The Mentoring Technique

What is 'SOLE'?

Professor Sugata Mitra’s SOLE (Self Organised Learning Environment) technique started in 1999 when Sugata dug a hole in a wall bordering a slum in New Delhi, installed an Internet-connected PC, and left it there (with a hidden camera). Soon, they saw kids from the slum playing with the computer, learning English and searching through a wide variety of websites on science and other topics, and then teaching each other.

Why The 'SOLE' Technique?

ALL children, irrespective of their backgrounds and advantages, are naturally inquisitive and competitive, and that to encourage this natural instinct is the fastest way to enable them to gain knowledge.

'SOLE' and EDCLUB

The 20 minute TED talk by Sugata Mitra inspired Molly Macaire, and was the main inspiration for EDCLUB. The concept of SOLE is being used by enabling Skype conversations (2-3 times a week, adding up to one hour). One student/mentor (aged 15 upwards) who’s had years of access to the Internet, will Skype a group of four children (aged 9 – 13) who have until now, had no access to the Internet. The Mentors set the younger children questions that would have previously been beyond their reach, and challenge the children to use the Internet to find the answers. This activity takes place out of school time and is additional to the school syllabus rather than duplicating it. It does not replace school in any way.

A Typical Session:

Ask The Question

5 minutes

– Ask an open question, with plenty of scope for the children to investigate.

– Generate interest by offering a creative prompt, such as an image or video.

Investigate & Discover

10 minutes

– Let the adventure begin. Kids work in groups to find answers online to your question.

– Document the session.

Build On It

15 minutes

– Start a discussion about the question itself and their investigation process.

– Give positive feedback, and ask a follow up question for the kids to take away before the next session.

And remember to post a one-sentence review on our EDCLUB Movement Mentors Facebook Forum.

Example Questions:

How deep is the Pacific Ocean?

This question is an easy one with a straight answer that is simple to find; a great starter question.

How do you make a pancake?

This question will have a step by step answer that will require the kids to read, understand and explain what they have discovered; a harder question.

How does the heart work?

This is a harder question, as there will not be one simple answer that can be easily found. Difficult terminology will have to be understood as well, but this can lead to further interaction and is also an important topic for the kids.

Can you kill a goat by staring at it?

This is an open-ended question that allows the kids to research and form their own opinions which is our main aim.

Ask them a question, give them the world...