Here is an interesting story on how an initially sceptical 11-year-old Rangan, from APL, finally chose to go all the way and complete the entire DIYA Robotics programme.
When we had the school-specific animation programme, Rangan felt that it was just a standard one and that it did not have enough pizzas to interest him! So he refused to attend the classes despite his parents eagerly enrolling him in the programme and also making the payment. The coordinator tried engaging Rangan in light conversations with an aim to entice him to try out a few sessions, but to no avail.
Eventually, when we spoke with his mother, Ms. Pallavi, to understand Rangan’s lack of interest (and also offer to reimburse the payment), we realised that the child was inclined to doing only one part of the whole programme, which was storytelling! So, we promised the parent to customise the programme for Rangan and approached our Tech Team to work it out, only to be told that it was not possible!
Our challenges, however, did not end there! When our mentor Subha began the classes with Rangan she encountered several more obstacles. Primarily, Rangan wished to do the course only the way he had ideated and would not follow the course plan charted out for him. Under our guidance, Subha was able to successfully mentor Rangan and by partially deviating from the original planned structure, managed to complete even those parts which were part of the customised programme. This combo approach helped Rangan and Subha bond so well that he continued with the rest of the courses also that DIYA had designed for him.
This challenge of facilitating and engaging Rangan, a typical example of today’s children, who have an overload of information and exposure and, hence, think that they know everything, was a rich learning experience for us at DIYA. It helped us understand how to break through their seemingly inflexible mindset, of wanting exactly what they had in their head, without curbing their childish enthusiasm. We also realized that it was necessary to make such children understand that there was a lot more for them to learn to become a master in their area of interest. On their part, our mentors learnt the power of engaging a child at their pace and how to customize the course plan to fit the learners’ needs and abilities.