Cela fiesta- a melting pot of diverse Literature

Posted: 15 February 2021

IDEALS

Discoveries

Age:

Secondary

Curriculum Area:

Diverse and Inclusive Literature. Multilingual in nature

Lead School:

The Assam Valley School

Participating Schools:

Overview

In times like these, with uncertainty surrounding our lives, what we truly need is something that brings us together – not by virtue of our nationality, religion or even language. But by virtue of our passions that shape our lives.

Literature is where we must seek our objective. Literature is the medicine for distress. It is the channel for the voiceless. It is truly awe – inspiring, the power of art, to move people, to bring people together – like it has in the fiesta.

Planning

This event just sprouted as an idea in a conversation which in less than 24 hours took the shape a blue print. The blue print was discussed with our Dean of Activities and Headmaster, which was immediately approved.

I started preparing and strategizing with my student Round Square Committee and they liked the plan a lot. After the mind map and activities were finalised at our end, they were shared with Mrs. Rajbeer Sandhu, who gave her feedback and thus, I went ahead with the final idea. I posted it on the Round Square Collaborations page and on our group.

Initially, 2-3 schools responded and it took me a week to get in about 10 schools and with communication directly with fellow RS schools, 20 schools signed up for the collaboration. The last school joined in just a week before the final conference.

Schools from California, Tanzania, Bangkok were wanting to join the collaboration but sadly they could not connect owing to some restrictions.

Eventually, the event took place over two days and as planned.

Details

Day 1 
Meet the Author- In conversation with…..a renowned Sahitya Akademi award winning author, Janice Pariat.

Slam Poetry – Original/Self-composed poem in any language to be recited live-poem and the translation in English (if recited in any other language) to be shared in advance- 2-3 minutes- 1 entry/school

Read & Rhyme – Any famous poem/speech/soliloquy in any language to be recited live- the piece and translation in English if in any other language to be shared in advance- 2-3 minutes- 1 entry/school

Create a Disguise – A fairy tale, science fiction, mystery or horror short story to be chosen, narrated in short, a twisted/alternative ending to the original text to be presented- 3-4 minutes- 2 entries (as a team)/school- participants to choose the text but to share in advance

Day 2
Become a Character – Guess who- Indian, Greek or Roman mythology- Participants dress up as a character (not mandatory), ask 3 few questions/give 3 clues for audience to guess & know who they are- 1 minute- 1 entry/school- participants to choose a character but to share at least 5 clues with us in advance

Why I did what I did – A character from History, Mythology, Love stories, Drama or Folklore, shall be allotted to each participant- research on the character and its deeds & motives to be done- questions shall be asked on the actions done & motives behind it- based on ethical issues, leading into morality- 3-4 minutes each case

Club – Participants choose a movie or music they have watched or heard- movies can be cross genre, any movie- music to be classical, pop or folk- share a quick review & learning- 3 minutes- 1 entry for each club, maximum 2 entries/school- name of movie and a short piece of music to be shared in advance

Meet the Author- In conversation with…..a renowned Sahitya Akademi award winning author, Rita Chowdhury

Closing Ceremony & Cultural Presentation

Medium of communication- Any language but to be translated in English also for a better understanding- translations in English to be provided in advance for us to share it on screen. Literary text- from any culture or language

Challenges

There were not too many challenges in all honesty. However, the only fear was not too many takers. There was this huge apprehension of not many schools participating, thus, the plan falling apart. Thankfully, there were 20 schools who wanted to engage in the idea. Reaching out to a lot of the Reps at a personal level and individually was a good way to ensure the collaboration was a success. Engagement was great and there was no cost involved since it was online.

Impact 

At the end of the collaboration, students were able to

Students were greatly and positively impacted. There was huge learning and exchange of ideas. Cultural ideas and values were exchanged. Literature was explored in myriad ways and beyond texts and classrooms. New bonds and memories were made.

Over 200 people interacted with one another in two days. Students and teachers came together to, joined hands and collaborated to take Literature to a different level through new activities.

The two authors gave a deep insight into story-telling and novels. They also talked about sensitive criticism and creative writing. A lot of queries by students were answered during these two sessions. There was learning with fun. Comfort level in the individual sessions knew no bounds.

Individual activities/sessions saw exploration, inquisitiveness and ardent participation. Experiential learning, turning into characters, reciting speeches and own poems, giving alternate endings and justifying characters’ deeds and motives, will leave young learners delve deep into Literature in a completely different way.

Long Term Outcomes

It has left an indelible impression on young minds. The activity and collaboration has helped young learners look at Literature in a different way. The various activities will help students think critically and analyse characters, texts, situations, deeds and motives more deeply. The activity also has opened avenues for debates and discussions and an opportunity to critique.

There is a lot of boost in confidence and communication skills. Sharing of ideas and expressing opinions go a long way.

We can repeat the activity since Literature is the panacea for all distress.

Advice

Author: Dr. Pooja Jain Benjamin, Round Square Representative & Senior English Teacher

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