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Images of TOS Students in Sweden Exchange Program 2013
Images of TOS Students in Sweden Exchange Program 2013
Annual student teacher exchange between The Orchid School, Pune and Donner Gymnasiet, Sweden :: The Orchid School

Written by wes
June 25, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Project Category : Schools :: Best Innovation in Global Collaborative Learning
Details of Applicant: 
Name : Baishaki Bapat
Organization: The Orchid School
Address : Baner Mhalunge Road, Baner, Pune – 411045, Near signet corner.

  City : Pune
  State : Maharashtra
  Country : INDIA
  Zip Code : 411045

Details of Project/Implementing Agency :

Name of Organisation : The Orchid School

Address : Baner Mhalunge Road, Baner, Pune – 411045, Near signet corner.

  City : Pune
  State : Maharashtra
  Country : INDIA
  Zip Code : 411045

Name of the head of Organisation : Ms.Lakshmi Kumar
Project Website : http://www.theorchidschool.org/collaboration.html
Website : http:// www.theorchidschool.org

Brief description of the programme/project/Initiative :

Since April 2008, there has been an annual exchange of 4 faculty members from either side. These interactions have proved to be effective platforms for exchange of pedagogical practices, networking, imbibing of new styles, building connections and giving insights into different cultures. In order to formalize this relationship, Orchid signed a MOU with Donner Gymnassiet , Gotland, in the year 2007. In 2010 the exchange program was extended to the student community. For the student exchange, intensive schedules related to relevant subject interest, giving insights into local festivals, culture, traditions and value systems are part of the core agenda . In keeping with the Orchid philosophy of Developing global citizens, equality, and recognizing the importance of diverse experiences, opportunities are provided to all, in the form of hosting, interactions within and outside school spaces -lectures and discussions, partnerships with neighborhood schools and organizations. Selection for travel is done through a democratic process.

Why was the project started :
At Orchid, we recognize that it is imperative for our learning systems to gear and prepare students to be global citizens. The importance of crossing boundaries, relating, connecting and communicating are imperative HR skills required for students to adapt and adjust successfully in a multi cultural scenario .Our exchange initiatives provides first hand experiences and insights into the host country culture and enables them to witness how it influences people’s behavior. We see these exchanges as helping individuals to hone attitudes like empathy, sensitization and awareness in turn contributing to enhancement of our teaching program .Keeping in mind the developmental appropriateness and readiness, we begin in class VIII with a local exchange with the Riverside school, Ahmedabad and Shishuvan, Mumbai, extending it to Sweden in class X .These exchanges provide all stake holders exposure to a variety of interactions in different situations thus forstering a holistic education system.

Objective :

  • Preparing our students, our citizens for tomorrow for a global market economy. The project resonates the school’s vision of making its students locally rooted and globally competent citizens of the future.

  • Providing opportunities to develop effective communication outside of ones comfort zone.

  • Experiencing host families and making friends across borders thus experience a new culture, the traditions and value system.

  • To break stereotypes , cross borders and sensitization.

  • Drawing parallels to subject area interest-See and study the rich heritage sites of each others countries and also understand the issues concerning environmental conservation.

  • Exposure to subjects not offered at our institution.eg-Students participated in hands on programme at Donner’s media studies department.

  • Exposure to different pedagogic principles and practices mainly in Higher Secondary educational institutions.

  • Participate in local festivals and customs like Ganesh festival here and Valborg in Sweden

Target group : This exchange is available to the entire staff and to students of class X :The Orchid School From Donner Gymnasiet, to their entire staff and students of class XI – (Gymnasiet is a Junior college in our context) 

Please specify reach within India: Maharashtra and Gujarat

Please specify reach outside India: Gotland, Sweden
Date from which the project became operational : December, 2007
Is the Project still operational : YES

10 points that make the programme/project innovative?

