From a teacher’s diary
As an educator, I always believe that there are certain soft skills which are necessary for an individual at all times irrespective of the century in which one lives. In this context, I would like to share an invaluable experience which I had as a teacher who led a team of twenty six boys on a weeklong adventure camp to Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh.
I have realized that students acquire soft skills partially through learning which takes place in schools/colleges but mostly through life’s invaluable experiences. It was in the year 2013 that I went to the adventure camp at Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh with a team of twenty six boys. As would be the case with most of the adventure camps, even this was no exception and each one of us had to encounter challenges both physical and mental. A careful analysis of the entire event and the reflections which I got from each student helped me understand what the achievement was. It also made me realize the fact that no other experience within the four walls of the classroom can become a substitute to this. The following table gives a gist of what were the major learnings and how the entire event helped students gain mastery over their physical and mental self.
On the whole, it was a great experience for each one of us who have been a part of this adventure camp conducted by the National Adventure Institute, Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh. I appeal to all the members of the teaching fraternity to initiate activities which help students develop a strong bond with nature. Only then we can be sure of nurturing a generation who will work in the direction of striking the right ecological balance.
|1.||Self Awareness||Students got to know about their physical stamina and the enormous potential hidden deep within which made them accomplish challenging tasks put forth before them during the course of the event.|
|2.||Problem Solving||Participation in Military Sports gave students an enormous scope to solve problems.|
|3.||Decision Making||Students were able to assess their own capacities in terms of their physical strength required to reach the set destinations each day. Accordingly, they were able to take decisions whether or not to take part in the respective challenges set before them.|
|4.||Critical Thinking||Students were critical in their thinking on how to make the best use of available resources. For example when students were given time to visit the market, they felt the need to purchase a nylon rope which could be tied from one tree to another so that towels could be hung for drying.|
|5.||Creative Thinking||Students found creative ways to accommodate themselves (eight in one small tent) arranging their luggage systematically so that maximum space could be generated. Also they found innovative ways of placing a torch to ensure that the entire tent is lighted during the night.|
|6.||Interpersonal Relationships||Students developed a good rapport with members from the same school as well as with those from the other schools who participated in the camp.|
|7.||Effective Communication||Students could communicate effectively both in verbal and written form about their experience of the adventure camp.|
|8.||Empathy||Students could empathize with the pain experienced by their friends during the course of the event. When students noticed that some are slow in reaching their destinations, they waited for them and extended moral support which made them complete their trek successfully. In the case of long treks, students did not even think of themselves and shared their water bottles with everyone who was thirsty.|
|9.||Managing Emotions||Students learnt to manage their emotions at all times during the course of the event. For example even during times when there was a delay in providing the lunch or breakfast they did not throw tantrums which might be the case at their home. They learnt to stay away from parents without expressing any sign of being upset or low.|
|10.||Dealing with stress||Facilities at the campsite were stressful for these students who are from well to do families. Still they learnt how to adapt themselves and deal effectively with the crisis.|
P V Satya Ramesh is working as a Post-Graduate Teacher in Psychology at the Shanti Asiatic School, Ahmedabad., where he teaches Mathematics up to Class X and Psychology to Classes XI and XII. He is M Sc in Psychology, M Phil in Counselling Psychology, B Ed, and a UGC NET qualified teacher. He has published value based articles oriented towards counseling all the stake holders in the arena of education in a number of educational journals. He has a strong belief in the ancient Indian Value System. He strives to inculcate courage in young minds and teaches them to always stand for what is right. He works in the direction of providing his students an environment which promotes critical thinking and ways to express their point of view without fear.
The camp has provided me enough scope to overcome many challenges. Few of them include:
- How to adapt to new climatic conditions.
- How to keep myself fit in order to accomplish all the tasks before me in the camp.
- How to adjust with the food styles of a different state/ culture.
- How to interact with participants from various parts of the country.
- How to live amidst nature giving up the luxuries which I have at my home.
- want to be a part of the Adventure Programme once again.
Sarjeel S Radhanpuri
The camp made me realise the importance of food and water in our daily life. Also, I learnt to wake up early in order to have bath first as the resources available were limited. I learnt how to remain patient when I had to wait for long in a queue to charge my mobile phone/camera as the plug points were limited in number.
I learnt how to keep the tent clean, folding of bed sheets and washing my plate, spoon and glass after lunch/dinner. It was my best trekking experience till now.
Manthan B Rathi
I learnt how to remain patient at all times during the course of the event. This camp made me understand what adventure actually is. Till then, I was of the opinion that doing stunts with bicycles/bikes is adventure.
Walking daily ten to twelve kilometres made me realise my potential. I realised the importance of living together when I had to stay with seven other friends of mine in the same tent.
The camp made me realise the importance of counting my blessings. I am happy that I was with nature for a few days. I enjoyed taking bath with cold water early in the morning which is not the case when I am at home. I learnt how to remain calm and patient. I was happy to sleep on the floor in the tent provided.
It was the most memorable trip in my life till now. The activities during the course of the programme made me become fit both physically and mentally. I realised that alarm is not necessary to get up early in the morning when we learn to live with nature.
The camp has given me an opportunity to meet students from each and every state of India. Camp Fires were the most memorable times for me.
The camp has given me a newer perspective of life through which I could realise the true meaning of happiness when I had to be with nature for seven days. I would love to be a part of the camp once again.
It was a great learning experience which will be cherished forever.
During the course of the event, I realised the meaning of the idiom ‘uphill task’. The net result of this camp is that I am now a more disciplined boy who is prepared to stay in adverse conditions.
It is only after coming back to Ahmedabad, I realised what I miss. It is the beauty of nature and I felt like going back to Pachmarhi. The camp has taught me the best lessons in my life. I am sure that this learning will help me face the challenges of life with confidence.