Thursday, March 10, 2011

One More Video , which according to Bill Gates is the future of education !!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two Videos : Sugata Mitra & Ken Robinson - New Paradigms in education

I thought of sharing these videos which question the way we have been viewing teaching till now, and help us question things which are normally taken for granted.....

Sugata Mitra : Hole in the wall experience

Ken Robinson on Schools Killing Creativity

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The tale of two gardeners - A Story of Passion

'Passion' is a topic on which I have written earlier also, but then whenever I see an example , which reinforces my belief I am forced to reflect back on the issue. I get straight to the example which I came across recently.

We use to have a gardener for the last two years who was like any typical gardener working for more than a dozen houses in the vicinity and would do as little as possible to get his monthly payment out of us. It use to be a struggle getting any meaningful work out of him. Then one fine day we said enough is enough and threw him out....

We struggled for a few weeks and then got a new guy for the job. From day one we could see that this guy was different and the results could be seen in a matter of the first two weeks itself. The upkeep and look of the garden improved and he started sharing tips with us on how the garden should be maintained. By the end of the first month the garden was transformed and we could see the difference for ourself.

This made me think what was different in the two gardener. The difference boiled down to 'Passion' that one had for the job. The first gardener was a person who had picked up the skills of gardening overtime for an evening job. Versus the second gardener who was full-time involved in maintaining a mango orchard, and thus loved his job and when he saw the condition of our garden we did not have to tell what to do, but he himself decided on the course of action and took the task upon him to improve the garden. This urge was something which was there in him because of his inherent interest in gardening , which was missing in our earlier gardener....

The example shows us that if one gets an employee who is passionate about his work then the job of motivating him is very easy, but life becomes difficult the other way round..

This reinforces my belief that one needs to find a match between passion and job, and once that is achieved then the results would flow....

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Entertainment Quotient of a Session

This is an issue many of are confronted with while teaching - how 'entertaining' should your session be? Maybe one also needs to define what one means with entertainment, because in my experience I found a very thin line dividing what is pure entertainment and what adds value to the content of a session. And it is very easy to err on the side of being just an entertainer.

The setting is post-graduate teaching, with the expectation that the students are more mature and experienced. And are there for serious learning..

I think at the fundamental level all of us would agree that class room learning has to improve especially the lecture format , where the role of the teacher is to deliver a lecture and in the context of ready availability of multimedia and other technologies it is easier to bring more life into them.

The problem with making a class more 'entertaining' is that the message might get lost in the clutter of entertainment , and though the students might find it good in the short run, but in retrospect, would feel short-changed in the overall perspective. But how do we decide how much is too much?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Three idiots the movie : Learning for teachers & Students

Because I am a teacher many people have asked how if feel about the movie and Aamir Khan. Some of my colleagues have taken a little serious note of the movie and have been critical of the way in which they have shown the education system and some of the pranks played.

Though i agree the movie could have been moderated in the way it has portrayed some incidents, and especially towards the end of the college life part, the story seems to have stretched a little too far, but then that is the way of a typical Bollywood movie and the 3 idiots has followed it to the hilt.

But then overall I found that the message being sent out , "Follow your Passion and stay way from the rat race" very relevant and timely . The way we are churning out Engineers who are being fed into the IT industry is something which has always made me uncomfortable. Young bright people getting very good starting salaries and as a result getting too comfortable too soon with their lives (coding and partying). But do not get me wrong here, I acknowledge the role IT industry has played in the growth of the economy and employment, but I still find it hard to explain when I find a electrical engineer from possibly the best institutions in India (if not the world) working at the back office of retailer, writing codes to manage their customer base ?????

And the fate of the those who do not make in the rat race is something which is even worse. And as they say even if you win in the rat race you remain a rat :).

Among the other takeaways from the movie , the questioning of the way teaching is being currently done and the evaluation system (emphasizing rote) are somethings which we as teachers need to look into very seriously. A radical rethinking on these two things should form the center of the much needed reforms in the education system in the country....

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Tom Peters on Start Something Dull !!!!!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Finding the "Motivation Trigger"

Learning is a life long quest and the role of a teacher is to initiate his students into that journey. But the teacher should also realize that he will not be besides his student for ever, and need to inspire students to develop an interest in the subject which goes beyond the class and love for learning itself...

There could many ways that this can be done, a select few teachers use their own personality to motivate students to seek beyond the obvious and seek out for more knowledge on a continuous basis, but then I feel that such teachers are far and between. For lesser mortals I feel one needs to put extra effort into understand the "triggers" that motivate his or her students to learn more....

I think the anecdote of teaching to fish versus giving a fish might fit in here with a slight modification, As teacher one needs to find what motivates the students to look for fish and then work on it so that the students themselves start looking for fish and develop newer ways and means of catching more fish.

And one also must realize that this driving force keeps changing with time , so the teacher also needs to keep his antennas up at all times to both identify as well as update his understanding of these triggers...

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