Cynthia Dettman:  Author

Vignettes of my Fulbright Project: What do Indian Instructors and Students Think About SCL?

I was in Chennai in winter 2017-18 as a “Fulbright Scholar”, when I provided faculty training on Student Centered Learning.  College instructors, especially younger ones, were hungry for tips on engaging students in their classrooms, rather than just lecturing.  I put together a slideshow of video vignettes of my Indian colleagues and students responding these methods.  I’m so grateful to these wonderful educators and students who are embracing 21st century teaching and learning methods!  These are folks who are very ready to move out of the 19th century British lecture method to a more democratic, participatory and technology-based world of learning.  Thank you my Friends!

Sorry this slideshow/video is 14 minutes long- but that’s what I was able to record and edit using only my I-phone and the editing capacity of Mac Photos!

SCL in India- Learning for the Millenial Generation


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It is exciting to see and hear these students articulating both their understanding and their enthusiasm for this inter-active method of teaching and learning. In my experience in India, especially, this kind of student-centered learning and non-stop critical thinking is unusual. These students have begun a lifetime of new and different techniques that will hold them in good stead. It will also spread to their own colleagues and to their students as their enthusiasm grows and matures.

Hi Bob, you are so right, and you know from years of teaching. You started out in music and theater, which is VERY project-based and participatory. When you moved into teaching English (a more formal and less active setting) I imagine you used some of the teaching techniques you used in music and theater. Group work. Practice. Having Fun! and giving kids leeway to be creative and individual even as they follow a structured plan or curriculum. It was really exciting doing all this in India, which is SO teacher-focused instead of student-focused. Thanks for your comment! Cynthia

Hi Cynthia! Our county intermediate school district has a Project Based Learning program called Kent Innovation High School that serves the whole district. It has been a huge success for those students that struggle in a traditional lecture-style classroom, providing hands on learning with students working in teams and presenting their projects to teachers and/or community leaders. Often their lessons involve working with community organizations and companies on projects they have requested help on. My granddaughter, who lives with me, and I adopted 2 years ago along with her 3 siblings), has attended this school for 4 years. It has changed her life. She is flourishing and has gained confidence she never had before. She is very comfortable presenting and speaking in front of civic leaders and CEOs. So happy to see that these programs are being implemented in other places!
See for more info on their program.

Hi Melanie, so interesting to hear how well project-based learning works for ALL ages- pre-school through Phd! I think it’s especially important to kids to help them develop confidence and leadership skills – which will stay with them forever! Glad to hear that your granddaughter loves it- three cheers for innovative approaches that really serve students, rather than the traditional needs of teachers and administrators in educational systems. Thanks for your comment! Stay in touch! Cynthia

Hi Lynette, yes, I was so delighted by the interest and passion I experienced among women students and faculty in India. They were so eager to learn more democratic approaches to teaching and learning. It made my project so exciting and fun! Cynthia

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