SAIIER 2014:Creative Education through Radio with Children

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Creations in the Sandbox
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Development of Art Curriculum
Creative Education through Radio with Children



Objectives

To apply the concept of creative education in radio using it as a tool to explore the various possibilities it offers for the children. Creative education consists in entering into a sharing and learning dynamic flow in which both adults and children are researchers, explore together a question, an idea, an intuition, build up a project etc. We become a learning team in an ongoing process of progress, spontaneous self-learning, and joy. The adult will be there mainly to give more autonomy and self-confidence to the child, while himself giving the example of self-exploration, creativity and humility, always ready to listen and to learn from the child. This type of education is itself creative in the sense that it doesn’t start from a ready-made curriculum but takes the challenge to discover in each one the inner tendencies which develop in a free space of non-judgment. Education in sound will then start with this inner listening. Flexibility and the capacity to reorient the research in a new and more adapted direction are also part of a creative education. Exploration is encouraged.

To help the child discover his own way to learn through developing capacities like self-observation, concentration, inner and outer listening, imagination, communication, creativity, and the capacity to discover and express his own inner world through a personal project using vocal work, speech, sounds etc.

To create with children radio programs and audio-books which can then be shared with other children and teachers and could be the starting point to create and develop later one or more Educational Audio Libraries in Auroville.

Outputs: Audio programs

The primary tangible output has been the creation of 4 completed audio programs and there are 4 other programs in the process of editing:

Happy memories (14:21)

Satyamayi, Chandana, Abinash, Leela, Sai, Aatman, Mira, Aarnav, Hannah, and Datchiany, are all 12 to 14 years old and students of Deepanam School intimately sharing their very happiest memories. When you are a teenager in a city composed of 45 nationalities, in which language do you remember your inner stories? Are you sure this memory belongs to you only? And how deep does human unity run? Find out in this "sound painting" of memories. (Thanks to Mahavir and Bhakti, Deepanam teachers)

3 Portraits for one audio book (16:38)

Ahelia, a 14 year old Last School student, Yam, a 10 year old TLC student, and Jesse, a theater teacher and actor, share a passion for the theater. Here they talk about their lives in Auroville. Some extracts from their new performance, an audio book based on The Water Book, Jalam and Savita's Big Voyage, are given together with the interviews. Written by Sandrine, it is a marvelous journey with the spirit of water, named Jalam and played by Jesse, together with two Indian children. Savita is played by Ahelia and Sindhu is played by Yam. They travel through the ecosystem, and specifically the water cycle, in a compassionate story of friendship and collaboration with nature.

Horse, my friend (29:14)

Amongst the riding schools of Auroville, “Evergreen Horses” occupies a special place. Sarah, the creator and leader of the school, was inspired by Pat Parelli, the founder of the Natural Horse-man-ship approach. She affirms: “It’s not about teaching a technique, it’s all about learning how to “read” the horse. This process of communication works towards building a friendship”. Respect, observation without judgment, mutual understanding, truthfulness, full presence and clarity of intention are all necessary. You cannot lie to a horse! That’s why most of the work starts on the ground. With friendly games we create a joyful and trustful relationship. Later, children ride but without a saddle or a bit, only with a simple bridle, “to become one with the horse”, says Satyamayi. She is a 12 years old student who dreams to run, like Sarah, her own riding school one day. Sarah, Leela (11 years old) and Satyamayi share their love for the horses, interview each other, read some basic principles of Horsemanship from Parelli’s book, and much more

The little prince and fox (11:34)

This chapter 21 from “The Little Prince”, fantasy written by Saint Exupery, is played by Sai (the prince), Atman (the fox) and Mira (the narrator), 13 years old students from Deepanam School.

The Little Prince arrived on Earth after visiting 6 other planets, but he lands in the middle of the Sahara desert, where he met a pilot, who just crashed. They become friends. Eventually, the little prince finds a rose garden, which surprises and depresses him—his rose (from his asteroid) had told him that she was the only one of her kind.

In this chapter 21, the prince befriends a fox, who teaches him that the important things in life are visible only to the heart that his time away from the rose makes the rose more special to him, and that love makes a person responsible for the beings that one loves. The little prince realizes that, even though there are many roses, his love for his rose makes her unique and that he is therefore responsible for her.

