L'école est-elle trop souvent séparée de la société?
Faut-il laisser les élèves contrôler eux-mêmes leurs projets?
L'engagement permet-il de contourner la déshumanisation liée au virtuel?
Prescribing altruism as part of a learning system
Published on July 4, 2021
At Riverside, students get involved in the community and create projects that are not only supportive and empathetic, but for which they themselves must be responsible for in the long term. Here we can see the creation of an original way to make Riverside students understand the impact they can have on the world.
Working for common happiness is an exciting motivational force.
No wonder that, in Gandhi’s home town of Ahmedabad, an entire school has been founded based on the ‘I Can’ concept, which means: ‘I can change the world.’
Riverside School teaches teenagers a subject unheard of in other high schools: Perseverance. From the 4th to the 12th grade each teenager must choose a selfless commitment in which he or she participates every week for two hours. Some visit children with cancer, others care for the elderly or help the poor.
“After meeting a child who had cancer, one student came back to school and said they really wanted to go back. That’s when their engagement really started,” says Kiran Bir Sethi.
“Currently we have four different initiatives, but in seven different places. So there are children who lead it. It's completely run by the children. They stay with the same initiative over the number of years because they have to realize that they can't keep switching. They can't keep saying, oh, I'm bored now, I'm going to move on. Now it's our 12th year. Every Saturday for two hours, our children get into the community and realize that their time makes a difference.”
Founded in 2001 by Kiran Bir Sethi, Riverside uses a curriculum that explicitly aims for a ‘Humane’ approach. It has now been exported around the world to form the basis for many successful projects, all showing the resourcefulness of its originator. Sethi is also a professional designer, and created a popular mobilization of teachers and designers called Design for Change.