Domains of Development (DOD) is a learning project undertaken by MAIS. A whole week is allotted for DOD for grades 9-12 and two weeks for grades 5-8. MAIS has identified four Domains of Development: personal, social, experiential and aesthetic. So one grade might attend a workshop in pottery and paper-making and another might take off to Chennai to study South Indian music and dance while yet another might go rock climbing and trekking. The graduating class interns with professionals, testing out various careers of their choice.
Std 07 in the Andamans
DOD, Domains of Development, is an outbound learning programme that is unique to MAIS. This programme gives opportunities to students from Grade 4 to 11 to explore and inculcate skills which are crucial to their holistic development. The skills that this week-long intensive programme aims at developing are inter-personal skills, team building, a spirit of adventure, interacting with local communities and understanding their way of life. Skills like observation, documentation, data collection and other research-based skills are also developed on the way.
The Andaman Islands offer a unique scope to study Geography, History, Science and Anthropology, by virtue of its location and size. The endemic and exotic flora and fauna provide many opportunities for discovery. Being a tropical island, the environment is ever changing; the transitions from one eco-system to another are quick and the adaptations of lifeforms are diverse. For example, the tides greatly influence the flora and fauna along the shoreline on a diurnal basis. Natural phenomena such as earthquakes and tsunamis affect the life in this tropical island quite drastically. In a place such as this, the connections between plastic waste and coral bleaching become glaringly evident; and their place in the cause-effect chain involving global warming and ultimately affecting the daily life of the the locals.
Students of Grade 7-11 have at various times visited the islands with a lot of preparation and worked towards tangible outcomes. Some days would begin as early as 4:30 am and go on till 10:30 pm. Understanding the formation of the island, as well as its physical and political features were part of Geographical learning. The taxonomy of creatures and their adaptations in the ever-changing marine ecosystem were observed at the intertidal zone during low tide and high tide. The behaviour of critters and plants that thrive in the mangrove and fringe forests were also studied. The 2004 earthquake and tsunami, as well as the earlier 1941 earthquake, swallowed parts of many islands and left mass destruction in its wake.
One of the six tribes that inhabit some of the 206 Andaman Islands – the Sentenilese – are supposed to be the oldest surviving tribes from the Neolithic era, based on their occupation and lifestyle. This introduced us to the subject of anthropology and sociology, which we further explored at the Port Blair Anthropological Museum.
From a historical perspective, these islands were colonised by the British and briefly by the Japanese, and much evidence of this is preserved. Ironically, the Andamans was a penal colony for our freedom fighters and known as the ‘Paris of the East’. The infamous cellular jail and Ross Island serve as reminders of its past history.
Today, tourism is an important seasonal form of livelihood for the islanders and while it is known as a honeymooners’ paradise, it continues to be a very sensitive eco-system offering much to learn from and explore. From scuba diving to forest treks that take you through thick tropical jungle, littoral forests and eventually the shore, in less than an hour.
The students left the island with great learning, and with more questions than when they started. All of this learning is culminated in the form of presentations, movies, documents, a publication on one occasion, games and, of course, rich experiences and a deeper understanding and awareness of their role in conserving the environment.
Std. 05 goes to Kabini!
Std. 05 went to Kabini for their DoD trip from the 6th to the 9th of February, 2017. Students learnt about the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve and the role of the Forest Department in the conservation of wildlife species in the Reserve. We interacted with experienced naturalists, who patiently answered our questions.
While at Kabini, we were immersed in the beauty around us, the browns and greens of the forest and the blue of the Kabini River. The stillness of the forest early in the morning was only interspersed by the sweet sounds of birdcall. At times, the peace was broken by the frantic alarm calls of the monkeys and deer. We were truly lucky on our safaris to sight numerous animals such as leopards, tigers, deer, crocodiles, elephants, gaur, peafowl, mongoose, and even the elusive dhole. The wisdom and experience of our safari guides and team of naturalists were blessings on this trip. The highlight of our visit was tracking a leopard through the undergrowth for nearly three-quarters of an hour, as it stalked a small herd of deer.
After we came back to Bangalore, students worked on and published their research, learning and experiences of DoD in a newsletter.
Std. 04 goes to Hampi
DOD is an important part of our school curriculum, where the students are taken out of their comfort zone to become aware of the larger world around them. In the process, they learn skills and values, which are necessary to develop into well-rounded individuals.
This year, Std. 04 went to Hampi, once the capital of the glorious Vijayanagara Empire. Students got their hands dirty in the mock-excavation activity which offered them an amazing insight into the world of archaeology. They had a fun-filled bumpy ride on bullock carts to explore village settlements and ancient cave paintings. They also visited the Annegundi banana fibre cottage industry.
Amidst the boulder-strewn landscape, students had the unique opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Indian sloth bear in its natural habitat.
Our tour covered the Hemakuta Hill group of monuments, the monolithic Ganeshas, the Virupaksha Temple and Bazaar, the Vittala Temple ruins, Mahanavami Dibba and the Queens’ Bath.