I Can is catching on in the Comox Valley
COMOX VALLEY — I Can has taken a firm hold in a number of Comox Valley schools — and it may expand to other districts next year.
École Puntledge Park teacher Doug David is one of the Comox Valley teachers who has been involved in the initiative since its beginning during the 2010/11 school year, and he is also one of the teachers who hopes it will grow even more than it already has.
“I’ve been talking about this with people in Port Alberni and Chemainus and Qualicum and that, and so there’s interest out there, it’s just a matter of finding a way in,” he says. “We’re trying to be mindful of letting things kind of unfold with people’s curiosity…
“We want it to spread organically — grassroots.”
David and Huband Park’s vice principal Catherine Manson, who was also involved with I Can from the start, presented on the initiative to the Comox Valley Board of Education a couple of weeks ago, noting its history and the possibility of its further growth.
I Can started as a cross-district partnership during the previous school year; a group of teachers wanted to see if implementing regular inquiry-based learning projects, with a cross-school celebration at the end of year, would increase student engagement and motivate students to be self-directed learners.
During collaboration, the group watched a TED talk by Kiran Bir Sethi about a movement she started with students in India called I Can — which is designed to show students they have the power to create a better world through action. When the group of Comox Valley teachers saw how in line it was with what they were trying to do, they quickly embraced it.
Started with just six or seven classes throughout the school district last year, the initiative grew this year to spread into whole school initiatives at Aspen, Queneesh, Huband and Puntledge this year.
Students completed a variety of I Can projects like taking food to the food bank, visiting seniors, organizing play events with younger children and raising money for numerous causes and charities, among other things.
David then contacted Sethi, and after e-mail conversations about what’s going on in Comox Valley schools, Sethi told him she’s interested in the Comox Valley School District becoming a global partner with her organization Design for Change, which promotes a global movement around the idea of I Can.
For more information on DFC, visit www.dfcworld.com