Category Archives: Education

The world needs more heroes! Open Season

Heroes are the people who sacrifice themselves for the greater cause. Those people who dream and get visions of a great future and work hard to bring them into present reality; Who suspend their own personal gratifications to bring smile to others’ people’ faces. We still have many social problems but where have our great heroes gone?

The past century saw great battles in the world. It also saw the rise of many historical people and new scientific inventions. Still, the greatest people of that era are slowly dying off and there are not many people charismatic enough to take their places. Do people do not dream enough these days? Where are those leaders of men and women who can lead the world into a new vision! Open session for the names ……………….

You are free to nominate anybody…………..

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The Bully and the Nerd

Why does the bullying persist in our educational institutes?

One of the points raised by another blogger sparked a new thought. Just this morning, I was discussing the previous head of our institute and his bad policies and I came to a startling conclusion which came to fruition, when I read the reply to my blog. People in education and power often (not accusing everybody but many people are guilty as charged) use bully’s to control dissenters or people with different or more radical viewpoints in order to keep their policies and power over the place. They call it politics, which is all but a civilized term for it.

The case is similar for gifted students. A gifted student is more likely to be targeted by other students (and sometimes by envious or biased teachers) for abusive behavior because he or she may –

1. Ask many questions.

2. Hold different viewpoints.

3. Has an active imagination.

4. Is socially a bit awkward, poor or a combination of other factors such as different color, nationality, religion etc.

These students gifted as they may be; they are harder to control by a teacher or parents; therefore, to indirectly control them bully’s are encouraged to subdue them, sometimes verbally or physically, sometimes financially (through fines) for minor rule infractions or by enforcing new Draconian rules. It only gets worse in Universities where the stakes are higher.

And then we wonder where has all the imagination, out of the box thinking and curiosity gone ? It is gone, because to survive, get an education and a job, majority of the people fall in line and switch off their brains; the unlucky few who don’t, leave (voluntarily for better schools on scholarships), are expelled, jailed, turn to drugs, or kill themselves.

Look around you; similar stories are being played out in our immediate environment; the danger signs are all there. Cases like Amanda Todd were, are and will continue to be ignored till the point that the victims see no alternative other than drugs, alcohol or suicide.

Everyone will spare a moment for her death; they will all give their condolences. None will ever share her pain, except her fellow victims. Open to interpretation!

I was once accused of reading too much! True fact; and I was penalized for it.

 

Bad Teaching vs Good Teaching

A bad teacher can willfully or even unconsciously damage a child’s growth, interest in the studies and the grasp of one or more subject. A boring teacher can destroy a child’s curiosity in a particular subject or curiosity in general. A biased teacher can turn a child perspective upside down and skew his/ her morals. In short, a teacher is a guide to the universe and a bad guide spells trouble.

A personality clash between the student and the teacher is also a critical factor in successful bonding between a child and a teacher just like its is with a parent. While parents are genetically or emotionally (adopted child) invested in a child’s ability to learn and thrive, a teacher has no other incentive than a paying job and personal ethics.

The question of the hour is; Are there enough good teachers for all our children ? Teacher who can bond with our children and teach them the knowledge that they seek. The answer, sadly to that question is no.

Teachers, the good ones especially, are precious commodity, just like every good thing in the world. They are tenured and therefore tethered, to their elite schools early in their career, which pay higher salaries, provide better benefits while state schools are advised to cut back and increase efficiencies; threats and cutbacks often result in increased workloads, higher tempers and harried staff; resulting invariably in bad teaching and further degrading the quality of education in public schools.

Most of the research indicates that the richest nations spend the highest on their education systems. Then, why are the education budget allowed to be cut instead of being increased constantly ? The inequality of the distribution of wealth and natural resourceful starts right at birth and then continues in our schools and then colleges.

Why is it allowed ? Is a rich man’s vote worth more than a common man’s ? Open to interpretation!

Mayhem in the globe

In order for society to grow forward, the lowest level of the population must be able to afford all the basic rights without any hassle. Only then, a society should be able to call itself developed. There should be dignity in the honest work and helping a fellow human being should be an act of simple kindness and not tainted by  any motivation of self-satisfaction or divine self-praise. We know all this; yet we need the latter in order to motivate us to help others in need.

In a world of rising xenophobia, religion-phobia, sexuality-phobia and many other phobias have we left humanity behind. Looking at the dominant news in both television and the print media certainly shakes one up every single morning.
Thoughts for today!

Can education be a flexible career choice?

People often wonder whether teachers get paid enough. Is teaching a good and flexible career choice or is it a thankless job, babysitting kids who hate being cooped up. Many teachers complain that they don’t get enough benefits (Chicago Teachers strike in USA certainly brought that question to mind).

