Getting below the surface
What the Dream School is accomplishing with the girls and boys currently enrolled there is nothing short of incredible. The education side of what APSA provides is just a piece of the school’s value in turning the lives of these kids around.
It bothers me though just how surface level some of the teaching in the Dream School appears to be. History class feels more like an English language quiz in that knowing the correct answers simply requires memorizing a list of vocab words. In science class, the procedures for the experiments are written out beforehand just like in the US, but the conclusions are also filled out in advance, leaving only one or two blanks to record a few measurements. Without discussion, without asking questions, the entire curriculum sometimes strikes me as an elaborate handwriting exercise. My job here, however, isn’t to renovate the entire Indian education system, and it’s probably pretty important to keep in mind that a lot these issues that manifest in the schools have roots in India’s socioeconomic disparities.
And to spin this in a positive light, the students at almost every single age have an impressive willingness to write down quite literally every single word written on the board when given the chance. They’ve almost been conditioned to jump at any opportunity to absorb material being presented. The teachers also make a point of reviewing old material on a regular basis to drive home what information they can.
Above all else though, and contradicting my views on the school’s teaching methods, interacting with these kids always leaves me in shock at just how strikingly intelligent and mature some of them are. And APSA’s role in this is undeniable.