Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Inspiring Young Minds through Case Studies

Case Study :  Am I Beautiful?

The newspapers are full of discussions and facts on the first death of an Adolescent in India being attributed to the infamous virtual game: Blue Whale.  We all must have observed how obsessed they are about their selfies and the likes they get for their profile pictures. Adolescence does bring a lot of anxiety and excitement about one's physical appearance. With the social media it becomes double-edged as it gives them an opportunity to present fake appearances and hide their real self. While they grow up, they find solace in the isolation of their virtual identity. In extreme cases, they fall prey to the dirty tricks played by some sociopaths. 

Before it is too late, educators must address this issue of handling real and virtual life by adolescents.  We can't deny its influence on a young mind. I found moral lectures and pep talks irritating for the restless mind and bodies of the adolescents. Instead, I found this method of using case studies to be fruitful in training young minds in life skills for the government schools of Chandigarh. The students of classes IX,X and XI responded quite positively to such activities. Be ready to accept any answer to the worksheet, they are really very creative when it comes to finding excuses/proving themselves right. 

At least I succeeded in making them think and express their opinions about each others' physical appearances.  Don't expect a very well disciplined class in this session. Let them be unruly, boisterous and jumping around the class. Focus on what they decide to share and encourage them.

You can use it to train your lot of young minds. 

1.     to help adolescent students to analyze and evaluate situations by thinking rationally
2.     to help students to enhance their critical thinking skills

A case study initially for pairs, then a guided discussion with the whole class based on responses given by pairs.

1.      Distribute the case study to the class.
2.     Open a discussion about all of having different qualities and all of us having some good and positive qualities.
3.      Emphasize that knowing these, helps to see one more clearly and more positively. Positive-thinking about oneself does reflect in one’s behaviour with others.
4.     The class can be divided into five random groups. Each student is given a work-sheet.
5.     Each group is supposed to discuss its listing with each member explaining and listening. The group has to draw some conclusions. It can choose a speaker person and others can also speak if needed.
6.     Teacher writes their observations on’ slips/ stickers’ and sticks them on the display board.
7.     Each one of them individually fills in worksheet related to the case study. And discusses with another partner.

1.     Soft Skills/ Life skills: Self- Assessment, Critical Thinking, Creative thinking, Decision Making
2.     Linguistic Skills: How to agree/ disagree with a given statement, how to use different types of clauses to state your views.

 Possible learning points:
Since this case study is about physical appearances, the point to be brought out is that beauty lies within. Intrinsic qualities, positive attitude and a kind and compassionate person will always be beautiful. Through the discussion on the case study, the following key learning points have to emerge:
1.     We are all different in physical appearances.
2.     All of us have some likeable qualities.
3.     Knowing good things about oneself helps in improving one’s self image.
4.     One becomes friendlier, positive, a better-friend, a better child and a global- leader.
5.     Negative perception breeds unhappiness within and without.

Case Study:Am I Beautiful

Nina/Ranjan was a 12 year old girl/ boy who was very thin and too tall for her/his age. Her/his class fellows called her a ‘khamba’ (a beam pole). She/he hunched and drooped her/his shoulders to look less tall. She/he was always quiet and when spoken was rude. Once when s/he was being scolded for rude behaviour, Mrs Tyagi, her/his class teacher who was very kind, called her/ him aside and said that she had a special task for her class. 

Mrs Tyagi told her/him to come to the table. As s/he was walking, the class began to twitter at the ugly walk. Nina/ Ranjan scowled. Mrs Tyagi came out with the comment “Look what a beautiful height Nina/ Ranjan has. Do you know children, that good height is one of the most sought after qualities in a model? Nina/ Ranjan have these qualities.”

Hearing this, Nina/ Ranjan beamed and blushed. Her/ his scowl disappeared and her/his hunch straightened. S/he thought “Oh! I know what I will be. I am beautiful. I will be a top model. Let me find out about the other qualities of a model too.”

Questions for Discussion:
1.     A stereotype rigidly confirms the belief that if you are a girl /boy, you must perform some specific roles and do them well. Similar is the case of physical appearances. Everybody is expected to be of a standard physique, say, for example: slim, fit and fair in complexion; chubby, fat and fair, and so on. This belief takes away our personal choices in determining our own interests and skills. Discuss whether this is true in case of Nina/ Ranjan.
2.     Why is Nina/Ranjan rude whenever spoken to? Is this related to her/his physical appearance? Is it a result of the other student’s behaviour?
3.     Have the Nina/Ranjan’s friends have added to further confirm this belief that differences are not always respected?
4.     Do you think the class teacher’s remark will help Nina/Ranjan to love themselves more or will it further isolate them in the class?
5.     Have you ever experienced a situation where you were expected to act a certain way because you were a girl/boy, even though it may not have been the way you felt like acting?

After the guided discussion, teacher distributes the following worksheet to all the students and asks them to answer the worksheet individually.

Worksheet: Am I Beautiful?
Read the following prompts and complete them:
1.     My friends like me because I ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2.     Three of my best qualities are:


3.     I made my parents happy when ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

4.     I love myself because ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

5.     I am a beautiful person because ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

6.      Happiness to me is ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

7.      I will do anything to put a smile on another person’s face because ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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