The need of the hour is to make education not only more interactive but more flexible where both the child’s and the teacher’s needs are adequately met; otherwise, it would breed resentment, in whoever feels sidelined. Not only a teacher who feels taken advantage of, can willfully damage a child’s ability to learn; a frustrated teacher may not even realize that he/she is doing it unconsciously. Tenure, added benefits and extra incentive for teachers to make knowledge more fun/ interesting may go a long way in fixing the problem.

There, however may exist another better alternative? What if you have to teach only a few hours a day? I have tried it for few sessions, where I was paid by the hour and teaching a small group of children (Keep in mind that this was a very small group of children; 3-5 at a time). The kids were more attentive and less prone to mischief. They scored higher on exams, when they were allowed to eat and drink, freely during the class and they asked more questions (which I always encouraged). The results were astonishing to the rest of the teachers who were more prone to complaining about misbehaving students (the students reported that their classroom were bland and their lesson plans uninteresting).

I believe (after years of observations) that different kids learn differently. Some have photographic memory(they recall pictures easily and faster than anybody); hence they are better taught with visual media. Some learn by making mistakes and a teacher correcting them helps them realize where the improvements needs to be made (those who were working with tools). Some students learn by touch, taste and smell (young kids prefer this) and some learn from their friends (copying their behavior and gauging other people’s reactions). There are also some, who learn by arguments (aggressive debates and confrontation where kids press their boundaries). Then again these are my personal observations.

What I mean to imply, is that rote memorization as is many teachers won’t to do, is rather a odorless, tasteless way to  teach kids of many different types, same things. Is it a wonder that so many of them are uninterested in class. For those who sing the praises of homeschooling, I prefer kids to be taught by masters in an easy environment (Home/ School). I can just get together a small group in the neighborhood and hire good teachers on an hourly basis (e.g. College undergraduates make excellent tutors). Open to interpretation.

The rich and the poor:The great divide

What is the difference between the rich and the poor; and when I am asking this question I am not doing so in terms of their monetary worth or counting the faults of the society which has failed them both ( I was re-watching ‘The secret millionaire’ last night and it got me thinking).

I got into a debate with one of my colleagues last night who (bless her had had a privileged upbringing while I was brought up with a comfortable but not so privileged middle class upbringing) contented that poor people steal things they shouldn’t and they have lesser moral compass than educated people or people who have jobs.  I was shocked. Mind you, the poor and the lower middle class regard the rich with the same general contempt (including referring them as morally bankrupt and general bunch of thieves).

Let me clarify. My general view of humanity in general, following orders, like law of the land is very low. Even tapping into the general gossip area around the area you live in, will tell you how many affairs your neighbors are having. People I know have been hiding many many things from people around them and the officers of the law and these are the people I know; the talented and gifted students, the college professors, the lawyers and the likes. Yet, most of them show similar failings and prejudices as the rest of the humanity.

The rich, are even worse than the middle class in general dishonesty ( I read the papers buddy) and few decent rich men and women I know, still unconsciously flaunt their lifestyle. Even then, I do not find them any morally superior as they tout themselves to be. Yes, they follow the laws; but their lawyers will take advantage of all the loopholes they can find in income tax laws and so forth and they make mistakes which have bigger impacts on others people’s lives.

So, what is the difference.

The answers is Education, and the general level of awareness and the knowledge of how the so and so event in the world will affect their lives. The rich thrive on the amount of information they possess and how to bend the events to their advantage; while the poor and the middle class are kept on the need to know basis only.

And that my dear friend, is the actual difference between the Rich and the poor.

Make each person self sufficient and you will destroy poverty, and the royalty.

Have you ever wondered how could anybody end poverty. The real answer to that question may ultimately shock you. There is a saying that the only two things sure in life are death and the taxes; I am pretty skeptical about the taxes part (Today I am pissed off at a certain clerk who tries routinely to ruin my concentration and managed it spectacularly, today) because although I understand the need for them I abhor the number of hidden taxes that I pay for unknowingly via my food, cable, news, magazines and so on…

So, the big question of the hour between my friends is can we end poverty. The conclusion, yes we can but the solution is hard nosed one. The poor are not poor because they are stupid; they are poor today because they are misguided, mis-educated and manipulated the moment they are born and then……..

they are raised in it.

they learn to keep their head down…

they learn not to complain much……

they learn not to be enterprising lest they will be thrown into jail for patent violations, licence violations and as many laws that can be thrown at them.

The only way to end the poverty, is to return to people what was taken from them to make them poor

Independence of mind…….

Freedom of thinking………

And good education……..

And most of all a spirit to fight for things that they need!

 

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