P2P Competition!

You know what, my son Siddharth is doing great in his coaching classes for IIT Jee. Today, his teacher was telling me that he would surely make it to top 100″, says a parent P1 to another parent P2, who is the father of Shreya, who’s Siddharth classmate.

Oh, is it! That’s wonderful. Shreya is somewhat lagging behind in Chemistry. I just hope she is able to catch up, am a little concerned whether she will be able to qualify the exam”, responds P2.

You know what, you should start sending Shreya to this wonderful coaching institute in our neighbourhood, if you really want her to succeed”, P1, being a proud parent that he is, is always on look-out to offer free advise to other parents living in the same community.

I guess, you are right! Let me enrol her in the same program as Siddharth”, conforms P2.

If you are wondering whether P1 and P2 might just be an exception to the rule when it comes to parents demonstrating concerns for their kids, think again, for that’s what you tend to see in majority of parents these days.

What most kids’ routine would look like in today’s competitive world:

5:00 am Good morning

6:00 am Tutor at home, who takes care of kid’s Science and Math lessons

7:30 am Kid goes to school in an air-conditioned bus of the respective school which has curtains, and kids seem to be cut off from the world outside, few among who, spent most of the time in the bus, browsing on the internet, or watching some random video or chit chatting on Whatsapp

3:30 pm School gets over, kid sits in the same bus, comes back home, around 4:30 if he/she is lucky enough and his/her house comes first in the list of the drop-offs

5:00 pm After a quick snack of sorts, kid has some extra-curricular lesson with a relevant tutor coming to the house, be it a piano session or a tabla session, for kids need to excel in not only their studies but also other things, which gives a parent an opportunity to showcase their kid as a trophy of sorts to the who’s who of their society 

6:30 pm Kid goes to a coaching institute, where he/she is supposed to prepare for a competitive exam

8:00 pm Kid comes back to the house, totally drained out, but wait a minute, he/she needs to complete a set of assignments given either by the morning tutor or the school

9:30 pm Kid gets a chance to have his/her dinner and by the time, he/she is able to finish the same, there is no energy left whatsoever to remain awake, yet he/she, courtesy the mobile phone, spends sometime on the same, before falling asleep

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And this continues for the entire year, which goes against the very fundamentals of how a kid should spent his/her wonderful childhood years.

Courtesy the quality of teachers we have in the system, the school system kills the inherent curiosity of a kid, ensuring that he/she is thrown into the rat race from the very moment, he/she is able to perceive the world in a certain manner.

Courtesy the eagerness of the parents to see their kids not lagging behind, the kid suffers tremendous stress, few of them succumbing at times to the same, few who might be lucky enough to not meet the same fate as above, end up spending the wonderful years of their life in a tizzy.

Courtesy the immediate society who are thriving on the vary act of comparison, ensures that the kid, who is so called not able to make it big, ends up going through a mental and emotional trauma, which surely leads to having repercussion in the latter half of their life.

What a waste, I would say!

Just because competing with someone has become the very basis of life, parents have a tendency to put their kid through enormous amount of stress.

Just because a parent considers it as their right to get their expectations fulfilled by their kids, they forget that the very life they have brought into this world is meant to experience and explore, rather than just meeting those man-made targets.

It’s high time that we as a society and parents begin to realise, that what we define as success, is it really the case?

And if not, then why the hell we are bent upon putting our kids through such torture.

My advice:

Calm down parents, be sensible, for this competition among yourselves would end up in being a disaster for not only your kid, but also for the society as a whole.

Source for the Image: http://www.altonschools.org/index.cfm?page=1045

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Game of Educating!

Have you ever wondered, why education has just become a means for attaining good marks, which in turn gets you a so called good job thereafter? And the education providers a business for churning out mechanical robots day-in-day-out.

After all education was never meant to be a business and a factory for generating the above, it was meant to lead to creation of responsible and sensible individuals who could, after growing up, make rational and sensible decisions, guiding the world towards a sustainable and joyful place to live in.

The question that arises is whether that’s happening? And if not, what needs to be done to ensure that it happens? Very valid questions indeed and we do have an answer, though it might not go down well with the herd mentality of trying to make millions of dollars, yet can have an immense impact on the way people perceive education in a holistic manner.

Before we get into the dynamics of how it can be achieved, let us take a pause to understand what it means for a kid. Kids are born with inherent curiosity, which they express in so called constructive or destructive ways, yet one thing that should not be taken away from them is a zeal to ask questions.

Shouldn’t our education system be encouraging questions and enabling the curiosity to flourish among kids?

Once the curiosity take its own course, kids are bound to find answers to the same, be it asking their elders (parents, siblings, teachers) or seeking it for themselves, be it internet, any chat bot or other means of digital access.

Coming to our role as adults is to provide kids an environment and assets through which they can explore this wonderful world, ask us questions when they feel like and get the answers to the same or a guidance as to where they would be able to find the answers to the same, the latter being the preferred modus operandi, as it leads to self-exploration and building a confidence to explore.

