The Twenty First Century Global Citizen Programme (TFCGCP) is designed with a specific purpose of empowering the academia, learners and parents with the critical skills and understandings required to navigate through the challenges of the digital age. As uncertainties mount, and the pace of change acquires exponential proportions, every individual struggles to accommodate the change and adapt to the newly arising challenges. Across different age groups, people have become more stressed, emotionally volatile and are facing a cognitive decline. The time has come for all the stakeholders to collaborate and understand the causes that are critically endangering the psychological well-being of the population. The times also demands that we bridge the inter-generational gap and instill more scientific processes into our learning environments, classroom strategies and the practices of parenting. Every learner should be provided the opportunity to collaborate to set goals and problem solve, empathize and be compassionate with self and others, become more resilient as individuals and communities and equipped to make responsive decisions.
In this “digital age”, it is critical that we equip our children with the new age skills of collaboration, empathy, compassion, resilience and information synthesizing to sustain themselves and thrive in these stressful times. The twentieth century demanded that learners equip themselves with information, memorize data and engage as knowledge seekers. Our classrooms were specifically designed to achieve the same. The twenty first century learner needs to be equipped with the skills of understanding, analysis and application of data and information. They need to understand global scenarios, think, envision, and act globally. They also need to connect and work beyond the boundaries of their comfort zone. Re-structuring our classrooms to meet these new challenges, providing for more learner engagements and equipping them to acquire and apply the new age skills are all the necessities of the digital age. The emotional, cultural and traditionalist lens of parenting has to give way to practices of the science of parenting. Understanding the developmental needs and phases of children, respecting their identity and space, helping them build opinions, analyze and apply information and knowledge, create bountiful networks of humans who collaborate, support and empower to problem solve are the scientific facets of parenting.
The Twenty First Century Global Citizen Programme (TFCGCP) unfolded
This programme provides a platform wherein students from early adolescence to early youth (ages 10 – 25) can have those conversations. These students in fact belong to “Generation Z” and “Generation Alpha”. These generations are experiencing a strong intergenerational disconnect. The intergenerational conflicts are normally fuelled by the rigid and moralistic “code of conduct” that the younger generations are subjected to by the older generations. Applying the science of “Developmental Psychology” these conflicts are to be studied in detail and interventions are to be put in place that will help bridge this intergenerational gap. Interventions work best, when they are implemented in an environment of mutual trust, and seamless collaboration. The interventions always attain the specified outcomes when there are empathetic and compassionate conversations guided by the smooth to and fro flow of information among all the stakeholders. Conversations are always easy and meaningful when you get to listen to, understand and empathize with the other’s perspective. Conversations that are driven by curiosity, openness, and inclusiveness naturally lead to pragmatic and innovative interventions. It is based on these scientific principles that the programme unfolds. This is a process oriented, phase by phase approach that connects with the different stakeholders at each phase of the programme.
How does the programme work?
Understanding student perceptions about future and their status of mental wellness (Phase 1)
An engaging and age appropriate conversation with students who are at different developmental stages is undertaken. Through this conversation we capture the relevant information that will help us identify and understand Generation Z’s and Generation Alpha’s take on their future world of affairs and their current mental wellness status. It also helps us talk about the critical skills required to navigate through the travails of twenty first century. This also help create an awareness among the adolescents and early youth about the challenges lying ahead, the skills required to thrive in times of uncertainty and the ways and means to acquire these skills. The information so gathered through these empathetic conversations are converted into a study and the same is shared with parents and academic institutions, thereby creating the much needed space for intergenerational conversations a reality. This helps all the stakeholders get a better view of the future and the current challenges regarding mental wellness. Armed with this understanding proactive interventions are implemented that ensures participation at all levels.
Goal Setting in Learning Collaborative (Phase 2 – Sub Phase 1)
Learners from early adolescence to early youth uses age appropriate tools to identify, understand, and document individual goals by engaging in a deep conversation and meta-cognitive activities using information synthesizing as a platform. Individual learners also identify, understand and document their SWOT (Strength – Weakness – Opportunity – threat) and also get peer support in understanding the self better. They problem solve in learning collaborative and goes on to understand the process of periodic reviews and reflections on the individual goal statement. The entire process of documenting is converted into a practical workbook by individual participants. This helps in long term planning, setting goals and collaborating to problem solve and information synthesizing. These are few of the skills required to thrive in the twenty first century.
Understanding and Managing the Emotional Landscape through the various developmental phases (Phase 2 – Sub Phase 2)
Learners belonging to the different age groups use age appropriate tools to identify, understand and document personal stressors, and also emotions from basic to complex in self and others. The learners then get the opportunity to engage in learning groups to apply the science of emotions in an empathetic and compassionate manner to deal with stressful and emotionally challenging situations. The students also get to use review and reflection tools to assess their individual as well as peer member progresses in emotional management over the course of their different phases of growth. The learning documents are created individually but are results of collaborative engagements. Thus the learners from early adolescence to early youth get to understand the significance of empathetic and compassionate networking and how to create these empathetic and compassionate networks both in the personal as well as academic domains to effectively traverse in the twenty first century.
Understanding Resilience as the most critical skill of the twenty first century (Phase 2 – Sub Phase 3)
Learners from early adolescence to early youth engage in learning group collaborative to understand and document (individually) the different attributes of resilience using age appropriate tools. They understand the significance of environment and compassionate engagements in helping build resilience in individuals and communities and the same is documented. Extensive use of case study method helps in information synthesizing and responsive decision making when it comes to “problem solve” as a community initiative. Learners at various developmental stages are exposed to case studies that typically helps them understand the significance of building, sustaining and applying resilience in dealing with the uncertain times lying ahead. The learners also undergo the process of periodic reviews and reflections in applying resilience to life scenarios. When all the three sub phases in phase 2 are completed by learners, each learner gets hold of an individually created (working in learning collaborative with mentoring support from mental health professionals) “Guide book for life” book. This book can be effectively utilized by the learner throughout her/his life span.
Creation of Mental wellness centres in the institution (Phase 3)
As learners become aware of mental wellness and all the stakeholders understand the roles to be undertaken by each, the institution becomes equipped to create and sustain a mental wellness framework that promote “equity in mental wellness”. The learners who have undergone all the three phases listed above becomes equipped to create a cohort collaborators who can build, engage, and support the entire student fraternity in ensuring the creation of mentally sound communities that are academically vibrant and socially engaged. Every institution that adopts this programme will have a network of student support volunteers who will connect and compassionately engage with fellow students are having various psycho-social, academic and interpersonal difficulties. The learners will be provided training and continuous support in implementing sound mental health practices in their respective institutions.