Five children aged between 8 and 9 years who were all neighbours, studied in the same school. They fought daily in the school bus and refused to play together in the evening.
Initially, their parents chose to ignore it. After a few incidents, they collectively decided to bring the five children for coaching.
Greeting the children, I asked them to enjoy few refreshments before we began. We spent some time building rapport and getting them comfortable. Once they were settled, I asked “ So do you want to play a game?”
Inviting them to sit in a semicircle with small table in front of them, I handed over a different picture each to every child. Explaining the context of the pictures, I asked them to spot something specific in the picture they were holding.
After few minutes as they continued to concentrate on their respective pictures, I asked them what they were thinking. 9 year old Sara spoke first “is there really a flower in my picture? it's all trees.”
8 year old Rahul spoke next "I can't find the cat in these monkeys in my picture…”
The other three children continued to concentrate. Giving up after a while 9 year old Aditya said "there is no ball in my picture". Speaking in unison, 8 year olds Sean and Kiara agreed. Kiara put the picture away saying "there is no cake in my picture, can only see the balloons.” Sean shaking his head said “sorry, no apple in these plums in my picture.”
Picking up Sara’s picture, I addressed them together "so if you were to look at this one picture collectively, can you look for the flower?"
Within a few seconds, they were tugging at the picture trying to get a look at it. “Is it possible for you to see this together ?” I asked.
While Kiara, Rahul and Aditya shook their heads, Sara and Sean said “Yes!”. Asking them to explain one at a time, Sara said "place it on the table and all of us can see together".
Sean said "you hold it for us" to me.
I looked at all of them and asked “So what are all of you thinking here ?"
Sara - “that we can all see together.”
Sean- “we will fight - best for you to hold then we can all see.”
Kiara- “yes, you hold.”
Aditya - “keep it on the table here. I will hold so that see it closely together.”
Rahul - “but how can we all see together? This picture is so small. When we come together our heads hit each other.” He demonstrated by putting it on the table.
“So are you all in agreement that I hold this?” I held the picture up as they agreed.
A few minutes of trying Aditya said “I can't see”. The other children also seemed to struggle with the picture that I was holding.
Sean said "we can see but not clearly”.
Kiara jumped up grabbing the picture from my hand "ok... I will see it then. Sara, you see it after me, then Sean you and then Adi and last Rahul".
Taking the picture from my hand she said "See, now it's clear..” after observing the picture for a minute she passed it on to Sara “you see it now it's very clear to me”.
"Did you spot the flower? " Sara inquired. "no.. but its not there on the top..I saw that much clearly” Kiara said.
Excited Sean spoke “Sara, you see in the centre then I will see below"
Shaking her head, Sara passed it to Sean "not in the centre".
Sean observed the bottom of the picture stating "ok... it's not here too.. Adi, Rahul can you both see on left and right sides please?” Excited by now, Adi grabbed the picture, asking Rahul to join him.
After a few minutes, Rahul said “the yellow... yellow flower is here.. see in the leaves on the right side".
Aditya patted his back "well done Adi! I surely did not spot it on the left side”.
The excited children started to show each other the flower. I asked them to share what they discovered about themselves.
Sara - " I focused well - could see the centre of the picture clearly."
Sean - "just seeing 1 part made me confident of flower not here".
Kiara - "when I held the picture closely, I saw clearly."
Aditya - "I could see along with Rahul clearly".
Rahul-"made it easy for me when Sean asked to see on the right side".
"Yes that's true" Sean said "can we look at my picture?"
I said "let's time it now. Spot the apple in Sean’s picture within 1 minute together”.
Following the same plan as before they passed Sean’s picture and found the apple in less than a minute. The balance three pictures were done within 2 minutes…the monkey, cake and the ball were easily spotted.
"Wow... what happened here ?" I asked.
Kiara- “we split the work! made it so easy.”
Sean- "I had so much fun planning.”
Aditya- “yes, so much fun! I loved this a lot.”
Rahul- “we were a team!”
Sara- “yes a good team - very good team!”
“So team,” I smiled "what did you learn today?"
They almost spoke together
“to be kind”
“to wait for my turn”
“to listen first”
“to quickly focus and do your task”
“to work and have fun also”
“So now when all of you meet in school or at home…?”
They smiled, looking at each other “will be kind, encourage each other, listen first , have fun , wait for my turn and focus to complete my task.”
“How was the session today..please share your own views very honestly..”
Aditya- “I loved it so much.…lots of fun”
Kiara- “I loved it too..awesome”
Rahul- “felt good being together”
Sara- “it was fun together and I learnt so much”
Sean- "I loved planning..am so happy”
“So when we meet next week, we will learn more about how you think and how to make observations about each other.”
Smiling, they agreed.
A followup with the parents 2 days later confirmed the children were happy together and ready for their next session.