in September- Our workshop venue -hosted us with professional perfection and personal warmth.
IB Regional Workshops are conducted in different countries. After the bomb blast in Bali in 2004, there were no workshops held here. The long gap, scenic beauty and geographical proximity to many east asian countries where IB schools are growing in numbers, made these regional workshops a great success. There were teachers with 45 different nationalities coming from 24 different countries to attend PYP workshops. In all we had 8 different workshops and I was leading one of them- sustainability as international mindedness.
It was a challenge in many ways.
It’s a new workshop in PYP and also a category 3P- which means only experienced PYP educators attend this !
Preconceived notions about sustainability !
To establish that sustainability is an overarching concept in all that we strive to achieve through education !
My challenge transformed into a pleasure when I met the participants in my workshop- all of them with good experience in PYP and in senior positions in their schools. Stimulating discussions on how we can create an enduring value in the learning environment were the strong points of our 3 day workshop.
Earth Charter and UN papers on sustainable education, Agenda 21 and the abstracts of different researchers on sustainability helped in exploring the possibilities of transdisciplinary learning.
Green School: After hearing John Hardy’s TED talk about his green school in Bali, I was greatly inspired to see this unqiue school built with bamboos and natural products. I sought IBO’s help to arrange a field trip to Green School as it goes well with my workshop. How environment can be the third teacher has been proved beyond a doubt with our visit to green school.
John Hardy assumed the role of visionary leadership in realizing his green dream for a school structure, all he has to do is appoint an instructional leader to make it a ‘school’.
My discussions with educators from different countries made me realize that:
• Countries like America and Australia who had innovative systems for education are getting carried away by the Asian phenomenon of producing ranks through quantitative studies. I gathered that Australia is getting into the mode of marks based education and schools are posting their exam results on internet to attract parents.
• Poor Obama is unaware that India and china are producing more in both-population and exams- quantity is scaring him whereas what he has to fear is the quality which any Indian teacher knows that we are only experts in making our students into rote machines.
• Very few countries teach science with the big picture of ‘cycles, dynamics, systems, energies and equilibrium’- its the small picture of isolated disconnected facts that we present to students. Therefore science is all about theories, formulae and practicals and not much about responsible action.
• While many teachers strive to teach innovatively, and a few strive to teach meaningfully, there are some teachers who just teach ! To expect responsible action from the young people in the classrooms now, we need teachers who teach meaningfully-who can show the correlation between our actions and the nature.
• How teachers from the west or Australia are trying their best to respect local cultures while working in Asian and African countries and how they are working on developing a neutral stance while imparting education.
• How schools are run by non-educationists and what kind of problems are faced by educationists in such institutions.
• PYP may give us the advantage of concept based student centric approach, but going beyond curriculum prescriptions is a taboo for many teachers stipulated either by managements or by their own professional myopia.
Workshop concluded on an Optimistic note:
Having discussed on how we can bring sustainable thoughts and actions through the essential elements , participants appeared to have found a new purpose in teaching/learning. That International mindedness is all about developing qualities that help a person to build a progressive society is the understanding they developed.
Besides going there as a workshop leader, I indulged myself in touring Bali. Kintamani the active volcano of Bali was a sight to see..ofcourse it is right now sleeping. I could see the charred remains of its fury from 1994. The entire stretch was coal black.
Interesting visit was a walk in the ‘Kofy’ plantation where we got to see ‘lupawak’ a squirrel like animal. Lupawak eats the coffee berries which pass through its digestive system and come out as ‘u kno what’ ! these outputs are collected and ground as coffee powder-supposedly the most expensive coffee in the world ! It smells awesome and I did not taste as I didn’t have the heart to try lupawaks’ ****
Indonesian rupiaya is bound to shock us with its astronomical figures. Everything begins with 1000s. we had a bhutta for 5000 rupaiya- ofcourse when converted it may be 27 indian rupees. But our Indian ears fear the sound of thousands ! I wondered if they teach only 1000 denominations and not ones and hundreds .
A lesson from their religion
They are very religious and pray to god 3 times a day their religious ceremonies are elaborate and almost regular. But all their offerings are eco-friendly !
Guess it was the most appropriate place to conduct a workshop on ‘sustainability as international mindedness’