Valentine’s Day stories

I wouldn’t have expected to find Valentine’s Day stories in an MBA class, but that’s where ten of them appeared today.

This was an induction session for new MBA students at King’s College, Kathmandu. There were 60 students, seated in tables with six each.

Narottam Aryal and Arjun Rijal, the instructors, gave each group a photograph of  contemporary life in Nepal. The groups were to discuss “What do you see, feel, wonder?”

Most initially focused on surface features (a family on a motorbike), but soon they generated more complex and varying interpretations. They inferred things such as that it was a middle-class family, which valued education.

The groups then received nine more images. They were asked to choose five or so from among these, make up a story, then use glue stick, scissors, markers and poster stock to prepare a presentation.

After 30 minutes, each group shared its story. Some were love and family stories, appropriate to the day. One focused on Nepal itself; another imagined a British tourist taking the photos to memorialize his visit, which happens to be an account not far from the actual source of the images.

Groups also shared what they learned, with comments about teamwork, valuing different perspectives, learning about each other, even about themselves, and deeper understanding of topics such as rural development in Nepal.

For me, the class reinforced the idea that students can display engagement, initiative, creativity, attention to detail, thoughtful reading, writing, speaking, and listening if only given the chance. There are undoubtedly technical skills needed for MBA’s that did not emerge here, but it’s hard to imagine a better foundation for studying those.

Their creativity was all the more remarkable since the class began at 6:30 am!

The photos came from my book, Progressive Education In Nepal: The Community Is the Curriculum.