Date: 2nd June 2014
Time: 11 am to 12 pm, 2 to 4 pm
Venue: Panel Room, Block II
Facilitator: Padmakumar M.M.
Objective: to lay a common ground and boost academic rigour
The foundation of any academic programme is based on mutual trust, discipline and a passion for learning. The Honours in English Studies programme is no exception as it aims to develop an individual holistically, with a rigor for an interdisciplinary approach to social and intellectual concerns. As it is often said, education does not thrive in isolation, and neither does a class. With this understanding in mind, the orientation for the batch of 2015 began with a round of preliminary introductions that sought to give an insight into what everyone thought of themselves.
Moving forward from the introductory session Prof. Padmakumar facilitated a series of ice breakers starting with trust falls that brought everyone out of their comfort zones, and taught us the valuable lesson that only when you fall, will you learn how to fly. The class was first split into groups of three to four to practise the technique of trust falls in order to avoid any needless mishaps. Throughout the practise sessions, Prof. Padmakumar was ever vigilant in rectifying our mistakes. A series of gasps and proclamations of appreciative delight later, we realised that the trust falls had only just begun. Whereas the practise sessions allowed the students to have their feet firmly planted on the ground, the second round required a leap of faith as the groups were further divided into two with each student relying on the other to guide them without depending on their own visual faculties.
The guides would lead their partners across the dais, to step down and walk over to a chair, using which they would clamber onto the table, eyes still firmly shut. While this took place, four students would be waiting with their arms interlocked in a manner taught by Prof. Padmakumar, ready to catch the student as they fell backwards. As one can imagine, the exercise was met with hesitation and reluctance initially, but once the experience was complete, there was not a single student who didn’t find it rewarding.
After a break, we had a briefing about the course where the students were given the opportunity to voice their expectations. Two activities followed, wherein the students were shown the difficulty of giving and receiving instructions, as they are intended. This reiterated the fact that education is an exchange between the student and the teacher. A small game was played which emphasized an age old success theory - smart work and an eye for detail will always triumph over mechanical hard work. The orientation ended with basic guidelines and a class of students looking forward to studying their passion.