"I dream of having mother and father one day."

Adapted lessons for orphans and half-orphans were held at the boarding school in Kyrgyzstan.
TEXT: Erkin Abakirov - 30. November 2020

On November 5-7, 2020, we held special lessons for secondary boarding school named after M. Razzakov, located in Myrza-Aki village of Uzgen district, Osh region. These lessons were organized in the framework of piloting YOU Personal Development modules, and were attended by 20 juniors and 15 senior pupils.

Classes were held in a free interactive form, each student could choose a seat for himself, he could speak without hesitation about his/her desires, needs, share opinions and talk about personal goals and dreams.

The first thing we noticed was how children greet teachers. It was reminiscent of the old Soviet schools. Children stand to greet the teacher and do nothing without permission. That is why the children were extremely surprised when we began the lesson with chairs arranged in a circle without desks and began interactive activities. Of course, in the beginning, most of the students were silent, but later that day they became more relaxed, began to actively share their views.

“This has never happened in my life when people ask for our opinion/thought. I really liked the questions: Did you have to tell the truth at the right time? What is your condition? Choose a chair that reflects your current state. Why did you choose this chair? These lessons helped me get to know myself. Thank you very much. You have changed our lives. I can't decide on my future profession either, whether there will also be opportunities/finances to study my chosen profession.”

Teachers who act as mentors / educators in schools tend to use an authoritarian style of building relationship with children. Undoubtedly, this is one of the easiest ways to calm the class and take control of a group of young people. It was clear why the students were embarrassed to express their point of view, since they used to wait for the teacher's permission.

We noted how unconventional it was for the students to be given the floor to voluntarily express their point of view, as they used to voice their opinions when the teacher points out or asks to do so.

“After these lessons, my attitude towards life has changed; it turns out that I need to be more sociable, set the right goals and try to achieve them.”

During the session about dreams and beyond, some of the students remembered their parents, while some spoke of their parents as their cherished dream. During the event, we noticed that many students had difficulties in expressing themselves, their feelings, some experienced difficulties to structure their speech correctly, since they never did it for themselves or in front of teachers, strangers and peers.

“The situation in my family does not give me peace. Because the situation at home is very difficult. Lack of financial resources; Dad can't support all of us. Because of this, I'm also thinking about what profession to choose.”

“I dream of having mother and father one day, or at least there will be people whom I will be able to call like that. Everything else is all within my power and I can achieve it myself."

Interactive lessons allowed teachers to realize that for fair exchange, it is necessary to create an emotionally equal environment with students. The teachers realized how much closer they became to the students and more friendly towards them.

“It was very surprising and at the same time pleasant that two pupils came up to me and thanked me for choosing their class for these lessons. During the lessons, I realized that this method helps a teenager open up very much. I got to know some of the students from another angle. In some of the exercises pupils shared their sincere feelings and goals, thanks to the

methodology that helps reach out to the audience and create trusting relationships. On the first day, of course, there were difficulties, as the children from different classes felt excited, although they all live together, go out to eat together and take care of each other. It's amazing that some young people became more open. For example, Zhenya composed a very good drawing and shared her reflections. Since she is the only Russian girl in the class who is studying in a Kyrgyz language boarding school”, said the teacher of the boarding school.

We firmly believe that after these lessons, teachers will no longer want to use authoritarian habits when communicating with students, because both students and teachers now trust each other more. We also sincerely believe that children have learned to set goals correctly, express their point of view and hear the opinions of others.

“I wish all our lessons in the boarding school could be always like these ones. I can feel that we became different, more friendly to each other. I have learnt to pay attention to other people and their feelings, to be careful not to hurt someone with my actions. At lessons we learned something we never knew about each other. And it turned out that we had wrong impressions of each other.”