Meet Kavi Pandian, Summer ’17 UELIP

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By Kyle Hietala

DCPS Office: Office of College and Career, Educational Technology, Global Education, Inner Core Professional Learning, and LEAP
Education: Rising Junior at University of Georgia
Program of Study/Major: Sociology & Economics
Hometown: Chamblee, Georgia

Kavi has worked for several different teams and on several different projects this summer. He started with the LEAP team, doing work around survey data entry and analysis, and progressed to working with the College & Career team. Kavi has been studying best practices around creating teacher pipelines, part of an effort to partner with local universities to recruit more teachers for DCPS, from DCPS. Additionally, Kavi has dabbled in work with the Global Education team, helping to create more accessible digital resources for students interested in study abroad, world languages, and embassy adoption programs. Dealing with “so much stuff,” Kavi said, “requires effective communication and understanding the priorities of different teams.”

His interest in education comes from two passions: gifted education and world language instruction, two things which transformed his own educational experience. For Kavi, gifted education in his middle school magnet program entailed applied, hands-on work that he remembers as being especially engaging. His world language education–years and year of German–didn’t just teach him the language, but immersed him in German politics, culture, and history. “Sometimes you didn’t even realize you were working on the language,” Kavi said of the holistic approach.

Lernfreude, a German concept which means “joy of learning,” is what Kavi describes as the pinnacle of his own educational experience and the philosophy he hopes to carry forward as an aspiring educator. “It’s about intrinsic motivation and learning because you enjoy it–the process itself is what matters,” he argued.

An aspiring high school social studies teacher, Kavi wants to work in an urban school context with at-risk students. “I’d teach social studies more holistically, and challenge my students to understand why things happened,” he said.  He is especially interested in exploring how cultural notions of intellectual giftedness have intersected with race and race relations. He hopes to draw insight from his own scholarship to help disrupt stereotypes and racialized attitudes around giftedness, and to inspire more students to believe in Lernfreude, as he does.

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