The Riverside Center

Not long after arriving in Goa, I met a designer named Avik who suggested I check out The Riverside Center if I ever had the chance of being in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.  On March 10-11th I was able to meet with a few staff members to conduct interviews and photograph some of the facilities.

There are three organizations located on the campus:  1) The Riverside School, which consists of a K-6 and a 7-12 school, 2) The Riverside Center, which is a teacher training program 3) Design for Change, which is a Riverside Center curriculum support network with branches worldwide.  I was able to meet with all three aspects of the Riverside Center.

I was able to meet the founder of The Riverside Center, Kiran Bir Sethi.  One of her quotes resonates deeply with my work “Today, poor student performance is often blamed on laziness and lack of interest in students or apathetic teachers. These are however, only symptoms of a much deeper problem – an uninspired and irrelevant pedagogy and curriculum.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Paul, Gandhi, and Kiran

Nivedita, Design for Change

Design for Change” is an in-house curriculum design center that exports The Riverside Center’s approach to learning to other schools that want to get the same results.  I interviewed Nivedita Menon, a socio-cultural anthropologist from State University, NY.  She’s in Ahmedabad now, working with Riverside.  There were so many parallels between their curriculum work and what we’re doing at Gordon Parks High School.  I hope this is the beginning of collaborations.  This meetings was mind expanding as I learned more about some of the other organizations worldwide who are doing similar inquiry and promotion of civic engaged curriculum.  One big difference still is my focus on the digital storytelling component of civic engagement in curriculum.  I still see that as a driving element, and important catalyst for the deeper thinking and communication skills.  There is also the experience of interacting with an audience that only comes from storytelling formats.

There are Design For Change offices in the United States, so I have some homework to do when I get back.

Here’s their US website: http://www.designforchange.us/