Having said the above, there are many aspects to providing this environment, especially in the current scheme of things (assuming the kids are able to come to a school, though there are other aspects of how to bring underprivileged kids to the same which encompasses mid-day meal programs etc.):

number-demolition-11-20

 

  • Physical Infrastructure

 

      1. Classrooms (black/white boards, chalk/marker, chairs, tables, lights etc.)
      2. Toilets
      3. Playground (garden, trees)
      4. Projector
      5. Computer
      6. Science Labs (chemicals etc.)
      7. Staff room

 

  • Learning Material

 

      1. Text Books/E-Books (in every language)
      2. Videos (in-person/animation) (in every language)
      3. Experiment kits (aligned to concepts and real life examples) which kids can play with, relate to and learn from the same
      4. Tools equipped with AR/VR

 

  • Teachers

 

      1. Friendly, learned enablers having teaching aides (digital and physical) who promote the culture of openness and asking questions

 

  • Parents

 

    1. Acting as enablers off the school campus, giving children an opportunity to explore

The very idea to create an exploration environment equipped with technology and other fundamental assets to make the learning process a joyful experience is what one would want to aspire for when it comes to developing that all important vision of educating the next generation.

The learning process needs to be made joyful and easily understandable which means presenting concepts etc. in a manner in which the kid would want to receive it as, which in turn means that we need to have a fair understanding of what would be received well by different kids of different levels of understanding and the matter or the material being designed in accordance to the same.

Does that mean that the grades need to be rethought and regrouped into a fundamental parameter, such as level of understanding?

If that’s the case, can the concepts be organized per se according to the levels of understanding and not grades?

Does it also translate into different explanations/pedagogy for the same concept for different levels of understanding that kids might have?

After all, a concept is grade agnostic and the very assumption that the kids of a certain grade wouldn’t comprehend a particular aspect of life is derogatory in itself.

It’s like putting the kids into unwanted boundations and making them believe of the very limitations which don’t really exist.

Strong need to rethink upon how education can be made:

Relatable (to what one sees around oneself),

Realistic (based upon pure observation),

Simplistic (easy to understand),

Unbounded & limitless (making a conscious effort of not creating superficial boundaries in the minds of the kids)

and

most importantly Enjoyable.

Source of the image: https://www.education.com/game/number-demolition-11-20/

The Search Continues!

Today, I was watching this hockey final of Hockey India League (HIL) being played between the Delhi Warriors and Ranchi Rhinos. And suddenly came in my mother who wanted to see this stardust movie awards being telecasted on the Set Max.

What other option did I have but to let my mom take charge of the remote and in turn the television channels and suddenly I was found wanting to continue watching my hockey match.

Somehow, the curiosity in me didn’t let me sit at ease. I had to see who won the match and who took the honours. So, I requested my mother to allow me to have a look.

After having had a look at the final results, I came back to my room. As I entered the room, I wondered about why I was so curious about knowing it there and then. I could have waited for another hour, say, or for the next day, when the results would have appeared in the newspapers.search

Why was it that I wanted to get rid of my curiosity on an immediate basis? Is it inherent in our curious nature to seek immediate gratification? It might be true for it tends to haunt our minds till we are able to satisfy it by discovering the answers for questions that we had been looking for.

What is more amazing is that the curiosity immediately tends to die down once the unknown beocomes known. The good thing or the bad thing though is that you are hit again by another curiosity and end up searching for new answers in life, which propels us to move ahead and explore new things in life.

Source for Image: http://www.epilepsymatters.com/english/search.html

The Mysterious Curiosity!

It has happened to me and I am sure that it might have happened to atleast a few amongst you. It is not often that such a thing happens but whenever it does, it is quite bemusing to the core.

A couple of days back, I met a guy who can surely be called self-obsessed by all means. Whatever he does, he thinks, is right. Whatever opinion he has, he thinks, the world should be having the same. Whatever his actions, he thinks, the world should be emulating the same in order to ensure the best for them.

No matter how much you try to contradict the person about the irrationality involved in his thought process, he will come with arguments trying to prove that only he is right and rest which is not in coherence with his thought process is entirely wrong.11118567

It was like I was talking to a wall with no response coming from the other side. In fact it was worse than a wall, for if we try to throw a ball at it, it will surely throw it back at you, courtesy the elastic nature of the same.

But here, it was a totally closed system, much like a black hole where, no matter what you throw, will never come back. It only continues to emit what it is supposed to be emitting.

After having made an unsuccessful attempt of trying to convince the same person, I decided not to pursue the cause any more. And for that matter, if he thinks like what he does, he has got full rights to have his own say and opinion on things, courtesy the nature of the government that we have in our country and which we proudly refer to as the Democracy.

As long as it is not having a harmful impact on others and as long as it is not affecting the law and order situation or the stability in our country, it is upto the man to have and do whatever he wishes to and no one can deprive him or force him to behave in a manner which the majority might like or want him to emulate.

That is the beauty of democracy, for if he was in China, either he would have disappeared for good or he might have been locked up behind the bars for uttering the non-sense that he is so very proud of.

For me as an individual, it was an opportunity to meet someone who can be called really unique in what he thinks and does. It was truly a different kind of experience, one which I haven’t experienced so far in my entire life till date.

It reminded me that no matter how much we might want to consider this world and its people a simple place to live and get along with respectively, it always seems to surprise us with a new facet which we might have not been able to uncover earlier in life.original.0

What seems to amaze me the most is the mysterious nature of this world where we all live in. There is so much to discover and so much to see. I wonder where this curiosity in me will take me.

Some say: curiosity is the mother of all inventions. On the other hand, some say: curiosity kills. I wonder what this curiosity will do to this world. But being the positive person I am, I would want to believe in the former rather than the latter. 😉

Source for Image: http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2012/09/mystery-central-banks-buying-australian-dollars/, http://www.hark.com/collections/lmlxxpxtys-mystery