The Gandhi Fellowship Program is a 24months/ 2 years program and is divided into four stages.
Stage 1- Induction
Stage 2- Executing the Academic Support Program
Stage 3 – Executing the Academic Support Program
Stage 4 – GF as Research Associate
Stage 1 - Induction
This is the entry of the GF into the Fellowship. A stage to begin to “UNFOLD”. The purpose of this stage is to:
- Acquaint GF with the values, culture, and vision of the GFP, PLDP and KEF.
- To help GF to integrate with other fellows
- To offer GF exposure to living outside his/her comfort zone.
- To get the GF to understand the challenges of teaching primary schoolchildren
- To start off the GF to develop the daily habit of “Plan, Act, Reflect, Share.”
The processes that GF will be part of in this stage of the Fellowship are:
- General Induction
- Slum/Village Immersion
- Classroom Teaching
- Consolidation of the experience and learning
GFs join the Fellowship with a drive to cause change and are in a ‘raring to go’ state of mind. But social change is a complex process and needs deeper sincere engagement before impact can be made. To do this, what is needed is more than simple skill-development. GFs need to unlearn patterns of behavior and thinking, retrain their minds, bodies and personalities to see things differently. GFs need to absorb the first steps of self –awareness, of living in a community of people in a shared space where the conventional boundaries of the private and public are re-worked and GFs need to learn to understand and respond to the world in reality and not just virtually. For most GFs, poverty is an abstraction a data they have in their mind. Similarly, GF understanding of school education at the grass-root level is mostly gathered from reading and media reports. GF minds are full of received data and borrowed attitudes. In the Induction phase GF understands these realities through experience and learns to change his/her thinking and behavior. At the end of the Induction phase the GF will have…
ü Developed self-awareness and self-change by putting self in an alien context
ü Laid the seeds for excellence by engaging in tough tasks that lie outside the comfort zone
ü Learnt the first steps of influencing others
ü Achieved an empathetic state of mind that is geared to work with the school headmaster, having experienced the realities that the headmaster has to deal with.
Duration of the Induction Stage
The Induction stage will last for nearly 12 weeks. This will include:
- 3 days of General Induction
- 6 weeks of running a class in a school
- 4 weeks of Village Immersion while continuing the class
- 1 week of training (3 days of training before starting class, 2 days of training before VI)
- 4 days of consolidation (4 days for debrief post LQ and VI)
This is the first week of the GFP. Over a period of 3days, GFs will be introduced to each other, to the Program Leaders and Program Manager, people they will be working with and be guided by. GFs will be introduced to the vision and mission of the GFP, of the PLDP and about KEF. GFs will learn to bond, share their life history, their dreams, their aspirations and their fears with each other and the program leaders. The General Induction is executed in a workshop format, with about 8-10hrs of daily interaction and activities.
The sessions in the workshops are definitely interactive and fun-filled. GFs need to make the most of this time by getting to know each other, sharing their unique talents and begin to practice accepting people how ever different they seem.
Students in college tend to look out for people, who seem ‘our type’, seek them out, create a group that includes a few and excludes the rest. The Fellowship Program is designed to help GFs break this pattern of relating and begin to practice the ability to create a real connection with everybody and particularly those who seem different or are making us feel a little uncomfortable. The General Induction is a good time to begin breaking this pattern.
Teaching primary school children
This process of the Induction phase is designed and supported by the Learning Quality (LQ) team of KEF. The GF is given the role of a teacher and has to teach for several hours each day in a school. GF will set a teaching goal and will develop his/her teaching plan which is based on the principles that 1)a child learns best in a fear-free environment 2) learning needs to be activity based 3)Each child in class needs to have understood what is taught 4) The teacher needs to mold his/her teaching to the need of each student.
During this phase GFs will also begin to practice the routine of “Plan, Act, Reflect, Share”. They will plan for their class each morning, visit the school, reflect on their actions, and then share their experience and learning with other Fellows each day.
During this phase they will be provided with support, pedagogical tools from the LQ team.
Why Plan, Act, Reflect, Share?
The goal of the GFP is to create change leaders. Create men and women of action, those who can act, get things done, move and influence people. Thoughtful Action is a core competence for every leader. Action is at the centre of the program but action cannot be mistaken with doing something randomly. For action to be effective it requires thought and planning. Planning helps to shape action and drive it towards the desired direction. Once an act is committed, one needs look back to know how the action unfolded. Through reflection one can find answers to questions like, “Did I lose my patience?” “Was it my hastiness that caused the children to not learn?” “Was I aware of the assumptions I held when I went to class?” Reflective questions like this can help GF understand the consequences of her/ his assumptions, emotions and actions and this in turn can help the GF modulate and change his/her actions in the future. Sharing all this with other Fellows helps each GF to be able to reflect on one’s own work in a new light. Feedback from fellows, sharing of confusions sharpens reflection and also the next day’s plan.
The Plan, Act, Reflect, Share process is a non-negotiable practice in the Fellowship Program.
At the end of the six week period, a few days will be given to the GF to pen down his/ her learning, experience, change observed in self. The consolidated learning is shared with the rest of the GFs and Program Leaders and Program Managers.
Village/ Slum Immersion
In this process the GF stays in a village/ slum community for a period of 4 weeks. The community in which the slum/ village immersion happens will be close to the school the GF is teaching in. In this phase GFs will continue to visit schools and teach in their classes. But outside of their school hours they will have to live with the local community, forge relationship with them and involve himself/ herself in their life, not as an outsider, as a social worker, as a social reformer but as one of them. The GF is not being placed in the village and slum community to cause reform or change. The GF is being placed there to understand and know the people around him/her. The GF placed there to know extent to which s/he can cope outside his/her comfort zone.
Before setting off for the Slum/ Village Immersion; the terms and conditions or the code of behavior are mutually agreed upon by the GF and their Program Leaders.
GFs will be encouraged to keep a daily journal for this period in which they can pen down their responses and thoughts.
At the end of the 4 weeks GFs will write down their Village Immersion experience. After writing it they will share it with the rest of the Fellows, Program Leaders and Program Managers. Consolidating the experience and learning is as important as the actual immersion.
Health, safety concerns during SI/VI
The operations team in each location is there to offer complete support to the GF and ensure a smooth and safe process. If the GF does fall ill or has some kind of accident, GF must contact operations team immediately. The SI/VI process is definitely designed to stretch the GF but that does not mean a GF neglect health issues.
The operations team in each location would have made the required checks to ensure that the GF is safe within that community. The GF too needs to manage the stakeholders of the community sensibly and not commit any act that can disturb or hassle the local community.
GFs are expected to be aware of local customs and respect them for what they are instead of rejecting them or making fun of them. The GF will not be able to command the love and respect of the local community without first being seen as integrating in the community. The onus of building such relationships lies on the GF.
Once the GF has consolidated and shared his/ her experience of the SI/ VI. The Induction stage of the GFP is concluded.