Group Activity

Role Play

Role- play is a dramatization of a particular situation in daily life or from history . Students in groups of 5 to 8 may be asked to enact a situation or an event in about 5 minutes. The teacher may give the initial idea; during preparation the teacher may make a suggestion here or refinement there. Normally, only about 10 to 15 minutes may be given for preparation so that spontaneity is encouraged. No special effects, such as props, costumes, etc are needed.


After each role-play , a discussion should follow which analysis the situation or event with an aim to bring out the sub-value. This will greatly depend upon the age group of the students, and how well the teacher handles the classroom interaction. Guidance and questioning in class should begin with simple recapitulation and progressively lead to moral judgement and decision . Title for the play could be invited; a value is always inherent in the title.


The purpose of Group Discussion is

  • To encourage students to seek their own answers

  • To facilitate reasoning at a higher stage of moral development

  • To promote tolerance and kindness in communication skills

  • To suggest taking care and using judgement in offering option

  • To provide an opportunity to raise ethical issues in a secure environment.


Learning is a slow process; it is therefore advisable not to insist upon drawing conclusions forcibly or suddenly. Role play activity should be integrated into the teaching process so that attitude of the pupils changes perceptibly over a period of time.


[Adapted from : Towards Human Excellence, Book 3 – The Five Teaching Techniques]

Attitude Quiz

An attitude Quiz is one way by which the teacher understands the attitudes of the students; moreover, it enables a student to look at his own perception and attitudes at that time. An attitude Quiz is also a means of evaluating how well the teacher has succeeded in imparting these values to the students.

The methodology is to pose a situation of ethical dilemma giving multiple choice answers. The choice given is amongst three behavior patterns, which depict, in order:

  • A positive attitude
  • An apathetic (neutral or no concern) attitude, and
  • A negative attitude

Students are asked to answer according to what they do not what they should do. Examples of Quiz questions are as under:

  • You are very hungry for dinner. Would you.
    • Take a little food, then ask for seconds if you are still hungry;
    • Not eat dinner and have a candy bar later;
    • Fill your plate, even though you might not eat all of the food.

  • You are going out to play ; friends are waiting outside, Do you
    • Make sure that the door is shut tightly;
    • Hurry out, not sure if the door is shut properly;
    • Leave the door open ; someone may shut it.

Response of the students can be noted either raising their hands or by ticks on a sheet. Normally, the response is collated, followed by a class discussion aimed to bring clarity in our judgement. Effort is made to identify the sentiments and thoughts, which influence the response. Questions like ‘Why did you choose this , or you would like to act like this? Bring out the situation more clearly.

Many times an Attitude Quiz can be given immediately after a Role-Play based on the situation. Also , the attitude Quiz is more effective with elder students because they are able to articulate their thoughts and feelings into proper words.


[Adapted from : Towards Human Excellence, Book 3 – The Five Teaching Techniques]

Art Work

Artwork, particularly among the young children, can be encouraged to bring them closer to nature, to inculcate in them an appreciation and love for ‘all things bright and beautiful’. It can also help in awakening of intuition and bringing harmony in life Artwork involving an entire group can be a very fascinating project for the older students.

Artwork can also follow a story , a role-play or an Attitude Quiz. It can also be supplemented by group singing- a patriotic or a nature song. Thus, various techniques under group activities can be integrated to make a greater impact.

Topics for Artwork: How can children show their love and respect to their parents? What preparations are to be made at home for a festival?

[Adapted from : Towards Human Excellence, Book 3 – The Five Teaching Techniques]

Games

Games are an important aspect of Sathya Sai Education. When conducted under proper guidance, they bring out the best of human qualities of co-operation , team spirit, sacrifice, coordination and discrimination. Vinoba Bhave has the following to say on this point:

Children at play are absorbed in one undivided experience. They are not aware of comfort or discomfort they feel neither hunger nor thirst, neither pain nor weariness. For them play is a joy, not duty; it is a pleasure, not physical training. This principle has to be applied to all kinds of learning.

Examples of some motivational games are given below:

  • Pass the Value: Children sit in a circle and pass a box around while music is being played. When the music stops the child with the box in hand draws out a slip(chit) form inside the box and does(acts/sings) whatever is instructed on it. Each slip has an action with a value component such as story , a song etc. It is necessary to ensure that the act has to be of correct motivational level of the students. Usually this is effective upto Std . VII (age 13 years)

  • Matching Game: In one example, we prepare two sets of cards. One has illustrations of animals or birds; on the other are written words which describe or birds; on the other are written words which describe/represent a sub-value for which the animal or bird is appreciated; eg. Dog => Faithful; Donkey=> Hardworking; Owl=> Wisdom; Cat=> Cleanliness. The two sets of cards are given to two groups of children who stand away facing one another. When the teacher gives the signal, children rush towards one another searching partners for matching cards.

    A variety of matching sets can be prepared and used at appropriate age levels. For example, pictures of great people and their names to be matched. Quotes (Mahavakyas ) to be completed, as exemplified below:

    Help ever<=> Hurt Never
    Love all< => Serve all
    Life is a game < => Play it

  • Board games: A number of Board games are now available which reward good action and discourage undesirable behavior. Teachers may develop their own games appropriate to the class.

