At Keystone Foundation, we want to reimagine an education experience for tribal children, youth and adults, one that aids them in calibrating their worldviews while strengthening their interactions with their living environment. Nilgiri Field Learning Center (https://blogs.cornell.edu/nflc/) is a collaboration with Cornell University to foster transdisciplinary learning between indigenous youth from the region and undergraduates from the university with the aim of building ‘perceptive leaders’ of the future. Through this project, we wish to bring together lessons from past endeavours to analyse how to build capacity of Adivasi youth and children to sustainably manage the precious resources they have in a fragile ecosystem like the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR). The key questions for us are: What does quality of life, environment and learning (linked to livelihoods) mean to indigenous people in the NBR? What is the scope for alternative pedagogical models that facilitate co-learning approaches which promote intellectual engagement, inclusivity and grounded knowledge outcomes? How do we assess and understand student and teacher perspectives in the context of the Nilgiri Field Learning Center, Village Elders and Barefoot Ecologists as a reimagined learning and teaching approach? Through methodical conversations around these questions and key stakeholder engagements, we plan to bring the lessons of the past together to collaboratively chart a course for the future of Adivasi learning in and from a biosphere.
Key Words: Adivasi, Biosphere, Learning, Teaching, New Pedagogies
Indigenous knowledge, Pedagogy
Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Tamil Nadu
Anita Varghese & Jyotsna Krishnakumar