  • Students made Power point presentation on heritage sites in India and studied conservation efforts at a local, national and global level which they presented in Sweden. Each exchange has a different theme, so will provide for the same opportunity.

  • Students and staff participate in a pre-departure course on cross cultural understanding and sensitization.

  • Our students get the opportunity to live in host families and host them when they visit us.

  • Students get the exposure to varied teaching styles and diverse subject areas. Our students got the opportunity to participate in the media studies program where they were guided in the usage of professional cameras and worked with Photoshop to create a collage.

  • As part of their de-brief, students are involved in documentation-opportunities to learn how to create a Picassa web album, write and edit articles for the book to be published.

  • Both sets of teachers get to participate in leadership trainings, internal meetings and staff retreats.

  • Swedish students and staff participate in the local Ganesh festival and witness the efforts towards environmental conservation during this occasion.

  • Teachers get an experience to teach ,observe and bring back other pedagogical practices and styles from each others spaces.

  • Networking with other institutions so as to provide a broad overview of the Indian and Swedish education system.

  • The independence and accountability, the fact that one is a representative of the organization and an ambassador to the country fosters growth ,confidence and an increase in self esteem.

List the 5 achievements of the programme/project?

  • Recognition from the Swedish embassy as a credible program in the form of a waiver of the visa charges for the entire student/teacher group this year.
  • More institutions in Sweden like Richard Steffan Gymnasiet, Gotland and Cyber Gymnasiet, Stockholm are approaching us for collaboration.
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) as a potential training counterpart.
  • The teaching learning program is getting enriched and enhanced due to this regular first hand experience global exposure.
  • Effective platforms for honing communication and soft skills amongst students and staff.
List the 5 key challenges faced while implementing the programme/project/initiative ?

  • Aligning and finding a time frame that fits the academic programs in both the institutions – We invite them during September so as to coincide with Ganesh festival and our in house retreats. We go during our summer break so that we do not compromise on our working days.
  • Funding-in order to sustain the exchange and guarantee meaningful enrollment, we have evolved a tri-part funding system wherein the host institution looks after hosting and local travel, the parent organization part funds the travel costs and the individual bears the rest.
  • Selection of participants.-To be democratic and fair, all staff and students can apply .In case of excess applicants; selection is done through a lottery system.
  • Host families:pre conceived notions in terms of lifestyles,culture,values and language-Acclimatization to the new country and people is done sensitively and gradually.they begin with a pre departure inter cultural seminar. The initial few days the guests stay in a hotel along with their entire group. Before stepping into host families, a get together so as to familiarize the individual to the new family is organized.
  • Return of investment-The staff signs a one year bond with the institution. For students, their assignments are aligned with their curriculum so as to reinforce the relevance of the project.
List the 5 points how can the programme serve as a model that can be replicated or adapted by others?

  • Easy execution-Intensive ground work has been done. Documentation of the entire process, steps, permissions and outcomes are available.
  • Sustainability- The program has been successful since the past 5 years and is growing in its popularity and depth. A lot of thought in planning the program has been done and ways to ensure its feasibility and sustainability from a school’s point of view, in terms of material and human resources
  • Collaborations-Networking with institutions which cater to similar age groups in terms of interest and culture exposure has been successful and continuing to be so.
  • Validation- Evidence in terms of success stories.
  • Exposure to expertise-Possibilities of interactions with members from varied fields, professions, backgrounds, cultures involved in diverse fields.
List 5 points to elaborate on the scalability of the programme/project/initiative :

  • Exploring possibilities of receiving special credit in the accreditation process from CBSE
  • Recognition and support in terms of further local co-operations and publicity in the field of education so as to promote this amongst more institutions.
  • Creating an official body that serves as the contact point, having information regarding institutions with similar objectives who are willing to partner in such collaborations at a local, national and global level.
  • Collaborate with partnering institutes for receiving and hosting participants from guest organizations.
  • Creating groups within the community to proactively take the project forward.