    In fact, there is no limit to the ingenuity in devising group games, or adopting them from existing ones, in order to bring out clearly the advantage of inculcating values for harmony and progress. It may be suggested that for any game to be enjoyed a Code of Conduct has to be mutually agreed upon; and, for orderliness and progress in society a similar Code of Conduct is necessary for all citizens. In fact, harmony in nature requires all of us to submit to a spiritual discipline.

  • A Bulletin Board: Managed by a team of students, a Bulletin Board can be quite a useful project in highlighting values in our lives. Secondary students, in particular, are capable of many innovative ideas and in the process, exhibit qualities of leadership, resourcefulness and effective communication. There is much scope here for creative writing and art work.

    Newspaper and other media at present exhibit much negativity in all walks of life. Reading, viewing and listening to the events day in and day out has a very strong negative impact on the students. When challenged to come up with examples of positive action – of bravery, sacrifice, patriotism, empathy, honesty, etc.- they can be motivated to collect newspaper and magazine cutting which describe everyday examples of positive action.

  • Co-curricular activities: Students can be involved in a number of activities all through the year which will enable us to bring out their latent talent. Such activities require more direction in Primary classes, but the experience can be helpful in handing over the initiative to the older students to plan and execute the activities. It is very helpful to have a feedback mechanism so that we become aware of our strengths and weaknesses, and enhance quality of the programs in future. Human Excellence is a continuous effort to reach perfection in all walks of life.

    Some activities are listed below; the choice of selection will depend upon the age group of students, physical facilities available and initiative of the teacher.

  • Visits – Historical, Cultural, Scientific, Literary

  • Creative writing – Stories, Articles, Essays, Magazine

  • Cultural Events – Festivals, Plays, celebrations.

  • Oral Activity- Speeches, Debates, study Groups

An example of oral expression is organizing what be called ‘ Just a Minute ‘ sessions. One after another students pick up a slip from a box and speak spontaneously on the topic written on the slip. It can also be called a ‘Pick and Speak’ session. Students get just 2- 3 minutes to ponder over the topic. Example of topics are:

  • Properties are not proper ties.

  • Be in the world; let the world be in you.

  • Education is for Life, not just for a living.

  • Man minus immorality is equal to immortality.

Such sessions can be very successful with Secondary students.

Service - Family, School, and community.

  • Service in school and the community can be a lot of fun and learning. Students show much enthusiasm and initiative. Some examples of community service areas under:

  • Cleaning of classroom, corridors and campus of the school (3 C’s)
  • Regular visits to homes of the senior citizens and the handicapped – talking to them, writing letters for them, and engaging them in recreational activities.

  • Draw and send ‘Get well’ and other cards for special occasions to those who are need of psychological support.

  • Engage in gardening and House cleaning activities in the Homes for the Elders and the Handicapped.

  • Spread of literacy among the adults in nearby slums and villages.

It is important to remember that students themselves devote time in these activities, rather than merely collect funds and send them to some other charitable agency. The prime purpose of service activities is to help ourselves spiritually.

[Adapted from : Towards Human Excellence, Book 3 – The Five Teaching Techniques]

Service - Family, School, and community

Service in school and the community can be a lot of fun and learning. Students show much enthusiasm and initiative. Some examples of community service areas under:

  1. Cleaning of classroom, corridors and campus of the school (3 C’s)
  2. Regular visits to homes of the senior citizens and the handicapped – talking to them, writing letters for them, and engaging them in recreational activities.
  3. Draw and send ‘Get well’ and other cards for special occasions to those who are need of psychological support.
  4. Engage in gardening and House cleaning activities in the Homes for the Elders and the Handicapped.
  5. Spread of literacy among the adults in nearby slums and villages.

It is important to remember that students themselves devote time in these activities, rather than merely collect funds and send them to some other charitable agency. The prime purpose of service activities is to help ourselves spiritually.

[Adapted from : Towards Human Excellence, Book 3 – The Five Teaching Techniques]

Introduction

Group activity is a unique interaction that promotes sharing, caring sensitivity and acceptance. Children want to belong to groups , such as a family, a school club , a class team or a school team; it is within such a group when they participate that they get spontaneous expression to their emotions and thoughts. Simulaneously, a child also needs peer group approval. Thus, carefully planned activities provide the child a chance to win group acceptance; while the child completes against other, he/she is also competing against himself/herself . Each child gets a chance to contribute , realizes his/her full potential when he/she gains approval and emotional support. In particular, children who are withdrawn or isolated are easily identified and can be assisted. ‘ Every child is a winner ‘ is the motto of such group activities.

Group discussions encourage originality and creative thinking, security and maturity. In the absence of such opportunity , the child would experience anxiety and dependence on others. Group activities direct the children's energy in unison and instill in them a sense of discipline, sharing and caring.

Thus Group activity is the most versatile of the teaching techniques used in the curriculum of Sathya Sai Balvikas.

[Adapted from : Towards Human Excellence, Book 3 – The Five Teaching Techniques]