Recordings still in the process of editing

  • Hello teachers
Interviews of 3 teachers about education, and recording of the Deepanam School atmosphere, by one student (Datchiani).
Interviews with 3 students about their love and joy for singing, and a joint performance of them singing their favorite songs - “a capella”. Two students are from Deepanam (Mira and Hannah) and one is from Last school (Ahilya).
  • The good man
A humoristic, slightly ironic, short play about money and human attitudes towards it. Selected and played by 2 students from Deepanam (Arnaav and Abinash)
Recording of the Matrimandir soundscape background (including the new fountain song), and a reading about it by a student from Last School (Ahilya).
The creation of The Water Audio Book (40 minutes long) is based on the script of The Water Book: Jalam and Savita’s Big Voyage, written by Sandrine and illustrated by Emanuele.
This story shows the unusual relationship between a little girl, Savita (played by Ahilya) from a village of India and a lovely form of the spirit of Water, Jalam (played by Jesse). He takes her and her friend Sindhu (played by Yam) on a marvelous and complex journey of his, this essential element of the earth; water. Jalam shows them the many wonders of water, explaining scientific facts and new discoveries as well as the mismanagement by humans. He also points to how harmony of the water cycle may be restored. This audio version is based on the script of the paper book: "The Water Book: Jalam and Savita’s Big Voyage", written by Sandrine and illustrated by Emanuele (available in 4 languages: Tamil, Italian, French and English). Music by Nadaka and from the album “The Earth is my friend - Children songs in 4 languages” (made in Auroville).

Outcomes

  • Introduction of the participating students to the use of the recorder Zoom H2 as means for self-expression and creativity.
  • The exploration by the participating students of developing the possibilities of creative radio according to their own individual interests and ideas.
  • Improvement of their writing skill by creating and preparing their own scripts, projects or/and questions for interviews: to be clear and concrete in their objectives (short sentences) and then how to deepen and widen a subject by using the Why and How, to ask open questions, etc.
  • Knowledge of how to warm-up and use their voice by simple breathing, body and voice exercises (vocals, articulation). To acknowledge that the quality and clarity of the voice depends a lot of the inner state and the body posture – hence the need to get centered and well aligned as much as possible at all levels before starting to record.
  • Acquisition of the basic technical means to record properly with a Zoom H2 in different situations according to the purpose. Recording the atmosphere, a soundscape, an interview, a play etc. – each implies a different setting of the recorder, keeping the right distance between the source and the microphone, the right angle, avoid the parasite noise etc.
  • Two students (from TLC and Last School) have been also able to experience recording in the soundproof studio of Auroville Radio along with Jesse a professional actor and Andrea a professional technical engineer. A truly professional experience of Radio!
  • Development of the self-awareness, self-assessment and aim for perfection:
  • Development of the inner/outer listening, reflexive and communication capacities
  • Development of a dynamic mixed aged learning process: In order to get the knowledge and/or experience about the subject freely chosen for creating a radio program, the students didn’t hesitate to go beyond their class room and class age by inviting or going outside to meet their resource person (ex. Songbirds Girls, Horse my Friend, Hello Teachers!). Learning is potentially everywhere and children enjoy this freedom to explore safely this potential in Auroville.
  • Development of autonomy, self-confidence and creativity: after those 5 months, students were able to record freely around the school with the recorder Zoom H2, to catch some atmosphere, soundscape, interviews, having lots of fun singing or creating sounds or initiating new ideas, in a natural, living and growing learning process.

Remarks

One of the significant properties of the radio as an educational instrument, is to create in the pupil a reflexive and analytical process. By a simple self-assessment, the pupil can identify clearly experiences or in certain cases deficiencies, that the “second time record", when it is possible, can most of the times correct.

Therefore, it has been really fulfilling as a facilitator to discover anew and validate the powerful mean for self-improvement the creative radio is (true mirror effect) and how much it can help towards realizing some of the aims of integral education in a dynamic, joyful, very creative and progressive way.

Such research deserves more time and space to develop and put into place all the technical means required (for example to initiate student to the editing and publishing part, also very creative).