The Shiksha Theme
Every year, our school team selects an annual ‘Shiksha’ or learning theme as a multi-focal lens for exploring ‘all of life’s diversity’. Children across classes and age-groups research and explore the same through varied frameworks and approaches – disciplinary and inter-disciplinary, experiential and theoretical, curricular and co-curricular.
The criteria for choosing a theme is usually that it should be broad-based in nature, offer all age groups the opportunity for enquiry, relate closely to the lives of the students and be capable of meaningfully intersecting with our core disciplinary areas. Some of the themes chosen over past few years include – Games People Play, Communication, It’s About Time, Around the World in 200 days, Out of this World, Heroes and Sheroes – The ‘Who’le Story, Down to Earth – Grounding Matters. In addition to age-appropriate research projects which are shared at the end of the year in an all-school project exhibition, theme based exploration is encouraged by means of assembly presentations, special workshops, interactions with guest atithis, trips and visits and inter-house challenges. The school diary, The NiB – our annual magazine and our arts festival productions are also inspired both in format and content by the overarching theme.
Such a focused, deep, and multi-faceted enquiry of an all-pervading theme for the period of an entire year, undoubtedly pays dividends in the form of new and unparalleled opportunities for enhancing student learning. First, it helps students build breadth into their learning process. They not only learn to study a topic in detail, they are also able to make inter-disciplinary connections and thereby develop a holistic, nuanced understanding of the content in focus. Second, by being well-suited to methods of Deeper learning, the Shiksha Theme helps children acquire the skills of independent and open-ended enquiry. That is, they acquire practice in learning ‘how to learn’. Thirdly, since the entire school focuses on a single theme, a natural context is created for encouraging multi-age group interactions and learning.