“Psychology is theory, but it’s a lot more practical.”
The Intra School Psychology Conference 2014 marked the first ever event, the pilot run and the inauguration of the first ever Psychology Club of the Indian High School, Dubai. It was conducted on Wednesday, the 30th of April, 2014 in the Sports Complex after the school hours from 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm.
The Psychology club is one of the many initiatives that I.H.S students have come up with. Malavika Manoj of 12 Sc B, now, the head coordinator of this club, was the one to come up with this idea. When asked about how she came up with it, Malavika said, “Basically, I wanted to create a place where students could open up and talk about their problems – that’s how the ‘Agony Aunt’ column came up. Many a times what happens is that, students find it easier to share their experiences and queries with an anonymous, because they find the person more trustworthy and less judgmental. Students usually find it difficult to talk about some things with their parents and friends. The whole idea of the psychology club stemmed from the ‘Agony Aunt’ column. Moreover, psychology is more practical than theory, which we already do in school, so we thought that, since the platform had not yet been developed, we would develop it ourselves.”
Malavika had suggested the idea to Mrs. Latika Narain, the 11th and 12th grade girls’ supervisor around a year ago and finally, after 1 year of waiting, it was put into action. She also added, “I had proposed the idea last year, but then due to time constraints and many other activities, it could not be executed. So, we decided to do it next year. There was a LOT OF SUPPORT from Latika ma’am and Liza ma’am right from the start.”
The chief guests for the day included Mrs. Latika Narain, Mrs. Tasneem Mittaiwala (Counsellor, 11th and 12th grade girls), Mr. Abraham Manohar (Headmaster) and a few other dignitaries.
Mrs. Gem and Mrs. Liza Varghese (the psychology teacher) had mentored and helped the club committee to a large extent for which they were thanked throughout the programme.
The conference mainly consisted of 2 segments, both of them competitions – the Research papers and the Debate. Mrs. Rosy George, Mrs. Panita Lele and Mrs. Sandra D’mello were the selected judges .
There were 2 research papers on the topics ‘Psychology and law’ and ‘Psychopaths – born or made?’
The research papers were done and neatly presented by – Aroma Joshi and Arushee Wahi (Psychopaths) and Kanchee of 12 Sc B (Psychology and law). Both of the research papers had great topics, so interesting and intriguing, that they left the audience surprised, uneasy and wanting for more.
The conference also had two, real-life clinical psychologists communicate with the students. One was Mrs. Renu Murali and Mrs. Urmimala Sinha. Mrs. Renu Murali is a school counsellor at the Winchester School, Dubai with training in psychological counseling of emotional, decision-making and behavioural issues at home and at school. She has also volunteered as a psychologist at Al Noor Centre for Special Needs Children. Mrs. Renu talked to the students about the perks of being a teenager and the stages that they undergo, through a very free and light-hearted video.Mrs. Urmimala Sinha is a clinical psychologist at Al Musalla Medical Centre. She has had 15 years of experience in child and adult treatment as well as with autistic children. Mrs. Urmimala connected and chatted with the student via a ‘Skype talk’ (video) about the general issues faced by teenagers. Both of the psychologists congratulated the school on inaugurating the school’s first ever psychology club.
After the talks by the psychologists, came the final segment for the day – the Debate. The topic was ‘Is it right to use artificial means to alter the way you feel?’ – with one group ‘for’ and the other group ‘against’ the motion. Both the teams spoke well, justifying themselves, making it difficult for the judges to choose the winner, but it became even more difficult when it came to choosing the winner of the research paper.
Speaking to Mrs. Rosy George, she said “I was very happy judging, because I have never judged for a psychology event. The topics were very interesting, also, ‘psychology and law’ is a subject that I have studied before. I had to do a bit more reading as well. I firmly believe that the psychology club must be continued, it is both educative and entertaining. The girls did an excellent job.”
Mr. Ray, the mass media teacher and his students covered the entire conference through various media and they were appreciated for their efforts too, during the vote of thanks.
Besides a few technical glitches, the programme went on smoothly and finished in the time allotted.
Speaking to Elensa Eapen, the deputy co-ordinator of the club, she said, “It was really, a lot of work for us, the committee. We had to prove it to everyone that a club for a psychology would be successful. I would also like to give a special mention about all the ‘chachas’ who helped us – they were very, very supportive and helped us with the operational part of the event. I’d like to thank them. The event went very well, according to the plan and the time limit. The judges were very co-operative also.”
Malavika also said, “The reason for our success is that we have a very strong committee. Our entire committee was dedicated. They knew their roles and performed their duties very well and they also helped each other. They are very hard-working and phenomenal. The creative department, events secretary were all so hardworking right from the start.”
The Psychology Club, currently having circa 100 members, acts as a platform of exposure for the students, encouraging them to research and know more, while sparking an interest of psychology in them.
The I.H.S Psychology Club will also host and participate in an Inter-School Psychology Conference, scheduled for September 2014. The club has now been opened to students, other than those who have chosen psychology as their elective. The club also looks forward to more members – just like they say, “the more, the merrier”.
By Athira Anand
Senior Reporter of Light House