This marks the end of my internship. This is it. Going back to Philadelphia to complete my last semester. Today as I reflect back on this internship experience as a whole – I really think I have come out with some great working and personal relationships. Unlike my fellow IEDP classmates, I really did not think too much about having an ideal internship. I had already made up my mind whatever it is going to be, I am going to be happy with it and will make it work. This is exactly what happened. I enjoyed every bit of it – the good and the bad making it a memorable experience for me.
Fortunately, I had an amazing, understanding, and extremely cooperative supervisor who would put me at ease and made me smile every time I walked into his office – so it was something I looked forward to whenever I had to do mundane tasks. I made friends at work and out of work, learnt a little bit of French along the way, hosted and attended lavish dinner parties, travelled a bit and missed my better half since this was the longest long distance relationship I have ever had with him after marriage.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have had a chance to explore the different kinds of projects that development workers are involved in, how the different trajectories of their life shape what they do. I have had conversations with my supervisor about different people he knew who were now into development work. Of course all of them were accomplished talented and brilliant people and had made big names for themselves. This made me think “Aha, everyone who happened to work under my supervisor, has had an interesting journey in life and ended up in the limelight – with either a big name or are contributing something great for the world; so maybe a few decades from now, he could be talking about me in the same manner to his colleagues. One can surely hope 🙂
Brief overview of what I did over the last ten weeks:
I have attended meetings and conference calls about the different projects the organization is working on, created a database of organizations that would be willing to fund our curriculum development work in low income countries, read and edited documents relating to curriculum, learning and assessments, reviewed curriculum evaluation reports done by different countries. I have also done annotated bibliographies. I have also helped create a database for invitees to the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) conference that will take place in Dubai in September 2018 to discuss how to build and sustain a resilient ECCE system.
Another assignment I had was to study tools developed by this organization to understand this gap between the increase in enrollment rates with effective learning and create a draft prospectus for the newer version using systems approach. Through web conferencing, I learnt how Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA) and coding works in quantitative research. I attended a workshop where I deepened my understanding about quantitative ethnography and the use of ENA to study international collaboration in STEM. I also read a book on Epistemic Network Analysis to strengthen/enhance my understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods.
One of the meetings, I attended was about revolutionizing curriculum and enhancing student learning. There was a discussion of a proposed partnership between my organization and the School of Geneva which is a very prestigious school, to transform learning by changing the curriculum and to support the school so that it becomes a flagship, demonstration school, with far reaching capacity to play a leading role in transforming teaching and learning globally. I believe it is a terrific idea to create a model school that the world can learn from.
Exciting new developments in the field of neuroscience are leading to a new understanding of how the brain works that is beginning to transform how we teach in the classroom. I helped create a draft syllabus for the course which is designed to make teachers aware of these developments and give them information that they can apply to their practice. One of the central goals of this course is to help teachers learn to use research to create their own solutions to their particular classroom challenges. Another important goal is to promote teaching and learning by enhancing one’s understanding of the neural networks. Through this course, teachers learn to think critically about the field of Mind, Brain, and Education and thus learn to be informed consumers of information about brain science, and better able to apply them into practice in classrooms. Through readings, discussions, case studies ,videos and written assignments, educators will enhance their capacities, their learning and that of their students. The target is to implement this course in Dubai in November, 2018. As I submitted this draft, I couldn’t help but wish I could stay here and be a part of this future program design and implementation and see through this project to its full potential.
Over the last few days I travelled to the Rhine falls and Zermatt.
Zermatt is surrounded by the highest peaks of the Swiss Alps, including the Matterhorn. It’s a beautiful place. The village of Zermatt has maintained and preserved its beauty by making it car free zone. Mode of transport is electric vehicles and horse-drawn cabs. A visit to this resort is a must if you happen to be in Switzerland.
Another magnificent beauty is the Rhine falls which is a major tourist attraction here. The River Rhine flows through the six countries as it flows from the Alps to the North Sea. It is an awe inspiring sight and the place has lots of good food and accommodation if you wish to spend the night there.
Overall, it has been a great internship experience –interesting work, lots of good food, friends and travel. I will cherish the time I spent here and hope to be back someday.
Good bye Switzerland for now – until we meet again!