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Now is our turn!

January 30, 2018
The last week of the training started with an enthusiasm about the Solutiothon part 1, also referred to as Solve-a-thon. The Course Coordinator, Damian Filut, explained Solve-a-thon as the process in which people try to create a solution to a common challenge. We were to reflect on all the learning we had been exposed during the last two weeks’ training in Israel. The training had been conducted to enhance our knowledge and skills to be better educators. Self-learning and peer learning was noted as crucial factor in this process of shaping one’s personal stone. Last week, Mr. Damian had already ignited a spark in our mind to think about our ‘personal stone’, and we had three days to find a educational challenge in our context and provide a solution to it. 

The first activity day was ‘the loop and the knot problem’, and we had to solve it in pairs. The activity made us think out of the box. The Interlocked loops seemed impossible to untangle as we were only focusing on the interlocked section.

This activity made us realize that problem solving techniques need exploration and out-of-the-box thinking. This helped us to analyze the next situation to differentiate a need, a problem and a solution. This was further elaborated using the problem of water in Africa.

Each group designed a project in which members would take back to their countries and try to implement it for six months. The project was to have three pillars namely: Israel Based, Innovative and Contextual. We will implement the projects after going back to our countries. Our projects should be inspired by all the professional visits made to different institutions and lectures given by different experts. The project should also be relevant to the world we live in. Groups continued working on their projects for the next three days.

The clear road map given to us helped us to brainstorm and design our projects that were specific, measurable, attainable, and relevant and time bound. The group members discussed all the possibilities of implementing the project. Of course, we had some disagreements, but we finally agreed on the different issues of the projects. 

The second session was on meaningful pedagogies by Dr. Shimon Azulay from Ono Academic College. We learnt about how to make meaning through learning which was referred to as community of meaning in class and, how to change our students from a state of ‘passivity to activity’. We were challenged to reflect whether to make learners be players of meaning or to create opportunities for this to happen. To prevent alienation, the teacher/parent has a main duty of building the class/home as a community of meaning. A community of meaning inspires visibility and enables its members to have a meaning from time to time.

In a single act of learning, it is important for the students to gain emotionally and cognitively. Feedback was highlighted as the main thing that affects learning. The higher the feedback is, the higher the learning will be. A question posed to us was ‘What motivates learning?’ Is it money, power, sex or fear? Traditionally, we have tended to make our kids motivated by instilling fear. However, no one will be motivated by fear. Instead, we need to use a better method which is creating a community of meaning. According to Dan Arielli, experiment on rationality and irrationality, even money cannot motivate people if they feel disrespected. Therefore, the big question is not what will make the students come to class but what will make them stay.

We also learnt about the performance of understanding which recommended that one must build their own understanding. For example, most teachers discover that the first time they understand the content is when they teach it because they build it. When students are asked to explain in their own words, to give an example or a model, then they become players of meaning. On the other hand, there are people who are passive and solve challenges. They ‘just sit’ because that is the way they were trained. We were reminded of the Jewish practice that emphasizes that one must say something in a discussion or in solving a challenge. This trains the children to create meaning and be a player of meaning.

The last session was on “Effective Presentation” by Adam Slav Leibin, Trainer from Debate Co.  We learnt about how to develop the presentation skill at what to say and how to say. He started with the innovative story of Estee lauder’s perfume.  After that, he led the class to focus on the attention and time that people will perceive in something which another want to present or to attract in terms of intention.

The research found that the attention of the people is in parabolic shape and not more than 5 minutes in duration. Therefore, first stage of the presentation is Grace Period which should show analogy, humor, teaser, quote, story and statistics. Mr. Adum Slav Leibin showed us many examples of the grace period which was presented in fun, moving fast. Then, he asked “How long would students concentrate on a subject?” the answer is 45 minutes in the period and 5 minutes in duration. But nowadays students are interested in studying for only 20 minutes in the period and only 7 seconds in duration. Therefore, we have to get to the point or make the solution that we need to present quickly. That is the second stage which is call “the Essence”. 

The essence of our idea must be very clear in which it is and has the value for the solution as well as the innovation. The lecturer gave us the sample of innovation with Soy milk product which is now popular with consumers. This product has changed dramatically with a new package and new name of “Silk”.   He brought us to the comparison between the two search engines which are Yahoo and Google. Why does Google become more popular than Yahoo? The answer is only in the word “one search with one line”, that it is innovation. 

The third stage is “Traction” that means we have to prove. This stage would tell about risk, quality reputation, and competition within a shorter time than those of two stages previously. Besides, the last stage is known as “Call to Action” which we have to tell. “What do we need?” support, cooperation or an advice? We have to do in a positive manner if we need to succeed.

Moreover, we have to evaluate by setting the KPIs of our presentation which should be clear, valuable, interesting and effective. Mr. Adum Slav Leibin still emphasized that the presenter should have eye contact when we talk. 

Finally, Mr. Adum Slav Leibin asked us to practice in 5 groups by creating the product to present. He and the participants would give the comment. Each group showed the creation of the produce such as the Natural Mineral Water from the Galilee and Power Bank charging by the solar cell energy and the way to present their product interestingly.