Teaching for Empowerment in South India 2015

2015-03-12 04.44.25In March 2015, Hong Kong International School students and teachers led a four-day Teaching for Empowerment curriculum with students who attend Concordia Ambur and Concordia Pernambut in south India. The two student leaders of the trip, Caroline Scown and Brittany Fried, also produced a facilitator’s handbook to assist HKIS students lead the local students through the program. Their handbook, the printing of which was supported by the Jim Handrich service learning fund, also proved effective on trips to the Philippines and South Africa.

2015-03-12 04.41.10

The four days of teaching began at 9:30 AM with a devotion in the main hall, then broke into 10 small groups led by 2 HKIS students. Here is a summary of the eight sessions:

Session 1: Introduce issues and find which ones students are passionate about. Students join groups and get to know each other.

Session 2: Students understand the power of a team and work together to solve a challenge.

Session 3: Students learn about the power of the individual to create change.

Session 4: Students build confidence and improve their communication skills, especially in public speaking.

Session 5: Students brainstorm solutions to their chosen issue.

Session 6: Students develop an action plan detailing specific steps they will take to address their chosen issue in the community.

Session 7: Students prepare a 5-minute presentation detailing their chose issue and action plan.

Session 8: Students practice their communication skills by presenting their action plans. Students will also have the chance to hear about other action plans. (To learn more about last year’s trip and a detailed explanation of the curriculum used in 2014, hit here.)

You can view the Teaching for Empowerment booklet that Caroline and Brittany wrote on this Amazon link.

An HKIS alum, Anjali Daryanani, and her team2015-03-09 05.41.17 joined us in Ambur to film the program, and have now produced three videos – two for the students and a third one that emphasizes the Lutheran church connection between the two schools. Enjoy!

The password is “ambur2015”.

Go to this link for the second video:

This idea of teaching social conscience on interim has grown from a one-off program that involved only four of our students three years on this trip, but has now grown to include two other interims, one in South Africa and the other in the Philippines. We expect that with an updated edition of the facilitator’s handbook that Brittany and Caroline will produce this summer that the empowerment concept will grow in the years to come.

If you would like to know more about this empowerment curriculum, feel free to contact me (mschmidt@hkis.edu.hk) – and I can pass you onto the real experts, Caroline and Brittany!

The pictures attempt to capture the energy and intimacy of the teaching for empowerment program as it unfolded throughout the week.

2015-03-09 06.36.36The 64 square challenge during session 2 on the first day. 

2015-03-09 06.52.44Annie and Thomas lead the students in the challenging activity of collectively lowering the meterstick to the floor.

2015-03-09 07.19.18Caroline and Russell lead their small group.

2015-03-09 11.36.59Mrs. Ladegaard with the Pernambut students.

2015-03-09 10.03.27Inside a classroom at Pernambut where students need to sit on the floor. There is also no electricity in the classrooms.

2015-03-11 04.41.45

Alex and Annette giving their best to teach their students.

2015-03-10 05.56.29Helena leading the telephone game activity.

2015-03-09 11.44.15Annie with the Pernambut students after the first teaching day.

2015-03-09 11.36.11HKIS interims have been a major supporter of Concordia Pernambut. Some years ago HKIS sponsored the wall around the school. We have also renovated a computer room, donated desks, and last year had a well dug that has provided fresh water for the community (see below). 

2015-03-09 10.00.35

2015-03-10 06.05.08Modeling a version of the telephone game.

2015-03-11 06.59.32Salonee and Ben enjoy a group photo.

2015-03-11 05.29.07Billy and Yash with one of the Ambur students.

2015-03-12 05.50.56Two Ambur girls create a poster detailing their action plan.

2015-03-12 05.31.42Helena with two boys in her group display their air pollution action plan.

2015-03-11 10.35.30Concordia Ambur is the oldest high school in the area. Unlike other elite schools, they have chosen to work with poor students, which presents both great opportunities but also daunting challenges.

2015-03-11 05.43.28Thomas works intently with one of his students.

2015-03-11 10.07.16Katie, Caroline, and Brittany did a one-hour workshop with a number of the Ambur staff to share with them the teaching for empowerment concept.

2015-03-11 10.06.43

2015-03-11 07.17.00Molly with her students.

2015-03-12 04.15.11Annie with Franklin’s assistance leads the opening devotion on the last day.

2015-03-12 05.52.07Ella built strong relationships with the girls. Here they are braiding her hair, while shading her from the sun.

2015-03-11 10.03.44Mercy, Marty, Jabus and Franklin in the principal’s office at Concordia-Ambur.

2015-03-10 04.44.10Anant, who made good use of his Tamil, and Charlotte lead their small group.

2015-03-09 04.59.21

Jonathan with the Ambur students – above and below.

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2015-03-11 07.12.262015-03-10 07.16.52Annie was an articulate and graceful contributor to the program.

2015-03-11 03.38.21Interviews with Annie and Helena in the church.

2015-03-09 06.43.56Three of the students in front of the Lutheran church that stands on the grounds of the nursing school. 

2015-03-12 02.30.24The Lutheran roots of the nursing school go back until at least 1955.

2015-03-12 08.15.46The kitchen staff at the nursing school that cooked inspiring food for us all week!

2015-03-09 05.41.17

Our highly skilled film crew – Caty, Anjali, and Emil. Thanks to them for not only their phenomenal work, but their friendship and seamless integration into our group during the week. 

We look forward to returning in March, 2016!


About martinschmidtinasia

I have served as a humanities teacher at Hong Kong International School since 1990, teaching history, English, and religion courses. Since the mid-1990's I have also come to assume responsibility for many of the school's service learning initiatives. My position also included human care ministry with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in Hong Kong, southern China, and others parts of Asia from 1999-2014. Bringing my affluent students into contact with people served by the LCMS in Asia has proved to be beneficial to students and our community partners alike. Through these experience I have become committed to social conscience education, which gives students the opportunity to find their place in society in the context of challenging global realities.
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6 Responses to Teaching for Empowerment in South India 2015

  1. Jim Handrich says:

    This was an inspiring and meaning-filled interim, Marty. It’s so good to see students taking such powerful leadership roles and making a difference in others and in themselves. Thanks so much for posting this.

  2. Thanks, Jim! I just talked to Caroline and Brittany. They would like to meet you sometime States-side. You three would hit it off immediately. Thanks for your continued support. I hope we can spread the empowerment concept. It’s the next step here!

  3. Therese Tee says:

    We are so proud of our Handrich Service Leadership Fund recipients! I sent Mr. Handrich a copy and it would be great to connect the 3 of them in person!

  4. Thanks, Therese, for the alumni office’s support of the girls and the program!

  5. Jenn Tan Su says:

    Mr. Schmidt, not sure if you remember me from class of 2000 (probably not!) but i stumbled upon your blog here and just wanted to drop a note to let you know that my trips to foshan led by you still resonate with me a lot 15+ years later. I learned so so much from you and I’m so thrilled to read about your work here! Please say hi to Ms Talbert for me!

  6. Pingback: Did We Make A Difference? Action Research of a Teaching for Empowerment Program in South India | Social Conscience and Inner Awakening

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