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"I am an 8th grader, almost"- Writing to Discover Yourself #60

Quote of the Week

“I have never started a poem yet whose end I knew. Writing a poem is discovering.” – Robert Frost, Renowned Poet

Hi, this is the GenWise team– we bring out this newsletter to help parents and educators to complement the work of formal schools and associated systems. We can help our children thrive in these complex times only by exchanging ideas and insights and working together. We are also a founder-member of the Gifted India Network– if you are interested in issues related to gifted education and talent development, an easy way to keep updated about talks, programs and resources is to join the Gifted India Network telegram channel (https://t.me/GiftedIndia).

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“I am an 8th grader, almost”- Writing to Discover Yourself


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“I am an 8th grader, almost”- Writing to Discover Yourself

In this post, we share vignettes of student work from the 1-week course ‘Pitch Perfect: Unravelling Effective Communication’ course, which was held at the GenWise Summer Program at Manipal University in May 2022. Going through this post, we are sure you will agree that everyone can write beautifully and how rewarding the process can be. A mentor like Sharoon Sunny who helps bring out the ‘inner writer’ is a great help of course! In this post, we also highlight some aspects of her facilitation process.

Almost – Slam Poetry, by Navya Chaudhry

I am an 8th grader, almost I am a teenager, almost I am content, almost You see, my life has always been a perpetual ‘almost’ Perks of being raised alone “Hey Navya, are you done yet?” “Almost!”

Some say that the world is a huge place, Others say that the world is a small place. I say that the world is an indecisive place. If you are too smart, you are rude If you are too dumb, you are frustrating If you are neither, you are ignored. Dear World, please make up your mind Your indecisiveness is another almost “Almost”.

What is the difference between greed and ambition? Ambition is the greed of wanting more Greed is the ambition of wanting more A peasant, wants to earn more money, he’s ambitious A rich man wants more money, he is greedy. Ambition is a noble feeling, a strive to achieve one’s goals Greed is designated as one of the seven sins Then they ask you”Are you content in life” The only answer I can give them is “Almost”.

Hear Navya read out her poem here.

The Process of Bringing out the Inner Writer

We are fascinated with the way Sharoon facilitated the process and brought out the inner writer in each student. At the core of her process were 2 beliefs


authentic writing and expression springs from a sense of connection


each of us has a capacity for connection

Building on this, her focus was to help the students get into a ‘connected mind- space’ with some tools and prompts to express the thoughts and feelings that arose from this space. For example, students were taught the traditional haiku and then visited different places where they brought inanimate objects to life through their words. Sharoon posed various questions to the students which acted as prompts to set them on their own path.

In her blog post, What mushrooms can teach us, she says-

During the writing workshop, I took my group of students on different writing excursions. I specifically chose these locales for how they lend themselves to building connections, especially with oneself. Considering there are no material or artificial distractions, I’d call it the perfect setting for anyone who wants to simply meander into their innermost thoughts, slow down and allow the warmth of their thoughts and feelings to soak into any stiffness built up over the years. I’m yet to hear from a student that this approach simply did not work! We consistently arrive at the aha moment when they put pen to paper. 

We couldn’t have imagined that a vehicle testing lab was an environment where students could feel a sense of connection and explore the question ‘What is the colour of silence?”!

Clearly we had underestimated the power of the inward gaze…

Sharoon shares in her blog post, What mushrooms can teach us

Since my students have been learning online, spending unimaginable amounts of time on screens, and building friendships in a metaverse where the only things making connections were backend servers, I asked my young writers to look inwards, and so began these walks, conversations and tinkerings with sound, silence and stillness.  They reaffirmed my faith in the limitless human capacity for connections, especially with ourselves. 

This exercise of turning the gaze inward and ‘unfurling their moods’ led not just to some beautiful pieces but the start of a deeper discovery of their own selves. Here is what some students had to say-

 
 
 

Sharoon has captured the spirit of the course in the short 2 minute film below.


At the end of the film, she says-

It amazes me that we do not provide young students sufficient avenues to write, to share their deepest thoughts and feelings. When they are given these moments of discovery, they not only surprise me, they surprise themselves!

We hope this post has inspired you to find your ‘inner writer’ and help your child find hers!

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