Last week our school leaving class met for its 40th Reunion. While I didn’t attend the function I got reconnected to the class through a WhatsApp group that was formed within minutes of the class breaking up once again. Since then I’ve been receiving more news about my class mates than I’ve had in the last forty years. Most of them have gone on to do amazing things which leads me to believe that childhood education is really what determines the rest of your life and how you spend it. This was brought home to me more when I saw the link to one of my classmate’s work.
Swaroop Sampat, like all of us chose Biology, ostensibly to go on to study medicine more so because if I remember right, her mother was a doctor. But equally like most of us, she trod a different path after school , that of drama – which again I think was influenced by the fact that her father was very active in Gujerati Theatre. With one thing leading to another, Swaroop obtained a Doctorate in Education from the University of Worcester after having established herself as a successful TV and Bollywood actress and as Dr. Swaroop Rawal (she is married to the famous Bollywood actor Paresh Rawal) has chosen to teach through drama.
I would like to share this unique concept of teaching through drama – a method by which children learn more than just facts, they live them. And in this fun way, she imparts more than mere education – she imparts life skills that will hold them in good stead. The 9 day Drama camp that she conducts is a balanced approach to life – starting with exercise and ending with prayer and reflection. In between the children learn facts, wash up after meals and even hand wash their clothes. Swaroop has developed a model that truly inculcates values that are fast fading in today’s world where marks determine admission to college and further studies and brings to education a gentler softer touch that open childrens’ minds to think, analyse, create and flourish.