Darjeeling – A group of 30 college lecturers from East and Northeast India spent 5 days in what resource persons (facilitators) called ‘simulation’ and ‘open space’ method in college level learning for research based teaching at undergraduate programs.
The program, second in the series of Faculty Orientation in Research and Teaching Excellence (FORTE) held at Salesian College Sonada (SCS) was jointly organised by All India Association of Christian Higher Education, New Delhi.
The participants who took part in FORTE-2 at SCS hailed from Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Chhattisgarh.
Dr Glenn Shive and Mr Mark Pixley facilitated FORTE-2 program christened ‘Northeast India Regional Development Policy Simulation’ held from 30 November to 5 December 2018.
“A simulation is a form of experiential learning. It is a strategy that fits well with the principles of Student-centered and constructivist learning and teaching,” says Dr Shive who came up with the new mantra in teaching excellence.
Shive has been Director and CEO of the Hong Kong America Center since 2000. The Center is a non-profit consortium of universities based in Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Explaining further Dr Shive says, “Simulated teaching is the technique of learning and training, which develops the ability in an individual regarding problem solving behaviour. It has been defined as a role playing in which learner performs the role in an artificially created environment.”
In the simulation exercises, the FORTE-2 participants were divided into seven groups representing the seven states of northeast India. Over a period of several sessions, the groups negotiated a plan that would meet the requirements of the Central Government and benefit the economic development of the various states in the region, in roughly equal measure.
In the second learning-teaching method “Open Space, which is a self organising meeting process that allows groups, small or large, to arrange around particular themes. Individuals who put up topics of their passion (interest) hold meetings around those topics, and explore new ideas leading to action planning and documentation,” says Mark Pixley Managing director at Leadership Inc at Shenzhen Guangdong, China.
“Normally we attend meetings during which we sit, listen, eat and sleep, but FORTE-2 program taught us hands on techniques in learning teaching,” says Mr Jeremy Nelson Syiem from St Anthony’s College Shillong, Meghalaya.
“I was drawn into the sessions with the role I had to play,” says Shramistha Chakraborty from Holy Cross College Agartala who was elected to the role of Tripura Chief Minister.
Mr. Chow Khanseng Manang from St Claret College Ziro Arunachal Pradesh who knew Nepali language and was short changed by the taxi man, says “in contrast to my bad experience, I was happy to meet with wonderful colleagues from Darjeeling hills.”
AIACHE President and Principal of Salesian College Sonada & Siliguri Dr George Thadathil coordinated the program.