This post features student writing.
July 8, 2015
Written by Catherine M. from Wayzata, Minnesota (Hi Mom and Dad!)
Today was our 2nd day in Ladakh. We started the day with rice and a cup of tea, then went to English conversation class, where we typically discuss various topics in partners with Ladakhi students. Today we discussed similarities and differences in our education systems. SECMOL is a school of kids who didn’t pass their 10th grade exams and need help completing high school, so it was really interesting to hear about the teaching style of Indian government schools, which focus on memorization of information, compared to SECMOL, which values critical and independent thinking.
After lunch, our group walked to the nearby village of Phey. On the way, we stopped at a government school where we got to witness the teaching methods of a Ladakhi primary school. They shared several songs and dances with us. Later, we went to a house in the village for tea. We were generously offered tea and biscuits, and tried traditional butter tea for the first time (black tea, salt, butter, water). We thanked our hosts for opening their homes to us and continued to the monastery school up the hill. There we met the head monk who explained some of the basics of Buddhism like the karma, dharma, and enlightenment. He explained the concepts so clearly and with very good examples and metaphors — it was captivating. After speaking with him, we had a short tour of the school before returning to SECMOL for dinner, dancing, and games with the students. All in all, an excellent day in Ladakh!
– Catherine M.