Rolling out our first month of our Action Communication Programmes has been a thrill! Watching students watching themselves learn English while simultaneously learning how to use a camera, take a photograph and record a video is a scintillating experience. For virtually all students (and most teachers) it is the first time they have used a camera and looked through a lens at the world. Astonishment would be the most apt word. The reflection it provokes is palpable and what we were very much hoping to see. It provides the shift inside to then move on an address wider issues with an open, newly observant attitude, noticing what perhaps had been hidden before.
Our first month of classes has covered person, family, friends, community, working from the individual outward both with language and using the camera to build an ever broadening perspective. Seeing the emotion in the reactions of the locals approached by students (often their children) to take their photo or record a video is extraordinary. Having a visual tool to facilitate a further dimension to interaction, learn from, produce materials to teach from that feature the learners themselves in their environment while also documenting the current status quo is extraordinary.
Employing this methodology provides another way of measuring impact too. Rather than solely using figures and skill level to measure impact, we can use emotion as a proxy to measure impact told “one story” at a time. This shows the transformation of attitude towards a given topic by the student. When considering behavioural change, for example how one disposes of rubbish, we hope a change in perception, rather than perspective, will be the difference between a temporary and enduring outcome.