A TRINS School Club
At TRINS, we are always on a lookout for new ways to connect with students. To reach out to them, help them know that they are supported, and help them adapt at every corner to become who they need to be.
The most important part of helping these students open up and connect with their teachers, mentors, and facilitators is helping them to feel seen. And it’s our role to work on making this possible — ‘seeing’ the students, really seeing them as individuals, who they are, all the things they can be, and everything in between. Isn’t that the reason why most of us sign up to be in the space of education?
To see someone as their best self and guide them towards that version is not always easy and it’s not always a straight path. You have to hike the mountain of trust, you have to battle and beat biases, you have to jump the walls (yes, in plural) around their hearts, you have to run the entire marathon. And sometimes, you have to go head-to-head with a pandemic.
But COVID-19 has got nothing on us. Because what can be more ingenious than our decision to carry on the extra-curricular clubs that help the students in igniting intellect and developing life-long skills? The extra-curricular clubs have been an integral part of the school to help students explore opportunities based on their individual interests and talents. And this year, in the already exciting line-up of the extracurricular clubs, we are also introducing
Dungeons and Dragons.
Maybe it was the effect of Stranger Things (a popular series on Netflix) or maybe it was the isolation that inspired the idea of adding this club to the list. But in between google-meeting the students, sharing stories of lockdown, venting about being bored, being distanced from friends, longing for company, we’ve realised that even when we are all apart, being a part of a community is just an internet connection away.
One such powerful way to connect with and draw out the students to share their stories, even during a pandemic, would be to immerse them in the ultimate story-telling experience — Dungeons and Dragons, or D&D. Using this space, a student can hug their friends, throw a pizza party, breathe in the ocean-air, travel to mysterious places, and perhaps even go back to school!
A little bit about the game:
A team of adventurers, known as a party, go through collaborative encounters in a made-up world run by the Dungeon Master or DM, who narrates the events and the settings of the place. The DM adapts and moves the game forward based on the players’ free actions and decisions. The world of the game is orally constructed and conjured in the imagination with the help of rule books, reference guides, maps, etc.
The players then use their imagination and guide their heroes through quests for treasure, battles with deadly foes, daring rescues and come up with inventive solutions to hairy situations.
There is more, battling a spike-hurling monster with an enchanted two-handed axe not only helps the players have fun and release stress but it also helps them grow as a person.
As someone working in the field of mental health, this club idea is the brainchild of our counsellor Astha Dugar. When she was thinking of ways to build resilience and help students with their mental and emotional well-being, the idea of D&D sounded perfect! Not only is it a super cool game that the students are sure to love, but D&D also casts all kinds of magic to help its players become more evolved, self-aware versions of themselves.
As players, the students need to use creative solutions to solve problems and that helps in improving critical-thinking skills. The game also helps in building camaraderie and developing empathy. The students will go on quests that require teamwork and compromising. Reaching the desired goal will not only come from cooperation but collaboration which is building on each other’s ideas and strengths. The students will also be able to practice the expression of different emotions through real-time role-playing.
The best part about the game is how it provides a safe environment to make mistakes, explore right and wrong and understand that all actions have consequences. The students have the agency to make their own choices and decisions which seamlessly translates into a real-life skill. They will not only develop skills to slay the dragons the Dungeon Master throws at them but also develop coping mechanisms to deal with the lemons that life throws at them.
D&D encourages diverse backgrounds, classes, and ethnicities. It is based on inclusion. The students will make their own character, customizing them from their race to their features, personality traits, ideals, flaws and everything about their background. They can be a wizard, a warrior, an elf, a dragon-born, a human, and so much more but never ‘just a/an.’
That’s one of the main reasons why the school did not need a second minute to allow the club its existence. TRINS believes that a student is not just another student, but that each one of them is a brilliant, beautiful whole-being. The school supports the ‘Theory on Mind’, which is necessary to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one’s own. The school focuses on strengthening the idea of diversity and D&D is one more step towards practising the acceptance of that diversity.
Everything that a student learns in school, from textbooks to different languages, from working business models to social justice, from co-curricular to the different skills from various clubs like D&D, each one of those things contributes to them navigating the real-life differences with others – including at school, at work, with friends and family, in politics, in society or while making life decisions.
By organising this club, TRINS is giving its diverse students a sense of belonging, a hope that if they work together to solve their problems, they will reach their perfect story ending. And what can be better, especially in these times, than the hope for a perfect ending!