Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dining Indian Style

After the seminar, we went for an authentic Indian dinner with two women Bree works with. We took a Rickshaw to her mentor's house and then we went on our Ladies' Night Out. We had a wide variety of Indian foods and we were able to ask the family about their dining customs, religious beliefs, ad daily life. We were dressed in Saris (traditional Indian dresses) and given bindis (a forehead decoration) to wear. I loved dressing up, saying the family spiritual mantra, and being welcomed into an Indian home.

It is the custom that food is always served hot, so the hostess does not eat with the family because she makes sure that once the food is ready, it is served quickly, so that it will not get cold. The sister or selected female, other than the mother, also does not eat at the same time as the rest of the family. She serves the food onto the plates. The men are served first and guests (myself and Bree) are not to help in any way. The guests are meant to enjoy the hospitality and food that is provided for them. It is a culturally different environment, so not to offend other peoples' cultural beliefs, it is important to respect their values and traditions, even if it is different from your own.

The seminar was a great success!

We had a wonderful time sharing our teaching experiences and strategies (you can see a Logic Lineup we modeled) with the Indian teachers. We are proud of who we are and how we teach, but we are also appreciative of the knowledge we gained from the Indian teachers as well. We all agreed that we will take back ideas from this seminar to help provide our students with a meaningful education. We covered a broad spectrum of topics and reflected with the staff and each other after the seminar. It is amazing to be a part of such a wonderful and reflective community of teachers. We feel honored to share in this experience together and with all of you.

Inspirational and Interesting Thoughts


The two lists on white paper are the perceptions of the Indian teachers about the American education system. DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH THEIR STATEMENTS? WHY OR WHY NOT?

Outstanding Indian student artwork

The students here are encouraged and supported in their arts programs. Expression through creative channels is valued in this school and the students' work reflects it. Here is a gallery of students' art projects. When we went on our tour of the school, here are the gorgeous pieces of student work that are displayed. We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to discuss some of the pieces with the artists: the students.

An Indian blessing

Prior to starting our seminar, the Indian students at the school gave us a blessing and we had a meeting with the principal and honorable teachers on staff. It was amazing to sit and talk with them about their school.

We are served tea frequently. It is Chai tea with milk and sugar. Tea is a big deal in India because it was once ruled by England where tea time is sacred and the tradition never went away.

The Holistic Development poster is a beautiful design that highlights ways to enrich children's lives and help them become well-rounded people. The poster addresses many things such as abstract thinking, emotional development, and moral development to name a few.

Reflections of Interactive Teaching Methods

We have provided a sample of an Ice Breaker actviity we conducted with the Indian teachers.
We have also included a reflection given by an Indian teacher after participating in Reynolds' mock "first day of school" activity. Reynolds' simulated what a typical introductory day of school would be, using the Indian teachers as her students. The purpose of this trial was to introduce activity based lessons where the students were encouraged to interact with one another. Quite different from the traditional lecture based classrooms of India, this American concept of interpersonal communication skills was found valuable by the Indian teachers.

A Fulbright Seminar: U.S. Best Teaching Practices hosted by N.D.M.C. Navyug School

There were at least 30 teachers in attendance for today's seminar. Today's objective was to demonstrate student-centered, interactive and technology embedded activities used in the United States. Fulbright scholars and presenters, Breanna Reynolds from Horizon High School and Jeff Youde from Seattle, Washington designed and led today's seminar with guest speaker, Erica Bailin, highlighting differentiation and gifted education.

We were greeted with tremendous generosity and warmth. The mutual respect between the presenters and the audience of educators was inspiring. We learned a great deal from each other and look forward to future projects. It was an amazing experience.

Miss Bailin arrives in India

I arrive safe and sound in India and I am greeted by a sign that represents more than a word. It represents the "divine spark within each of us" and acknowledges the "soul's interconnectedness with all things." NAMASTE.

Bree and I are excited to see each other. I bought us matching ASU cowboy hats to represent the Southwest and our Alma Mater, Arizona State University. Bree missed ASU's homecoming, and as a former dance team member, choreographer, and coach, so I thought this little gesture from home would make her smile...and it did.

She had a cab ready for us to take us to her apartment.

Miss Bailin loves international flying.

On international flights, they serve delicious meals. I flew on British Airways, so we had tea or coffee after each meal service because that is a British custom. Another delightful thing about international flying is the personal T.V. screens that are in all different languages. They have a variety of options to watch while you are flying. From kids shows, new release movies, television programs, and audio selections, I had my pick of what I wanted to watch. The most amazing thing about the personal televisions was the mapping technology. I could tap my finger on the map options and I could see exactly where we were in the air, the altitude, weather, how many more miles we had to fly and much more. It was amazing!

Although I had all of these wonderful things to keep me busy, I only watched snippets of movies and slept for the majority of my eighteen hours.

Erica leaves for her Indian Odyssey

Saying goodbye to your mom is never easy. It does not matter how old you are or how long you will be gone, the love between a mother and a child is surpassed by nothing.