Disha India

Programs KHOJ: Learning Expedition for students

KHOJ is learning and teaching pedagogy where we use real life experiences as a pedagogic medium for developing the required curricular concepts and skills. KHOJ is interdisciplinary and each expedition is a combination of social science, sciences, languages and various art forms. KHOJ helps the child experience the curricular as a whole and not in form of isolated subjects. Furthermore, service, authentic purpose and authentic audience are the backbone of all KHOJ expeditions which in turn make the expeditions real, connect the curricular to real life and provide the preparation ground for life ahead. KHOJ creates opportunities for each child to think systemically, go beyond himself, experience abundance in the world around and work towards the larger good thus creating proactive citizens for a better future.

KHOJ takes place in two contexts - Community and Outbound i.e. KHOJ Community Bound and KHOJ Outbound respectively.

In KHOJ Community Bound, children explore their local history, natural heritage, flora and fauna, demography, design and layout, social, political, administrative and economical systems –and their interrelationships and working. The big idea is to help children develop a systemic understanding of their local context and in the process develop the required curricular understanding and skills. More importantly, this helps them to relate and understand their local community better, which in turn equip and empower them to take responsibility for the betterment of their community. Systemic understanding develops the capacity to act and create sustainable change and children learn to work for the larger good. The expeditions are 4 to 6 weeks long and take place in school and the community around. We make it part of the curriculum and timetable structure of the school. For further details, please download the KHOJ Community Bound concept note.

KHOJ Outbound, expeditions take place in wilderness where children and educators explore and experience different habitats and the interdependence in its true sense. They are designed based on the curriculum needs, interest of the children, principles of systems thinking and life skills that need to be developed. The habitat in which KHOJ takes place provides the required context for the learning. Along with the concepts KHOJ also helps the child overcome physical, emotional and cognitive challenges and help learners discover the abundance and possibilities both within and in the world around. KHOJ Outbound expeditions are 5 to 9 days long. For further details, please download the KHOJ Outbound brochure.

KHOJ Expedition Design Framework
KHOJ has expeditions designed for children from Grade 4 to 12 i.e. children in the age group of 10 to 17. Inspired by Outward Bound ( principles and pedagogy, the KHOJ expeditions have the following elements as part of its design:

1. Skill Building
The first one or two days of the KHOJ expedition focuses on building skills which children will use during the final challenge. The idea is to prepare the crew for the final challenge of the expedition.

2. Working in Crews
In KHOJ, we explore and navigate in small crews. The idea is to help children learn how to build on each other's strengths and create a synergy in the group. They need to experience the power of diversity and inclusivity – and how it dramatically increases the richness of ideas, ability to solve problems and capacity to act in crew. As the expedition unfolds, crews will be expected to take more responsibility for the navigation and decision-making. This is important, as it will ensure that the skills learnt before the final challenge become tools for success during the expedition.

3. Final Challenge
Expedition will include at least one big challenge like doing a social campaign, earning your own meal, making of the trail, creating a book of their learnings, a musical play, working with the community on a specific issue, etc. These challenges push crewmembers to find strength that they did not know they had. During the final challenge, the leadership is real and the success is theirs to keep.

4. Reflections and Sharing
Solitude, reflection and silence replenish our energies and open our minds. It is during the reflection that learners make connections between what they experienced during the expedition and the previous knowledge. It is time for constructing new understanding and knowledge, and most importantly, to rediscover and reinvent Self.

5. Service
During service, learners are encouraged to work with communities on real life issues, which gives them an opportunity to practice their new understanding built during the expedition. It also helps them to learn how to contribute meaningfully towards larger community causes and experience the joy of working selflessly. Children also get a first hand experience to empathize and connect with issues of change, equity, justice and denial. The important aspect of service is to experience one's true, larger and abundant self.

Every year around 1200 children and educators experience KHOJ.

Some of the schools that have experienced Khoj are The Heritage School, Gurgaon, Bombay International School, Mumbai, The American International School, Chennai, Mercedes Benz International School, Pune, Daly College, Indore and Delhi Public School, Surat.

To know more about how we design KHOJ expeditions

read KHOJ Expedition
Design Framework...

Student's Work-Khoj

Courage - a book on courage authored by students as an end product of their river expedition
Interviewing a weaver during their desert expedition
Embroidering a hand bag during the desert expedition
An illustration of a bird done by a child during the birds and wetland expedition