First Virtual Class with RCCI
Over the past couple months, my fellow service leaders and I have been struggling to interact with the students from RCCI as we were under the impression that many did not have access to devices that would allow for a zoom interaction. However, a chance encounter with a parent from RCCI rearranged our preconceptions when confirming that most of the students were continuing with their education, albeit online. Therefore, with this new knowledge, my service leaders and I contacted the adminstration and with the guidance of Ms. Manushi, organized our first ever virtual zoom class.
Complementing popular belief, art has often been used as an explorative tool to discover untapped skills, especially in special needs students and is often considered an useful method of deciphering a student’s interests. Therefore, my peers and I were not only excited to play a role in terms of exploring their artistic capabilities but teach them valuable collaboration and communication skills, while, simultaneously, being engaged in the process. Unlike other art sessions, there was no theme as we wanted the students to unlock their creative and imaginative potential when using accessible tools such as watercolors or color pencils to make their artwork. Transferring some of the skills that I had learnt in my visual art classes, in the years prior, I hoped to assess the students’ mirroring and listening skills.
We had prepared a presentation in which we outlined the goals for the lesson and spoke to the parent’s on when to collect the art for the exhibition in the coming months. I was excited to be embarking on this new endeavor and although I understood that the depth and intimacy of our interactions would be limited, I was pleasantly surprised at the warmth with which the students greeted us with.
The two learning outcomes that this experience encompassed was demonstrating that a challenge has been undertaken while developing new skills in the process and, demonstrating the skills when recognizing the benefits of working collaboratively. The first learning outcome is somewhat subtle as the challenge is more subliminal in terms of ‘polishing their communication and collaboration skills’, however it can also be seen that through this experience, separate values of patience and acceptance might have also been unintentionally, adopted. For example, while closely interacting with your peers it requires one to be not only open minded towards foreign ideas but also have patience when dealing with inputs that you do not normally agree with it. This was especially seen when the students felt pushed by their guardians to draw a certain object, possible something realistic while they personally wanted to create a more abstract and non naturalistic artwork. I feel as if the students embodied both virtues when actively working together thereby enhancing not only their collaborative but communicative abilities. Contrastingly, the second learning outcome was more obvious it centers on improving collaborative skills which was one of our focal points of this experience, as I expressed above.
I feel like this experience is something to be repeated in the future as it not only the helped to unveil the true (vibrant) essence of every student but was a perfect excuse to roll up our sleeves and be momentarily transported back to our days playing with color! I look forward to engaging in similar activities in the future and hope to make interacting with the students a weekly occurrence.