A 'Wired 4 Sound' workshop was delivered on 'Remembrance Day' to children aged 11-15 years old who attend a Government run school on the outskirts of Kandy, Sri Lanka. The students come from the poorest socio-economic backgrounds.
The workshop aimed to:
· Develop individual sensory perception
· Improve listening skills & personal well-being
· Increase awareness of global issues
· Highlight the importance of resolving conflicts peacefully
· Develop creative technical skills
· Provide a therapeutic environment where children can relax,express themselves and build confidence within a supportive environment.
Here is a brief overview of the workshop and what some of the children achieved:
The workshop opened with a relaxed 10 minute group discussion/ice breaker. The workshop facilitator referred to a t-shirt depicting and image of Che Guevara. The children were asked if they knew who the image was of. One child guessed correctly but the group perception was that 'Che' was responsible 'for bringing drugs to Sri Lanka'. An explanation and discussion about the Cuban Revolution, armed conflict and the 'act of remembrance' followed. The global significance of 'Remembrance Day' would have been lost as none of the children had heard of the First or Second World Wars so the recent Sri Lankan Civil War was put into context and led in turn to a discussion about child soldiers, the futility of war and the need to always find peaceful resolutions to conflict. The children & staff later took part in a '2 minutes silence' for the first time in their lives; all the children respected the silence.
In preparation for the 2 minute remembrance students were asked to sit at their desks, eyes closed, and to listen. After 10 minutes they were asked to write down and discuss 10 things they had observed and from this list choose one thing to make into a 'wire sound' sculpture. Vehicles and birds were created and crafted by hand.
Following a short break students were asked to compile their wire sound sculptures together, creating a collective still life. The rest of the session was used to draw the collective still life. Students were encouraged to 'keep drawing' during the session and to 'never use an eraser'. A lot of students have behavioural issues, lack discipline and find it difficult to concentrate for long periods. Practising these simple rules show children not to look at the marks they produce as mistakes that need erasing. They are supported to take pleasure in the process, to not be concerned about the end result; which will come naturally. Children are taught to keep working until they have what they wanted to achieve; if it's 'boring' keep working until it is no longer boring.
This process is difficult for the children to accept at first after years of rigid discipline. But they soon adapt, learning to enjoy 'the experience' as much as the result. Students are shown how to draw freely, without over-thinking, by following a series of 'timed' life drawing exercises. These fast sketches create a more natural and flowing style over time.
The Principal of the school commented that before The TEA Project applied this approach students were unruly and unable to sit quietly and concentrate in class. She believes they now have this ability and this is due to the teaching practise applied in The TEA Project workshops. The children have all noticeably developed an aptitude of confidence.
All this was made possible by a donation to The 30/30 Appeal 2015.
Racheal & Carl