This year it was my 16th annual trip to Shalamar Garden with my students. Since our school is in Shalimar Town adjacent to Shalamar Garden, every year we take our students to picnic and the most convenient place is none other than Shalamar Garden.
For the last 15 years or so I just went to Shalamar Garden for picnic, to spend some good times with colleagues accompanying while students are also having games and fun, to eat and finally comeback……no purpose, no target, no observation of what is happening.
The Intel ® Education Training and refreshers were really an eye opener for a teacher like me who long forgot the real purpose of teaching and learning. Since the day I have attended the Intel ® Education Refresher with project based learning and understood its characteristics, I realized that there is something missing in the teaching I am doing in my classroom. I felt the need to stop and think what skills I need to part to my students when they leave this institution. What I am giving them is just way to route learning as all other teachers but what I have learnt at Intel ® Teach Program is different approach. It motivates me to consider my students as stake holders in building community and nations as they grow up.
In this manner I decided that this year the trip to Shalamar Garden will not just be a picnic trip but it will be a trip with purpose. I made up a lesson plan of a project that will enable students to become observant, analyze, question, act as stakeholders, solve problem, and find solution. As we enter the beautiful building I put up a very essential question to my students as “What can we do to help clean the environment and make this world a better place to live?” keep your eyes open while you roam around with your friends. I will meet you in 30 minutes and would like to hear suggestions from each group of friends.
The minute the essential question was asked students quickly joined their friends group and became ready to explore the garden. After 30 minutes when we met again I was surprised to hear their observation. Since we had a very short time we decided to focus on issues that is most observed by many groups and that was the dirt in the water cascades that ran along the paths of the beautiful garden. Quickly boys rolled up their uniform trousers and stepped in the dirt filled water cascades. They picked up shopper bags, empty chips and biscuits wrappers, etc and collected the liter by the side of the water cascade. Since it was morning time and there were very few people around but those who present clapped and appreciated students which made me feel very proud and honored. As the news spread of students cleaning the water cascades a man from the administration approached and enquired the matter. The students filed all complaints they observed at the Garden. The administrator assured the children that he will do his best to make sure that water cascades are cleaned by the person responsible. He also informed the students that they were the first group of nice children who helped the administration otherwise schools come to picnic just eat, spread liter and go away. He answered all students’ questions about its perseverance plans. He promised students that next time when they will visit they will notice that some of their suggestions are implemented. He said that he enjoyed that the students know so much about the historical place and have been so conscious of its future. He said that he wishes that others students and people should also realize and become more conscious and responsible citizens.
We decided to design brochures and share our experience with others as how we helped clean the Shalamar Garden and what else can be done to make this world a better place to live…