• Teaching Self-Directed Learning

    December 1st 2016. Dylan Pritchard, CAC Global Citizen, writes about Nepal during our week with Go Sports Nepal.

    Go Sports Nepal was a great program to open up my three-week stay in Nepal. Go Sports Nepal, founded by Sunil Shrestha, is based out of Gothatar where Mark and I stayed with a very welcoming family. Gothatar is a tight knit community where it seems that everyone knows everyone. Sunil’s father founded a school, his mother owns the oldest shop, and Sunil is the founder of Go Sports Nepal. It was very cool to experience my first week in Nepal with a family that is so well established in their community.

    Every morning, Mark and I would wake up and have a very quaint breakfast, because breakfast is not a big meal in Nepal. We would have bread and tea. Nepalese people really like tea! It seemed every 30 minutes they would have at least one cup of tea. I had a lot of tea but definitely not that much. After that we would ride to the school where the training was held on the back of a motorbike or scooter. Once we got to the school we would check people in then hold the training session. Right after the training session we would have lunch at the school and it would almost always be momo’s, which is like a dumpling. Mark and I looked forward to lunch because we now love momo’s. After that we would have some downtime where we would either relax and plan for the next day or go and explore Kathmandu or the surrounding community. Then for dinner we would always have dal, which is a native food to India and Nepal, along with bhat, which is rice. The only four words I needed to survive this past week were: momo, dal, bhat, and namaste, which is the greeting in Nepal. After dinner we would finalize our plans for the next day then go to sleep. Pretty eventful day that gave us some insight into what a normal Nepalese day would look like.

    When Mark and I arrived for training on the first day, we came to find a lower number of participants than we expected. Despite this, Mark devised an awesome program where we did the absolute best with what we had. This week it was only Mark and I overseeing the program so I did a lot more coaching. I thought I started off a bit rough but by the end of Friday I felt that I got a lot better at the delivery of the social impact in the exercise while also letting the exercise flow and be fun for the participants. The progression was made possible from all the learning I did while watching Mark and the feedback he gave me. As for the participants, Mark and I had to teach the CAC curriculum from scratch as there were no returning members from the program held last year. Even though we had to start from the bottom and make our way up, we felt that we made tremendous strides in large part due to the week planning by Mark.

    The participants started the week off by being very silent and not really answering the questions we asked, and if they answered it would be one-word answers. By Thursday they were answering our questions and expanding on their own thoughts. It was on Thursday when we played a game called “Say No to Trafficking” when we saw that they understood Self-Directed Learning for social impact. Child trafficking was a very important topic that needed to be discussed because trafficking is a huge problem in Nepal. The game is a very simple tag game with very complex social messages. It is basically a game where the taggers are the traffickers and the runners are the children. Interwoven into the game are how the traffickers capture the children and how the children can stay safe with the help of friends, family, coaches, and local programs. The game was a huge success because Mark thoroughly prepared on how to present the game, teach the social messages, and make it fun. The participants walked away from that game not only knowing how to teach their kids to be safe from trafficking but to also teach them about Self-Directed Learning.

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  • Experiencing Self-Directed Learning

    November 14th 2016. CAC Global Citizen Dylan Pritchard wrote about his first experience with CAC and Self-Directed Learning in Punjab, India during our partnership with YFC Rurka Kalan.

    This was my first week being a Global Citizen with CAC and it could not have gone better. This week we were in Rurka Kalan, Punjab, India working with the Youth Football Club (YFC). During my preparation for the first week I had no idea what to expect but with YFC in their third year of the Hat-Trick Initiative, it gave me a perfect introduction to what CAC is all about.

    At about 1 a.m. Sunday morning, amidst all the smoke and pollution, we pulled up to the YFC facility. The building was equipped with a classroom, a dinning hall, offices, and some rooming for guests. I came to find out later that they also provide room and board for twenty-four football players to play for the YFC competitive teams. We were served breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I got a taste for the culture because the food was traditional Punjab food, which is not as spicy as I thought it would be. The rooms we stayed in were great and we had nothing to complain about. Then the next day we walked out to an awesome grass pitch with big concrete stands, goals, and all the other equipment we needed. Now it was time to coach.

    I’ve done some coaching before but I’ve never done it for social impact or to incorporate Self-Directed Learning. To sit back and watch Markus and Mark my first week was a great experience because I got a feel for what the coaching style was. I grew up believing sports are like life so it was awesome to see Markus and Mark introduce a game and then relate it to the social issues specific to their community and culture. The topics that were discussed this week were gender equity, conflict prevention, drugs and alcohol, and having your own voice paired with communication. They would not just introduce a game and then say this game is for this social issue but they would ask the participants what they think this game is for and walk through it step-by-step on how they think this correlates with a certain social issue. By doing this they were able to introduce the questioning of social and cultural issues through Self-Directed Learning.

    The coolest experience this week was on Thursday when we went to visit schools and after school programs to see the coaches that Markus and Mark coached and see how they did with their players. It was great to see that all the coaches did a good job but it was even better to see them have room for improvement, which is very promising. That was not the coolest part though. The most satisfying part was after each visit; every single kid and player would come and shake our hands with a huge smile on their faces. It showed the respect that the coaches had for the CAC curriculum to have their kids come and shake our hands but it also showed the fun the kids were having while participating in the curriculum. It was awesome to see in the first week the effect that CAC has on a community and see coaching for a social impact accompanied with Self-Directed Learning is working.

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